Updated Aug. 5, 2020

NOTE: These FAQs are specific to the Spring 2020 semester and Summer 2020. For FAQs related to the current academic year, please visit the Fall 2020 website.

Advising | Faculty Governance, Hiring & Tenure | Pass/Fail | Research & Scholarship | Summer Academic Experiences | Teaching | Events & Programs | COVID-19



What is the advising schedule for next semester?

The fall course schedule will be available in late March on the Office of the Registrar website and on the Banner Self Service course search tool. Students will receive an email with details,  including mid-April registration dates. Registration dates are April 16 (Class of 2021), April 21 (Class of 2022), and April 23 (Class of 2023). Students are being instructed to engage in conversations with their advisers via phone or video calls to review their academic plan, course selection, and to receive registration PIN. 

Will faculty have to meet with my advisees virtually prior to course registration?

Students have been instructed to be in direct contact via email with their advisers to set up any pre-registration advising conversations and to receive their registration PIN. Given the various challenges of this remote teaching and working period, the Office of Advising realizes that flexibility is needed, and that such advising conversations can happen in various ways—via email, phone, video conference, a Spaces site, or other methods.

When and how will advisee PIN numbers be made available?

The fall course schedule will be available in late March on the Office of the Registrar website and on the Banner Self Service course search tool, and advisee PINs will be emailed to advisers shortly thereafter. 

How does the modified pass/fail policy relate to students on academic probation?

Each student on academic probation should consult with their class dean for guidance if they are considering the pass/fail or withdrawal options. Seniors with GPA issues related to graduation are being contacted by the Office of Advising for guidance on options.

How does the modified pass/fail policy relate to students working with the Health Professions Advising office?

The office has developed comprehensive guidance and directions for students to seek advice.

How does the modified pass/fail policy relate to students who studied abroad in spring 2020?

All participants should review the message and guidance sent March 26.

How does the modified pass/fail policy relate to students with GPA-dependent scholarships/financial aid?

These students should contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions.

How does the modified pass/fail policy relate to student-athletes concerned about NCAA eligibility?

These students should contact Carly Riepenhoff to discuss their particular situation. A referral will be made to the Compliance Office or a coach if necessary.


Faculty governance, hiring, and tenure

Will the remaining faculty meetings of the spring be held remotely?

The next meeting will be held remotely from 4:10-6 p.m. Tuesday, March 31. It will be hosted on the Zoom platform; detailed instructions on using Zoom and on meeting protocols will be distributed soon. If you have immediate questions about how to participate in a Zoom meeting, visit the ITS Zoom webpage or email the help desk.  With in-person classes canceled for the rest of the year, most likely the rest of the semester meetings will be remote.

Will faculty governance processes change during this time?

The advice and support of elected faculty committees will be sought whenever possible, and  we will continue to transact faculty business on a monthly basis at virtual faculty meetings. As we are faced with making quick decisions in extraordinary circumstances, advice from committees may provide a basis for making decisions on temporary measures when a vote of the full faculty is not practical.   

What impact will this crisis have on the tenure clock and pre- and post-midterm conferences?

Faculty members now have the option of not counting the 2019-20 academic year as part of their probationary period as per the provost’s March 23 email and PTR April 9 significant advice. This aligns with the spirit of the “catastrophe option” that allows, upon request from a pre-tenure faculty member and with the approval of the dean of the faculty, the option of “not counting as part of the probationary period each academic year … in which the maintenance of a full professional life is likely to be impossible as the result of some unexpected event” (Section in the Faculty Handbook). This decision has been made in consultation with the Promotion, Tenure, and Review Committee (PTR).

This accommodation applies to pre-tenure faculty members: those for whom 2019-20 is their first year at Lafayette through those who soon will start submitting materials to create files that would be reviewed in the 2020-21 academic year. Pre-tenure faculty members who are scheduled for tenure review in AY 2020-21 and would like to make use of this accommodation should notify the dean of the faculty before noon Monday, April 20, 2020. All other pre-tenure faculty members who would like to make use of this accommodation have until noon on August 1, 2020 to notify the dean of the faculty. Anyone who does not meet these deadlines will be presumed not to be participating in the option to pause their tenure clock due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

How will the current situation impact the faculty hiring process and timeline?

