Academic Calendar 2021-2022

Academic Regulation 22: Procedure for Appeal Process

Introduction

The procedure for Appeal Process are i) designed to ensure that students receive fair treatment and are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and ii) establish a fair, efficient method of  resolving academic discipline matters. School of Nursing policies and procedures are guided by Queen’s University Senate Policies including Senate Policy on Student Academic Appeals and Senate Policy on Academic Integrity Procedures – Requirements of Faculties and Schools. Refer to https://www.queensu.ca/secretariat/university-wide-policy-library for a complete list of Senate policies.

The student must submit the appeal to their home school. School of Nursing policies and procedures are guided by documents specific to health professionals. These documents are briefly outlined in Appendix C. The student must submit the appeal to their home school.

The UAPGC will act as the delegated authority of Academic Council of the School of Nursing as approved by the Faculty Board of Faculty of Health Sciences to review academic progress and hear appeals of academic decisions of all students in the School of Nursing. Committee membership comprises of three to four School of Nursing faculty members and one student member. The presenting student has the option of including or excluding the student member of the Committee during discussion and decision-making of the student’s appeal (refers to Academic Regulation 22). No replacement for the student member will be appointed.

The Chair, UAPGC will appoint a replacement to consider the appeal if any member of the UAPGC was:

a)  The instructor or course coordinator for the course that is the subject matter of the appeal; OR

b)  Conducted a rereading of academic work that is the subject matter of the appeal (‘academic work’ includes assignments, tests or exams, etc.); OR

c)   Made a finding that the student engaged in a departure from Academic Integrity.

The Academic Regulations are designed to ensure that academic standards are upheld and that  all students are treated fairly and equitably. The School does, however, understand that there are occasions in which extenuating circumstances, that is circumstances beyond a student’s control, adversely affect a student’s performance at Queen’s University. The appeal process is  available to consider an academic result brought forward by the student concerning extenuating circumstances. The appeal process is also available to consider a procedural error, that is when policies and procedures of the School of Nursing or Queen’s University have not  been followed.

Extenuating circumstances normally involve a significant physical or psychological event that is beyond a student’s control and debilitating to their academic performance. These kinds of extraordinary situations should be supported by official documentation from an appropriate professional.

Official documentation does not need to outline the specifics of the particular condition or matter affecting the student but should clearly indicate ways in which the extenuating circumstances directly affected the student’s performance, and should verify that these effects were substantial enough to cause the academic problem. Information on the start, duration and present state of the extenuating condition is critical. A statement on whether the condition or circumstances have either improved or are being currently managed is required.

The appeal process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that the student is unable to resolve, or for which the student is unwilling to actively seek accommodation. In addition, the appeals process does not compensate for extenuating circumstances that are actively being accommodated, for example where a student’s disabilities are being accommodated through Queen’s Student Wellness Centre (Accessibility Services). Multiple appeals citing the same extenuating circumstances will be reviewed very closely. This review may include, with the permission of the student, consultation with the appropriate professionals involved to obtain more detailed information. In order for such an appeal to succeed, there must be convincing evidence the circumstances that affected the student’s academic performance will be resolved within a reasonable timeline or will be appropriately managed on an ongoing basis.

Students have the right to consult with the University Ombudsperson or the Rector. The University Ombudsperson may be contacted by telephone at (613) 533-6495 or email at ombuds@queensu.ca. The Rector may be contacted at (613) 533-2733.

There are three levels of appeal for students in the School of Nursing.

  1. Appeal to the Chair, UAPGC. Appeals must be in writing and received by the stated deadline. Supporting documentation must be provided with the letter of appeal along with  the consideration that is requested. The appeal will be heard by the UAPGC. If the decision is upheld by the UAPGC and/or the student does not accept the structured  solution (if offered), the student may appeal on procedural grounds to the Dean, Faculty of  Health Sciences.
  2. Appeal to the Faculty of Health Sciences. Appeals to the Faculty of Health Sciences must be in writing and received by the stated deadline. https://healthsci.queensu.ca/sites/default/files/inline-files/2020-07-01%20FHSSAB%20Terms%20of%20Reference%20%20Procedures.pdf
  3. Appeal to the University Student Appeal Board. Appeals to the University Student Appeal  Board relate only to the process by which the previous decisions were rendered and do not deal with the merits of the decision itself. Refer to the Senate policy on Senate Policy on Student Academic Appeals.

22.1 - Academic Standards and the Student’s Responsibilities

It is incumbent upon the student to keep abreast of his/her progress throughout each course. The student should be proactive and communicate with the instructor any extenuating circumstances which, in the opinion of the student, may influence adversely his/her performance in an assignment, examination, or clinical practice prior to the assignment, examination, or clinical practice rather than waiting until the end of the term. It is the responsibility of the student to retain all assignments, papers, evaluations, and other documents related to course evaluation.

22.2 - Appeals

Students must complete and include the School of Nursing Appeals Form (Appendix D) when submitting all supporting documents/evidence related to the appeal.

