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University Bulletin

Graduate Degree Programs

APPENDIX II

Procedures for Resolution of Problems

Procedures for Resolution of Problems--These procedures pertain to a range of concerns and disagreements involving graduate students and other members of the University community excluding: Code of Conduct issues (see Appendix I); Termination of the Degree Program of a Graduate Student for Unsatisfactory Scholarship (see Appendix III); or Termination of Assistantships due to Inadequate Performance (see Appendix IV). Concerns may be raised by either a graduate student or another member of the University community (e.g., faculty, staff, or undergraduate student).

In most cases, when concerns arise, the most appropriate action will be for the parties involved to attempt to resolve problems between themselves. Parties should begin with the assumption that each is acting in good faith. Efforts should be made, as appropriate, to protect the confidentiality and reputations of all parties involved during the course of problem resolution procedures, as described below.

A. Grades and Grading

Disagreements regarding course grades and grading should be dealt with by the student and the instructor as outlined in Academic Administrative Policy G-10 and University Faculty Senate Policies 47-00 (in particular, 47-20), 48-00, and 49-00.

B. Academic Integrity

Issues related to misconduct in registered activities and other academic venues (including the thesis or dissertation), and to academic sanctions (grading), should be dealt with as outlined in Academic Integrity Policy 49-20 and Procedures G-9. This policy is implemented by College Academic Integrity Committees, which deal with issues of integrity in academic venues (e.g., courses or other registered activities; the thesis or dissertation) and with academic sanctions (from grades to dismissal from an academic program). The appropriate Academic Integrity Committee would be that of the college offering the registered activity. For Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP)-listed courses, the appropriate Academic Integrity Committee is that of the instructor's college. For issues related to the thesis or dissertation, it is the Academic Integrity Committee of the college in which the student's thesis or dissertation adviser resides. For advisers in units not within academic colleges, the dean of the Graduate School will determine the appropriate college Academic Integrity Committee.

Note: Issues of integrity and ethics in research and other scholarly activities not related to academic activities as delineated above, should be handled under RA-10 (Handling Inquiries/Investigations into Questions of Ethics in Research and in Other Scholarly Activities). The following are examples of integrity issues and appropriate courses of action, but are not intended to be comprehensive or absolute:

  1. Alleged misconduct in a registered course or activity (e.g., cheating or plagiarism) falls under the purview of Policy 49-20 (see G-9 as well), and the Academic Integrity Committee of the credit-offering college. For Intercollege Graduate Degree Program (IGDP)-listed courses, this is the Academic Integrity Committee of the instructor's college.
  2. Plagiarism in a thesis or dissertation falls under the purview of Policy 49-20 (see G-9 as well), and the Academic Integrity Committee of the college in which the student's thesis or dissertation adviser resides. For advisers in units not within academic colleges, the dean of the Graduate School will determine the appropriate college Academic Integrity Committee.
  3. Plagiarism in a research report, manuscript, or other scholarly work not related to the thesis, dissertation, or registered activity, is handled under RA-10.
  4. Misconduct related to thesis or dissertation research (e.g., falsification of data or methods) can involve issues related to both academic integrity and research integrity. Issues related to academic integrity may justify academic sanctions with respect to 600, 610, or other appropriate credits. Issues related to research integrity may require retraction of research reports, notification of funding sources, and/or other actions. In such situations involving both academic and research integrity, procedures should be followed as per RA-10. At the completion of the RA-10 process, the results of the RA-10 inquiry that are relevant should be forwarded to the appropriate college Academic Integrity Committee for review and determination of whether action with regard to potential academic sanctions should be pursued as per Senate Policy 49-20.
  5. Misconduct related to research or other scholarly activity that is not part of a thesis, dissertation, or registered activity is handled strictly under RA-10.
  6. If no misconduct is determined to exist, diligent efforts should be undertaken, as appropriate, to restore the reputations of the accused. Also diligent efforts should be undertaken to protect the positions and reputations of those who, in good faith, make allegations of misconduct.

C. Classroom Situations

(Exclusive of Grades and Grading and Academic Misconduct)

Students are occasionally confronted with classroom situations (exclusive of grades and grading) that cause them concern and/or inconvenience. Examples include:

  • failure of an instructor or administrator to uphold University policies, such as prohibition of smoking in classrooms, prohibition of scheduling comprehensive examinations during the last week, or early completion of semesters.
  • failure of an instructor to enforce the Code of Conduct (see Appendix I) with respect to students in the classroom.
  • failure of an instructor to fulfill instructional obligations such as unjustified cancellation of classes, frequent absenteeism or late arrival, excessive absences during designated office hours, or inappropriate substitution of teaching assistants.

A graduate student who believes that a problem exists has several avenues by which he/she can pursue resolution.  The avenue chosen by a student will depend upon the type of problem encountered and the wishes of the student.

