Pass/Fail grading is a breath of relief for students Wednesday, Apr 1 2020 

By Ben Goldberger —

With the recent switch to online classes, University of Louisville students are left stressing over the many uncertainties that surround the end of the semester.

The university recently got rid of one of those uncertainties by allowing students to choose whether or not to make their classes pass/fail instead of letter grades.

This is a great move by the university. Not only does Pass/Fail grading relieve a lot of student anxiety about maintaining high academic achievement through online classes, this gives the students the power to control their grades. 

In an email sent out by University Provost Beth Boehm, she said, “As always, we are doing our best to make sure that you can finish the semester in the strongest possible way and not be overly concerned that the disruption of COVID-19 will poorly impact your record.”

University administrators and professors have been extremely empathetic with students throughout these abnormal times, and this recent policy shift is another example of that. They want to make sure their students are put in the best position to succeed, and offering the Pass/Fail option is a great way to do so.

The best aspect of this policy is that students can pick and choose which of their classes they want to switch to Pass/Fail grading. They have until the last day of classes, April 21, to do so. Since a general “Pass” grade will not affect students’ GPAs, this gets rid of any impact that this pandemic could have on their records. 

This aspect is particularly popular among the students. 

“I think it’s really nice that we have the option to switch over without affecting our GPA,” says freshman Nia Watson-Jones. “Taking online classes is a lot different than being in person, so I really appreciate the choice that the university has given.”

Some people may look at this policy and think that this only enables students to be lazier and not be punished for not doing their best. While this is theoretically true, the Pass/Fail system more-so accounts for the educational setbacks that are inevitable in these uncharted times. 

If anything, it levels the playing field for students who were promised, and paid full tuition prices for, in person classes. The university understands that while they have world class professors and students, nobody was prepared for this sudden shift to online learning. This policy accounts for those unavoidable hiccups that will happen with this learning change. 

The world is going through unprecedented times right now, and it’s scary to think about the effects that this pandemic will have on society, both future and present. U of L administrators want to make this period of uncertainty as controllable as possible, and introducing the choice to switch to Pass/Fail grading is a great way of doing so. 

At the end of her initial email on the subject, Boehm shared a heartwarming story of how she celebrated her son trying his best in school, despite receiving a less than perfect grade. She then passed that same message onto all of the students at U of L, and said, “Success is doing your best, not being perfect.” 

The new policy released by the university allows students to do so without the anxiety and worry of not reaching the level of academic achievement that they maintained through in person classes. 

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L Health expands telehealth program in response to COVID-19 outbreak Tuesday, Mar 31 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

U of L Health announced March 26 they are expanding their telehealth program in order to continue to treat patients while maintaining a social distance.

This telehealth program allows patients to have an appointment with their doctor over video chat. This service will be available to current U of L health patients as well as qualifying new patients.

“This is something that had been on track for a launch later this year,” said Wade Mitzel, chief operating officer of U of L Physicians.

“But given the current need to reduce contact and increase precaution, we fast tracked the launch in order to give our patients peace of mind, with a convenient and safe way to access their provider.”

Patients who wish to set up an appointment can do so by calling their primary care number at 502-588-4343. If it is determined that a telehealth appointment may be beneficial, the patient will be able to set up a video call with their provider.

U of L Health assures patients that these calls are secure and HIPPA compliant. The calls will also not be recorded or stored in any way.

Providers can use these appointments to assess possible COVID-19 symptoms as well as to treat minor illnesses like a common cold or flu. Providers will also be able to prescribe medication or recommend over the counter options when needed.

When necessary the provider can refer the patient to a specialist, a U of L health location or an emergency medical center.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

 

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U of L announces arrival of new health science administrator Monday, Mar 30 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

The University of Louisville’s Office of Communications and Marketing announced the arrival of Cynthia Clemons to the position of Assistant Vice President for Financial Planning, Reporting and Operations for Health Sciences March 20.

Clemons was hired Nov. 1, 2019, and has over two decades of experience in clinical practice and revenue cycle management, budget and revenue planning and finance. She is experienced in maintaining financial security within education, biomedical research and healthcare.

Clemons’s role requires her to work with the deans of several U of L schools, including the schools of dentistry, public health, nursing and medicine, along with other units of the Health Science Center. In her collaborative work with these schools, Clemons provides operational strategic leadership.

She is also assigned to oversee the Health Sciences Center’s process for university-based budget planning and ensuring compliant and smooth operations. She works directly under the U of L Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Dan Durbin.

