Student Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure

Sponsor:

Office of Academic Affairs

Contact:

Director of Collegewide Student Services

Category:

Academic and Student Affairs

Number:

300.020

Effective Date:

2002/04/01

Review Date:

2013/04/01

Implementation History:

April 2002

Keywords:

Student, services, academic, appeals, outcomes, grievance

Background Information:

Purpose

On occasion, a student may disagree with the academic decision of a faculty member or academic professional, administrator or committee. The college provides an appeals process for the student to request reconsideration of an academic decision.

Definitions

Appeals are petitions to change a decision rendered about an academic matter. The basis for a student’s appeal of an academic decision may be either that the academic judgment was unfair in the view of the student or that the college's academic policies were applied incorrectly in the view of the student.

ARC – Academic Review Committee

Statements

Students are responsible for reviewing and abiding by the college's academic policies and procedures. Students are responsible for their academic choices and for meeting the standards of academic performance established for each study or course in which they enroll.

Faculty are responsible for establishing methods and criteria for evaluation and evaluating a student’s performance in learning contracts, courses, final projects, exams, prior learning assessments, etc. Evaluations of students, awards of academic credit and other academic judgments are based upon academic performance and the application of relevant academic policies.

Academic judgments made by faculty and other academic professionals are recorded in college documents, such as:

  • learning contract, and course outcomes and evaluations;
  • evaluations of prior learning; and
  • written academic decisions made by assessment committees, academic review committees, center or program administrators, or other academic staff.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

N/A

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Procedures for Appeals of Academic Decisions

The administrator for the center or program where an academic decision was made is responsible for administering the appeals process.

If the relevant administrator made the original academic decision while serving in the role of mentor, tutor or evaluator, the faculty chair fills the administrative role in the appeals process.

The locus of appeal is the center or program where the original academic decision was made. For example, if a center student enrolls in a Center for Distance Learning course and appeals the CDL course outcome, the appeal is handled by the Center for Distance Learning. Questions about the appropriate locus of an appeal are resolved by the ombudsperson in the Office of Academic Affairs. The relevant administrator or the college ombudsperson should provide the student with a copy of the Student Academic Appeals Policy.

The college appeals process includes an informal resolution procedure as well as a procedure for formal appeal of an academic decision. The college strongly encourages the student to attempt an informal resolution before making a formal appeal.

A. Procedure for Informal Resolution

The informal resolution process includes two possible steps:

  1. the student should discuss the matter directly with the party who made or represented the academic decision (tutor, mentor, assessment committee representative, assessment professional, etc.) and make a reasonable effort to resolve the issue. The student must begin such an informal resolution process within 30 days of receiving the academic decision. (Throughout this document, read days as calendar days.)
  2. if no resolution is reached through the first step, or if the student is uncomfortable trying to resolve the issue directly with the appropriate party, the student should request informal resolution by the center dean or program director (or designee). This step must occur within 45 days of the student’ s receipt of the original academic decision.

The center or program administrator discusses the academic decision with the student and listens to the student’s perspective on the situation, and may gather additional relevant information. The administrator attempts to facilitate understanding and acceptance by the student of the original decision or agreement by the parties to an alternative resolution, as appropriate. The center or program administrator does not play a decision-making role; rather, he or she facilitates a resolution when possible.

