Tiger Paw Student Handbook 
    
    Jan 26, 2022  
Tiger Paw Student Handbook

Grievances


 

Academic Grievances

 

From time to time, students may raise questions concerning academic decisions made by instructors or academic policies established by the University. Questions regarding academic decisions may deal with grades, such as setting standards, evaluating student progress, and reporting grades accurately, but they may also concern other academic issues such as an instructor’s policies concerning absences, classroom behavior, and other matters specified in an instructor’s syllabus.

An instructor is expected to apply grading standards and other academic regulations equitably and to carefully guard against errors in all of these academic matters. If a student raises questions about a grade or another academic circumstance, the instructor should respond constructively, explaining the situation as carefully as possible and checking to be sure that no error has been made. Most questions concerning grades and other academic matters can be resolved in this manner, but when this is not possible, a student may appeal for further consideration by following, in detail, the process outlined below.

A student who believes that the grading standards have not been equitably applied or that the instructor may have made an error in calculating his/her grade or who has other questions regarding his/her grade or other academic policies or decisions has the right to full explanation and clarification of such questions. This policy has been adopted by the University to ensure the student’s right to appeal for reconsideration of such decisions. A student who wishes to appeal a grade or other academic decision must comply specifically with the following policies and procedures:

  1. Any appeal of a grade must be initiated no later than 30 days after the final grade has been assigned, and any appeal involving application of an academic policy must be initiated no later than 30 days after application of the policy at issue. An appeal to a higher level must be made within five class days following the student’s receipt of a response from the previous level.
  2. The student must first confer with the instructor in an attempt to resolve the question before appealing to any administrator. When a student raises such questions, the instructor should carefully explain the basis for the decision and should allow the student to examine relevant documents. This does not mean that the instructor must provide the student with copies of tests, and he/she, of course, must not allow the student to see documents relating specifically to other students. After the instructor has explained the basis for the decision, the student may request him/her to reconsider, in which case the instructor should reevaluate the situation.
  3. If unable to reach a resolution through conference with the instructor, the student may appeal to the instructor’s department chairperson. The chairperson may request the instructor to provide, for information purposes, a written statement regarding the basis of the grade or decision and the result of the conference with the student and may also request permission to examine relevant tests and other documents as necessary. The department chairperson may find no basis for further consideration or may request the instructor to review the situation in order to be sure the student has been treated fairly and equitably. The department chairperson should handle the appeal expeditiously and should inform the student of his/her conclusions within five class days after receiving the student’s request.
  4. If the matter is not resolved at the departmental level, the student may appeal to the dean of the college in which the class is offered (If the matter involves an online course and is a procedural rather than an academic matter, the academic dean will confer with the online dean). The student must present his/her grievance to the dean in writing, specifying in detail the basis of the appeal. The dean may require written statements from the instructor and/or department chairperson, as well as copies of tests and other relevant documents relating to the student in question and to other students in the class, which may assist in making a determination that the instructor has applied grading standards equitably. The dean may request the instructor to review the situation or may determine that no basis has been established for further consideration. The dean will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 10 days after receipt of the written grievance statement, with copies to the instructor and the department chairperson.
  5. If the matter is not resolved by the dean’s action, the student may appeal in writing to the Provost. The dean will forward to the Provost copies of the student’s original grievance statement, the statement of the dean’s decision, and all other documents considered. The Provost may require the student, the instructor, the department chairperson, and/or the dean to provide additional information as necessary. The Provost may request the instructor to review the situation or may determine that no basis has been established for further consideration. The Provost will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the instructor, department chairperson, and dean.
  6. Final appeal for an academic grievance is to the President of the University, who will follow essentially the same process as the Provost after receiving the appeal in writing, requiring additional information as he/she deems necessary. Again, the President may request the instructor to review the situation or may dismiss the student’s complaint. The President will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the instructor, department chairperson, dean, and Provost.

 

 

 

In considering the student’s appeal, the President, Provost, dean, or department chairperson may find it appropriate to talk with other students in the class or pursue other lines of inquiry in order to have as much relevant information as possible. If so, such inquiries should be handled with discretion and with care to protect the privacy and the interests of both the student and the instructor.

The setting of grading standards for a specific class is the responsibility and prerogative of the instructor in that class. The administration’s concern is limited primarily to assuring that student progress is carefully evaluated, grades are accurately reported, and established grading standards are applied fairly and equitably to all students in the class. However, if at any stage of the appeal process the instructor is asked to reconsider a grade or other academic decision, he/she should do so carefully and thoughtfully to ensure that the student is treated fairly and equitably in all respects. The instructor has the authority to change a grade with the approval of the appropriate academic administrator. The University reserves the right to administratively change a grade in cases including, but not limited to, incompetence, bad faith, fraud, error, or similar infractions.

Students should also be aware that although the University is concerned to ensure that students are treated fairly and equitably in academic matters, it will not condone frivolous or irresponsible allegations against faculty members.

Academic policies are established to provide guiding principles for fair decision making and, in some instances, to comply with regulations from accrediting bodies. A student who believes that an academic policy has not been equitably applied or who has other questions regarding the policy has the right to full explanation and clarification of such questions. A student who wishes to appeal reasonable application of the policy (Only the application of the policy and not the policy itself may be appealed) must comply with the following:

  1. Any appeal involving application of an academic policy must be made no later than 30 days after application of the policy at issue. An appeal to a higher level must be made within five class days following the student’s receipt of a response from the previous level.
  2. If the matter is not resolved through the explanation of the policy by an instructor or chairperson, the student must present his/her grievance to the dean in writing, specifying in detail the basis of the appeal. The dean will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 10 days after receipt of the written grievance statement.
  3. If the matter is not resolved by the dean’s actions, the student may appeal in writing to the Provost. The dean will forward to the Provost copies of the student’s original grievance statement, the statement of the dean’s decision, and all other documents considered. The Provost will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal with a copy to the dean.
  4. Final appeal for an academic policy grievance is to the President of the University, who will follow essentially the same process as the Provost after receiving the appeal in writing, requiring additional information as he/she deems necessary. Again, the President may request the dean to review the situation or may dismiss the student’s complaint. The President will inform the student of the decision, in writing, within 15 class days after receipt of the student’s written appeal, with copies to the dean and Provost.

 

September 1983; Rev. March 1990; September 1, 1999; September 11, 2007; February 6, 2008; May 21, 2012; August 13, 2013
 

 

Administrative Grievances

From time to time students may have questions concerning administrative policies or operations. These questions may involve areas such as financial aid, housing, health services, or student life.  Generally there are logical explanations for situations, and usually most questions can be resolved in an informal manner through discussion with the individual or office involved. In instances where a student raises a question about a non-academic policy or decision (academic matters fall under the Academic Grievance policy), the affected staff member should respond constructively, explaining the situation as carefully as possible and checking to be sure that no error has been made. If it is not possible to resolve a matter through discussion, a student may appeal for further consideration by voicing the concern to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA). Again, in most instances concerns can be resolved through discussion, interaction and possibly intervention on behalf of the VPSA as student ombudsman, but when this is not possible, the student can formalize his appeal in writing to the VPSA and ask for consideration by the Student Life Committee and/or the President to resolve the matter officially.  This policy is intended to ensure that the student is given fair and equitable consideration in any matter that may arise and complies with state and federal regulations.  For more information, visit http://ache.edu/NRI.aspx.

Rev.  May 21, 2012