There will be no impact on searches that are completed for positions starting next fall. The impact on searches to occur next year is unknown at this time.



How can students select the pass/fail grade option?

The online form can be used through the May 1 deadline. If no action is taken to request that a course be considered pass/fail, normal letter grading will remain in effect.

Can students request to change from letter grades to pass/fail after the May 1 deadline?

No. May 1 at noon is a firm deadline.

Will students be able to take a class counting towards their major or minor pass/fail?

Yes, for spring 2020 semester only, a P can be counted in the major.

Will students be able to take a class counting towards the Common Course of Study requirements pass/fail?

Yes, for spring 2020 semester only, a P can count for a Common Course of Study requirement.

What is considered a passing grade/failing grade?

Any non-failing grade will be recorded as a P; a failing grade will be recorded as an F.

How will an F factor into a student's GPA?

An F will be calculated into the term and cumulative GPA calculations, as outlined in the catalog.

How will having one or two classes pass/fail factor into consideration for the Dean's List this semester?

Dean’s List for spring 2020 will be determined based on a minimum of three graded courses and term GPA of 3.6 or higher.

Will students still be eligible for Latin honors at graduation if I choose pass/fail classes?

Graduation Latin honors are determined based on the cumulative GPA.  Those who graduate with high cumulative averages based upon four years’ work are awarded their degrees summa cum laude (a cumulative average of 3.85 or higher), magna cum laude (3.75), or cum laude (3.65). Taking a class pass/fail will not affect your GPA unless the grade is recorded as an F.

Will faculty know that a student chose pass/fail grading for their course?

Prior to submitting grades for their course a faculty member would not know who in their course has elected the pass/fail grade option. Faculty become aware of the pass/fail grade request at the time they have access to final grade entry in Banner.

Can students select the pass/fail grade option for an honors thesis?

Not for the thesis course. In order to be awarded departmental honors for completion of a thesis, a grade of A is required in the Thesis course. Students can still elect other courses to be Pass/Fail.

If a student has already requested that a class be pass/fail with a minimum grade, will they still be able to retain the minimum grade option?

No. The modification of the policy for the spring semester does not allow for a letter grade to be specified in lieu of the P. All courses retain normal letter grading unless and until a request for pass/fail is submitted. If a student would like to retain the letter grade option, no action is necessary. If the student prefers to have the class be evaluated pass/fail, they must submit that request.

Can a student still withdraw from a course?

Yes. The withdrawal deadline has been extended to May 1, the same date by which pass/fail grading has to be elected. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their adviser(s) before deciding to opt for a pass/fail grade or withdrawing from a course so that they can make a well-informed decision.

If a student selects pass/fail for a course, will they be able to change back to letter grading later?

No. Once a student has opted for a P/F grade, this decision is final. Therefore, students should take their time and make a well-informed decision in consultation with their adviser.

Will courses taken on a pass/fail basis this semester be included in the policy that limits students to taking a maximum of four courses pass/fail during their academic career?

No. Courses taken pass/fail this semester are not included in the overall count. 

Can I request pass/fail for an LVAIC cross-registered course?

Many LAVIC schools are offering a pass/pail (or similar) option. Check with the host school about its policy and process.

I am studying abroad this semester. Can I request pass/fail grading?

If your host institution is offering a pass/fail option, you should follow its guidance for selecting that alternate grade scale. If it is not, then you may make that request to Lafayette. You will receive communication from the Office of International and Off-Campus Education with details. 


Research and Scholarship

Are faculty able to access labs, offices, and buildings on campus?

In accordance with the directive issued March 19 by Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf,  faculty and staff should minimize their presence on campus as much as possible, and come to campus only when absolutely necessary. If you do have to be on campus, minimize your time, avoid contact with others, and constrain the areas you visit. While these constraints will make remote teaching more challenging, for the time being they are necessary for the health and safety of all. 

When will the library reopen? How can I and my students access library resources in the meantime?