Prior to coming to U of L, Cynthia worked at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio as senior director for finance and administration in the Long School of Medicine.

She performed financial oversight of over 38 clinical and basic science departments that had a collective revenue budget of over $700 million. In addition, she worked as an executive partner to the Office of Human Resources.

Cynthia’s education includes a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Texas Women’s University and a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration from Texas Southern University.

She is currently a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Medical Group Management Association. Cynthia also serves as a big sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

Photo Courtesy by The University of Louisville

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Graphic design student combines both art and social impact in her work Monday, Mar 30 2020 

By Zoe Watkins —

For Virtual Portfolio Preview Day, a senior graphic design major shared some of her work and reflected on her journey.

Though she is from Louisville, Taylor Simone first began her college career at Arizona State University before transferring to University of Louisville. Her time at ASU was what first started her interest in graphic design.

“ASU is where I gained my love for visual communication, although I was studying film at the time,” she said. “In my first semester attending U of L, I took an intro class to graphic design and immediately switched my major.”

Simone said the reason she loves graphic design is because it combines both of her two passions, art and social impact.

“I love graphic design because I can address topics like racial injustice and be creative while doing it,” She said.

Even if her designing process varies on each of her pieces, Simone states that she loves the research aspect.

“Having a strong understanding of the content is always the first step in my design process,” Simone said.

When finding inspiration for her pieces, Simone looks in a lot of different place, but is mostly inspired by real stories and experiences.

“I am intrigued by how a design can speak to a certain emotion or an experience that we all go through. I am heavily inspired by designs that bring people together in hopes of creating dialogue and discourse.

She said that her favorite piece in her portfolio is a book called “When Words Unravel.” The book goes over the historical and cultural analysis of the n-word. Simone designed and wrote the book during her third year in a Bookforms class at U of L.

“This book is my favorite piece because it captures so many of my interests in one project. I also learned so much since I got to interview different people about their experience with this word and its history,” she said.

When asked for advice for students who are also in graphic design or considering in majoring, Simone said to take their time to absorb as much as they can.

“As a design student, you don’t need to focus in one area. Learning as much as you can about all kinds of design methods and processes is the most rewarding part about studying graphic design.” Simone states.

Photo courtesy by Alexis Simone // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L announces summer 2020 classes will only be offered online Friday, Mar 27 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi announced March 27 that all classes for the summer 2020 term will be delivered online.

This announcement comes after U of L’s decision to move spring 2020 classes online for the remainder of the semester in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We have been working closely with all our academic deans to make sure we stay adaptive to change and that we continue to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our campus community,” Bendapudi said in the email announcement to students, faculty and staff.

Students who were planning on enrolling in classes that are traditionally held in person will be able to pay lower tuition for those classes. These new rates apply only to classes for the 2020 summer semester and can be found on a document attached to Bendapudi’s email.

Students who are already enrolled in an online degree program will not be affected by these changes. More information on the changes to summer classes can be found on U of L’s summer term website.

Enrollment dates will not be changed by this decision. Priority registration is still March 31 for both summer and fall classes.

The Delphi Center will continue to provide support to instructors as they change their in-person courses to online courses.

Bendapudi ended this announcement with words of encouragement to the campus community. “This continues to be a time of monumental change,” Bendapudi said. “We are grateful to be part of a community that continues to rally together to get the job done.”

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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College of Arts and Sciences announces new graduate school policies in response to COVID-19 outbreak Tuesday, Mar 24 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences announced March 23 changes that have been made to the department’s graduate program due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Associate Dean for Graduate Education David Brown made the announcement in an email and went over how the policy changes would affect current graduate students, incoming graduate students and faculty.

One new requirement is that graduate thesis and dissertation defenses will take place online for the rest of the semester. Any student who would like to request an exception must make those requests through Brown.

Graduate school admissions will also be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Graduate Record Examinations have been canceled, so departments that normally require GRE tests for admission will be allowed to accept students without the GRE test.

This will only apply to students starting graduate school in the summer 2020 or fall 2020 semesters who meet all of the other requirements necessary.

Any forms that graduate students need to fill out will now be required to be completed online. Those forms, as well as further information about the graduate school’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, can be found on the graduate website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Uncertainty hangs over remaining campus students and resources Monday, Mar 23 2020 

By Joseph Garcia —

The Cardinal’s Assistant Editor-in-Chief gives an update on campus life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncertainty hangs over empty walkways and seas of upright chairs. Any other day, a look at an almost empty Ekstrom library and you’d think University of Louisville students were away celebrating some long awaited break.

