FLDB(LOCAL) - STUDENT COMPLAINTS: COURSE GRADE COMPLAINTS
Student complaints, including but not limited to, discriminatory issues are covered by separate regulations [see FLD]. Student complaints regarding disciplinary issues are covered by separate regulations [see FM and FMA].
The purpose of this policy is to provide students with an opportunity to appeal faculty decisions made in regards to scholastic dishonesty and final grades.
Scholastic Integrity – Faculty Responsibility and Student Rights
It is the responsibility of faculty to maintain scholastic integrity at the College District by refusing to tolerate any form of scholastic dishonesty. Adequate control of test materials, strict supervision during testing, and other preventative measures should be utilized, as necessary, to prevent cheating or plagiarism. If there is compelling evidence that a student is involved in cheating or plagiarism, the faculty member should assume responsibility and address the infraction. Likewise, any student accused of scholastic dishonesty is entitled to due process to resolve the allegation.
"Scholastic dishonesty" shall include but not be limited to cheating, plagiarism, and collusion.
"Cheating" shall include but shall not be limited to:
Copying from another student's test or class work;
Using test materials not authorized by the person administering the test;
Collaborating with or seeking aid from another student during a test without permission from the test administrator;
Knowingly using, buying, selling, stealing, or soliciting, in whole or in part, the contents of an unadministered test, paper, or another assignment;
The unauthorized transporting or removal, in whole or in part, of the contents of the unadministered test;
Substituting for another student, or permitting another student to substitute for one's self, to take a test;
Bribing another person to obtain an unadministered test or information about an unadministered test; or
Manipulating a test, assignment, or final course grades.
"Plagiarism" shall be defined as the appropriating, buying, receiving as a gift, or obtaining by any means another's work and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of it in one's own written work.
"Collusion" shall be defined as the unauthorized collaboration with another person in preparing written work for fulfillment of course requirements.
Scholastic Dishonesty Resolution
If a student accused of violating Blinn College's Scholastic Integrity policy wishes to appeal a decision at any level of the process, the student shall follow the regulations outlined at the end of this policy, in the Administrative Regulation Manual, and in the Blinn College Catalog.
Final Course Grade Complaints
Student complaints, including but not limited to discriminatory issues, are covered by separate regulations [see FLD]. Student complaints regarding disciplinary issues are covered by separate regulations [see FM and FMA].
The purpose of this policy is to provide students with an opportunity to appeal faculty decisions made in regards to final grades.
Final Grade Dispute
The College District recognizes that the evaluation of student performance is based upon the professional judgment of its faculty. Faculty members will clearly outline their grading regulation in their course syllabus. It is the student's responsibility to be familiar with the grading process and seek clarification when needed. A student may question a course grade that the student believes has been awarded in a manner inconsistent with College District policies or class syllabus details or that has resulted from calculation errors on the part of the faculty member.
A student who has questions about his or her grade or who disagrees with a grade assigned should contact his or her faculty members to discuss his or her concerns as soon as possible following receipt of the grade.
Final Grade Dispute Resolution
A student disputing a grade shall make an appointment with his or her faculty member. Because grade and course materials are not readily accessible after the next long semester, the student must initiate contact no later than the end of the next long semester (e.g., fall to spring, spring to fall, and summer to fall). If the student does not appear for the appointment, the grade shall stand.
After discussing the incident with the student, the faculty member may change the grade or uphold the grade.
A student wishing to appeal the faculty member's decision may appeal according to the following process, which is outlined in the Blinn College Catalog and the Administrative Regulation Manual.
The process for appealing faculty decisions shall be initiated by the student as soon as possible following receipt of the decision but shall be filed no later than the end of the next long semester (e.g., fall to spring, spring to fall, and summer to fall).
The student shall be afforded the following rights within the academic appeals hearing process:
Right to written notice of meeting dates and committee decisions.
Right to discontinue the appeals process at any time.
Right to reasonable access to the file relating to this matter. Reasonable access provides the student with an opportunity to review the case file in the presence of a College District faculty member, staff member, or other authorized designee of the College District. The student shall be entitled to photocopy relevant items that are directly related to his or her appeal.
Right to appeal alone or with legal counsel. The student may not be represented by an attorney unless three days' advanced written notice is provided to the College District detailing the name, address, and telephone number of the student's intended counsel of record. The College District reserves the right, upon receipt of such notification, to have its legal representative present.
If the student wishes to appeal the findings at any level, it is the sole responsibility of the student to provide written notice of his or her intention, in that regard, to the administrator at the next highest level within the time frame(s) provided by this policy.
The following definitions shall apply:
Appeals Committee—For each appeal, a separate committee will be convened. The appropriate Vice Chancellor, Instruction, or his or her designee, will select the committee, which will be composed of three faculty members who teach at the student's home campus and the appropriate instructional dean, who shall serve as a nonvoting member of the committee and as chairperson. For students who attend any campuses other than the Brenham-Bryan campuses, the appeals process shall be the responsibility of, and shall take place on, the Brenham campus.
Evidence—Written proof concerning disputed issues shall be the responsibility of the student. The course syllabus, with the method of grade calculation, and any other document that explains or clarifies the issue being disputed will be included but will be provided by the student. The appeals committee may request clarification of information from the instructional dean.
Standard of Review
The standard of review to be used in all proceedings under this policy shall be that of fundamental fairness. Strict rules of evidence and regulation are not required so long as the proceedings are conducted in such a manner as to allow both sides the opportunity to fairly and fully explore the circumstances. Discussion regarding the same shall be made by the party who is conducting the hearing.
The meeting between the student and the faculty member shall represent Level I of the process and shall be considered an informal meeting. If a student has been unable to make contact with the faculty member, the student may make a direct appeal to Level II.
The conference between the student and the instructional dean represents Level II of the appeal.
Prior to or at the conference, the student and the faculty member shall submit a written statement and copies of all coursework or other appropriate documentation to the instructional dean for review. The instructional dean shall hear and evaluate the student's complaint and shall then confer with the faculty member.
The instructional dean shall put in writing his or her findings and related decision.
If the conference is not resolved to the student's satisfaction, the student shall have five class days from his or her receipt of written notification to respond to the instructional dean who will then defer to the appeals process for resolution. The instructional dean will notify the appropriate Vice Chancellor, Instruction of this decision in writing within one class day. If the student does not request a hearing by an appeals committee within the five class days provided by this policy, the student will forfeit the right to any additional appeal.
The appeals committee shall be initiated at Level III of the appeal. This committee is an ad hoc committee chosen by the Vice Chancellor, Instruction or his or her designee and shall be chaired by the appropriate instructional dean.
Upon notification of the student's decision to pursue further appeal, the instructional dean will notify in writing the student, the faculty member, and the Vice Chancellor, Instruction that the dispute will be referred within five class days to an appeals committee for review. The instructional dean shall submit to the appeals committee copies of all written documentation obtained from the student and/or the faculty member and written instructions concerning assignments from the faculty member.
Within five to ten days of the receipt of the written materials, the committee chair will convene the appeals committee to review the written materials submitted and shall schedule the date, time, and location of the hearing. The committee chair will notify all parties of the hearing. The student and the faculty member shall receive written notification from the committee chairman that the issue will be reviewed by the committee within the given time frame.
The hearing shall provide an opportunity for both the student and the faculty member to be heard.
No new written evidence may be submitted at the hearing.
If witnesses are to be presented, a list must be provided to the chairperson of the appeals committee prior to the scheduled hearing.
The appeals committee shall make a recommendation to the Vice Chancellor, Instruction, who will then make a final decision and notify the student and faculty member in writing.
The decision of the Vice Chancellor, Instruction is final.