Universiteit Leiden

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Closing Out Academic Year 2019-2020: A Word of Encouragement

18 May 2020

This has been one highly unusual semester. The last couple of months have asked a lot of everyone, from students and lecturers to administrators and advisors. Now we are approaching the final phase, with teaching over and only the exams to come.

We know that for many of our students this has been a really stressful time. Normal life has been disrupted. The switch to remote teaching went as well as we could have hoped, but that should not hide the problems that many have faced. Limited access to computers, unreliable online connections, and difficulty finding research sources have not made things easy for many of you. The usual questions surrounding exams, final papers and reports, and theses have become even more pressing: am I well prepared, do I understand what is expected of me, can I meet the deadlines, will there be unexpected problems, how are we going to finish this group report?

In this situation, it might sometimes seem like exams, papers and reports are a worthless exercise. This might be an understandable feeling – but not the right one. That is why we want to give you one last message of encouragement to help get you over the finishing line. It would be a mistake to cancel this semester out, as if it never happened. It would be demoralising if we all let it end without the satisfaction of knowing we did everything we could to make it succeed. We encourage you to overcome the uncertainty of the past two months with a final effort to round everything off, and move on. As we have said before: We are aware of your situation, and we trust in your abilities, commitment, and determination to see it through.

With this in mind, the Programme Board has asked all lecturers and tutors to be lenient in their grading. Any disadvantages you may have had due to the switch to remote teaching should not have a negative impact on your outcomes. We are fully aware that we cannot solve all problems with this. Every course, every thesis, every report still has a minimum requirement to be able to pass. However, with this in mind, grading will be lenient. Our teaching staff have worked under the same conditions as you have, and we share the understanding that the situation asks for a different approach.

We hope you can find the strength to give it your best shot one last time for this academic year.

Stay safe, stay healthy and all the best in the final weeks!

The International Studies Programme Board

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