Updates from the Vice Provost and Deans

 March 12, 2020

Dear Undergraduate Students,

We very much appreciate that these are unprecedented times that have greatly challenged our educational system. The university has taken definitive steps in plans to protect your health and well-being, as well as that of the entire Stanford community, even as it works to move forward academically. After much careful deliberation, the administration has determined that we will not cancel final exams wholesale. Many students have been preparing for their exams for weeks and rely on them to lift their grades; given this, and work already done by faculty to prepare online exams, we want to honor both efforts. In addition, cancelling exams would not add any further protection against the spread of the virus and would prove more disruptive to students who want and need to complete their coursework this quarter.   

While we will not cancel or postpone all winter quarter exams, we have provided a variety of options and resources for students and for instructors during this challenging period. We have already offered instructors the option of using the work that students have to date to assess them. An exception has been approved by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP)) to permit students to request late class withdrawals and/or changes to class grading basis to CR/NC (for those classes that have CR/NC as an option). You can read detailed information at registrar.stanford.edu. Students can also request an incomplete for a class, as long as this request aligns with the stated guidelines (search for “incomplete and repeat grades” at the Registrar’s Office site.  

Information for students on how to take their final exams will be posted on the TeachAnywhere site on Friday evening. Please look for the "Student Information" box at the bottom of the home page. Guidance on the tools that instructors will be using will be posted there. As you undertake your exams, there are also resources for both instructors and students on administering and preparing for take-home final exams within TeachAnywhere’s FAQ section. As you prepare for exams and consider your options, the For Students section within Stanford’s HealthAlerts site should also prove extremely useful. 

Finally, for those students feeling stressed and anxious related to COVID-19, you can access clinical mental health resources 24/7 from anywhere in the world by calling 650-723-3785. Students who remain on campus can walk into CAPS at Vaden for services during regular business hours, or call 650-723-3785.   

We thank you for taking the time to reach out with your concerns. Please know that we do hear you, and pledge to keep working together with you to get through this very difficult period. 


Harry J. Elam, Jr.
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Sarah Church
Vice Provost for Faculty Development, Teaching and Learning 

Stephen Graham
Dean of the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences

Debra Satz
Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences

Jennifer Widom
Dean of the School of Engineering

 March 12, 2020

Campus Messages from the Susie Brubaker Cole, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

 March 9, 2020

Dear Undergraduate Students,
On Friday, you heard from Provost Persis Drell that the remaining Winter quarter classes will no longer meet in person and that class activities, including meetings and final exams, will take place online. Details about specific courses and assignments will come directly from your instructors. We recognize, however, that you are likely to have questions as instructors and students work to adjust to these unprecedented circumstances. Therefore, we write today with comprehensive information about changes in academic policy and where you can get additional answers and support.

  • An extensive FAQ has been created with information about academic policies and support on the Teach Anywhere website. These FAQs are for both instructors and students.
    • The FAQs include specific guidance for how the Honor Code should be applied and interpreted in these unusual circumstances. This is an important section for all students to review. As always, you remain responsible for upholding the Honor Code.
  • Where to get advising
    • If you have questions about academic planning or about University policies and procedures, please consult with your Academic Advisor (Academic Advising Director assigned to your residence, Academic Advisor located in the Athletic Academic Resource Center, or Academic Advisor in Sweet Hall). Book an appointment with an Academic Advisor at https://undergrad.stanford.edu/academic-advising-stanford.
    • The Advising Student Handbook is another source of information to begin to address any academic issue or concern. Please visit: https://studenthandbook.stanford.edu.
    •  For questions about major requirements, contact your department's or program’s Director of Undergraduate Studies or undergraduate Student Services Officer.
  • Changes in policy for Winter quarter
    • An exception has been approved by the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP) to permit students to request late class withdrawals and/or changes to class grading basis to CR/NC (for those classes that have CR/NC as an option). This exception recognizes that course requirements may have changed as a result of the University’s response to COVID-19, which prohibits in-person class instruction and exams. Requests for this exception must include correspondence from the instructor-of-record for the course that acknowledges/verifies the change(s) in course requirements which have prompted your request. The Requests for Exceptions noted above will not be considered if there are no changes to the course requirements. (Please note that late Requests for Exceptions for change of unit total are not appropriate and cannot be considered.) The deadline to submit this exception request is Sunday, March 15 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time). To learn how to submit the exception request, visit the Registrar Office’s website
  • Instructions for international students and those with academic accommodations
    • International students with academic concerns connected to COVID-19 such as online courses, optional practical training, or advising, please see the recent message from the Bechtel International Center.
    • For students who may need academic accommodations related to a disability, please refer to the guidance from OAE.

In closing, we recognize this is a challenging and anxious time as our community adapts to current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus. We understand that you are very concerned about your academic progress and your ability to complete the Winter quarter successfully. Please know that all of us here at Stanford are working diligently to support your health and well-being both within and outside the classroom.
With gratitude for your understanding,
Harry Elam, Jr. 
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education
Stephan Graham
Dean, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
Debra Satz
Dean, School of Humanities and Sciences
Jennifer Widom
Dean, School of Engineering