Provost's Messages

November 3, 2020  | Academic Affairs Updates-Fall Final Stretch

This message is being sent by the Office of University Relations on behalf of Provost James J. Winebrake.

Dear Students,  

I want to encourage you as we approach the final stretch of our abbreviated fall semester - I know how challenging this term has been for all of you as we manage COVID-19 adjustments together - to keep teaching and learning on campus and virtually. I know many of you, like me, are experiencing your first semester at UNCW. Even for our experienced students, there have still been many adjustments and I have been deeply impressed by the flexibility, resilience and determination that I see in all of you.

I want you to be successful, achieve your academic goals, and progress towards graduation. In light of this, here are a few academic matters of which you should be aware:

As you prepare to meet with advisors to register for spring courses this month, note that we have again included information about the “modality” of courses to help you choose among online, face-to-face, and hybrid options. We hope and expect that we will be able to keep courses in their expected modalities, but as you know, adjustments may be needed as the state and the UNC System respond to changing circumstances around COVID.  

At UNC System direction, all course withdrawals taken this fall, as well as withdrawals from last spring and for NEXT spring, will be considered COVID-related and will NOT count against your catalog limit of 16 credit hours of withdrawals. While the course withdrawal date has passed, if you have concerns about courses in which you are still enrolled, contact your advisor as soon as possible.  

As you may know, your student government has asked the university to consider offering a pass/fail option of some kind for this fall. While that proposal is still under consideration by the Faculty Senate, I urge you not to assume that there will be such an option. We will make sure students are aware of any policy adjustments around this important issue.   

The pandemic and the associated academic disruptions, schedule adjustments, and academic policy modifications make your academic advisor more important than ever. Continue to ask questions and work carefully with them as you plan and select spring courses that will make the most of the opportunities. A group of advisors from across campus are ALSO available to you through the Student Success Centers and the University College to support you in longer-term academic planning. Reach out to SEAHAWK STRENGTHS coaches by checking out the program website ( or consulting with your assigned advisor. The SEAHAWK STRENGTHS program can really help you stay in control of your academic future.  

I encourage you to stay focused and determined as we move towards the end of the semester. As you likely know, the number of COVID cases is increasing across North Carolina and nationally. Public health experts predict another peak in about 7 weeks. In order to reduce the spread of COVID, please continue to follow the 3Ws: wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands. You have already accomplished a great deal this fall. Finish strong! 

Best regards,


James J. Winebrake, Ph.D.
UNCW Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Pronouns: he, him, his