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Academic Issues

Academic Appeals  Procedure

  1. ACADEMIC APPEALS COMMITTEE
    1. The academic appeals committee will be composed of seven members. Four members of the ad hoc committee will be SWOSU faculty and three members of the committee will be SWOSU students. Verification should be provided to the committee, instructor, and student, that no member of the committee will be from the academic department of the major of the student making the appeal, nor from the academic department of the faculty member involved in the appeal. In addition, a student assigned to the committee should: not have previously taken, be currently enrolled in, or anticipate future enrollment in any class taught by the instructor.
    2. The Faculty Senate will nominate twenty faculty members and the Student Government Association will nominate ten student members for the pool from which the final committee will be selected. The University President, or the President's designee, will select the final committee members from nominations made by the Faculty and Student Senates.
    3. The chairperson of the committee will be a faculty member selected by the president. The chairperson or designee will preside over the appeal hearing process. The chairperson will serve as a non-voting member and will only vote in case of a tie. The Registrar shall serve as an ex officio member of the Academic Appeals Committee in order to provide guidance in respect to the impact of grade changes on regulatory compliance by the university.
  2. AUTHORITY OF THE ACADEMIC APPEALS COMMITTEE
    1. The committee will have the authority to review the procedural fairness of an instructor's grading policy upon the filing of a written student academic appeal. The committee will have the authority to call witnesses and collect evidence pertinent to the matter. The committee will be authorized to review the following:
      1. Whether or not the student had fair and timely notice of the instructor's grading procedures.
      2. Whether or not all materials (tests, assignments, etc.) used by the instructor to determine the student's final grade for the course were made available to the student in a fair and timely manner.
      3. Whether or not the student's grades were calculated accurately.
      4. Whether or not the grades were scored and communicated in a timely manner.
      5. Whether or not the grade was assigned according to the instructor’s stated policy.
      6. Whether or not the student had fair opportunity to address the above issue(s) with the instructor of the course.
      7. Whether or not the method of assignment of grades was consistent for all students and if adjustments were made for one were they made for all.
      8. Whether or not a request to change a grade to a Withdrawal (W) is compliant with institutional or other policies and regulations.
      9. Note: The procedure for Academic Appeals Committee review of a request to change a grade to a Withdrawal (W) is described in Section VI.
    2. The committee will not be authorized to review the following:
      1. The subjective assessments of the instructor on course assignments including, but not limited to: essay examinations, course project assignments, performance assessments, portfolios, presentations, etc.
      2. The instructor's teaching method.
      3. The instructor's grading policy.
      4. The instructor's attendance policy.
      5. Course materials.
      6. Course activity or project requirements.
    3. After review of the written appeal, the committee will also have the authorization to perform the following:
      1. Call upon parties involved for interview.
      2. Call persons relevant to appeal information.
      3. Call for any additional information deemed necessary to the appeal.
  3. APPEAL PROCEDURES FOR CONTESTING A COURSE GRADE.
    1. The student must exhaust all appeal requirements of the academic department from which the appeal is made before the student may file an appeal with the committee. Any appeal made by a student to the committee will be denied by the committee if the student has not exhausted all departmental appeal procedures.
    2. In addition, with the exception of a request to change a grade to a Withdrawal (W), the student must exhaust the following university administrative remedies before filing a written APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL of a course grade unless they are included in the departmental appeals procedure:
      1. The student must discuss the issue with the course instructor. If the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student must proceed to the next step.
      2. The student must discuss the issue with the chair of the appropriate department. If the instructor assigning the grade has left the university before the start of the appeal, the department chairperson shall represent the instructor in the appeal process. If the chair of the department is directly involved in the matter, or if the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student must proceed to the next step.
      3. The student must discuss the issue with the dean of the school in which the course is taught. If the dean is directly involved in the matter, or if the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may file a written APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL.
      4. The chair of the department or the dean of the school may invite the student and instructor to confer to resolve the issue. If the student and/or instructor does not wish to confer, or if the issue is not resolved to the satisfaction of the student, the student may file a written APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL of the course grade.
    3. If the student has exhausted all of the remedies available in Sections A and B, the student may request an APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL form from the Office of the Provost.
    4. The deadline for filing an APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL form with the Office of the Provost is no later than one (1) regular semester after the grade was assigned.
      1. Grades assigned during spring semester: Apply during summer session or no later than the close of the 6th week of the following fall semester.
      2. Grades assigned during summer session: Apply no later than the close of the 6th week of the following fall semester.
      3. Grades assigned during fall semester: Apply no later than the close of the 6th week of the following spring semester.
      4. Upon receipt of the completed APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL form, the Office of the Provost will notify the instructor, departmental chair, dean of the school, and appeal committee members within ten (10) class days.
    5. The APPLICATION FOR ACADEMIC APPEAL must include:
      1. A concise, complete statement of the issue being appealed.
      2. Any information to support the student's basis for an appeal.
      3. Signatures of the student making the appeal, the academic departmental chair, and dean of the school from which the appeal arises.