  1. Most problems may be resolved by discussing the matter with the instructor directly involved, and/or with the student's adviser.
  2. If the problem remains unresolved following 1 above, or if the nature of the problem or any other reason prompts a graduate student to believe that this first avenue is inappropriate, the student may seek recourse first through the unit leader of the academic unit offering the course. If this step does not resolve the matter, the student should seek further recourse through the office of the appropriate Associate or Assistant Dean of the college or division offering the course. For courses that are jointly offered or team-taught by instructors from multiple colleges, the associate dean for graduate studies of the college of the instructor involved in the problem should be consulted. These officers are prepared to help students with classroom problems of the types listed above. Action of the Dean's office, if deemed appropriate by both the student and the administrator, shall occur within 30 days of the complaint or by the end of the semester.

Students may use this channel of communication with assurance that confidentiality will be maintained as appropriate: only information required to pursue a course of action as requested, or consented to, by the student in writing will be disclosed.

Note: Classroom situations involving conduct such as outlined in the Code of Conduct (Appendix I) should first be addressed informally between the instructor and student, however, if this approach does not successfully resolve the issue, it should be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs.

D. Other Situations

Disagreements to be considered under the following guidelines involve alleged violations of academic freedom, professional ethics, procedural fairness and consistency, and other issues of conduct not covered under Appendix I, Appendix II A, B, or C above, Appendix III or Appendix IV. These guidelines do not apply to classroom matters, academic or research integrity (covered in Appendix II A above), or behaviors addressed in the Code of Conduct (Appendix I; refer to the Office of Judicial Affairs).

  1. Every effort should be made to resolve disagreements within the department or graduate program in which the student(s) and/or faculty member(s) are based.
  2. If resolution cannot be achieved at the level of the department/graduate program, the parties involved in the dispute should consult the appropriate Associate (or Assistant, as appropriate) Dean of the college to attempt resolution of the issue.
  3. If at any stage of examining a disagreement there is concern that misconduct by a student occurred that falls under the Code of Conduct, the misconduct shall be referred by the college to the Office of Judicial Affairs and/or the Affirmative Action Office for sexual harassment or discrimination issues as appropriate, and shall not be subject to adjudication under these guidelines.
  4. For disagreements that remain unresolved after consultation with the assistant/associate dean for graduate studies of the college, the individual bringing the disagreement forward may request that the disagreement be considered for a grievance proceeding by filing a written statement detailing the specifics of the disagreement with the assistant/associate dean of the college.  The assistant/associate dean of the college, in consultation with the Graduate School, will determine whether a grievance proceeding is warranted and the grievance process described below should be initiated.  A grievance process that has been approved by the assistant/associate dean will be then be fowarded to the dean of the college, who will initiate the grievance process.  Disagreements should be reported in a timely manner and this will be taken into account in light of the totality of circumstances as to whether the grievance process moves forward.

    For students enrolled in intercollege degree programs, the grievance is filed with the dean of the college in which the student is housed (generally, the college of the student's graduate adviser). If personnel from several colleges are involved, the grievance should be filed with the Dean of the college that has administrative jurisdiction over the person against whom the grievance is being directed. In the case of nondegree students or in any case where questions arise as to jurisdiction, the Dean of the Graduate School will identify the appropriate college and Dean with whom the grievance should be filed The parties to the grievance process shall be the person(s) filing the grievance and the person(s) against whom the grievance is directed.