B. Procedure for Formal Appeal

  1. A student may initiate a formal appeal of an academic decision within 60 days of receipt of the decision, whether or not he or she has attempted an informal resolution as described previously. An academic review committee, described below, considers appeals of academic decisions.
    1. The student submits a written appeal to the center or program administrator and includes in it:
      • a full description of the academic decision and the basis for the student’s appeal for reconsideration,
      • a statement of the remedy the student is seeking,
      • any supporting documents, and
      • learning contract, and course outcomes and evaluations;
      • evaluations of prior learning; and
      • written academic decisions made by assessment committees, academic review committees, center or program administrators, or other academic staff.
      • information on when and with whom the student may have attempted any informal resolution.
    2. The administrator transmits the appeal to the center or program academic review committee (ARC) and provides a copy to any other relevant parties. The administrator should take these steps within seven days of receiving the appeal. He or she ensures that the ARC review takes place in a timely manner.
  2. Academic Review Committee
    1. The ARC consists of at least three, but no more than five, faculty members. Each center or program establishes procedures for constituting the ARC and for establishing a chair. If a member of the ARC is a party to the appeal, a substitute is designated if necessary to bring the membership up to the minimum.
    2. The ARC may obtain additional relevant information before or after a hearing. Academic review committee consideration of the appeal focuses only on the student’s claim of unfairness or incorrect application of college policies.
  3. Initial ARC Review
    1. Based on its initial review, the ARC may return an appeal to the student for further information or clarification. If the appeal is returned for further information or clarification, the student must submit the requested information or revision within 15 days for the appeal to be heard.
    2. Upon review of the initial or resubmitted appeal, the ARC may determine that there is no basis for a claim of unfairness or incorrect application of college policies and refuse to hear the appeal.
    3. The ARC should convey a decision not to hear an appeal within seven days of receiving the initial or resubmitted appeal.
  4. ARC Hearing
    1. Each party to an appeal has a right to a meaningful opportunity to be heard and to respond to information and documentation presented. The chair of the ARC will ensure a fair and timely hearing of the information and produce an accurate record of the hearing.
    2. The ARC should schedule a hearing within 30 days of receipt of an appeal to consider information relevant to the appeal. A hearing may take the form of a meeting, conference call or videoconference, at the discretion of the ARC.
    3. The student may attend the hearing and present his or her case directly to the ARC. Likewise, the individual or a representative of the committee responsible for the original decision may also attend the hearing and present relevant information. A student may have an advisor at the hearing; however, the advisor may not participate directly in the hearing.
  5. Following a hearing, the ARC deliberates in closed session. Decisions are made by majority vote unless otherwise noted. The ARC may:
    • uphold the original decision,
    • refer the decision back to the individual or committee making the original academic decision for reconsideration based upon ARC findings regarding fairness and/or application of college policy, or
    • revise or overturn the original decision, which requires a unanimous vote by the ARC.
    • The ARC should provide a written decision and rationale for the decision to the student and other relevant parties within seven days of the hearing.
  6. Reconsideration by original decision-maker. If the ARC refers the decision back for reconsideration, the individual or committee making the original decision reviews the situation and may either affirm the original decision or issue a new decision. The individual or committee should convey the result in writing to the student and other relevant parties within 30 days of the referral.
  7. Further Appeal. The student may appeal either a decision made by the ARC, including one not to hear an appeal, or a decision by an individual or committee following a reconsideration of the original decision. The written appeal is to the center or program administrator.
    1. The student must submit any further appeal in writing to the center or program administrator within 30 days of transmittal of an ARC decision or a reconsideration decision, and must include an explanation or justification for the appeal.
    2. The center or program administrator should notify the other relevant parties within seven days of receiving an appeal. Those parties should provide any written response within 15 days.
    3. The center or program administrator should provide a written decision and rationale within seven days of receiving responses to the appeal. The written decision is conveyed to the student with copies to the other relevant parties.
  8. Final Appeal. Decisions made by the center or program administrator may be appealed to the provost/vice president for academic affairs (VPAA).
    1. The student must submit any further appeal in writing to the provost/VPAA within 30 days of transmittal of an ARC decision or a reconsideration decision, and must include an explanation or justification for the appeal.
    2. The provost/VPAA should notify the other relevant parties within seven days of receiving an appeal. Those parties normally provide any written response within 15 days.
    3. The provost/VPAA should provide a written decision and rationale within seven days of receiving responses to the appeal. The written decision is conveyed to the student with copies to the other relevant parties.
    4. The provost/VPAA’s decision is final.
  9. A student’s status does not change while an appeal is under consideration. If a student was dismissed, he or she remains dismissed. If he or she is in academic warning, the warning stands.