Skillman and Kirby libraries will remain closed until further notice. However, the libraries provide a wide variety of resources digitally through our current subscriptions, and many publishers are opening up additional content for free to support teaching and research during this period. The libraries also can purchase content that we have not already licensed, and this can often be done quickly. Faculty are encouraged to reach out to librarians to discuss their needs. For more information, see the libraries’ remote services page.

What is the status of summer EXCEL scholars and other summer programs?

The status of summer programs has not yet been determined. The Academic Research Committee is reviewing summer EXCEL applications, but given the uncertainty of how the summer may play out, we will delay granting approvals until more is known.  

How can faculty continue to work on a scholarly project that is externally funded?

If there will be a change in the scope of your project or a significant delay in your work, please contact the director of sponsored research to discuss what information will be needed in order to inform the funding agency.  Visit FAQs from the National Science Foundation and FAQs from National Institutes of Health.

May I still apply to external agencies for fellowships and research grants?

Yes. Continue to do so with the support of the director of sponsored research. Deadlines may be delayed, but all agencies are still receiving applications.

What is the status of research support involving human and animal subjects?

The Institutional Review Board for Human Subjects is still reviewing proposals. Visit its website for information. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee also is fully operational. Visit its website for information.

How can I account for the impact of this crisis on my scholarship productivity if I was on research or sabbatical leave in spring 2020?

Faculty on research leave (pre-tenure) or sabbatical leave (post-tenure) should explain the impact, if any, of COVID-19 on their scholarship productivity in the research/sabbatical leave report they submit to the provost after the leave (see Section in the Faculty Handbook). Any scholarship goals outlined in their leave application that could not be accomplished or needed to be adjusted should be explained in the report. Relevant portions of the report can be included or referred to in the self-evaluation for tenure/promotion; pre-tenure colleagues also have the option to simply reference their research leave report in their tenure self-evaluation, which is included in their tenure file.

Can current EXCEL Scholars continue to be paid for the remainder of the spring semester?

If EXCEL Scholars can continue their work remotely, they can continue to be paid.


Summer Academic Experiences

Will courses and internships for credit be offered?

There will be no on-campus summer courses. The registrar can process registration and credit for summer internships.

Will EXCEL and other summer research programs be offered?

Yes, if the work can be done remotely.

It may be possible to offer on-campus faculty-student research programs with a shortened timeline starting in July. However, it is uncertain whether access to labs and equipment will be available and whether move-out from the spring semester will be completed in time to prepare summer student housing. There is a significant possibility that July onsite programs will not be possible. The College might not be able to make that determination until late May or even June. 

When will I be notified of approval for my application for an EXCEL Scholar? What are the next steps?

Faculty who met the March submission deadline were asked to complete a subsequent questionnaire to indicate whether the scholarly work could be conducted remotely. The deadline for completing this questionnaire is April 13. ARC will review these applications by its April 23 meeting and contact faculty scholars regarding the status of their applications.

How will EXCEL Scholars working remotely be paid?

These students must abide by the guidelines in the ARC Manual and can work a maximum of 36.25 hours/week during summer 2020 for up to 10 weeks. Timesheets should be emailed to Nancy Williams, assistant to the provost, by the due date of the applicable payroll period. If faculty mentors are unable to scan and sign the timesheet, they can indicate their approval of the hours in the body of the email. Faculty mentors with EXCEL Scholars who are international students should contact Janine Block, assistant director of international student services, to ensure that their scholars can be paid for remote work. 

What are the start and end dates for remote EXCEL projects?

Summer EXCEL Scholars can work for up to 10 weeks during the period beginning Sunday, May 24, through Friday, Aug. 28.

May I still apply for a summer EXCEL Scholar? 

No, the deadline has passed. Those who have access to external funds to support an ARC EXCEL Scholar and have not already applied for one should contact Tracie Addy, associate dean for faculty support, for more information about how to apply.

Can students currently on campus remain in campus housing past the end of finals if they are participating in a summer research program?

All remaining students ideally will leave campus housing at the end of the finals period; remote research should be done off campus. Students unable to return home or make other housing arrangements should contact Residence Life to discuss their needs.

I’m pre-tenure and need student research help to conduct my research this summer. How should I address this?

Please refer to the earlier guidance from the Provost’s Office provided in the faculty FAQ under Faculty Governance, Hiring and Tenure, which states that faculty members now have the option of not counting the 2019-20 academic year as part of their probationary period.



