Stanford University

Spring 2020

Letter from the Director

Dated: 3/27/2020

Dear SymSys Students,

With winter quarter wrapped up and spring quarter coming soon, we hope that this message finds you and your families safe and healthy. This is a confusing and upsetting time for all of us, but we are trying to provide as much support and continuity as possible given all of the constraints of the situation. 

Many of you may be feeling worried about spring quarter and remote instruction, especially at this time when the realities of the COVID-19 situation can make it hard to focus on academics. Here's my perspective: We each have to try and find a balance. If you give up completely on school work, that can add to the sense of anxiety and purposelessness. On the other hand, expecting the same level of intensity and application as you might have on campus also seems unrealistic, especially in a different environment and with all the disruption of the last few weeks. Be kind to yourself!

The broader university understands this tradeoff. As you may already know, the Faculty Senate yesterday voted to require that all undergraduate courses be graded on a no-option S/NC basis only. An S grade signifies a C- or better, and we will allow S grades from Spring Quarter (as we do ordinarily, in contrast to CR grades) to count for courses taken for our undergraduate Major and M.S. program requirements. The Humanities & Sciences Deans Office is preparing a FAQ document which you should get soon.

Todd and I are here to talk and to answer questions - don't hesitate to reach out. We and the AFs are also in the process of planning some virtual events to try and keep our symsys community together this quarter even as we are spread out geographically. 

Sincerely,
Mike Frank, SSP Director
Todd Davies, SSP Associate Director

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