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Student Handbook


Academic Appeals Policy

 

Any student who believes he/she has been dealt with unfairly concerning academic progress (such as course grades or absences), will have access to an academic appeal. The appeal must be initiated within 1 semester after the semester in which the issue occurs. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that due process is observed.

It is understood that any time limits in this section are the maximum time allowed and that it is the intent to move the procedure along as fast as is reasonably possible. When by this appeal procedure an act is required or allowed to be done at or within a specified time, the Chair of the Appeals Committee, for cause shown, may at any time in his/her discretion, if a request is made before the expiration of the period originally prescribed, order the period enlarged to a further specified time. As it is used herein, the term class days is defined to include all days that classes are conducted, excluding weekends, legal holidays, vacation periods, the period of final examinations, intersessions, and for the purposes of this document summer school.

It is not intended that an appeal shall fail or succeed upon a technicality. Therefore, all application of any part of this policy shall be equitable and reasonable.

The procedure to be followed in processing an academic appeal is as follows:

1. The student should make every attempt, when possible, to discuss the issue with the faculty member involved in a face-to-face meeting and attempt to resolve the issue. If this meeting between the student and the faculty member does not resolve the issue to the student's satisfaction, the student may contact the department chair. The student is required to put in writing the particulars of the matter in conflict and submit this to the department chair.

2. The department chair is to verify whether the student has attempted a formal conference with the faculty member prior to discussing the matter with the student. The department chair's role is to attempt to clarify the conflict between student and faculty and mediate the positions and interests of both parties and, if possible, identify resolution options that are acceptable to both parties.

A meeting, either together or individually, with the student and the faculty member may be convened at the department chair's discretion.

3. If the department chair is unable to resolve the conflict between the student and the faculty member, the student may request the department chair to convene the Departmental Appeals Committee. At this time the department chair will establish a schedule and make assignments for completing the appeal process within 20 class days.

If the Departmental Appeals Committee is convened, the department chair will send to that Committee (1) a written statement reflecting the department chair's attempt to resolve the issue, (2) the written statement by the student, and (3) a written response made by the faculty member to the issue in conflict.

4. The convened Departmental Appeals Committee shall review the written statement and, if the Committee finds that additional information is needed, it may interview the student and/or the faculty member. The student who processes an appeal under this policy has the option of asking another student or member of the University community to be present at the interview. This is an internal procedure to resolve an academic dispute, and legal counsel will not be allowed to speak for the student or for the faculty member in this interview. All deliberations of the Departmental Appeals Committee shall be confidential.

5. If the decision of the Departmental Appeals Committee does not resolve the issue for the student or the faculty member, the matter may be appealed to the dean of the appropriate school/college. If an appeal is made to the dean, the Departmental Appeals Committee will send the dean a copy of all written materials used in its deliberations and its own written decision. The dean will convene a School/College Academic Appeals Committee. If there are no appeals, the department chair is responsible to see that the decision of the Departmental Appeals Committee is implemented.

6. The convened School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall review the written statements and, if the Committee finds that additional information is needed, it may interview the student and/or the faculty member. The student who processes an appeal under this policy has the option of asking another student or member of the University community to be present at the interview. This is an internal procedure to resolve an academic dispute, and legal counsel will not be allowed to speak for the student or for the faculty member in this interview.

After examining the evidence and deliberating, the School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall reach a majority decision by secret ballot vote. Majority vote rules. The School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall submit to the dean its written decision regarding the disposition of the conflict between the student and the faculty member. This decision will be presented in the form of a recommendation to the dean, who will make the final decision. The process for academic appeals concludes with the dean, and there is no further appeal.

The department chair is responsible for implementing the decision of the School/College Academic Appeals Committee. For example, the department chair will make the grade change if the dean's decision calls for a grade change.

If the faculty member feels that the appeals process was conducted inappropriately, then the faculty member has the right to seek a remedy through grievance procedures.

All deliberations of the School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall be confidential.

Makeup of the Departmental Appeals Committee


Departmental Appeals Committee shall be organized as follows, unless a separate department policy is in place:

1. At the beginning of each academic year, the department chair shall establish an academic appeals committee pool of no fewer than 5 members. It should include at least 3 faculty members, and at least 2 undergraduate students and at least 2 graduate students in departments which have a graduate program.

2. When needed, the department chair will convene a Departmental Appeals Committee consisting of at least 2 of the faculty members and 1 of the students from the committee pool. The student selected will depend on whether the appeal comes from an undergraduate or graduate student. The student will be undergraduate if the student making the appeal is undergraduate; graduate if the student making the appeal is graduate.

3. The student making the appeal and the faculty member have the option to accept/reject any or all members of the Departmental Appeals Committee. The department chair will appoint additional members as needed. Once the student and the faculty member have signified, in writing, acceptance of the Departmental Appeals Committee membership to hear the appeal, they have surrendered the opportunity to object to the members of the board.

Once the Departmental Appeals Committee has been selected, the department chair will assign 1 of the faculty members to act as the Chair of the Committee.

Makeup of the School/College Academic Appeals Committee

1. The School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall be drawn from the various academic appeals committee pools established within departments of the school/college. The School/College Academic Appeals Committee shall consist of at least 5 members: 3 faculty and 2 students. The students will be undergraduates if the student making the appeal is undergraduate, graduate if the student is a graduate.

2. No student or faculty member from the same department as that from which the appeal emanates will be appointed to the School/College Academic Appeals Committee.

3. The student making the appeal and the faculty member have the option to accept/reject any or all members of the School/College Academic Appeals Committee. The dean will appoint additional members as needed. Once the student and the faculty member have signified, in writing, acceptance of the members of the School/College Academic Appeals Committee to hear the appeal, they have surrendered the opportunity to object to the members of the committee.