Trailblazing Texas College Opens New Houston Campus to Meet Increased Regional Demand for Frontline Healthcare Workers - Tyler Morning Telegraph

Trailblazing Texas College Opens New Houston Campus to Meet Increased Regional Demand for Frontline Healthcare Workers - Tyler Morning Telegraph Trailblazing Texas College Opens New Houston Campus to Meet Increased Regional Demand for Frontline Healthcare Workers - Tyler Morning Telegraph Posted: 03 Dec 2020 07:00 AM PST HOUSTON , Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP), the largest provider of allied health education in Texas , today announced the opening of its Houston Med Center campus near the Texas Medical Center hub. The new campus, CHCP's fourth in the greater Houston area, will offer short-term programs that will prepare working learners for fast-growing healthcare jobs in the region, including many on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Even before the pandemic, the presence of a world-class healthcare system was accelerating the demand for talented workers throughout the Hous

Sarah Lawrence Switches to Pass/ Fail - The Phoenix

Sarah Lawrence Switches to Pass/ Fail - The Phoenix

Sarah Lawrence Switches to Pass/ Fail - The Phoenix

Posted: 04 May 2020 10:26 AM PDT

Online learning has been one of the many challenges presented by COVID-19.  As both students and professors are coming to find, learning from home has quickly fallen short of the quality of education maintained through in-person studies. Between technological issues and varying home situations, it's now difficult, and in some cases impossible, for students to keep up their usual quality of work.  In response to these obstacles, Sarah Lawrence has instituted a pass/fail grading system for the spring semester.

The pass/fail system was announced to students on March 22 via an email from the Dean of Studies, Danny Trujillo.  Sarah Lawrence is not the only college to institute this policy.  Many other colleges and universities have also shifted to pass/fail, including (but not limited to) MIT, CUNY, Columbia University, and UC Berkeley.  Colleges and universities have taken various approaches to pass/fail, some making it an optional policy, others a mandatory one.

Sarah Lawrence is one of the latter; pass/fail is mandatory for all undergraduate students.  A pass is equivalent to at least a "C" letter grade, and all passed courses automatically come with full credit.  Evaluations remain intact in the face of pass/fail; students will still receive evaluations for all of their classes.  The one exception to this absence of letter grades is yearlong classes.  Professors who did not give a fall grade for their yearlong courses last semester are still permitted to give fall semester letter grades.  

This absence of letter grades is extended to evaluations.  In light of pass/fall, students are not permitted to ask their professors for informal letter grades given within evaluations.  The Registrar, Daniel Licht said, "the College has never considered the evaluation an appropriate place for a letter grade, and that hasn't changed.    On the other hand, narrative evaluations provide SLC students with the distinct advantage of a detailed testament to their academic work to supplement the grade of Pass".

The decision announced in Trujillo's email was one specifically for undergraduate students; the email clarified that individual graduate programs were to make their own decisions regarding grading for the semester.  According to Licht, the MFA programs in Theatre and Dance have also taken up the mandatory pass/fail policy, and students in all the other graduate programs have "an extended deadline for choosing the pass/fail option".  

The administration's decision to move to pass/fail originated in a recommendation made by the Committee on Student Work.  Of the decision-making process, Licht said, "the Committee considered a number of options, including the universal pass, optional pass/fail, and mandatory pass/fail.  The Committee considered allowing students to choose the pass/fail option but felt strongly that a college-mandated decision was the most equitable choice to level the playing field for students regardless of their living situations, family circumstance, and access to technology or disability.  The Committee sent this recommendation to the President and Provost".  

While pass/fail takes some academic pressure off of students, some have felt conflicted about the policy Sarah Lawrence chose.  Mandy Wall, a senior, said, "pass/fail is a double-edged sword for me — on the one hand, I'm currently dealing with a depressive episode that is making it very hard for me to concentrate in class and to do work outside of class and pass/fail takes some of the that pressure off because I know I just need to hand in SOMETHING to get credit.  On the other hand, pass/fail has decreased my motivation to do work because I have no reason to push myself to do better because a pass is a pass".  

