March 30, 2020

Dear Students,

Over the past several weeks, the faculty and administration have heard from many of you asking for more flexibility regarding grading for this semester. In these extraordinary circumstances in which we find ourselves, other than the safety and well-being of the entire HWS community, maintaining academic continuity has been our primary goal. We want to make sure that you stay on track to achieve your academic objectives.

After consultation with faculty leadership and President Jacobsen, I have authorized the Registrar to make the following changes to grading for the Spring 2020 semester only:

  1. Each faculty member will grade students with the grading system that each student currently has in place for the course, and submit those via PeopleSoft at the end of the Spring 2020 semester.
  2. The Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023 (i.e., current juniors, sophomores and first year students) will have until the end of the second week of Fall 2020 (September 4, 2020) to change posted letter grades to CR/DCR/NCR grades.
  3. In order to allow for the processing of degrees, the Classes of 2020 (current seniors) will have until 5 p.m. on May 18, 2020 to change the grading system for their courses from letter grades to CR/DCR/NCR, with the approval of their academic advisor. Note that the record date for graduation will remain May 17, 2020.
  4. There will be no maximum limit on how many Spring 2020 class grades any one student can change to CR/DCR/NCR.
  5. Grades from the Spring 2020 semester that are changed to CR/DCR/NCR will not count toward the maximum number of CR/DCR/NCR grades a student can have during their time at HWS.
  6. For this semester only, students who are more than two credits behind in their progress to graduation can withdraw from a course with the approval of their Dean.
  7. For this semester only, the Colleges will allow students who are repeating a course to opt for a CR/DCR/NCR grade.

Details about the temporary grading system can be found on the COVID-19 webpage.

Declaring CR/DCR/NCR or withdrawing from a class is a personal decision and should only be done after careful consideration. Please consult with the faculty member teaching the course, your academic adviser, your dean, or all three to determine the best course of action that takes into account your academic trajectory and your career and graduate school goals. It is my hope that this one-time change in the grading policy will help all students better navigate this situation.

As we move into the second week of learning after Spring Break, let me also commend you for your extraordinary adoption of remote learning. I’ve been incredibly impressed by the ways in which students have adapted, despite the physical, emotional and spiritual toll this pandemic is having on us all. If you have any questions about remote learning not covered in the Student Resource Guide or if you have any concerns at all, please reach out to your dean, your academic adviser, the Center for Teaching and Learning, or to me at any time. I can be reached through the Office of Academic and Faculty Affairs at or by calling (315) 781-3304.

We may not be physically together, but we are here for you. Reach out to us and let us know what we can do to help.


Mary Coffey
Provost and Dean of Faculty

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Page
COVID-19 Safety Training Employee Daily Wellness Assessment Application for CARES Act Funding July HEERF Student Aid Report HEERF Student Aid Report Stories about the Pandemic

Messages to the Community

Update on Fall Reopening by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - June 24, 2020

HWS Return to Campus Update for Employees Sonya Williams - June 11, 2020

Fall 2020 Study Abroad by Mary Coffey and Thomas D’Agostino - June 5, 2020

Planning Underway for our Fall Opening by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - May 28, 2020

Forward, Together by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - May 12, 2020

Using the CARES Act to Stay on Track for Graduation by John Young - May 12, 2020

Updates from Campus by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - April 27, 2020

An Update to Parents and Family Members of Admitted Students by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - April 27, 2020

Greetings from Human Resources by Sonya Williams - April 15, 2020

Grading for Spring 2020 Semester by Mary Coffey - March 30, 2020

Timeliness and Timelessness of an HWS Education by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 27, 2020

Introducing the HWS Student Emergency Fund by Julie Bazan ’93 and Rick Solomon ’75, P’10 - March 24, 2020

Staff Telework Resources by Sonya Williams - March 24, 2020

Message Regarding Commencement by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 20, 2020

Postponed: HWS Reunion by Bob O’Connor P’22 - March 19, 2020

Updates Regarding On-Campus Housing by Robb Flowers - March 19, 2020

Updates Regarding On-Campus Housing and Services by Robb Flowers - March 17, 2020

A Massive Natural Experiment by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 16, 2020

With Gratitude by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Face-to-Face Instruction Canceled by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 13, 2020

Follow-Up Note on Colleges’ Response to Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 11, 2020

From the Dean of Spiritual Engagement by The Reverend Nita C. Johnson Byrd - March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Information and Contingency Planning by President Joyce P. Jacobsen - March 10, 2020

An Update on the Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - March 5, 2020

Information on the Coronavirus by Mary Coffey and Robb Flowers - February 28, 2020


General questions and comments should be directed to:

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

Questions regarding health issues should be directed to:

Hubbs Health Center
119 St. Clair Street
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315-781-3600
Appt. Phone: 315-781-4530
Fax: 315-781-3802