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Message to Undergraduate Students from the Provost and VP for Student Affairs

This message was sent to undergraduate students by Provost Peggy Agouris and Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler April 5, 2021 - Ed.

Dear students,

We have heard your requests for help and desire for additional resources for managing the academic stress this semester. We are hopeful that the added resources outlined below will help reaffirm our commitment to your mental health and well-being. We truly do want to set you up for success, as we understand that attending a rigorous institution like William & Mary can be demanding, especially during a pandemic. Each of you is a valued member of our community and we are committed to upholding our value of flourishing by giving you the tools to do so. 

We want to take a moment to recognize and thank W&M’s Student Assembly leaders for being strong advocates on behalf of students and for communicating with us their needs as we discerned different paths to success for our community. The consultation and perspectives they provided were invaluable and informed our decisions. We look forward to continuing to work with them. 

Here are the resources and options available to all undergraduate students this semester:

  • TutorZone will provide free tutoring for all undergraduate students through the end of the regular semester. Schedule your appointment today. 
  • We are extending the deadline to withdraw from courses to April 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Please note that if you would like to withdraw from a course for a grade of “W” you may do so through Banner as long as you remain in 12 gradable credits. If it will cause you to earn fewer than 12 credits for the semester, you will need approval from the Committee on Academic Status
  • We are also extending the deadline for the existing Pass/Fail policy. Academic juniors and seniors may elect pass/fail for one standard-graded Arts & Sciences or Education course until April 30, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Remaining elements of the policy remain in effect, so any students wishing to use a P-graded course toward major, minor, COLL or proficiency requirements, and any freshman or sophomore seeking P/F, will need the approval of the Committee on Degrees.
  • As previously mentioned, any student who is experiencing extraordinary difficulties may request exceptions to academic policies through two committees:
    • The Committee on Degrees, administered by the Office of Academic Advising, hears petitions on changes to grade mode (to or from pass/fail and standard grading, after the deadline or beyond existing policy), changes to curricular requirements (major, minor, COLL, proficiency, etc.), and other requirements for degrees. 
    • The Committee on Academic Status, administered by the Dean of Students Office, hears petitions for late adds, drops and withdrawals; considers requests for withdrawal that take a student lower than 12 earned credits (but keeps student financial aid-eligible).
  • If stress levels are impeding your ability to complete work in a particular class, we encourage you to talk with your professor about the possibility of taking an incomplete grade. As we have moved our classes to online for this summer, I encourage you to consider making up the incomplete class during the summer so that you are able to focus on successful completion of other classes this term. Please discuss this option with your professor and advisor, especially as it would incur additional tuition costs.
  • In light of the upcoming Spring Break Days on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, we continue to remind faculty that these days have always been meant for rest and relaxation for you. We have received many messages that some have not heeded this guidance. Please contact us if you have concerns about classes with projects, assignments and/or exams due on or shortly after Spring Break Days. You can now do this confidentially by accessing the “Report a Concern” button under the “COVID-19 Concerns” section of the Report It website. 
  • Deans of the School of Education, Arts & Science and Business School are asking faculty to review course requirements and syllabi to find ways of relieving some of the pressure through the remaining five weeks of class. If you have a direct concern or suggestion for one or more of your courses, please bring those suggestions to your professor(s). 
  • The Counseling Center will continue to offer regular group sessions and workshops on topics such as coping strategies, self-care, performance psychology, test anxiety and stress management. In addition, they remain available to attend a student organization or residence hall gathering to address such topics. We encourage you to explore a range of wellness options, such as meditation, yoga classes, art therapy, outdoor walks, fitness classes and more (both in person and through the virtual wellness website). These and other wellness resources reflect our deep commitment to optimizing well-being in our community and promoting resilience. 
  • As we announced last summer, we have been working on a long-term strategic partnership with VCU Health to expand services to our community. Stay tuned for a formal announcement later this week by W&M and VCU Health. The partnership will expand the university’s health care in several important categories for students, including general care support and mental health services. 

This year of pandemic-living has created unique barriers and difficulties for every single person at William & Mary. You have demonstrated an incredible amount of resilience and compassion through the commitment to keeping our community healthy. We remain devoted to your success and health and hope that the above new and existing measures for easing the academic burden will help you complete these final weeks of the spring semester.

We will continue to assess the need for increased support options aside from amending the Pass/Fail decision, and we encourage you to reach out to Student Affairs if there are other offerings you would like us to consider. 

Peggy Agouris

Ginger Ambler
Vice President for Student Affairs