Final exams for Winter Term 1 2020 are now underway at the University of British Columbia.
Tens of thousands of students around the world are studying for and writing exams at the end of a term like no other in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, a small minority of students may be tempted to take shortcuts.
“This would be a very serious situation, which would cross an ethical line, be dishonest, and have serious implications,” said UBC President and Vice-Chancellor Santa J. Ono. “Don’t go down that path. I know that getting a good grade is important; but going to university is not all about grades – it is about learning and about growing as an individual.”
“You can take pride in being a student here because of our rigorous academic standards, and you can take pride in the marks you get. But if those marks are based in part on academic misconduct, there is no pride in that,” said Ono. “Not only is it dishonest – it’s harmful. It harms your professor because you have betrayed their trust, it harms your classmates who follow the rules, and it harms your family who have placed their trust in you. But most of all, it causes harm to you.”
Academic misconduct can have serious consequences. Penalties can include a failing grade, suspension or even expulsion or the revocation of a degree.
“It’s just not worth it,” said Ono. “A lower grade, honestly earned, is worth much more than a higher grade that is earned through cheating.”
Exam periods are stressful times; they always have been. But students experiencing additional difficulties that impede them from completing their courses have access to supports that will help them thrive during exam time or any time.
Vancouver students can find health and wellness support information on a new page on students.ubc.ca created to help students to find support options that meet their needs wherever they are located. Students in the Okanagan can find information at: students.ok.ubc.ca/health-wellness/
In addition, the Wellness Centre in Vancouver is extending its hours and providing additional support during the exam period and over the holiday break.
Earlier this month, the university also announced it was extending the course withdrawal deadline. Under normal circumstances, students are able to withdraw from a course or courses with a “W” standing, up until the end of the eighth week of single-term courses, which for Winter Term 1, was October 30, 2020. Senate in Vancouver and the Okanagan approved an extension of this withdrawal date to December 4, 2020.
In addition to the extended withdrawal deadline, UBC has a policy that provides options for students who are facing academic difficulties, and who may be eligible for an academic concession. A number of academic concession options are available and the most appropriate one will depend on a number of different factors and circumstances. Students should consult with their home faculty to discuss options.
Finally, in recognition of the pressures on students, faculty and staff this year due to COVID-19, both UBC’s Vancouver and Okanagan Senates have agreed to delay the start of classes in most programs for Winter Term 2 to January 11, 2021. The hope is that by allowing a delayed start to classes, students, faculty and staff can better prepare for Winter Term 2.
Recognizing that certain programs cannot accommodate a delayed start, in particular some professional programs, there will be exceptions and these programs will start on January 4, 2021. Both campuses have also changed their examination schedules to ensure examinations are still completed in April. For UBC Okanagan, this primarily means moving to four examination times per day, and for UBC Vancouver, examinations may be held on Sundays. Further updates will be issued in the coming weeks.
“Be well, be safe and thank you for following public health and campus guidance. Our campus has shown incredible resilience, kindness and cooperation during a challenging period. We appreciate your diligence as we work to help protect the health and safety of our community,” said Dale Mullings, associate vice-president, students, at UBC Okanagan.
“We would like to thank every one of you for your hard work, flexibility, and resilience through all the challenges that COVID-19 has put in front of us,” said Andrew Szeri, provost and vice-president, academic, at UBC Vancouver.
“We hope the break brings you a chance to reconnect with loved ones and favourite activities, and to recharge and enjoy a restful holiday,” said Ainsley Carry, vice-president, students.