Can I ask my students to use digital tools in addition to those licensed and recommended by the College?

Click-through licenses for third-party apps or social media tools may require students to agree to the collection of their personal data. When you require the use of such tools, consider the requirement as it relates to the College’s Data Stewardship policy. Also, some students may be uncomfortable with this data collection and feel pressured to agree, or be unaware that they are agreeing to it. If you decide to use such tools as a requirement or as an optional tool in your course, passwords should always be set to something other than one’s Lafayette password; this is a recommended practice when using one’s Lafayette email address to register an account with such tools. If you have questions about the appropriate use of these tools, please contact the Help Desk at help@lafayette.edu.

How should faculty approach online assessment during the remote teaching period?

The Center for the Integration of Teaching, Learning & Scholarship (CITLS) has recommended several approaches to assessment in the online learning environment. See its March 21 newsletter for recommendations. Please also consider signing up for its Teaching & Learning Newsletter if you haven’t already. This newsletter will focus on remote teaching and learning strategies for the duration of the semester to support faculty efforts. Faculty also are welcome to directly contact CITLS for additional support in designing online assessments. 

What will be the grading policies this semester? Will there be pass/fail options?

The College has approved a temporary change to its pass/fail grading policy for the spring semester. Students can choose a pass/fail grade later in the term than usual, and for a wider range of courses. Read the policy in full.

How should class attendance and participation be adjusted?

Expectations for class attendance (described in Section 7.4.2 of the Faculty Handbook and in your syllabi) are still in place. Of course, flexibility about the struggles students may have with technology and remote instruction and learning is appropriate.

Do classes have to meet at their regularly scheduled times?

There are many ways for faculty members to engage with their classes, not all of which require synchronous interactions with the entire class. When you do hold a live, online class meeting it should be scheduled for the same time your course normally meets. This will greatly increase the chances that students will not have conflicts with the meeting time. Remember that you can record a Google Meet session

What if I’m concerned about students posting class session recordings and other course materials online and otherwise sharing them outside Lafayette?

Appendix E (Section E.2.1) of the Faculty Handbook states that “Faculty members who create products of teaching and scholarship own their Intellectual Property except for patentable inventions, in which case the ownership rights rest with the College. Pedagogical, literary, artistic and creative works are owned by the faculty member, consistent with American Association of University Professors guidelines about copyrights and the prevailing view in academia. Lecture notes and other course notes such as problem sets and syllabi are the faculty member’s Intellectual Property.”

With this in mind, you should inform your students that course materials are proprietary and for class purposes only. This includes posted recordings of lectures, worksheets, discussion prompts, etc. Explicitly state that such materials should not be reposted. While it is outside copyright law, it is advisable to have a clear statement about the need to maintain each individual’s privacy in regard to online discussions. Also tell students that they must request your permission prior to creating their own recordings of class materials, and that any recordings are not to be shared or posted online even when permission is granted to record.  Please carefully consider which class content is recorded and posted, particularly for course topics that are sensitive or controversial. To the extent possible, post such materials only within the Moodle course site. 

How available should faculty members be for student questions and concerns?

You should remain in regular communication with students in your classes and with your advisees. Maintaining some form of office hours via email, Google Meet, or some other mode will be appreciated by the students.

How should faculty advise students conducting independent research and honors theses?

While most theses or independent study projects will be approaching the final writing/editing stages, some situations may call for creativity, flexibility, and adaptability. Faculty should discuss options with their research students.  

Will course evaluations be done this semester?

The provost, after consultation with the Teaching & Learning Committee, announced via email to faculty March 21 that formal course evaluations will not be conducted this semester. Individual faculty members are still welcome to conduct their own informal evaluations for formative purposes, and may want to consider other ways to gather feedback from students.

Will any peer observations of teaching be conducted this term?

The provost also has advised departments and programs not to conduct any peer observations of teaching for the remainder of the term. This may interrupt the cycle of peer observations for pre-tenure colleagues, and departments and programs should use good judgment in how to address this in future semesters. In particular, they should not burden pre-tenure faculty members and their students by having an unreasonable number of observations in the fall.

