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For Faculty/Staff

2020-21 Grading Policies

Office of the Registrar Change of Grade Policy

Spring 2020 Academic Policies and Procedures

COVID-19 Resources

For the most up-to-date information regarding the impacts of COVID-19, please visit:

Spring Quarter Schedule

Northwestern classes will be delivered remotely for spring 2020. Some key dates Include:

  • Saturday, April 18: T he last day to add a class or change a section for spring 2020. This is a firm deadline. Due to the abbreviated quarter schedule, late adds cannot be accommodated after this date. During the scheduled add period, students can generally add classes online through CAESAR, though there are some exceptions.  Some classes require a permission number or signature for online registration, provided by the instructor at their discretion.
  • Friday, April 24: The last day for tuition adjustment related to enrollment changes (to or from full-time) for spring 2020.
  • No later than May 15: Report midterm grades equivalent of C- or lower. This report allows advisors to make appropriate referrals, and to encourage students to schedule a meeting with you to discuss the situation. It also gives the student the opportunity to drop the course by the drop deadline if these interventions aren’t sufficient.
  • Friday, May 29: The last day to drop a class for spring 2020. During the scheduled drop periods of each quarter, students can drop any course online through CAESAR without instructor approval. It is very helpful when students have received a grade before this deadline so that they have a basis for deciding whether to drop a class.

Any drop exceptions approved after May 29 will be reflected on student records as Withdrawals (W grades)

  • Monday, June 15 by 3pm: Grades are due to the Registrar’s Office. Grades must be submitted online and on time.

A more detailed academic calendar can be found here:

Spring 2020 Grading Procedures and Policies

Undergraduate Grade Symbols

Northwestern has instituted Pass/No Pass grading for all undergraduates enrolled during Spring Quarter 2020, with a passing grade designated as a D or higher, per our current policy. However, faculty are welcome to use their regular grading rubric (numerical, percentage or letter grades) as an internal measure of student progress throughout the quarter.  These grades would be advisory only. Although we are in a remote learning environment, spring quarter courses are not intended to be self-paced.  It may be useful to issue early graded assignments so that student progress and adequate support measures can be identified as necessary. Instead of assigning quality (letter) grades when they are entered in CAESAR at the end of the quarter, faculty will give either a Pass (P) or No Pass (N) when assigning final grades for undergraduate students in Spring Quarter classes.

Policies regarding how these pass/no pass courses will be applied to degree requirements can be found here.

Incomplete Grades

Northwestern University expects students to finish their coursework on time or remove themselves by dropping or withdrawing.  When situations outside a student’s control arise that prevent timely course completion, Northwestern designates two different incomplete grades, X and Y to designate what work is outstanding.

XFailed to earn credit: missed final exam.

Y-Failed to earn credit: work incomplete.

Details on proper use of these grades can be found at:

If a student needs to request an incomplete (Y), they must make arrangements with the instructor, who should first check with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Advising to determine if the Y grade is appropriate. Additional details on the SoC policies and process can be found at:

K – Work in progress.  If a course will continue beyond a given quarter, a K grade is assigned as a place-holder until the course is completed.  This designation must be assigned by the registrar when the course is listed in CAESAR .  Unlike the Y and X grades, the K does not factor into the GPA as a 0.

Grade Changes

SoC policy states that a final grade, once given, is final. If you discover you have made an error in grading, please submit a Change of Grade through CAESAR.  The Associate Dean or Director of Undergraduate Programs and Advising will receive an email to approve the grade change, and a notification of the new grade will be sent to the student.

Recording of Synchronous Remote Class Sessions 

Instructors can determine whether or not they would like to record class sessions, or portions of class sessions. You may decide, for example, to record lectures but not class discussions. Guidance around this decision can be found here. If you plan to record, we ask that you include the following statement on your syllabus and also verbally let students know that you are choosing to record class sessions.

This class or portions of this class will be recorded by the instructor for educational purposes. These recordings will be shared only with students enrolled in the course and will be deleted at the end of the Spring Quarter. Your instructor will communicate how you can access the recordings.

Unauthorized student recording of class sessions is prohibited, and faculty should not permit individual students to record class sessions for any reason.

 Please have students direct requests related to accommodations to AccessibleNU.


Q: I’m a faculty/staff member who has been given permission to work from home. What technical specifications must my internet connection meet? What tools should I use for remote learning?

A: NUIT has created a very helpful resource for teaching, learning, and working remotely.

Meanwhile, our own SoCIT team has been working tirelessly to ensure our students, faculty, and staff have access to all the tools needed to operate remotely. Please familiarize yourself with the new global-protected VPN, which is available on all faculty/staff computers. Additionally, each computer has TeamViewer, which allows SoCIT to assist you remotely in IT matters. For any service requests or questions, please use its ticketing system. SoCIT has been working to provide an online info session for faculty and staff interested in operating web conferencing and remote learning tools. For those on collaborative teams, we recommend setting up and using Microsoft Teams for quick and confidential communication. It’s an efficient messaging app created for the workplace.

Q: I work in a research lab. Will I be able to continue this work remotely? Must I come in?

A: As with all lab attendance matters, please consult your PI. He or she will provide guidance about any possible suspension in research and/or what work can be done remotely. All research decisions are made in conjunction with guidance from Northwestern’s Office for Research.

Q: What about research funding and proposals? Any interruptions?

A: While the situation is rapidly evolving, federal funding agencies have issued some guidance already:



Generally, they seem to be very coordinated statements promising flexibility with deadlines, no-cost extensions, and travel cancellations.

The SoC Research Office will remain operational and planned submissions of proposals, progress reports will continue as usual. As the situation evolves, we may be working remotely. However, our commitments will remain unchanged. You can contact any of us using the following contact points:

Sumit Dhar –; 224 628 5704 (cell); 847 491 2470 (lab); 847 491 5380 (office)

Sheri Carsello —; 847 491 2425

Marysia Galent —; 847-467-0879

Q: I am a faculty member with IRB protocols. How will my work be impacted?

A: The Institutional Review Board issued a memo regarding research participants. Please review their guidelines.

Q: I am a staff member working on a spring event. Should I stop work on this?

A: Event organizers should review recommendations on Northwestern’s resource page. For any SOC-specific event-related questions, please contact Tricia David at

Q: I am a faculty member/student with a piece of good news I want to share about my work/research. Can I still request help in publicizing it?

A: Please do. Contact Kerry Trotter at with any news. While COVID-19 is dominating the headlines and our lives, we still want to celebrate the achievements of our community. Please understand that there may be a delay in publicizing any news; we want to be sensitive and cognizant of the needs of our audiences by publicizing timely and appropriate material. Given how quickly news breaks and our lives change, we are trying to be mindful of what information our audience needs and when.

For all other questions, please contact Kerry Trotter at