A week before Spring Break, no one would have predicted U of L President Neeli Bendapudi would make the decision to move classes online until the end of the semester and postpone Spring Commencement.

As the world around us hastily comes to a halt, so does life on U of L’s campuses. While a majority of students are holed up in the apartments or with family preparing for online classes, a few still remain working in “essential” university services like dining or the Campus Store. However as more and more places shut their doors and students are moved out of campus housing, worry continues to grow.

Amber Hurst, a gap year student working at the Campus Bookstore, has been working at the store for five years.

“Things have definitely slowed down a lot, it’s kind of hard to keep being productive,” Hurst said. She said with the state things are in, she’s worried about job security.

Hurst had picked up another job but after working only two weeks, she was told her job would potentially close due to the virus.

“I needed some extra money,” Hurst said. “And now with the Bookstore’s status, I’m a little bit worried.”

Across campus, the Ekstrom Starbucks has noticed a similar drop in traffic. Senior shift manager Davy Adams said they are getting a fair amount of customers in a given hour.

“It depends on the day too,” they said.

Policy changes because of the virus are also evident across U of L’s campus. Restaurants have removed all dine-in seating encouraging customers to continue practicing social distancing. Cleaning has also had an overhaul.

“We have to wipe down all surfaces every 20 minutes. Anything that we are touching with our hands we have to wipe down,” Adams said. They wish though that face masks could be provided for extra precaution. “A few people that work for Campus Dining have them, but they bring them from home,” Adams said.

Adams admitted they don’t feel particularly safe being back, even despite the lack of students. This was a common sentiment among many of the remaining student workers.

“I’m here because I have to make money,” they said. “I don’t want to say that I’m petrified to work here, I feel like we’re doing the best we can do. But as a working class person, what are you gonna do? You gotta work, you gotta make money.”

Even with the closures, and students being told March 18 to leave campus housing, there were still some resources available for students.

Kathy Meyer, assistant director of student leadership, said the Cardinal Cupboard, U of L’s first food pantry, will remain open during the campus closure as long as the SAC remains open. The pantry can be found in room W314.

“In the event that the Cardinal Cupboard must close, we recommend those in need of food search the Dare to Care distribution webpage for a list of mobile pantries and stationary pantries,” Meyer said.

Meyer also suggested students finding themselves in financial emergencies during this time apply for the Louis and Louise W. Wisser Bornwasser Emergency Fund. The fund’s goal is to “assist University of Louisville students who encounter an unforeseen emergency or catastrophic event,” said the Dean of Student’s website.

Photo by Anthony Riley // The Louisville Cardinal

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Shop Impromptu still providing service even with doors closed Friday, Mar 20 2020 

By Zoe Watkins–

Though many stores are closing until the coronavirus pandemic has settled, there are some who have found ways to keep open.

Shop Impromptu is owned and run by University of Louiville alumnus Jordan Mannel. The boutique store sells women’s clothing, shoes, accessories and home decorations.

Mannel said she began her business in 2016 by starting it as an online boutique in her living room. She mostly relied on online ads the first year, but her business quickly took off.

“As it grew, I expanded into a 550 square feet showroom in Butchertown to get it out of my home. We quickly got there and moved into the mall in October of 2018. We occupied 1100 square feet and I gained a staff of about 6 people. In July 2019, we moved into a 6000 square feet store in Oxmoor across from Apple & Sephora,” Mannel said.

In the beginning, Mannel’s inventory primarily consisted of derby fashion which she said is how she got started.

“Everyone wanted me to dress them for Derby. My mom makes all the hats and fascinators, and I sell more in Derby season than in Christmas season,” Mannel said.

Even though Shop Impromptu had to close for the time being, Mannel said it was the right decision.

“I feel I did the right thing by closing my door early Saturday to ensure we take precautions of not spreading COVID-19. People were not staying inside, and I did not want to be the one to give them a place to go,” she said.

Since Shop Impromptu sells more derby fashion than anything else, she said it will be a hard time.

“I currently have a staff of 12 and with all the current events, doing my best to make sure what I’ve created stays afloat,” she said.

But there’s still hope for stores to keep going and make money even with their storefront closed. Such as with Shop Impromptu, there is an online store and a Facebook page where customers can still order products which Mannel said can go a long way.

“Buy online if it something they are something, purchase gift cards, share their posts and comment on their posts. All of these simple things can help,” she said.

