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Instructional Guidance During 2024 UAW Strike

Academic Senate

To: Academic Senate Faculty

Key topics:

Dear Colleagues:

Amid potential disruptions to instruction and final exams due to the UAW strike, we write to provide guidance to support teaching and learning, access to education, and the safety and well-being of our campus community. We encourage instructors to extend flexibility, kindness, and understanding to students and colleagues who may be impacted during this time.

University Policies

  • While campus is on “normal” or “modified” operations as listed on Bruins Safe Online, faculty should teach classes in the approved modality. Extended emergency remote instruction for in-person classes requires departmental authorization, per the existing Undergraduate Distance Education and Graduate Distance Education policies.
  • Faculty have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities and may use their discretion in making other adjustments in response to individual student circumstances.
  • The Faculty Code of Conduct reminds us of our duty to refrain from coercion of students’ consciences or judgment (see also APM-015). Faculty have a professional duty and responsibility to fairly and equitably evaluate student work and assign grades directly reflective of a student’s academic performance in a course, as outlined in APM-010. Students have a right to an unbiased assessment of their work.
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin and requires that students have equal access to public education.

Temporary Changes to Academic Policies 

The Undergraduate and Graduate Councils have authorized the following temporary adjustments to academic policies:

  • Undergraduate students may change the grading basis of an optionally graded course using MyUCLA, without a petition or fee, through Friday of Week 9, for Spring 2024.
  • Departments, Interdepartmental Degree Programs (IDPs), and schools are temporarily authorized to allow graduate students in good academic standing to enroll in more than one course graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis for Spring 2024, including courses within the degree program, provided that the departments, IDPs, or schools will accept these courses towards fulfilling degree requirements if taken for an S/U grade. For students who are not in good academic standing, departments must submit a petition form and an updated academic plan for each student to take courses for S/U grading, which would normally be taken for a letter grade.

Adjusting Assignments and Final Assessments 

Students expect to be evaluated according to the methods announced in the syllabus.

Instructors maintain customary discretion and autonomy to adapt courses, assignments, and exams to extenuating circumstances while honoring Academic Senate regulations and departmental policies as well as ensuring equitable access for all students. Instructors should consult with departments to explore potential adjustments that can be equitably applied to all students.

Adjustments to final exam regulations are currently being reviewed by the Academic Senate. Under Senate regulations, instructors may neither cancel previously announced final assessments nor fundamentally change the method of final assessment (e.g., if the syllabus said an exam would be given, the final assessment must be an exam, not a research paper, and vice versa). However, subject to department policy, instructors may have discretion to alter the form and content of final assessments. For example:

  • Exam formats can be shifted to a shorter, more structured format (such as multiple choice) to facilitate student preparation and timely grading.
  • Instructors can use “no harm” exams, exam questions, papers, or other assessments that students may choose to opt out of. “No harm” means that the assessment only counts if it improves the student’s grade (otherwise, the grade is based on previously submitted work). This option may reduce student stress and instructor grading effort while still being fair to students seeking a chance to improve their grades.
  • For a final paper, an instructor could consider altering the page limit or evaluating based on a focused stage in the writing process (e.g., assigning a detailed outline or annotated bibliography in lieu of a typical research paper, or assigning a revision plan for a previous paper).

Additional resources to support academic continuity are outlined on the Equitable Approaches to Teaching Through Times of Uncertainty guidance.

Submitting Grades

For undergraduate students, the impact of delayed submission of grades increases with the length of the delay. Delays will affect students who need grades for scholarship, job and graduate school applications, and awarding of degrees. Specific groups of students, such as veterans and athletes, may find their benefits and eligibility impacted.

We encourage faculty to review UCLA grade definitions. If you are unable to assign grades, you may elect to not submit them or temporarily use the NR grade for some or all of your students.

Grading Graduate Coursework

In grading graduate coursework, faculty have a large degree of professional responsibility and authority to determine how to evaluate research done for academic credit. Senate faculty are approaching this situation from many perspectives. This communication is not intended to suggest which views faculty should hold, but to outline options that may be helpful to students and faculty.

  • Didactic Graduate Courses (courses numbered 200–299 and 400–499)
    Students are expected to continue making academic progress in didactic courses, regardless of participation in the strike. Didactic graduate courses should be evaluated as described in the course syllabus.
  • Individual Study and Research Courses (courses numbered 500–599)
    Final grade assignment is the responsibility of the instructor. The UC Systemwide Administration has indicated that graduate students participating in the strike are still expected to complete academic work. Please review the interim guidance for faculty on the delineation of expectations for academic research versus employment.

The Academic Senate may provide further guidance regarding other academic adjustments and final exams as necessary.

While we recognize that individual instructors must weigh various options as appropriate for particular classes, we hope that this guidance will support your professional judgment in determining how to best support your students and academic continuity.  We appreciate your continued efforts to support UCLA’s academic mission during this challenging time.

Brooke Scelza
Chair, Graduate Council

Catherine Sugar
Chair, Undergraduate Council

Andrea M. Kasko
Chair, Academic Senate

Kathy Bawn
Vice Chair/Chair Elect, UCLA Academic Senate

Jessica Cattelino
Immediate Past Chair, UCLA Academic Senate

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