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Updated university policies offer more flexibility in academic consideration and appeals

What you need to know about new and revised Senate policies this fall
August 18, 2020
Young man, wearing mask and backpack walks in front of building with RU sign

Senate policies outline expectations for grade/standing appeals, graduate student evaluations and more. Photo Credit: Alyssa K. Faoro

To help students, faculty and staff prepare for the upcoming academic year, Ryerson University Senate has released a number of new and updated policies. As significant policy changes are implemented throughout the 2020-2021 academic year and beyond, Senate is dedicated to keeping the community informed through university-wide announcements and website updates

New policies implemented in fall 2020 

Senate holds academic authority and is responsible for maintaining, communicating and implementing institutional policies that pertain to a variety of academic issues, such as the content and quality of programs and courses of study. New policies are often implemented to reflect the current needs of the Ryerson community. The following policies come into effect this September for fall courses: 

 (PDF file) Policy 167: Academic Consideration

This new policy recognizes the need to support students with significant extenuating circumstances, and the negative impact such circumstances may have on students’ academic obligations.

  • Graduate and undergraduate students can now request academic consideration without documentation once per term. 
  • However, documentation for academic consideration is required for: final assessments and final exams; if the temporary absence lasts more than three days; and if a request for academic consideration without documentation has already occurred in that academic term. 

 (PDF file) Policy 168: Grade and Standing Appeals

  • Before a graduate or undergraduate student files a formal grade or standing appeal, they must communicate with the instructor about their concerns to see if there is a possible solution. 
  • At all levels of appeal, the decision-making time period has been extended from five days to 10 business days. Students appealing their academic standing can only remain in courses for one term while awaiting the outcome of the appeal process, unless the delay in the process is due to the university. 
  • The submission of appeals for Continuing Education and dismissal process at the Senate Appeals level have both been streamlined. 

 (PDF file) Experiential Learning ( (PDF file) Policy 169)

This new policy provides an overview of the core aspects of experiential learning (EL) that guide the design of EL offered at Ryerson, such as clear learning outcomes and ongoing reflection. It also:

  • includes procedures that outline support, resources and processes for EL opportunities; 
  • identifies risk management practices that serve to ensure a safe learning environment for students, faculty and staff, and EL partners. 

Revised policies effective fall 2020 

Most Senate policies undergo a three to five year revision plan depending on the context of the policy. Sometimes these revisions reflect the changing reality of higher education, innovations in technology, or feedback from the community, to name a few. 

 (PDF file) Policy 164: Graduate Status, Enrolment and Evaluation

This policy provides a framework that clarifies student status, outlines the minimum standard of academic performance, establishes the evaluation of degree requirements, and guides the determination of students’ eligibility to graduate. Changes have been made to the policy and procedures to better clarify the process of setting expectations for non-course requirements each term and for evaluating a student's performance in a timely manner. 

  • Plans of study: Students and supervisors/supervisory committees will be required to submit an initial plan of study that outlines what courses the students will enroll in at the start of their program and will update this form at the end of each term to include non-course expectations for the following term. 
  • Progress reviews: Students and supervisors/supervisory committees will be required to submit progress reviews in accordance with YSGS, faculty, and program requirements. 
  • Evaluation and progress report designation: Once students have begun their non-course requirements, they will be assigned a performance designation (either “in progress” or “unsatisfactory progress”) by their supervisor or supervisory committee based on the expectations that were set for the term in their plan of study. These performance designations will be recorded each term in alignment with grade submission deadlines. 

For more information about Ryerson University Senate and the above policies, visit

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