Academic Standards

Basis for Dismissal Because of an Unsatisfactory Academic Record

The following rules establish the standards for dismissal of a graduate student from the Payson Center’s programs because of an unsatisfactory academic record: 

  1. No student may remain in school who has a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0 at the end of the first semester or at the end of any subsequent semester.
  2. Grades of B- are less than acceptable in the graduate programs.  Students are warned the first time they receive a grade of B- and any additional grades of B- can lead to academic probation or dismissal.
  3. Grades below B- are not acceptable in the graduate programs and lead to academic probation or dismissal from the program, depending on the grade.  In addition, the student does not receive credit for courses with grades below B-.
  4.  No student may remain in school who has received a grade of F.
  5.  No student may graduate with a cumulative grade point average of less than 3.0.

Appeal of Grades 

Within one month of receiving the grade, a student should make an informal attempt to resolve the grievance by approaching the faculty member concerned.  If student and teacher cannot arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution within seven days, the student should immediately appeal his or her grade by written petition to the Executive Director of the Payson Center.  The petition must recite with particularity the specific grounds for the appeal. Grade appeals can be based only on actions by the faculty member in the grading process. Events that happen during the teaching of the course and administration of exams cannot constitute grounds for a grade appeal.   The Executive Director may dismiss any appeal which, after consideration of the petition, is determined to be unfounded. If the Executive Director finds that the petition states a ground for appeal, the Executive Director shall first discuss the matter with the faculty member involved. Thereafter, the Executive Director may refer the appeal to a faculty committee of the Executive Director’s choosing, refer the appeal to the faculty as a whole, or take whatever other action the Executive Director deems appropriate. The Executive Director shall consult with the faculty member involved after considering the petition and prior to rendering a final decision. The Executive Director shall also notify the faculty member involved of the final decision in writing. If a student remains dissatisfied with the outcome after having followed the procedures set forth here, he or she may file a written appeal to the Vice Dean of the Law School.  Thereafter, if the student remains dissatisfied with the outcome, he or she may file an appeal with the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility of Students within five days of receiving the decision of the Executive Director, faculty committee, or faculty, whichever is the ultimate decisionmaker.

Based on the petition, the Senate Committee will decide whether or not to hear the appeal. In deciding the appeal, the committee should follow the Payson Center’s grade appeal standards set forth above. If the committee decides that there are not sufficient grounds for review, the Chair of the committee will notify the student by letter, with copies to the principals involved in the case and to the Provost. If the committee decides that there are sufficient grounds for review, it will interview both the student and the teacher. A quorum of three committee members, at least one of whom must be a representative of the administration, one of whom must be a faculty member, and one of whom must be a student, is necessary for all committee hearings.

After the committee interviews both the student and the teacher (or other principals involved) at a hearing, then the Chairman will send the results of the committee's findings in the form of a letter of recommendation to the President of the University, with copies to the student and other principals involved and to the Provost.

If, in accordance with faculty rights as specified in the Faculty Handbook and in the Constitution and Bylaws of the University Senate and the various divisions, the teacher believes that his or her academic freedom or academic responsibilities have been affected by any administrative ruling, the teacher may appeal to the appropriate committee of peers at the divisional level (the Payson Center). The teacher's appeal must be made within ten days of the action provoking the appeal. If the teacher is dissatisfied with the committee of peers' decision regarding his or her academic freedom or responsibilities, the teacher may appeal to the Senate Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom, and Responsibility. That appeal also must be made within ten days of the action provoking it. No grade may be changed until the teacher's appeal process has been completed.

If the student is dissatisfied with any decision made in the appellate process initiated by the teacher, the student may appeal to the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility of Students.

In cases of conflict regarding the decisions of the divisional peer committee and the Senate Committee on Academic Freedom and Responsibility of Students, the matter shall be referred to the Senate Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom and Responsibility. In cases of conflict regarding the decisions of the Senate Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom, and Responsibility and either of the other committees involved in teacher initiated appeals, the committees at odds shall meet jointly to discuss the issue. The ultimate findings of the two committees shall be forwarded to the President of the University within ten days.

Readmission

Students who have been dismissed for academic deficiencies, as defined above, may petition for readmission, and such petitions will be considered by the Faculty Admission Committee. To the extent practicable, the Admission Committee will follow the procedures listed below.

Although there is no specific format for the petition, the student should provide the committee with a detailed written account of his or her academic performance and the factors which may have contributed to it. Students who request that the Committee consider physical illness or personal or family situations that affected their ability to concentrate on academics must submit appropriate documentation, either with their petitions or at their readmission hearings. Letters of recommendation from professors or other persons who may have direct knowledge of the student's ability may be helpful but are not required. Finally, the student should relate to the Committee specific details which he or she believes will lead to the improvement of his or her academic record if readmitted.

In addition to filing a written petition, the student has the right to appear before the Admission Committee in person so that the appeal can be discussed in greater depth. The student may raise in the hearing only those issues discussed by the student in his or her petition. No student will be denied readmission without having the opportunity to present personally his or her petition before the Committee. 

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