What if I or my students need additional technology or technology support?

If you have a technology need, or a need for support using technology, contact the Help Desk at help@lafayette.edu or (610) 330-5501. ITS also offers Remote Collaboration tutorials and help documentation. If some students don’t have Internet access, some Internet service providers (e.g., Service Electric, Comcast, Spectrum, and Cox) are making their services free to students for a limited time.

Are tutors still available through the Academic Resource Hub?

Yes. Support programs have transitioned from in-person to remote sessions. Visit the Academic Resource Hub website for more information on specific course support. Please use the StudyTree app to book appointments or join the Supplemental Instruction or Mentored Study Group Sessions.

Are there any opportunities for faculty to share remote teaching strategies?

CITLS is organizing sessions for faculty to share remote teaching strategies. The first session will be Friday, March 27, from noon-1 p.m. via Zoom. Visit citls.lafayette.edu for more information. Any additional sessions will be announced at a later date.  

When will the final exam schedule be announced? Does it have to be followed?

The exam schedule is posted on the Office of the Registrar website.  For exams and/or final projects being handled remotely, faculty retain their slots for administering online exams and/or using the exam time as the ‘due date for final work. In keeping with Section 7.5.7 of the Faculty Handbook, faculty should not assign any significant tests or exams in the last week of classes.

When will final grades be due?

Grades for seniors are due by noon Tuesday, May 19. All other grades are due by noon Tuesday, May 26. As in past semesters, grades will be submitted through Banner Self Service Grade Entry.


Events and programs

Is the College cancelling any events?

All in-person College-sponsored campus and regional events have been cancelled through May 31. For more information, see the campus events policy.

Will cancelled cultural events be rescheduled?

Arts performance classes may choose to use some rehearsed material for a future concert or production. Some Performance Series events may be rescheduled for future seasons, and some guest artists already are planning to reschedule in the fall.

Will Honors Convocation be held?

A decision on holding Honors Convocation is still pending. We tentatively are planning to announce and distribute awards in May, albeit not in person, and to acknowledge and commemorate student awardees remotely.



Are there confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Lafayette?

Yes. The first case of the virus at Lafayette College was confirmed on April 29. The College is following protocols for testing, isolating, and contact tracing on campus. We have been in contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to coordinate our actions. The student who tested positive has been living off campus for the previous two weeks and had very limited contact with any individuals on campus. The individual is doing well and we wish the student a full and rapid recovery.

Are there confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania?

For updated state information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s website.

What are the differences between self-monitoring, self-isolating and social distancing?

Self-monitoring: monitoring yourself for fever by checking your temperature twice a day and remaining alert for symptoms including cough and difficulty breathing

Self-Isolating: separation of a person known or reasonably believed to be infected with an infectious disease from those who are not infected.

Social distancing: remaining out of congregate settings and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from others.

What is the best defense against contagious viruses such as seasonal influenza and COVID-19?

The best defense against contagious viruses is to remain vigilant and take precautions to minimize the risk of all contagious infectious diseases. 

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Clean surfaces, door knobs, keyboards with germicidal wipes.
  • Stay out of class/work when you are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

What type of office cleaning should be done if there is a case of COVID-19?

As with any seasonal respiratory illness, routine cleaning is effective. Routine cleaning products are sufficient. Bleach is not necessary.

Where can I get more information on COVID-19?

For up-to-date information, please check the following websites:
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization

Is the Health Center prepared to evaluate whether a person might have COVID-19?

Testing for COVID-19 is only being performed at PA Department of Health laboratories. In the coming days/weeks, testing will become more widely available in local hospitals and commercial labs.

How is the College/Health Center handling members of the community who have traveled to a CDC-designated Level 3 area?

The College, which is following guidance from the PA Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), strongly advises against personal travel to any areas designated by the CDC as high impact zones for COVID-19, which can change daily. Anyone traveling to a country or domestic region that is currently or becomes a Level 3 area designated by the CDC will be required to complete a 14-day self-isolation period before being cleared for return to campus.

If you have questions about where the virus is active you can find additional information on the CDC website or contact Dr. Jeff Goldstein at (610) 330-5001 or goldstej@lafayette.edu.