22.2.1 Appeal of a Final Grade (Theory Course)

Students who believe their academic performance in a course was affected by extenuating circumstances or procedural errors may appeal the final grade. Appeals must be submitted to the Chair of the UAPGC, in writing, clearly setting out the grounds on which the appeal is being made, the consideration that is requested and include all relevant supporting documents/evidence. It is the responsibility of the student to preserve all assignments, papers, reports, and other graded material for the course and to submit a file of all relevant documents with the appeal. Students should be aware that the remarking of documents may result in a lower grade than their initial grade. The written appeal must be received no later than two weeks after final marks have been released by the Registrar’s Office.

22.2.2 Appeal of a Final Grade (Clinical Course)

Students who believe their academic performance in a course was affected by extenuating circumstances or procedural errors may appeal the final grade. Appeals must be submitted to the Chair of the UAPGC, in writing, clearly setting out the grounds on which the appeal is being made, the consideration that is requested and include all relevant supporting documents/evidence. It is the responsibility of the student to preserve all assignments, papers, reports, and other graded material for the course and to submit a file of all relevant documents with the appeal. The written appeal must be received no later than one week after receiving the grade from the instructor. The student may not go into the next clinical course until the  appeal has been resolved.

22.2.3 Appeal to Add or Drop a Course after the Last Date

If a student wishes to add or drop any course, required or elective, after the last date published by The Office of the University Registrar (refer to sessional dates at http://www.queensu.ca/registrar/resources/sessional-dates) without academic penalty, the student must appeal the decision to the Chair, UAPGC, School of Nursing outlining the extenuating circumstances or  procedural grounds for this request. The written appeal must be received no later than two weeks after final marks have been released by the Registrar’s Office and include all relevant  supporting documents/evidence and the consideration that is requested.

22.2.4 Appeal of Requirement to Withdraw

Students who believe their academic performance was affected by extenuating circumstances or procedural reasons may appeal that the requirement to withdraw be waived or rescinded. Appeals must be directed to the Chair of the UAPGC in writing, clearly setting out the grounds on which the appeal is being made. The written appeal must be received no later than two weeks after the requirement to withdraw has been imposed and include all relevant supporting  documents/evidence and the consideration that is requested.

22.2.5 Appeal of a Finding of Departure from Academic Integrity

Students may appeal the finding or sanction or both to the Chair of the UAPGC no later than two weeks after receiving the official finding in writing.

22.2.6 Appeal of a Decision from the Professional Behaviour Policy

Students may appeal the decision or finding to the Chair of the UAPGC no later than two weeks after receiving the official finding in writing.

22.3 - Appeal Process

The UAPGC has the mandate to explore extenuating circumstances or procedural grounds presented by the student, and if reasonably substantiated, to determine if the circumstances have significantly contributed to an adverse outcome for the student. The Committee does not  have the authority to overturn a grade assigned by an instructor.

Where there is agreement within the UAPGC about the merit of an appeal, the Committee has  the authority to structure a solution that allows the student to demonstrate course and academic integrity expectations without compromising academic standards. After careful consideration, the Committee may render a decision that modifies the original request by the student to one that is congruent with program and University expectations.

22.3.1

The student should include the following material as part of the appeal submission to the Chair of the UAPGC.

  1. School of Nursing Appeal Form – (Appendix D)
  2. Letter of Explanation related to:
    1. Extenuating Circumstances
    2. Policy and Procedures not followed
    3. Finding of Academic Integrity
    4. Finding of Professional Behaviour
  3. Supporting Documents
    1. Extenuating Circumstances
      1. letter from a medical doctor, nurse practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, counsellor, lawyer, or an item from a newspaper (i.e. obituary, motor vehicle collision) etc. One example of an extenuating circumstance might be if the student had been very  sick. The student should provide medical documentation to confirm the illness and its symptoms, how the illness interfered with academic progress. The documentation should be specific about the onset and duration of the illness and substantiate that the student is well enough to carry on with academic studies should the appeal be granted.
    2. Policy and Procedures not followed
      1. such as a course syllabus, School of Nursing calendar, Queen’s University Senate document, or a record of correspondence.
    3. Finding of Academic Integrity
      1. Supporting documents that confirm that the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness were not upheld in consideration of a finding of departure from academic integrity.
    4. Finding of Professional Behaviour

22.3.2

The UAPGC may decide not to consider the appeal if:

  1. the documents/evidence submitted are substantially incomplete, defective, or inaccurate,
  2. the documents/evidence are received after the deadline for commencing the appeal and no request for an extension of time has been received, or
  3. there is some other substantial technical defect in the proceeding as filed.

The Chair, UAPGC shall notify the student of the Committee’s decision not to consider the appeal and shall set out in the notice the reasons for the decision and the requirements for re-advancing the proceeding. The student must rectify the defect or deficiency in the appeal within two weeks from the date of receipt of the notice.

22.3.3

The respondent in the appeal is normally the Instructor and Course Coordinator who assigned the failing grade or the Instructors/Course Coordinator who reread the examination or found a departure from academic integrity or assigned a decision from the professional behaviour policy. In the event of an appeal relating to the Requirement to Withdraw or Add or Late Drop of a Course, the respondent is normally the Associate Director (Undergraduate Nursing  Programs). The respondent shall be provided with a copy of all appeal documents submitted by the student and shall have one week from the date of receipt to file a response. Copies of all relevant documents in possession or control of the respondent shall accompany the response.