Even though everything may seem rough right now, and there is still a lot of uncertainty, there is still some advice that can be shared.

“It’s going to be okay, we are all in this together. And lucky for us, most of your derby dresses will still be in season for the beginning of September,” Mannel said.

Photo courtesy by Jordan Mannel

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U of L adds pass/fail option for the spring 2020 semester Friday, Mar 20 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

University of Louisville Provost Beth Boehm announced in an email to students March 20 that students now have the option to make any of their classes for the spring 2020 semester pass/fail.

A pass/fail system means that no matter the letter grade, a class that a student passes will not affect their grade point average but will be counted toward their degree progression. A failed class will affect their grade point average.

Undergraduate students who choose this option will earn a grade of “pass” for any class they get a D- or better in and a “fail” grade for any class they get an F in. Graduate students will earn a “pass” for any class they get a C- or better in and a “fail” for any class they get a D+ or below in.

Boehm explained the decision to offer a pass/fail class as a way to redefine what success means in a time where things are uncertain due to the spread of COVID-19.

“Success might mean something different this semester than it would in a ‘normal’ semester: it might mean not giving up when you are tempted to; it might mean finishing all of the courses you signed up for without stressing about grades; it might mean practicing social distancing to keep yourself and others safe and healthy; it might mean finding out that you are stronger than you thought,” Boehm said.

This decision came after students raised concerns about the switch to online classes for the remainder of the semester. One student, Chidum Okeke, started an online petition to persuade U of L administration to provide a pass/fail option.

That petition had 3,751 signatures at the time the decision was made. In his petition, Okeke explained why he felt a pass/fail system would be beneficial. “U of L students are driven and passionate, but under these circumstances, the amount of work and engagement can be exhausting and potentially detrimental to the success of our student body,” Okeke said.

“Giving students the option to make their classes pass/fail wouldn’t discourage students from doing well academically, but rather, would allow some cushion for those in tough situations.”

Boehm suggested that students talk to their advisors before deciding to switch to pass/fail or not. The decision can be made on a class by class basis and the deadline to switch a class to pass/fail is April 21, the last day of class.

Boehm attached the university’s official pass/fail policy to the email and said it will also be put on the U of L coronavirus website.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Stay or leave? Students are being left up with that decision Friday, Mar 20 2020 

By Zoe Watkins–

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses and other public places are shutting down for safety and health reasons. This includes colleges as well, meaning the University of Louisville is partially closing their doors to students and adapting to help protect students from the virus.

Because of these new changes, many students are left with the decision of either staying on campus to finish out the rest of the semester or traveling back home to complete coursework there.

Among the students who have left campus, sophomore Roni Wolfe is choosing to stay at her house to help reduce the stress.

“I don’t have to leave my room to eat or get anything if I’m home. I have all of that stuff and I’m with my family,” Wolfe said.

She said that because of the decision to switch to online classes and still not knowing what to do until a professor emails with direction, she is a little stressed out and worried. However, she is glad she is home and that everyone is trying not to navigate onto campus where there is a chance of spreading the virus.

In the meantime, Wolfe is spending time with her family while also preparing for online classes.

“I’m mostly just making a list of what my professors want us to do and when so I can keep track and not have to spend all of my free time stressing about it if I forgot something,” she said.

However, there are still students who want to stay on campus in Louisville.

Even though senior Emily Yadon has seen many people packing up and leaving for the rest of the spring semester, she must stay along with the few people who are still on campus.

“Luckily, dining is open, so food is somewhat available at limited hours,” Yadon said. “I’m hoping they won’t close with restaurants being forced to close. If so, I will need to go home since I won’t have a good place to cook and have limited access to food.”

She said it is important to keep practicing isolation and social distancing even if its draining and not enjoyable. Yadon said it is to protect others especially the older generations and people who have underlying health conditions.

Even if it’s not fun having to be inside all day long, there are still many ways to pass the time.

“I’ve been spending time playing board games with a few of friends who are also on campus. That’s pretty entertaining and enjoyable and it doesn’t involve going out where there’s a lot of people,” Yadon said.

However, due to recent changes sent out to students by email, many will have to move out by March 29 unless they sign up to stay on campus.

If the plan is to move out of the dorms, remember to fill out the cancellation form on the housing portal and to fill out the express checkout form and turn them in along with the dorm’s key when leaving for the rest of the semester.

However, if a student is choosing to stay, remember to let housing know you will be staying by signing into the housing portal and requesting to stay on campus by March 27th.

File photo//The Louisville Cardinal

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