Examples of academic actions or decisions subject to this regulation include, but are not limited to: assignment of final course grades, denial of admission to an academic program, and academic dismissal. Grades assigned prior to the final grade received in a course are not subject to review under this section.
Definitions Applicable to Academic Disputes
- Academic Decision Review Committee: An academic decision review committee is an ad hoc committee composed of faculty and a non-voting student representative, appointed by the dean/director, and a nonvoting hearing officer, appointed according to UAS rules and procedures, to formally review a contested final grade assignment or other academic decision.
- Academic Leader: The term “academic leader” is used to denote the administrative head of the academic unit offering the course or program from which the academic decision or action arose.
- Academic Unit: The term “academic unit” generally refers to a department or other group with responsibility for academic decisions within a school, college, institute, or center. The term may refer to a school, college, institute or center in instances when a smaller unit is either of insufficient size for a given purpose or nonexistent.
- Arbitrary and Capricious Grading: Arbitrary and capricious grading means the assignment of a final course grade on a basis other than performance in the course; the use of standards different from those applied to other students in the same course; or substantial, unreasonable and/or unannounced departure from the course instructor’s previously articulated standards or criteria. (See also “grading error”)
- Class Day: As used in the schedule for review of academic decisions, a class day is any day of scheduled instruction, excluding Saturday and Sunday, included on the academic calendar in effect at the time of a review. Final examination periods are counted as class days.
- Dean/Director: The dean/director is the administrative head of the college or school offering the course or program from which the academic decision or action arises. For students at extended campuses the director of the campus may substitute for the dean/director of the unit offering the course or program.
- Final Grade: The final grade is the grade assigned for a course upon its completion.
- Grading Error: A grading error is a mathematical miscalculation of a final grade or an inaccurate recording of the final grade. (See also “arbitrary and capricious grading”).
- Next Regular Semester: The next regular semester is the fall or spring semester following that in which the disputed academic decision was made. For example, it would be the fall semester for a final grade issued for a course completed during the previous spring semester or summer session. The spring semester is the next regular semester for an academic decision made during the previous fall semester.
Procedure for Resolving Disputes Regarding Final Grade Assignment
Students may challenge a final grade assignment on the basis of alleged grading error or arbitrary and capricious grading. Because grades can affect such things as a student’s eligibility for continued financial aid, UAS publications must advise students to learn their final grades and initiate a review, where desired, as soon as possible. UAS rules and procedures must also stipulate other provisions that may be needed to expedite these reviews in the manner outlined in regulation below.
The time schedule outlined below will stipulate maximum time periods within which to complete stages of the review. However, permission for extensions of time may be granted, in writing, by the dean/director of the academic unit offering the course or other officials that may be identified in UAS rules and procedures.
UAS rules and procedures will also outline alternative officials for those instances where the academic leader or the dean/director is the person who made the academic decision under review.
- Informal Procedures
- Where possible, students will be expected to first request an informal resolution of the final grade assignment with the course instructor or academic leader. The process must be initiated by the 15th class day of the next regular semester of the UAS offering the course. The instructor or academic leader must respond to the request within 5 class days of receipt.
- If the instructor’s decision is to change the final grade, the instructor must promptly initiate the process in accordance with UAS rules and procedures. If the instructor does not change the grade and the student’s concerns remain unresolved, the student may, in accordance with UAS rules and procedures, notify the academic leader of the academic unit responsible for the course. Within 5 class days of such notification, the academic leader must either effect resolution of the issue with the instructor or inform the student of the process for formally appealing the final grade assignment.
- If the course instructor is no longer an employee of the University or is otherwise unavailable, the student must notify the academic leader by the 15th class day of the next regular semester. Within 5 class days of notification by the student, the academic leader must either effect resolution of the issue through contact with the course instructor or inform the student of the process for formally appealing the final grade assignment.
- Formal Procedures
- A student formally requesting review of a final grade assignment must provide the dean/ director of the academic unit offering the course a signed, written request for a formal review, indicating the basis for requesting a change of grade. The request must be filed by the 20th class day of the next regular semester or within 5 class days of receipt of notification of the process by the academic leader.
- In accordance with UAS rules and procedures, the dean/director will convene an academic decision review committee and forward to it the written request for formal review from the student. The committee must initiate proceedings within 10 class days of receipt of the student’s request. The committee will first consider whether the facts submitted by the student warrant a formal hearing and, if so, conduct the hearing. The student and the course instructor must be notified of the time and place the request will be considered and of the process to be followed.
- If on initial review the academic decision review committee determines that the facts as presented would not constitute arbitrary or capricious grading or a grading error, the academic decision review committee will dismiss the case without a formal hearing. This decision will constitute the final decision of the University. The committee’s decision will be provided in writing to the student, the course instructor, and the dean/director of the academic unit offering the course.
- If the academic decision review committee determines that the facts as presented might constitute arbitrary or capricious grading or a grading error, the academic decision review will, in accordance with UAS rules and procedures, proceed to a formal hearing. The committee will consider information provided by the student, the instructor if available, and others as it sees fit.
- The academic decision review committee proceedings will result in the preparation of written findings and conclusions. Conclusions will result in one of the following:
- The request for a grade change is denied.
- The request for a grade change is upheld; the review committee requests the course instructor to change the grade; and the course instructor changes the grade in accordance with UAS rules and procedure.
- The request for a grade change is upheld; the course instructor is either unavailable to change the grade or refuses to, and the review committee directs the dean/director to initiate the process specified by UAS rules and procedures to change the grade to that specified by the review committee.
- The decision of the academic decision review committee constitutes the final decision of the University, and will be provided in writing to the student, the course instructor, and the dean/director. The hearing officer will be responsible for the preparation of a record of the hearing, in accordance with UAS rules and procedures.
- Unless an extension has been authorized by the dean/director, disputes concerning final grades must be completed by the end of the next regular semester following the assignment of the grade.
Review Procedures for Disputes Regarding Denial of Admission to or Dismissal from a Program of Study for Academic Reasons
UAS rules and procedures, in accordance with this regulation, will designate the formal and informal process(es) by which a student may initiate a review of an academic decision by that UAS of disputes regarding denial of admission to or dismissal from a program of study. The formal process must include the following elements.
- A request for a formal review must be filed in writing by the 20th class day of the next regular semester of the campus making the decision, or within 5 class days of receipt of notification of the process for filing a formal review after completion of any informal review, unless written permission for extension of time is granted.
- Formal reviews of academic decisions will be conducted by an academic decision review committee convened in accordance with UAS rules and procedures.
- UAS rules and procedures will specify under which circumstances the conclusions of the academic decision review committee will constitute the final decision of the University on the matter or be advisory to an academic officer making the final decision.
- The final decision on the matter will be provided to the student in writing. A member of the review committee will be designated as responsible for preparation of the record.
- Unless an extension has been authorized by the dean/director, disputes concerning academic decisions must be completed by the end of the next regular semester following the decision.
- Other Academic Decisions Review Procedures for all other academic decisions are outlined in UAS rules and procedures. This process is published in UAS catalogs or student handbooks.
- Students with Disabilities Disputes Regarding decisions associated with appropriate academic adjustments and programmatic accommodation for students with disabilities will be reviewed according to procedures set forth in University Regulation on students with disabilities.