    1. In response to the grievance, the College Dean shall consult with the Graduate School for the purpose of determining whether the subject matter of the grievance is covered by these guidelines, and if appropriate, the College Dean shall appoint and convene a Hearing Committee consisting of seven (7) members, within three (3) weeks of receipt of the grievance. From that time until the hearing ends, the College Dean shall refrain from involvement in the dispute. The Hearing Committee consists of three graduate students, three faculty members, and an administrator who will serve as chairperson. All members of the Hearing Committee will be from outside the academic department or unit, and from outside any graduate programs in which either the graduate student(s) or faculty member(s) involved in the grievance participate, whenever possible. In the case of multiple colleges being involved, the Hearing Committee shall include faculty and graduate students from each college involved. The chair of the committee should be an administrator from the college of the individual(s) against whom the grievance is directed.
    2. The Hearing Committee should make every effort to conduct its proceedings in a timely manner.
    3. Each party is allowed up to one disqualification from this committee without cause. An indefinite number of disqualifications are allowed with cause, as determined by the College Dean. The College Dean shall make additional appointments as necessary to fully staff the Hearing Committee.
    4. The hearing is not public. During the hearing, either party may have present an adviser, who must be a student, faculty, or staff member of the University. In light of the nature and spirit of the proceeding, representation by legal counsel is prohibited.
    5. The hearing committee may have present at the hearing such assistance as it deems necessary.
    6. The hearing committee is not bound by strict rules of evidence and may admit any relevant evidence.
    7. A record of the hearing shall be made by some means such as stenographic transcript, audio recording or the equivalent, and the record made available to the parties involved if requested.
    8. The parties are afforded an opportunity to obtain necessary witnesses and documentary or other evidence. The department, program, or intercollege program involved makes all reasonable efforts to cooperate with the committee in securing witnesses and making available documentary and other evidence.
    9. Each party has the right to respond to evidence presented by all witnesses.  Expenses incurred in obtaining a witness will be the responsibility of the party requesting the witness.
    10. The Hearing Committee's findings are based solely on the hearing record. In cases where issues involve authorship credit, the hearing committee should adhere to the spirit of RA13 (CO-AUTHORSHIP OF SCHOLARLY REPORTS, PAPERS, AND PUBLICATIONS).
    11. If it is determined during the course of the proceedings that a student may have violated the Code of Conduct, (Appendix I), the misconduct shall be referred to the Office of Judicial Affairs (or the appropriate college academic integrity committee for issues related to academic misconduct), and shall not be subject to adjudication by the Hearing Committee; provided however, that any other issues covered by these guidelines, including but not limited to alleged breach of professional ethics by graduate students or faculty, shall be subject to adjudication by the Hearing Committee.
      If serious misconduct is identified and evidence is provided to the Academic Integrity Committee after a student is awarded the graduate degree, sanctions up to and including the revocation of a degree can be imposed with recommendation by the Dean of the Graduate School to the President of the University, with whom final approval rests as the designee of the Board of Trustees.
    12. Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Committee shall convene deliberations and shall issue a decision within thirty (30) calendar days of the conclusion of the hearings. (Under extraordinary circumstances, either party may request a stay to the 30-day time limit.  A request for such a stay must include a justification and indicate the desired duration of the stay, and be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School, whose decision on the stay will be final.)  The decision of the Hearing Committee will specify  any sanction(s) or remedy(ies) that is (are) deemed appropriate, including but not limited to termination of the student's academic program and termination of the student's representation of the college in any capacity within the college, department or University. The decision of the Hearing Committee shall be provided to the College Dean for implementation. In the case of termination of a student's academic program for breach of professional ethics or other professional misconduct, the following notation shall be made on the student's transcript: "Program terminated for Professional Misconduct." Written notice of the decision of the Hearing Committee shall be provided to all parties. The Hearing Committee's written decision, along with any supporting documents, shall be submitted to and kept by the Graduate School for not less than seven years from the date of the decision. In cases where a finding of professional misconduct against a graduate student is determined, the College should maintain a record of the case and forward a copy of the written decision of the Hearing Committee along with any supporting documents to the Graduate School for its records as well.
  5. Any party subject to any sanction or adverse finding may appeal the decision of the Hearing Committee to the College Dean.  The appeal must be submitted in writing to the College Dean within three weeks of receipt of the decision of the Hearing Committee. The College Dean shall not convene an additional hearing, but shall consider the record of the hearing, as well as the decision of the Hearing Committee. The College Dean may endorse all, part, or none of the Hearing Committee's decision, sanction or remedy. The College Dean shall  come to a decision and issue a written notice within thirty (30) calendar days of receipt of the written appeal.   (Under extraordinary circumstances, either party may request a stay to the 30-day time limit.  A request for such a stay must include a justification and indicate the desired duration of the stay, and be directed to the Dean of the Graduate School, whose decision on the stay will be final.)   If the College Dean does not endorse all of the findings and decision of the Hearing Committee, an explanation shall be included within the College Dean's written decision. The decision of the College Dean shall be final, except for circumstances where additional avenues of appeal are provided for by other University policies or procedures (e.g., Faculty Rights and Responsibilities). The College Dean's written decision, along with supporting documents, shall be submitted to and kept by the Graduate School for not less than seven years from the date of the resolution of the complaint.

RELATED CROSS REFERENCES:

RA13 (Coauthorship of Scholarly Reports, Papers and Publications)

NOTE: Nothing within this appendix, nor within any portion of the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin, is intended to constitute a contract nor contractual terms. No provisions of this Appendix, nor any portion of the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin, shall confer contractual rights upon any parties. To the extent that the terms of this Appendix may be applicable to faculty or staff, the terms outlined herein do not constitute terms, benefits or conditions of employment. The terms set forth herein are subject to change unilaterally and without notice by University administration.

Approved by Graduate Council, May 7, 2003. Revised by special Ad Hoc Committee on Student-Related Polices, August 2005.

Revised by special Ad Hoc Committee on Student-Related Policies, May 2007

 

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