Boston University announced on March 30 that students will now be able to receive BU HUB credit even if they declare Pass/Fail (P/F) for a HUB course. The policy change will take effect Fall 2023 and can also be applied retroactively to all continuing students, but not those who graduate this year.
Class exclusions to the P/F policy include major or minor requirements, college requirements, study abroad courses and direct studies or direct research courses.
Amie Grills, the assistant provost for Undergraduate Affairs, wrote in an email that she has been working with David Carballo, the assistant provost for general education, faculty across BU schools and colleges and BU HUB staff to make the program comprehensive.
“One area that emerged from these efforts was concern that students were unable to fully explore courses in the way our innovative general education program intended when students were being limited to taking courses on an A-F scale,” she wrote. “This led to the proposal to remove that restriction from courses meeting Hub requirements.”
Natalia McKnight, the dean of the College of General Studies, wrote in an email that HUB units will be available P/F for CGS classes too since the change is University-wide.
“All CGS courses go through the same review process to be approved for HUB credits, and all CGS courses have been approved for 3 HUB areas each,” McKnight wrote. “Our courses are open to all BU students, so students in other colleges are benefitting from them too.”
Carballo said the new policy would offer space for students to develop new skills.
“It means learning about subjects that are outside of your comfort zone a little bit,” he said.
Carballo said that some people may criticize the change as a detraction, worrying that students will be less motivated to learn and aim only to pass the course.
“One could surmise that doing that P/F, the student wouldn’t actually really learn that at a high level,” he said. “But we felt like the fact that it’s only kept at two [classes] means that we’re making this change in the spirit of encouraging students to find breadth in their education.”
Jasmine Liu, a junior in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said the policy change makes it “super convenient” to students.
“I think a lot of problems with BU HUB is [students] are taking classes that don’t really interest them in any way and especially if it’s a really difficult class,” she said. “It’s kind of unfair for them to have a GPA drop because of that.”
Kerlin Campos, a freshman in the College of Communication, said the policy change makes her feel all her hard work to HUB courses will “not go in vain,” but she understands the new policy will reduce drive among some students.
“I can also see why it could motivate other people as to not want to do as better or as good as they were initially doing in the class,” Campos said.
The change in policy will be effective next semester and is retroactive for continuing students, according to the email sent to students last week.
Carballo said students who declared P/F in any previous semesters could get HUB units associated with the course as long as they already designated the course for the P/F grade.
“If we said only first-years entering in the Fall, this applies to, then there’d be three classes of students who have already taken P/F courses or now they’re thinking, ‘we wanted to also do this before registration happened for the fall,’” he said. “We thought it was important to make this retroactive is that we care about equity for students.”
Carballo said he doesn’t think the change in policy is a huge change since some peer institutions offer more P/F courses, but thinks it will encourage students to pursue interests.
“I don’t think this is a huge change, but I think it’s a step in the right direction for encouraging exploration, which I think is really important for undergraduates,” he said. “I discovered [my career] through fulfilling the general education requirements so I’m very sensitive to the idea that students can, by exploring, really find what their passion is.”