    6. The committee will convene within fifteen (15) class days after the beginning of the semester following the receipt of the appeal notice from the Office of the Provost. Notice will be given to the parties involved by university mail or United States mail or personal communication from the committee chairperson. (Written record of the communication by the chair or the phone conversation followed by written confirmation)
    7. The committee will conduct a review of the written appeal made by the student. The instructor will also have the opportunity to provide a written response. Each party should have the assurance that no written materials were submitted to the committee without their knowledge or opportunity to review in advance. All information provided to the Appeals Committee, whether requested by the committee or not, will be given to both the student and faculty member at least one work week prior to the hearing.
  4. APPEAL HEARING PROCEDURES
    1. If the committee decides to hold a hearing to hear witness testimony on the matter, the chairperson of the committee will set the date, time, and place of the hearing. The instructor and student have the right to be present at the meeting. The chairperson or designee will preside over the hearing. Also persons requested by the instructor and/or student and who are approved by the chair of the Appeals Committee may be present during the hearing. The chair shall provide the above list of participants to both the faculty member and the student at least two class days in advance of the hearing.
    2. The student and instructor of the course will each be afforded the following rights:
      1. An orderly hearing conducted in a civil manner by all participants of the hearing.
      2. The right to present oral and written information.
    3. At the hearing, student and instructor will not be allowed to:
      1. Have legal representation.
      2. Call witnesses unless permitted by the chairperson.
      3. Cross-examine the other party.
    4. The order of the hearing:
      1. Testimony and presentation of evidence by the student.
      2. Questions by board members.
      3. Response and presentation of evidence by the instructor.
      4. Questions by board members.
      5. Response by the student.
      6. Response by the instructor.
    5. The committee may request additional evidence and/or witnesses as well as conduct separate questioning and statement interviews with each party solely within the discretion of the committee.
    6. The instructor, student and committee should recognize that the process is in place to provide a fair and impartial mechanism to resolve differing opinions regarding the assignment of course grades.
  5. COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
    1. After consideration of the evidence and testimony presented at the hearing, the committee will make one of the following recommendations on the matter to the Provost within thirty (30) days after convening.
      1. Uphold the final course grade given by the instructor.
      2. Change the final course grade.
      3. Recommend alternative resolution.
      4. Continue the hearing and request additional information and/or witness testimony.
    2. The recommendation will be by simple majority vote of the committee.
    3. The recommendation of the committee will include a recitation of the basic or underlying facts relied upon by the committee in reaching its recommendation.
    4. The committee will notify the student and instructor of its recommendation within five (5) class days by certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested. A copy of the recommendations will be sent to the dean and department chair through campus mail.
    5. Notice of the committee's recommendation.
      1. If the committee recommends to uphold the grade given by the instructor, the chairperson of the committee will notify the student, instructor, and Provost of same.
      2. If the committee recommends changing the grade given by the instructor, the chairperson of the committee shall notify the student and the instructor. Upon said notification, the instructor will have up to five (5) class days to:
        1. change the grade of the student pursuant to the recommendation of the committee; or
        2. notify the committee chairperson of said instructor's decision not to change the student's grade per the committee's recommendation.
    6. If the instructor elects not to change the student's grade per the committee's recommendation, the committee chairperson will immediately submit a complete report of the committee's findings, recommendation, and the instructor's response to the committee's recommendation to the Provost. All recommended grade changes (if any) will be made by the Provost. Records of these proceedings shall be kept on file in the office of the Provost.
  6. PROCEDURE FOR REVIEW OF A REQUEST TO CHANGE A GRADE TO A WITHDRAWAL (W)
    1. The deadline for filing a REQUEST TO CHANGE A GRADE TO A WITHDRAWAL (W) GRADE form with the Office of the Provost is no later than one (1) regular semester after the grade was assigned.
      1. Grades assigned during spring semester: Apply during summer session or no later than the close of the 6th week of the following fall semester.
      2. Grades assigned during summer session: Apply no later than the close of the 6th week of the following fall semester.
      3. Grades assigned during fall semester: Apply no later than the close of the 6th week of the following spring semester.
      4. Upon receipt of the completed REQUEST TO CHANGE A GRADE TO A WITHDRAWAL (W) GRADE form, the Office of the Provost will notify the instructor, department chair, dean of the school, and Academic Appeals Committee members within ten (10) class days.
    2. The REQUEST TO CHANGE A GRADE TO A WITHDRAWAL (W)      GRADE form must include signatures of    the student and the instructor of record (or department chair if the original instructor is no longer available).
    3. The committee will convene within fifteen (15) class days after the beginning of the semester following the receipt of the request notice from the Office of the Provost.
    4. The committee will review the request for compliance with institutional or other policies and regulations, determine whether the request should be granted, and notify the Provost’s Office of the decision within seven (7) days after convening. The Registrar’s Office will then communicate the decision to the student, instructor of record and department chair.