Some students have expressed that they would have preferred another one of the options considered by the Committee; that is, a universal pass and an optional pass/fail.  The former, a universal pass, would automatically grant a pass to all students in all of their courses, regardless of the work they have completed.  One student in favor of a universal pass described it as "the most empathetic move" and noted that, as a requirement to pass a class, "a lot of professors are having students self evaluate and having students write about their experiences and what I worry about is that it's going to force students to come forwards and admit things they might not want to admit or talk about with professors".  They expressed that "I think like a lot of other disabled students I'm frustrated that the administration could have given us a lot more flexibility and accessibility".  

Other students, however, are concerned about the lack of letter grades.  While Sarah Lawrence itself prioritizes evaluations over letter grades, letter grades can be particularly important for students applying to graduate and professional schools.  One pre-health student in favor of an optional pass/fail model explained, "it's just a stressful time for a lot of students, and while pass/fail as the default is important to help level the playing field while we're off-campus, a lot of the students who benefit from pass/fail are also at a disadvantage in medical school applications because they need to work paying jobs and can't spend as many hours volunteering for free or getting internships from their family's connections to doctors.  And when our GPA can't be raised because this semester doesn't count, medical schools are going to lean on that clinical experience and the MCAT even more, and standardized testing is really hard for people with disabilities".        

Licht acknowledged the concerns of graduate and professional school applicants.  He provided some reassurance for applicants, noting, "while we can't make a categorical statement about what other schools may do and the situation continues to evolve, all colleges are grappling with these same circumstances, and reasonable accommodations will be made.  For example, Harvard Medical School issued a statement indicating that they would accept P/F for prerequisite courses this semester".

While students are divided on whether or not mandatory pass/fail is the most equitable policy, all are impacted by the effects of COVID-19 on education.  Students both at Sarah Lawrence and across the world, regardless of what kind of situations they're now facing at home, have lost access to libraries, resources, and in-person contact with their professors and peers.  Pass/fail is an attempt to alleviate the stress of these losses.  Wall expressed about the policy, "ultimately, I think it's the right thing to do because it's ridiculous to expect the same caliber of work from students in these circumstances where we don't have access to the same resources we would have if we were still on campus".  

Zoe Patterson '20

Senior BFA, MFA Students Showcase Thesis Work in Instagram Art Gallery - UKNow

Posted: 04 May 2020 01:00 AM PDT

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2020) Soon to be graduates of the MFA and BFA programs in the University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies are showcasing their theses in an online Instagram art gallery. Originally these students were going to showcase their art in-person on campus at the Bolivar Art Gallery, but due to the current situation the shows had to be canceled. The thesis pieces are now available for view on the Instagram account @socialdistancegallery.

The Instagram account was created in response to gallery closings across the nation due to COVID-19. Benjamin Cook, a painter and adjunct professor of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, launched the account because students had worked so hard on their projects, he thought not to be able to exhibit them would be very unfortunate. Cook thought turning to social media was a logical alternative to showcasing the student's works in person.

The five University of Kentucky students to have their thesis work featured on the account are graduating MFA student April Wright, from Germantown, Tennessee, and BFA students Marisa Braccia, of Old Bridge, New Jersey; Meredith Coffey, of Lexington; Margaret Simic, of Louisville, Kentucky; and Eliza Sturgill, of Wittensville, Kentucky. The artwork of the students on virtual display are: Wright's "Gentle Cycle," Braccia's "Evidence of Things Not Seen," Coffey's "No Thank You," Simic's "Overdrawn" and Sturgill's "A Long Way From Home."

Their thesis art, alongside other BFA and MFA art students from across the nation, can be viewed online here.

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart educationcuratorial studies and digital media and design.


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