In March 2020, midway through the spring 2020 semester, the university launched a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Considerable disruption to student life was caused by the transition to remote/alternative instruction, the discontinuation of most in-person events, and the closing of university buildings. In recognition of this disruption, on March 26, 2020, Provost Scholz announced that UW–Madison was establishing a special grading option for students in response to the COVID-19 events. This option, entitled the Disruption Grading Option (DGO), was established to mitigate the adverse impacts of the Covid 19 disruption.
For the spring 2020 DGO, the policy was developed by the Academic Affairs Continuity team (AACt), a sub-group of the Instructional Continuity Team (AACt: Scott Owczarek, co-chair; Wren Singer, co-chair; Jocelyn Milner; Beth Warner; Will Lipske; Diana Maki; Christopher Lee; Christina Klawitter; Regina Lowery; Sherri Charleston). The Instructional Continuity academic associate deans, the Academic Advising policy leaders, and Professor Kirsten Wolf representing the University Committee reviewed and provided feedback on all recommendations. Provost Scholz announced the DGO after conferring with a range of stakeholders including the University Committee, Academic Staff Executive Committee, the deans of all of the schools/colleges, and the campus leadership team.
The DGO was approved again for use in spring 2021, as announced by Provost Karl Scholz on April 5, 2021. The recommendation for spring 2021 implementation came from the Pandemic Academic Policy Task Force (Members: John Zumbrunnen, chair; Wren Singer; Scott Owczarek; Kaitlin Kons; Eliza Donnelly; Jijijiie Zhang; John Parrish; Christina Marie Olstad; Eric Sandgren; Emily Hall; Nicholas Hill; Debra Shapiro; Ryan Bouchard; Susan Babcock). Provost Scholz announced the DGO for spring 2021 after reviewing the recommendation in consultation with the University Committee, Academic Staff Executive Committee, the deans of all of the schools/colleges, and the campus leadership team. The implementation of DGO in spring 2021 recognized the cumulative impact on students of the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This policy applied to all UW–Madison students enrolled in credit instruction in spring 2020 and spring 2021, with the exception that it did not apply to students in the Doctor of Medicine (MD), Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), or Law School students enrolled in Law courses.
At the end of the spring 2020 and spring 2021 terms, students had a period in which students could elect to apply the Disruption Grading Option (DGO) to any or all of their A through F graded credit courses. The student may elect to replace the A through F grade with either SD (Satisfactory-Disruption) or UD (University-Disruption-No Credit).
Courses that were graded on a credit/no credit, pass/fail, or numeric grade basis were not eligible for the DGO.
All spring 2020 and spring 2021 courses, regardless of session start and end dates, were eligible for the DGO option.