Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

Skip to Main Content
    Harding University
   
 
  Jun 18, 2019
 
2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    
2018-2019 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Academic Grievances


Academic Grievance Procedure

If a student believes that he or she has reason to question the decision of a faculty member with regard to the final grade received in a course or the denial of academic progression, a procedure has been established to resolve the grievance.

A student has the right to file an appeal if there is disagreement with the final grade that has been awarded in a course. A student also has the right to file an appeal if there is disagreement with a decision related to academic progression. Students may only grieve either the final grade in a course or denial of academic progression, but not both. If academic progression is denied due to the final grade in a course, then the grievance is for the final grade in the course. If the final grade in more than one course leads to denial of academic progression, grade grievances for any or all of the involved courses must be filed at the same time. In other words, a new grievance for an involved course will not be allowed following denial of a grievance for another involved course.

Grievances will not be considered based on any of the following reasons:

  • Disagreement with a faculty member over the quality of academic work (i.e., content of an exam answer, paper, or other assignment), adherence to technical standards, or professional performance
  • Disagreement with published course or program policies
  • Differences in classroom policies or grading schemes between different courses within the same program, between different sections of the same course, or between different programs in the same college
  • A grade’s impact on a student’s academic progress, athletic eligibility, scholarship eligibility, or eligibility for veteran’s benefits

When initiating a grievance, students must present evidence of one or more of the following:

  • Terms of the syllabus, student handbook, or catalog were violated
  • An error was made in calculating or recording a grade
  • A University policy was violated in an assignment, administered exam, technical standard, or assigned grade
  • An inconsistent grading standard was applied among students in the same course
  • A written agreement between the faculty member/program/college and student was violated

Please note that the following academic grievance policies and procedures do not include matters of academic misconduct or faculty misconduct. Matters of academic misconduct are covered in the “Academic Integrity Policy .” Matters of alleged faculty misconduct should first be addressed with the specific faculty member. If the matter is still unresolved after addressing it with the faculty member, the student should then address the complaint to the course coordinator (if the faculty member is not the course coordinator) or the appropriate department chair for further assistance. If the issue needs further resolution or there is no department chair, the student should address the matter with the dean or a designated person in that college.

The appeal should be completed within 45 business days following initiation of the appeal process. A business day occurs when the university is open for business, which often includes days between semesters even when class is not in session. See the university’s Academic Calendar to know when the university is open or closed for business.

The term “in writing” is used throughout this policy and applies to written communication beginning with the “Academic Grievance Appeal” form in Pipeline and continuing via e-mail using Harding University-assigned e-mail addresses. Notification sent after 5:00 p.m. will be treated as if sent on the next business day.

The student must initiate the written Academic Grievance Appeal within five business days after notification of the final grade in Pipeline or notification of denial of academic progression. In cases of both course grade and academic progression appeals, students are encouraged to first engage the involved faculty member in a good faith discussion (in person or via telephone or email) as the first step in resolving any concerns. If resolution is not achieved, a student may submit a written academic grievance outlined below. The faculty member involved in the good faith discussion may choose to resolve the grievance at any point during the appeals process. Likewise, the student may withdraw the grievance at any point during the process.

Course Grade Appeals

The student-initiated process to grieve a course grade is as follows:

  1. The student may file a written grievance using the online Academic Grievance Appeal form in Pipeline. The Director of Academic Affairs will receive this form and forward it to the appropriate department chair or assistant/associate dean.
  2. If the faculty member who awarded the grade being grieved is the department chair or assistant/associate dean, the Director of Academic Affairs will send the appeal directly to the dean and Paragraph 3 will be skipped. If the faculty member who awarded the grade being grieved is the dean of the college, Paragraphs 3 and 4 will be skipped and the Director of Academic Affairs will assume the responsibilities of the dean in paragraphs 5 and 6.
  3. Upon receipt of the appeal, the department chair or assistant/associate dean of the program will review the student’s appeal and contact the faculty member for a statement. The chair may contact and/or meet with the student for more information. The department chair or assistant/associate dean will send a copy of his or her appeal decision in writing to the student, faculty member, and appropriate dean within five business days. If the department chair or assistant/associate dean does not render a decision within five business days after the student appeals to the department chair or associate dean, then the appeal will be deemed denied as of the fifth business day.
  4. If the department chair or assistant/associate dean denies the appeal or if the appeal is deemed denied, the student may appeal in writing within two business days of that denial using the online Academic Grievance Appeal form in Pipeline. The Director of Academic Affairs will receive this form and forward it to the appropriate dean.
  5. For appeals to the dean, the following supporting documentation is required (unless otherwise noted):
  • Explanation of what occurred and how the criteria required for a grievance applies to the situation
  • Correspondence from the department chair or assistant/associate dean indicating that the appeal has been denied at those levels, unless the appeal was deemed denied
  • Course syllabus or college/program handbook section related to academic progression and technical standards
  • Timeline of events relevant to the appeal
  • Assignment or exam in question (if applicable)
  • Excerpt from on-line catalog of university regulation (if applicable)
  • Correspondence with faculty member (if applicable)
  • Any other documentation supporting the appeal
  • A request to meet with the ad hoc committee in person if desired (see paragraph 7) 
  1. If the dean decides that the student does not have sufficient grounds for an appeal or sufficient evidence to support his/her claim, then the dean may deny the grievance and send a copy of his or her decision in writing to the student and the Director of Academic Affairs. If the dean does not render a decision within five business days after the student appeals, the appeal will be deemed denied as of the fifth business day, and the Director of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing. In either case, all appeal rights will be exhausted. If the dean believes the appeal meets the criteria for a grievance, then the dean will within five business days notify the student in writing. The dean will also notify the Director of Academic Affairs to appoint an ad hoc committee from the Academic Performance and Standards Committee to review the case.
  2. The ad hoc committee will review the submitted documentation. The ad hoc committee will determine whether a need to meet with the student or faculty member exists. If meeting is necessary, the student and/or faculty member will be met with separately (in person or via telephone) to obtain additional information. If the student wants to meet with the committee, he or she must make that request on the Academic Grievance Appeal form. The student may not bring other individuals to the meeting. If the student has eyewitnesses that will assist in resolving the issue, then the eyewitnesses may submit their testimony in writing to academicappeal@harding.edu for review by the committee.
  3. After conducting the interviews and reviewing all of the documentation, the committee will send a copy of its appeal decision in writing to the student, the dean of the college, and the Director of Academic Affairs. If the committee does not render a decision within ten business days after the student appeals to the dean, the appeal will be deemed denied as of the tenth business day, and the Director of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing. The committee chair will submit all of the documentation, notes, and records from the committee concerning the grievance to the Director of Academic Affairs.
  4. Upon final decision of the Academic Performance and Standards Committee, the student will have exhausted his or her right of appeal within the University.

