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meGRAD Student Check-In FAQ/Info Sheet

April 20, 2020

Greetings meGRAD! Thank you to everyone who was able to login to our virtual student check-in via Zoom on Friday (4/17/20). There were many questions, feedback, and updates shared with grad students regarding navigating through the current crisis. We’ve created an FAQ list containing the information shared during the meeting. If you have any questions about the information listed, or for any other inquiries, please feel free to contact our program administrative specialist, Darius I. Craig, at dcraig12@umd.edu 

                       Q = Question       A = Answer     I = Information       F = Feedback 

I: University resources during COVID-19. 

As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, it’s important that you have access to university resources that contain updates and information regarding the crisis and the university response. The University is actively monitoring COVID-19 cases within the State of Maryland and the University community. Please reference the meGRAD website for the list of resources. 

I: Graduate School Resources during COVID-19

The Graduate School has provided a wide variety of information and updates for students during the crisis. Please be sure to visit the Graduate School’s website and take advantage of the information provided.

I: Information regarding UMD mental health services 

We understand that the current environment can be mentally challenging, especially coupled with the stress of completing graduate studies. The university counseling center is providing virtual sessions for those in need. Please visit the counseling center’s website for more information. 

I: Update regarding Satisfactory/Fail grading method

The University has moved towards a Pass/Fail (P/F) grading system for the Spring 2020 semester. Students will be able to earn a P/F grade for undergraduate courses, and a Satisfactory/Fail (S/F) for graduate courses. Students will earn graduate credit with an S but not with an F. An S will not affect a student’s GPA, but an F will. There are no limits on S/F credits for graduate students. S/F is an appropriate grading scale for F1/J1 students to maintain status, so long as they also maintain appropriate enrollment status. Students do have the option to opt out of the P/F method and earn a traditional letter grade. To opt out of the P/F system, please visit:  app.testudo.umd.edu/main/gradeoptions?termId=202001. The deadline to opt out is May 12, 2020. To understand the impact of your selection, please review pertinent details about Spring 2020 grading:

Graduate Students Spring 2020 Grading

Undergraduate Students Spring 2020 Grading

Questions or problems with the website should be directed to Keeplearning@umd.edu.

F: Feedback regarding potential impact of S/F grades – Dr. DeVoe 

Do not use the P/F as an opportunity to slack. There’s a possibility that institutions may be able to extract the numerical/letter grade from the system at some point. It’s still unknown how these grades will appear on transcripts (and how/if the justifications will appear on the transcript as well). Continue putting in your best effort in your courses! 

I: Where will departmental packages be delivered? How will I get paid? 

The ME Business office has provided the following link for information regarding academic, finance, IT, personnel, purchasing, and travel during the COVID-19 crisis.

Q: When is the deadline for proposal presentations?

A: There is no set deadline to present your proposal, however be sure to meet all departmental milestones! 

Q: How will proposals/defenses be defended in the current environment? 

A: Proposals and defenses will continue to be held fully online in the virtual Zoom environment until further notice. 

Q: Are there any updates on research? 

A: As we are currently under severe research restrictions, you must have explicit permission from the Office of the Vice President of Research to be on campus. No undergraduate students will be given exemptions to return to campus. Any request for a grad student to return to campus must be submitted by their advisor. For more information on this process, advisors can reach out to the meGRAD office at megrad@umd.edu 

Q: Will campus closures (full or partial) affect availability or assignment of Teaching Assistantships in the Summer and Fall? 

A: TA’s will continue to be assigned normally. Faculty should continue to submit TA nominations to the meGRAD office.. Please keep an eye on your emails and the meGRad internal website.

Q. What’s the status of summer classes? Will they continue to be virtual, in-person, or blended?

A: Per the Office of the Provost, all Summer Session 1 courses will be delivered through remote or online instruction. There has not been an official decision on Summer Session 2. A decision on the status of Summer Session 2 will be announced on or before June 15. Summer Session 1 in-person camps, and other on-campus activities that follow the summer session I schedule are hereby cancelled.  For more information on summer sessions, please visit the Office of Extended Studies’ website. 

Q: Is meGRAD restricting new students from joining the department’s payroll?

A: The University is currently in a hiring freeze, so any new appointments need additional permissions before being approved and processed. Please continue following all proper procedures and filling out all appropriate forms. 

Q: Has UMD come to an agreement on exam policy?

A: Details regarding the administration of final exams are to be determined by individual instructors. For any questions regarding your final exam, please contact your instructor. 

F: Suggestions for passing the time when not in the research lab? 

  • I am a Writing Fellow at the Graduate School and I saw many students come to me with their Review paper. This is some feedback that I can give. Researchers can think of writing a review. It helps them get a broader perspective too”
  • “Everyone should write at least 1 review paper before you graduate” – Dr. Devoe 
  • Take some online courses/certifications you’ve been pushing off! 
  • Try LinkedIN Learning’s free online professional development courses. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to send an email to dcraig12@umd.edu

ME GRAD