First and foremost, I hope you and your loved ones are all faring well during these challenging times. I am writing to thank you for stepping up and doing everything you can to help our students continue to learn and make academic progress and to register for next semester. I am impressed by how many of you have adjusted so well to this new normal and very much appreciate the support you have offered. I am truly grateful to work with such a dedicated, committed, creative, and persistent group of individuals.
I would also like to share with you some new information and to offer updates on a few other items. Please note the following:
Emergency Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading Option:
Due to the unprecedented disruption to the Spring 2020 semester and the transition to remote coursework delivery caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ramapo College has approved the adoption of an emergency Spring 2020 Pass/Fail Grading Option Policy and related Procedures. Please know that this emergency Policy/Procedure was deliberated by the Provost’s Council who recommended it to Cabinet where it then received approval. It is my hope that having this Spring 2020 pass/fail (P/F) grading option will reassure our students and help alleviate some of the stress they may be experiencing due to the unforeseen and unavoidable disruption caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Please be aware of the following:
Faculty are still expected to assign letter grades as per expectations set at the beginning of the semester although course-specific grading criteria may be modified to provide reasonable accommodations and flexibility for students who are experiencing many unanticipated demands on their time as well as other disruptions. These grades must be submitted by 9:00am on May 18, 2020 – they cannot be submitted late! Please plan accordingly to ensure you are able to submit all grades on time.
To be sure that you are fully knowledgeable about the new grading options that are available to Ramapo undergraduate and graduate students for classes taken in the Spring 2020 semester, please review the details of the Policy/Procedure posted on the Provost’s website so you can offer advice and guidance to your students as appropriate. These details were also shared with students through a slide show, which may be found here. The time frame for opting into P/F grading begins April 10, 2020 and ends May 26, 2020 at 11:59pm. (Note: May 26, 2020 is one week after the Spring 2020 letter grades are viewable to students.) Instructions on how exactly to opt into P/F grading mode, which requires student completion of a Qualtrics form, will be sent to all students at their @ramapo.edu email addresses by April 10, 2020.
PLEASE strongly encourage the students you advise to take their time to opt into P/F grading. They have until one week after the Spring 2020 letter grades are posted (i.e., until May 26, 2020 at 11:59pm) to opt into P/F grading, but they cannot reverse their decision once it is made.
All Ramapo-sponsored or -supported domestic travel is cancelled through June 30, 2020, the end of the fiscal year. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but this decision was made for health, safety, and financial reasons.
Remote Delivery of Coursework:
As you may remember, when we originally planned to deliver coursework remotely, it was intended to last for the 2-week period immediately following Spring Break. Of course, much has changed since this original decision was made, and some of the initial remote coursework delivery plans you created may need to be modified as we now find ourselves continuing in this off-campus mode through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. If you have not already participated in the instructional technologies workshop sessions facilitated by our Instructional Design Center (IDC), I would highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible to pick up some additional remote coursework delivery skills. In addition, I would suggest that you reach out to your colleagues and share “best practices,” as well as lessons learned.
To check in and see how things are going so far with remote coursework delivery and more, please complete an anonymous status-check survey, which may be accessed via Qualtrics, before the survey closes next Friday, April 10, 2020 at 11:59pm. Aggregated responses received from both the faculty survey and a similar student survey will be used to improve operations at the College during these challenging times.
One issue that has emerged recently is “Zoom bombing.” According to CIO Rob Doster, security is one of the primary reasons Ramapo opted for WebEx instead of Zoom, as WebEx is, in general, far more secure and makes it much more difficult to enter meetings uninvited. If you have been using Zoom and would like to transition to WebEx, which our ITS Department supports, please contact our IDC staff for assistance. In addition, some helpful guidelines to follow when using any such meeting platform are provided below. For other assistance, please contact ITS or IDC.
Do not post a meeting link on social media or a public website, which invites the general public to your meeting.
Use individual meetings rather than your meeting room.
Use a strong meeting password.
Monitor your attendees, or assign a moderator to do that for larger meetings.
If you have any questions or need additional clarification on any of the items mentioned above or on any other things related to our new mode of business operations, please let your Dean or me know at your earliest convenience.