ARC-PA 5th ed Standard A3.15g

Fair Process for Academic Problems

Appeals with regards to academic matters fall into three main categories: appeals related to a specific course, appeals related to applications of written policy, and appeals related to charges of academic dishonesty. Students should consult the appropriate section related to the type of appeal they are making.

Grounds for Academic Appeals

Students must be clear about the reasons why they believe an academic-related decision is incorrect before lodging an appeal. An appeal can only be considered on one or more of the following grounds:

  • Circumstances existed affecting the student’s performance of which the body in question was not aware when its decision was made and which could not reasonably have been presented at the time;
  • A procedural error/irregularity or other inadequacy on the part of the University of such a nature as to cause doubt as to whether the result would have been different had there not been such an irregularity; or
  • Evidence of prejudice or bias on the part of the instructor or body making the decision.

Detailed information related to these specific grounds for appeal can be found in the Graduate Student Handbook. An appeal cannot be made against the academic judgment of instructors with regards to a grade for a specific assignment or activity within a course. If a student is dissatisfied with a particular assignment/activity grade awarded to them, they are advised that the correct route is to follow up within their School/Department/Program and inquire whether any feedback/further clarification can be provided on the basis for the specific grade on that assignment/activity. Since this is a matter of academic judgment, however, please note that a student should not have any expectation that a specific assignment/activity grade will be changed.

Specific Course Appeals Procedure

  • In all cases where a student wishes to appeal a final grade or any other aspect of a specific course, the student must first discuss the matter with the instructor.
  • The student must initiate this discussion no later than seven (7) business days after the final grade is officially posted by the university.
  • If the instructor does not resolve the problem to the student’s satisfaction, the student has seven (7) business days to complete the Specific Course Appeal – Graduate form and submit it to the Dean of the College of Health Sciences.
  • The Dean will review the student’s appeal documentation and consult with relevant graduate faculty and coordinators/directors as appropriate before making a recommendation Decisions from all individuals consulted in the appeals process should be documented on the Specific Course Appeal – Graduate form or provided as attachments. This form can be found in the Graduate Forms section of WebbConnect.
  • The student has seven (7) business days after receipt of notice of an adverse decision by the Dean of CoHS to take the matter to Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will convene the Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council to hear only those parties involved and determine whether to grant or deny the appeal.
  • This decision will be communicated in writing to the student, instructor, and Dean of the CoHS.
  • Once the Appeals Committee communicates its decision, the student, instructor, or Dean of the CoHS may appeal the decision to the Provost within seven (7) business days.
  • The Provost may meet with one or more of the persons involved, or decide the appeal based on the available written information, in the Provost’s discretion.
  • The Provost’s decision is final.

Applications of Written Policy Appeals Procedure

  • Students also have the right to appeal adverse outcomes resulting from the application of written academic policies.
  • The student must complete the Application of Written Academic Policy Appeal – Graduate form and submit it to the Director of the Department of PA Studies no later than seven (7) business days after the student receives notice of the adverse outcome. 
  • This form can be found in the Graduate Forms section of WebbConnect. 
  • Decisions from all individuals consulted in the appeals process should be documented on the Application of Written Academic Policy Appeal – Graduate form. 
  • After consideration, the Director of the Department of PA Studies will send the signed form along with their recommendation for approval or denial to the Dean of the CoHS.
  • The student has seven (7) business days after receipt of notice of an adverse decision by the Dean to take the matter to the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, who will convene the Appeals Committee of the Graduate Council to hear only those parties involved and determine whether to grant or deny the appeal.
  • This decision will be communicated in writing to the student, Director, and Dean of the CoHS.
  • Once the Appeals Committee communicates its decision, the student, Director, or Dean of the CoHS may appeal the decision to the Provost within seven (7) business days.
  • The Provost may meet with one or more of the persons involved, or decide the appeal based on the available written information, in the Provost’s discretion.
  • The Provost’s decision is final.  

Academic Dishonesty Appeals

Students also have the right to appeal academic matters with regard to academic dishonesty decisions. The full process for this type of appeal and all procedures are described in the section on Academic Honesty. The deadline for an academic dishonesty appeal is seven days after the date of the decision being appealed.

For non-academic appeals see the Graduate Student Handbook.

Provisions Applicable to All Appeals

  • When counting “business days” the following are not counted: weekends; holidays; and days the university is not in session (as determined by the Academic Calendar).
  • If a student fails to state one or more of the allowed grounds for appeal, the appeal shall be dismissed. Such a dismissal constitutes an “adverse decision” that may be appealed as described above.
  • Instructors and university administrators involved in the appeal process should act as expeditiously as possible.
  • Absent exigent circumstances, no case should be concluded later than the last day of exams of the following semester as indicated by the university Academic Calendar.
  • Students are responsible for timely initiating and advancing their appeals to the next level.
  • Failure to meet a deadline means that the appeal is at an end unless a time extension is granted.
  • Requests for time extensions must be brought to the attention of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies no later than three (3) business days after expiration of the deadline.
  • Time extensions will be granted only upon a showing that the student missed a deadline due to illness or other events outside the student’s control.
  • If the requested time extension is not granted the most recent decision is final.
  • Unless an exception is made for good cause shown, parents or other advocates (including attorneys) may not be present.
  • At no time after the discussion with the faculty member may the student introduce new evidence or information that was not made available to the instructor unless the evidence or information was not reasonably available to the student prior to the discussion with the instructor, or for other compelling reason(s), as determined by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies.
  • If the student is allowed to introduce new evidence or information the matter is returned to the first level and the process resumes from there.
  • If the student is not allowed to introduce the new information or evidence the appeal continues as before, without consideration of the new information or evidence.
  • Absent the applicability of other university policies or circumstances requiring suspension of registration, such as disciplinary suspension, students with active appeals may continue to be registered and attend classes until the conclusion of their appeal. If a student who remains registered loses their appeal and is subsequently dismissed or suspended, refund of tuition and fees, if any, shall be per university policy.

NOTE:  All appeal forms can be found on WebbConnect/Graduate Forms.