Ramapo College recognizes a students’ right to file an appeal of an academic nature. Student appeals of an academic nature fall into two general categories: grade appeals and other appeals of an academic nature.
Course instructors establish course requirements and performance standards. Instructors’ evaluation of students’ academic performance is a professional judgment based on the requirements set forth in the course syllabus and is expressed through the submission of final course grades to the Registrar at the close of each semester. Under some limited circumstances, a student may appeal a grade.
Circumstances for which students might appeal grades
Grade appeals will be considered only if a student can provide documentation supporting his/her case. Circumstances that might justify a grade appeal include (but are not limited to): computational error; factual information not in evidence at the time the grade was posted (for example, an assignment that the student can document was submitted, but was not graded by the course instructor and therefore not factored into the final grade); or an alleged violation of College Policy. Appeals that will not be considered include, but are not limited to, those based on a student’s perceived need for a higher grade (for instance, in order to raise his/her GPA, or to enable the course to transfer to another institution) and those based on grades that were penalized (for example, 0 on an assignment) because the student was found responsible for violating the Academic Integrity Policy.
If circumstances such as those described above can be documented, the graduate student may appeal a grade by taking the following steps:
- No later than twenty calendar days after the posting of grades, a student must bring his/her appeal to the attention of the faculty member, in writing, by email or certified letter. Supporting documentation must be provided. Both parties should make good faith efforts to share viewpoints and mediate differences of opinion.
- If it is mutually agreed that a grade adjustment is warranted, the faculty member forwards a Change of Grade Request, including explanatory reasons and all supporting documentation, to the Dean of the academic unit which sponsored the course. Upon the Dean’s approval, the Change of Grade Request is forwarded to the Registrar.
If a student and faculty member cannot reach an agreement and a student wishes to further pursue a grade appeal, the student must present a written appeal (by email or certified letter), including pertinent course materials or course work, to the Director of the graduate program which sponsored the course in question, within twenty calendar days of the final determination conference between the student and faculty member.
The Director will confer with the student and faculty member, jointly or independently, as he/she sees fit, review pertinent documents and course materials, and confer with other faculty or administrative staff members as appropriate. The Director’s decision is a recommendation to the Dean for final approval. In cases where there are multiple Deans associated with a graduate program, the Director’s recommendation will be submitted to the Dean of the unit that sponsors the courses first, and then the Dean who supervises the program.
If the Director renders an opinion which does not support the student’s grade appeal, the student may petition for a review by the Dean who supervises the program. The petition would be initiated by the submission of a written statement by the student that explains his/her position and includes any evidence the student has that contradicts the Director’s decision or contains information that had heretofore been unavailable. The Dean’s Office will reject any request that does not offer clear evidence that the Program Director made a factual mistake, violated school policy, or otherwise acted outside the purview of the Director of the program.
The Dean will consider only those grade appeals which have previously received full deliberative discussion at the faculty and Program Director level.
After conferring with the student, Program Director, and faculty member and reviewing the pertinent documentation, the Dean may take one of the two following actions:
(a) approve or decline the student’s grade appeal; or
(b) request that the Graduate Council review the appeal and render a recommendation to the Dean who, in turn, will advise the student, the professor, and the Program Director of his/her final decision.
In both step (a) and (b), the decision of the Dean is final.
OTHER APPEALS OF AN ACADEMIC NATURE
Course instructors exercise the right of academic freedom. In addition, they have responsibility for managing their classrooms. If, after considering those faculty prerogatives and reviewing relevant policies, students still wish to make appeals of an academic nature (other than grade appeals), they must follow this procedure:
Preferably as soon as a student believes that he or she has cause to make an appeal, but no later than 20 calendar days after the last day of the semester in which course is scheduled, the student may meet with the course instructor or, if the student prefers and makes a compelling case for doing so, with the Dean of the school in which the course is offered.
- If the student meets with the instructor, both student and instructor should make good faith efforts to share viewpoints and discuss differences of opinion. If the student and the instructor are unable to reach a mutually acceptable resolution, the student may appeal to the Dean of the school in which the course is offered within 20 calendar days after the conference between the student and the instructor. If that Dean is different from the Dean of the instructor’s primary convening group, the Dean of the school in which the course is offered may consult with the Dean of the instructor, depending on the nature of the appeal. The Dean(s) may also confer with the student, the instructor, the Graduate Program Director (if applicable), and/or other appropriate College personnel jointly or independently to reach a resolution. The decision of the Dean of the school in which the course is offered is final.
- If the student prefers to meet with the Dean of the school in which the course is offered first, the Dean may decide, depending on the nature of the concern, either to offer the student strategies for communicating directly with the instructor or to accept the appeal without prior consideration by the instructor. If the Dean accepts the appeal immediately, the Dean of the school in which the course is offered will consult with the instructor in addition to the student and, depending on the nature of the appeal, may consult with the Dean of the instructor, and/or other appropriate College personnel jointly or independently to reach a resolution. The decision of the Dean of the school in which the course is offered is final.