UCD announces new academic policy in response to student pressure

Registrar and Deputy President of UCD, Professor Mark Rogers, today informed students through email of a new policy that would be enacted in place of the much campaigned for ‘No Detriment’ policy.

In the email Professor Rogers acknowledged the pressures that students were under with the current circumstances surrounding Covid-19, and that UCD managements focus “should continue to be on you as a UCD student where your needs are addressed on an individual basis and on how we provide you with the appropriate supports within our current assessment and grading frameworks”.

The email itself  was explained on the UCD No Detriment Policy Facebook page by UCDSU president Joanna Siewierska, who was involved in the Working Group who drafted the policy, along with fellow sabbatical officers Brian Treacy and Conor Anderson. Siewierska explained that the current circumstances will be taken into account when lecturers are grading this semester's assignments. She added that “module coordinators will not penalise students for performing to a lesser standard as a result of the extraordinary circumstances that they are under.”

Module coordinators will also take students’ previous grades and performances into account when grading current assignments, along with removing grade penalties for late submissions. Applications for extenuating circumstances and IX grades, which under normal circumstances must go through an academic board, will now be given automatically upon request. For students who choose to repeat or resit a module, they will be graded across the grade profile and not minimum assessment. 

Student reaction regarding the email has been overwhelmingly positive. While it is not officially a ‘no detriment’ policy, it contains much of the same ideas. When asked by students on the Facebook page if the policy meant their GPA could not go down and could only increase, Siewierska replied, "In essence, yes."

Speaking to the University Observer, Siewierska said, “We welcome the policy and the email sent by the Registrar today. We had a very positive experience of working with the working group and huge thanks are due to Prof Marie Clarke and her colleagues who helped to draft the policies.

“The approach taken is very student friendly and will ensure that students are not negatively impacted by the current COVID-19 situation when graded. The approach balances empathy for students with academic integrity at every step of the grading process, and recognises that all students are being affected by the current situation. It also takes an individual focus on students past achievements, to ensure that everyone is supported fairly.”