Academic Progression Appeals

The student-initiated procedure to grieve academic progression is as follows:

  1. The student may file a written grievance using the online Academic Grievance Appeal form in Pipeline. The Director of Academic Affairs will receive this form and forward it to the appropriate dean.
  2. If the faculty member from whom notification of dismissal or other academic progression decision was received is the dean, then the Director of Academic Affairs will assume the responsibilities of the dean in Paragraphs 3 and 4.
  3. For appeals to the dean, the following supporting documentation is required (unless otherwise noted):
  • Explanation of what occurred and how the criteria required for a grievance applies to the situation
  • Correspondence from the department chair or assistant/associate dean indicating that the appeal has been denied at those levels, unless the appeal was deemed denied
  • Course syllabus or college/program handbook section related to academic progression and technical standards
  • Timeline of events relevant to the appeal
  • Assignment or exam in question (if applicable)
  • Excerpt from on-line catalog of university regulation (if applicable)
  • Correspondence with faculty member (if applicable)
  • Any other documentation supporting the appeal
  • A request to meet with the ad hoc committee in person if desired (see paragraph 5)
  1. If the dean decides that the student does not have sufficient grounds for an appeal or sufficient evidence to support his/her claim, then the dean may deny the grievance and send a copy of his or her decision in writing to the student and the Director of Academic Affairs. If the dean does not render a decision within five business days after the student appeals, the appeal will be deemed denied as of the fifth business day, and the Director of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing. In either case, all appeal rights will be exhausted. If the dean believes the appeal meets the criteria for a grievance, then the dean will within five business days notify the student in writing. The dean will also notify the Director of Academic Affairs to appoint an ad hoc committee from the Academic Performance and Standards Committee.
  2. The ad hoc committee will review the submitted documentation. The ad hoc committee will determine whether a need to meet with the student or faculty member exists. If meeting is necessary, the student and/or faculty member will be met with separately (in person or via telephone) to obtain additional information. If the student wants to meet with the committee, he or she must make that request on the Academic Grievance Appeal form. The student may not bring other individuals to the meeting. If the student has eyewitnesses that will assist in resolving the issue, then the eyewitnesses may submit their testimony in writing to academicappeal@harding.edu for review by the committee.
  3. After conducting the interviews and reviewing all of the documentation, the committee will send a copy of its decision in writing to the student, the dean of the college, and the Director of Academic Affairs. If the committee does not render a decision within ten business days after the student appeals to the dean, the appeal will be deemed denied as of the tenth business day, and the Director of Academic Affairs will notify the student in writing. The committee chair will submit all of the documentation, notes, and records from the committee concerning the grievance to the Director of Academic Affairs.
  4. If the appeal is denied by the committee or is deemed denied, further appeal rights are limited. The student may appeal in writing to the Provost within five business days of the committee’s decision. The appeal must specify the grounds, as well as supporting facts and rationale. Disagreement with the substance of the committee’s decision is not a ground for appeal at this level. The Provost will limit review to alleged failure to adhere to appeal policies and procedures or new information that was unavailable to the student or the faculty member when the committee made its decision. The Provost will render a final decision in writing within five business days after the student appeals to the Provost. Upon final decision of the Provost, the student will have exhausted his or her right of appeal within the University.

OFFICIAL RECORDS OF ACADEMIC APPEALS

The Provost Office will ensure maintenance of the official records related to academic appeals. All documents and objects, including, but not limited to, papers, recordings, electronic documents or files, and e-mails, related to an academic appeal will be forwarded to the Provost Office once the appeal process is completed.

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE AND STANDARDS COMMITTEE

The Academic Performance and Standards Committee is a standing committee that provides a pool from which ad hoc committees may be formed to hear various types of academic appeals. The committee is composed of one undergraduate faculty member, one graduate/professional faculty member, one undergraduate student, and one graduate/professional student representative from each college with the exception of the Honors College. The faculty members are appointed for two-year terms by the dean of each college with half being appointed in even years and the other half in odd years. The dean of each college annually appoints the student members. Undergraduate students only sit on appeals involving undergraduate students. Graduate/professional students only sit on appeals involving graduate/professional students. The Director of Academic Affairs appoints an ad hoc committee consisting of six members from the Academic Performance and Standards Committee (four faculty and two students) to review each case. If the grievance is in the Center for Health Sciences, at least two faculty members from the health sciences will be included. If the grievance is in a graduate/professional program, at least two faculty members who teach at the graduate/professional level will be included. The Director of Academic Affairs appoints the chair of each ad hoc committee.

NOTE

As in the case of any policy and policy guidelines, Harding reserves the right to change or to make appropriate revisions, additions, amendments, or corrections. Faculty and students will be notified of any substantial changes.