22.3.4

Each party (the student and the respondent) is entitled to receive every document that the UAPGC received from the other party in the proceeding. The student file is present at every appeal hearing and may be referenced at any time during the appeal proceedings.

22.3.5

If the respondent fails to file documents according to time limits, the Committee may convene  a hearing without receiving such documents. The UAPGC may extend any time limit if, upon  written application by the requesting party (the student or the respondent), a satisfactory reason is provided for the delay and there is no prejudice to the other party.

22.3.6

The student shall ensure their contact information (email, address and phone number) is current.

22.3.7

The UAPGC may dismiss an appeal after a review of the documents filed and without hearing  from the parties (the student or the respondent) if the Committee does not have jurisdiction or the Committee determines that the appeal is clearly without merit or commenced in bad faith, or the student within two weeks from the date of receipt of notice, has not rectified the defect or deficiency in the documents submitted for the appeal. The Chair shall inform the parties in  writing of the decision.

22.3.8

The Chair, UAPGC shall call a meeting of the UAPGC to review the appeal. Normally the meeting would be called as soon as possible after receipt of documents from the student and the  respondent.

22.3.9

A quorum comprises 50% of the committee members +1 (or their designate) and includes the Chair. The Chair will appoint replacement members as required due to numbers or conflict of interest (as identified by the committee or student).

22.3.10

The student and the respondent have the right to attend the meeting and be heard when the appeal is reviewed. The student may wish to be accompanied at the meeting by an Advisor appointed by the University Ombudsperson or the Rector. If the student is accompanied by legal counsel, the Committee and the respondent may be accompanied by legal counsel. The student’s legal advisor cannot answer questions on the student’s behalf. Both parties (the student and the respondents) shall provide the Chair with the names of any persons who will accompany them at the hearing and the reason for their attendance at least one week before the hearing. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the hearing. The Chair has the  authority to limit the number of attendees.

22.3.11

Both parties (the student and the respondents) may present evidence and submissions required for a full and fair disclosure of all matters relevant to the issues in the proceeding. No new information should be presented at the time of the hearing. The Committee may hear all evidence relevant to the subject matter of the appeal. If it considers it to be credible and  trustworthy, the Committee shall determine its weight in relation to the other evidence admitted. If new information is presented, the case will be referred back to the Instructor and Course Coordinator. The Chair may exclude evidence on the grounds that it is unduly repetitious, irrelevant, or otherwise inadmissible, for example because of confidentiality or privacy concerns.

22.3.12

If during the course of any hearing, new information is presented or the Committee decides that additional information is required in order to resolve the matter, the Chair may adjourn the hearing to permit the parties (the student or the respondent) to respond to the new information or bring forward such additional information or facts or to permit the Committee to obtain such additional information. The Committee may decide to adjourn the hearing at the request of a party when it is satisfied that an injustice would occur if the hearing were to  proceed.

22.3.13

If the student and/or the respondents do not attend the hearing, the Committee may proceed in their absence.

22.3.14

If one member of the Committee who has participated in a hearing becomes unable, for any reason, to complete the hearing or to participate in the decision, the remaining members may complete the hearing and give a decision provided that a quorum exists. The appeal will be heard when the Committee can be re-established.

22.3.15

On completion of the hearing, the student, respondents and attendees will withdraw. The committee will give consideration to all the evidence. A decision will be rendered by majority vote of the committee. When all reasonable efforts to resolve a tie vote are exhausted, the appeal shall be dismissed, and the student advised of his/her right to take the appeal to the Faculty of Health Sciences Student Appeal and Discipline Board.

22.3.16

The decision and the reasons for the decision of the UAPGC will be communicated to the student in writing by the Chair normally within one week. The student shall be advised of their right to appeal to the Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences. https://healthsci.queensu.ca/faculty-staff/faculty-board/authority-rules-procedures-handbook#studentappeal

The student will also be referred to the University Ombudsperson or the Rector. A copy of this letter will be placed on the student’s academic file.

22.3.17

No sanction, penalty or requirement to withdraw shall be put into effect until the student affected has either exhausted all channels of appeal or has allowed the time for appeal to lapse, with the exception of appealing a clinical course. If an academic unit determines that the interests of third parties may be prejudiced by the continued enrolment of a student in a course or program, the unit may decide that, pending an appeal from an adverse academic decision, the student should not be permitted to continue in their course or program or should be precluded from progressing to the next academic stage. A student who is subject to an immediate sanction under this paragraph may request that the Chair of the appellate body with jurisdiction over the matter expedite the appeal. This request may result in a direction abridging the time for filing of documents, or other interim or preliminary directions. Refer to Immediate Effect of  Orders to Protect Safety (Academic Regulation 18).

https://healthsci.queensu.ca/faculty-staff/faculty-board/authority-rules-procedures-handbook#studentappeal

In the event that the decision is upheld by the committee established under the Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty Board, the student may appeal the decision on procedural grounds to  the University Student Appeal Board. Refer to the Senate policy on Student Academic Appeals.