Life happens but the clock keeps ticking

The last two weeks of any eight-week session can really create panic. Here it is, two weeks before the end of class and you find yourself way behind. It happens to the best of us because—especially for working adult students—life happens.

What should you do? First and foremost, communicate, communicate, communicate. Contact your faculty member as soon as possible and let them know what is going on. This is paramount.

A grade of Incomplete

If you find yourself in this circumstance, you have the right to ask your faculty member for a grade of incomplete … but only if you meet certain criteria. An incomplete grade is only appropriate if you have completed about 50 percent of the course work. But the College of Liberal Studies allows faculty certain leeway to decide what must be done to help you. If they agree to give you an incomplete grade, they also are required to submit an incomplete grade contract to the college and to set a time limit appropriate to the circumstance. Keep in mind that the time allowed to make up the work cannot exceed one calendar year, and you may be given much less time depending upon the decision of your faculty member (most extensions are 120 days or less unless the situation is truly exceptional). Whatever your faculty member tells you to do, be sure to do it. Meet the deadline. There can be serious implications to your academic record and financial aid if you don’t.

An incomplete grade is only appropriate if you have completed a significant portion of the course work.

An “I” for “Incomplete” is not an alternative to an “F” so if you are failing a course you are not eligible to receive an “I”. That said, if you have finished a majority, but not all, of the required coursework for the semester, you may be eligible for an “I.”

Here is a rundown of the CLS incomplete policy

Students must have:

  1. Completed a significant portion, ideally at least 50 percent, of the course material assignments.
  2. Contacted the instructor prior to the end of the course and have arranged to receive a grade of “Incomplete.” It will be at the discretion of the instructor to assign a grade of “I.” Although you may have submitted 50 percent of the course work, that is not a guarantee that the instructor will assign the student an “I” grade.
  3. Agreed on a timeline for completing outstanding assignments with your faculty member. You will have no more than one year from the date the grade is awarded to complete outstanding assignments. A faculty member may give you a much shorter time frame if they deem it appropriate to do so.

At the end of the timeline set by your faculty member, you will receive the grade you have earned for the course. If you submit no additional work, you will receive the grade your faculty member reported when they submitted the incomplete contract form to the college. For example, if the faculty member reported that you were receiving a grade of D at the time the course ended, and if you fail to meet the incomplete timeline requirements, a grade of D will be added to your academic record.

Frank Rodriquez
Francisco (Frank) G. Rodriquez is Director of Operations and Student Support Services for the College of Liberal Studies. He has worked for 23 years at the College of Liberal Studies, and has almost 30 years of experience working in Oklahoma higher education.

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