Chancellor’s Update: Updates on Interim Grading Policy, COVID-19 Leave and Compensation

Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,

Changes and approaches to COVID-19 issues continue to be part of our everyday lives. Today, I write to share updates on how we are addressing student grading this semester, clarifications on compensation and leave, and access to campus buildings.

Emergency Grading Accommodation – Interim policy
After consulting with a multitude of internal constituencies and with the approval of the University Committee and the Academic Staff Committee, the provost has issued an interim policy on emergency grading accommodation for undergraduate students.

All enrolled students will receive a letter grade in each enrolled Spring 2020 course by the grade deadline of May 21. Students will have until July 3 to designate courses to be graded on a credit/no credit basis or to keep the grade they received. Students who earn a C- or better in a course may opt for the credit/no credit option for that course. The current limitations on the number of courses/credits for the credit/no credit option are being suspended for the spring semester. By April 14, each school/college will designate a limited number of courses as ineligible for the credit/no credit grading option due to licensing, certification or accreditation requirements. Students will have until July 3 to exercise their option by submitting a form to their academic advisor. Students should consult with their academic advisor with questions about this policy and procedures.

While we have the grading accommodation interim policy, please encourage all students to put forth the full effort in each enrolled class to successfully complete the coursework. A similar policy for graduate students is being finalized and we will share details tomorrow.

COVID-19 Leave
To minimize the spread of COVID-19 per the state’s Safer at Home order, most employees have been directed not to perform work in-person at any of our campuses. Up to 80 hours of paid leave are available for faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, employees-in-training, graduate assistants and temporary employees who can’t perform their assigned duties during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency due to the following:

  • inability to work remotely
  • self-quarantine
  • self-isolation
  • illness
  • care of an immediate family member
  • child/elder care due to school and day care closures

Employees may enter COVID-19 leave in HRS as they would other types of paid leave, and should contact their unit’s payroll coordinator with any questions. It is important to note that COVID-19 leave will expire when the pandemic concludes (that date is currently undetermined). For that reason, it is helpful to use COVID-19 leave now instead of vacation, sick leave, or another type of paid leave. Information about leave bank processing guidelines is available here.

Clarification on Compensation
On Friday, we announced that compensation adjustments are frozen, or no longer being approved. This means that individual requests for salary adjustments, including for merit, expanded duties, or other reasons, currently are not allowed. The freeze does not apply to promotional increments or January 2021 compensation plan increases, which are still planned.

Minimal Employees on Campuses
We have undertaken efforts to significantly reduce the number of individuals working onsite at our three campuses as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wisconsin. Faculty and staff should talk directly with their supervisors about options before coming to campus.

Access to UWM Buildings
Academic buildings were locked on March 18, and we have since closed access to administrative buildings, our libraries, Klotsche Center and the UWM Student Union. For the remainder of the semester, all UWM facilities, except for students approved to remain in Sandburg Hall and Kenilworth Square Apartments, will be accessible only to individuals with keys or other access to unlock enter the building.

Accommodations are being made for employees engaged in research to maintain access to labs and other needed facilities. If there are special needs for unlocking a building, individuals should contact UWM Police at 414-229-4627. Those individuals will need to have appropriate employment permissions to enter the building, and those employees should be prepared to show University ID.

Students have expressed needs to get into academic buildings to retrieve personal items, and thus, dean and divisional offices should establish and clarify what processes students should follow to gain access.

Please visit our COVID-19 website often and encourage our students to do the same. New information and helpful FAQs are being added every day.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee