9. Academic appeals
The aim of the academic appeal process is to provide students with a fair, efficient and consistent process to appeal academic decisions which have an impact on their academic standing or progression within their program. Although the academic appeal process is available to students, it is recommended that students engage in an informal process prior to investigating a formal appeal process.
9.1 Circumstances for an academic appeal
Students at Georgian College can appeal the following:
- A mark on an evaluation, test, examination, or work-integrated learning term (co-op, field placement, clinical placement, internship) 1
- Missing or incorrect assessment information on a grade report and/or transcript
- A charge of academic misconduct
- A final admission decision. Applicants who have been refused admission to the college have the right to submit an appeal if they believe that equal consideration with other applicants was not provided. 2
Students cannot appeal a final grade. It is the academic work/learning that is appealable leading to the final grade, e.g., final test, exam, assignment, or work/skills in a co-op, practicum, field/clinical placement.
The admission appeal process starts at step 7. Applicants appeal directly to the Office of the Registrar.
9.2 Academic appeal process
Students are encouraged to exhaust all informal steps before moving to the formal appeal process. It is the aim of Georgian College to ensure faculty and students work together in a collegial manner to resolve issues prior to the exploration of the formal academic appeal process. Informal steps, which can be taken to resolve an academic issue, include:
- Meeting with the appropriate faculty member to discuss the issue to understand the academic decision of the faculty member.
- A student may meet with their student success advisor and/or program coordinator is to review the situation and support the student to build their self-navigation and self-advocacy skills as it relates to the appeal process.
Though encouraged, if a student completes these informal steps they must do so mindful of the timeline to initiate the formal appeal process.
Appeals follow a logical progression. If the student and academic area/department come to a joint resolution, the appeal will not proceed to the next step.
The Academic Appeal form (AAF) is used to guide the appeal process. Each step within the academic appeal process must be completed prior to the subsequent step being taken in the process. The student is expected to continue their semester while the process is taking place unless otherwise advised by a dean/associate dean, registrar/associate registrar in writing.
9.2.1 The appeal statement
The student is responsible for submitting the appeal statement as part of the appeal process along with the appeal form (AAF). The appeal statement should include:
- The grade/decision/issue being appealed, include relevant dates and events or conduct that occurred
- Full details of the grounds on which the appeal is being made
- The desired outcome of the appeal
- Be sure to include copies of all relevant documents
9.2.2 Appeal process
The process for an academic appeal is outlined below.
Steps 1 through 6 occur between the student and the academic department.
If the process reaches step 7, the student involves the Office of the Registrar, and the process continues between the student and the associate registrar/registrar.
|1||The student completes the Academic Appeal form (AAF) and the 250-word appeal statement refer to 9.2.1 for more detail. Submits these documents to the faculty in the academic area/department within five working days of evaluation being communicated. If the AAF is not completed, and/or the 250-word statement not submitted, the appeal will not proceed. If an academic misconduct is being appealed, proceed to step 4||Student||AAF, appeal statement, email|
|2||The faculty may inform and consult with program co-ordinator/manager. Date and time of meeting with student is determined within two working days of the appeal submission||Academic area/department||Phone/email/in-person|
|3||The faculty or designate meets with student and records their decision and supporting comments on the AAF. If the student and academic area/department come to a resolution, the appropriate changes are made and the AAF is not pursued or recorded. If there is no resolution the academic area/department returns the AAF to the student, no later than 24 hours after the meeting, and the process continues||Academic area/department||AAF, email|
|4||The student submits the AAF and the appeal statement to the dean/associate dean/director within two working days of the academic area/department meeting. If appealing an academic misconduct, the student must also provide a copy of the Academic Misconduct form (AMF)||Student||AAF, appeal statement, AMF, email/in-person|
|5||The dean/associate dean reviews the AAF and supporting appeal statement and consults as needed with the academic area/department. Meets with student and academic area/department within two working days of receiving the AAF||Dean/associate dean/director||AAF, appeal statement|
|6||The dean/associate dean records their decision and supporting comments on the AAF and returns the form to the student no later than two working days after meeting with the student. If no resolution is found, the dean/associate dean advises the student of the next steps and timelines||Dean/associate dean/director/registrar||AAF, appeal statement, in-person|
|*||Steps 7 through 10 occur between the student and the Office of the Registrar. Reference below, section 10.3 for the College Academic Appeal Panel (CAAP) process.|
|7||If the student wishes to continue the appeal, they should submit the AAF and relevant documents to the Office of the Registrar indicating the request to have a CAAP held to resolve the issue within two working days of receiving it back from the dean/associate dean/director. The student must ensure all relevant documents are submitted to the Office of the Registrar||Student||AAF, AMF, appeal statement, email, all supporting documents and decision details|
|8||The Office of the Registrar reviews the information provided by the student and academic area and determines: a) A CAAP is warranted. The academic issue falls within the scope of the academic appeal policy, timelines have been met, all informal and formal avenues of resolution have been exhausted. b) A CAAP is not warranted. The student’s academic issue does not fall within the scope of the academic appeal policy, timelines have not been met, all avenues for resolution have not been exhausted. c) It is recommended the student and the academic area further explore avenues for resolving the academic issue. If no CAAP is warranted, the student is advised of a decision within three working days of submitting the AAF, the decision stands and no further action is taken. Notification is provided to the dean/associate dean/director/registrar, and the academic area/department||Registrar/associate registrar||All available evidence, email|
|9||If a CAAP is warranted, it will convene within five working days of receiving the AAF in the Office of the Registrar. Both the academic area/department and the student attend to present their case||Registrar/associate registrar||Phone/email/in-person|
|10||The Office of the Registrar completes the AAF with the final decision of the CAAP. A copy is provided to the student, CAAP participants, the dean/associate dean, and the academic area/department within two working days of the CAAP meeting||Registrar/associate registrar||AAF, AMF, supporting documents|
|11||The Office of the Registrar makes the appropriate changes to the student record as needed||Office of the Registrar||Banner|
9.3 College Academic Appeal Panel (CAAP)
Decision(s) made in academic situations are based on Georgian College academic regulations, college policy and administrative directives. Those decisions that are subject to appeal are stated as such and the process for appeal is outlined. Where the opportunity for appeal is not explicitly stated, no appeal is possible under these regulations. Students, however, may reasonably request a review of records to check for and restore the effects of a possible clerical error.
Grounds for calling a CAAP may include:
- Error in process or in the application of the regulations
- It is deemed that the decision made within the academic area was not based on the evidence that was provided as part of steps 1 through 6 of the process
- Adequate reasons have not been provided outlining the rationale for the decision made during steps 1 through 6 of the process
Additional grounds may also be applicable to academic appeal situations such as the original decision is deemed unreasonable in light of evidence that was not previously available. A lack of disclosure of evidence does not constitute as grounds for an appeal. A lack of disclosure may be considered as dishonesty leading to a review under the Student Code of Conduct.
When appeals are presented to a CAAP, their role is to formally decide upon a resolution to an appeal in accordance with the following procedures. All aspects of the adjudication process are strictly confidential. The CAAP will have access to all information available concerning the appeal and in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990.
Decisions are based on information presented to the CAAP. All CAAP decisions are final and binding.
Timelines noted in the appeal process are expected to be adhered to by all parties. Where there are extenuating circumstances, or if additional time is needed to collect information, the timelines may be altered or extended so long as changes are communicated to all parties and justification is provided. Timeline changes must be reasonable. The process must not take more than 30 business days.
If a College Academic Appeal Panel (CAAP) is determined to be appropriate, by the Office of the Registrar, the registrar/associate registrar selects three members (a member of Georgian College Students' Association (GCSA), a faculty and a dean/associate dean) from academic areas other than the student's, to form the CAAP. Each panel member is responsible for declaring any conflict of interest. A dean/associate dean chairs the CAAP and both the involved or relevant academic area/department and the student attend to present their case.
The registrar/associate registrar acts as a non-voting recording secretary for the CAAP as well as a resource for process, policies, and regulations. The Office of the Registrar sets a date and time for the CAAP and notifies the panel and the student within five working days of receiving the Academic Appeal form (AAF) and confirming it meets the criteria for a CAAP. Supporting documents must be received from the student and academic area/department no later than eight working days after receiving notice of the CAAP. The panel fully reviews the facts and confers with the CAAP chair, who renders a decision in a free and unbiased manner. The process is as follows:
- Before the CAAP meets, the registrar/associate registrar investigates the appeal situation, collects statements from the individuals involved, prepares a preliminary report for the panel summarizing the essential details of the case
- All members of the CAAP are involved in the hearing and the decision
- During the appeal hearing, the academic area/department and student may be accompanied by one support person each, e.g., student success advisor, counsellor, or guardian, as long as the support person is identified to the registrar/associate registrar two business days prior to the hearing
- Witnesses and other concerned individuals may be invited to the hearing by the student or academic area/department. These persons may be asked by the chair to provide information to the panel during the hearing
- The faculty and student are responsible for arranging their own support persons and witnesses, and for informing them of the schedule and process to be followed. Support persons, witnesses and those directed by the CAAP are the only people allowed to attend the panel sessions, and only as necessary during the hearing. Support persons present are not permitted to speak on behalf of the student, unless permitted by the chair
- In any situation where an individual’s personal interests may be incompatible or in conflict with their responsibilities as a support person, witness or CAAP member in a hearing, which includes actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest, the chair of the CAAP or the registrar/associate registrar has the discretion to decline that individual’s involvement in the hearing. Where possible, the notification of the conflict will be provided prior to the CAAP meeting
- The CAAP decides on an outcome to the appeal, a resolution process, and any penalties/actions to be applied
- Decisions are based on information presented to the CAAP. Reasons for a decision must be based on the statements found during the academic appeal process. Decisions regarding the outcome of the case and any penalties/actions should be reached by consensus whenever possible. The chair makes the final decision on behalf of the college if consensus is not reached.
Appeal panels adhere to the principles of fairness. Some basic rules to ensure fairness include the following:
Adequate notice of the CAAP meeting
Notice of the CAAP meeting must include the time and place of the hearing. All written statements available about the case, such as statements from both the academic area/department and student, the registrar/associate registrar’s report and notice of witnesses will be provided to all parties within eight working days prior to the CAAP meeting. The registrar/associate registrar can extend the time limits in this procedure after consulting with both the student and the academic area/department to ensure appropriate preparation time.
Opportunity to fully present the case
Both parties have the opportunity to present their cases and fully disclose pertinent information. Questioning of witnesses is directed through the panel.
Reasons for decisions
Reasons for decisions made by the CAAP are included in the panel’s final communication. A copy of the communication is sent to the student, the academic area/department, and the dean/associate dean of the student’s program area. A copy is also kept on the student’s record in the Office of the Registrar.
When it is deemed necessary, the College may designate a staff member to act on behalf of persons or positions noted in this document. This is usually done to ensure reasonable timelines are followed in cases in which those college personnel identified are not available, or whose availability is constrained.