Academic Consideration – Instructor Resources

For an overview of the Academic Consideration process and how it can assist students in completing academic requirements when experiencing extenuating circumstances, please see the main Academic Consideration website.

Instructors are encouraged to review a copy of the Instructor Handbook for yearly updates.

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Foundations of Academic Consideration

New to Queen’s or looking for an Academic Consideration refresher? Please watch the following Faculty/Staff presentation.

Guiding Students Through Academic Consideration - How YOU Can Help

Dealing with extenuating circumstances is a natural part of life, but it can feel daunting for some students to reach out and access support, especially with looming academic deadlines. If you’ve ever had a student approach you for support in these instances and are looking for more information, this workshop is for you.

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Not sure whether one of your students needs Consideration or Accommodation support? Access our handy cheat sheet to learn how to best direct students.

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Can I ask students for information about their extenuating circumstance?

To maintain the student’s privacy, please do not ask the student for more information about their extenuating circumstance, for medical notes, or to upload correspondence to OnQ or another online platform which may include personal information. If you require verification of a student’s circumstance to be tracked in any way, the student is copied on the verification email you receive and may use this correspondence for this purpose.

How many requests for Consideration can a student make?

There is no set limit on the number of Academic Consideration requests a student can make.  The Faculty Office does audit how many Academic Consideration requests a student submits but the purpose of this is not to limit or cut-off further requests. At a certain point, the student will be required to meet with the Academic Consideration Manager in the Faculty Office to ensure that they have adequate support for their health and wellness needs before they are able to submit further requests.

Students receiving Academic Considerations must meet all essential academic requirements/learning outcomes and standards of the course. If Academic Consideration is not possible, the student should be referred to an Academic Advisor to discuss reducing course load and/or appeal options, etc. The student is informed that Academic Consideration does not guarantee academic achievement in a course/program.

What if a student from another Faculty is taking my FAS course?

Students in other Faculties and Schools who are enrolled in this course should refer to the Academic Consideration protocol for their home Faculty. This means you will receive requests from other Faculties' Consideration departments. Please honour these requests as you would those coming from the Arts & Science Academic Consideration Team.

I would like all requests sent to a specific email address. Can you direct students to do so?

As students input this information directly into the Portal which sends automated emails, we cannot control where requests are sent. We recommend including a statement in your syllabus or on OnQ to inform students of the email address you’d like them to use when submitting a Request for Academic Consideration.

I haven’t received confirmation of a student’s Consideration request.

The student likely incorrectly entered your email address when submitting their request. Please contact us at asc.consideration@queensu.ca and we can send along the confirmation email.

How long do requests take to be processed?

Short-term Requests

Short-term requests are deemed valid unless instructors are notified otherwise by our office.  Our office aims to review these requests within 1 business day of submission. When this is not possible (long weekends, peak periods) requests are always reviewed within 2 business days. If our team requires additional time to follow up with the student or if the request has not been verified, we will notify you by email.  

Updates and withdrawals of short-term requests occur in less than 5% of requests, so we ask that these requests are assumed valid until instructors are notified otherwise.

If you receive a short-term withdrawal and you have already provided Academic Consideration in good faith, instructors have the right to withdraw/remove the academic consideration provided to date.

Long-term Requests

As students are given 5 business days to submit supporting documentation, long-term requests can take between 2 – 6 business days to be processed. If our office needs longer than 6 business days, we will contact you to advise of any processing delays.

The student’s request does not cover the date of a deliverable. How should I attend to this?

Our office verifies requests for Academic Consideration based on clearly defined dates listed on supporting documentation. If a student would like our office to verify a longer period of time to cover the date of an assignment, they will need to provide additional documentation. This can be provided to our office at asc.consideration@queensu.ca to extend the request.

Please note that in cases where the student needs an additional day or two beyond the verified timeline, instructors have discretion extend Academic Consideration beyond the verified timeline should they deem appropriate.

If I offer universal design in my course, do I need to grant further Academic Consideration?

If universal design is clearly listed in your course syllabus, you do not need to grant further short-term requests for Academic Consideration as it has already been offered to the entire class.

However, we would encourage you to direct students experiencing a long-term extenuating circumstance to submit a along-term request via the Academic Consideration Request Portal for our office to review. Long-term requests require valid supporting documentationWe encourage Instructors to provide additional Consideration in these cases since the student may have been impacted for both the original and extended deadline offered through universal design.

What is a reasonable length of time to allow students to follow up with me to arrange for Consideration? What if they don’t contact me at all?

Students are notified that it is their responsibility to follow-up with you as soon as possible to discuss the Academic Consideration options available given the deliverable being missed.

There is no standard timeline for when this communication needs to occur; however, if a student delays following up with you, then there may be limits on the types of Consideration available to the student, if consideration can be offered at all.

There are many reasons for not having a set timeline. Perhaps the student is ill beyond the verified timeline or does not have regular access to the internet, etc. and leaving this open-ended allows for flexibility. We also recognize that courses are offered in many different formats - for example, accelerated summer courses may warrant quicker communication compared to those offered during the Fall/Winter terms. As such, the Professor is best positioned to determine a suitable timeline for communication for their specific courses.

If there is a standard timeline you wish to set, we would recommend adding information about your communication expectations to your course syllabus. If you were to do so, we would encourage you to leave room for flexibility in cases where students are unable to contact you within set guidelines.

If the student does not contact you at all, we would encourage you to grade their work accordingly.

Can I deny Consideration requests?

Academic Consideration is a good faith process. Although we encourage Instructors to honour requests where possible, there are cases where denying requests would be warranted (e.g. for short-term requests where Universal Design has been employed, if a student has not completed a proportional amount of coursework, etc). In these cases, other academic remedies may be more beneficial for the student, and we recommend directing the student to speak to an Academic Advisor regarding appeal options (ie: late drop, aegrotat standing, etc). Please direct students to our advising webpage for up-to-date information regarding making appointments.

A student has provided me with an LOA – what is it and what do I do with it?

Letters of Accommodation (LOAs) are provided by Queen’s Student Accessibility Services (QSAS) to students with functional limitations or disabilities. If you receive an LOA from a student, you have a legal duty to accommodate the student in your course. If you have questions about the LOA or how it can be administered, please contact the issuing provider or see the Educator Rights and Responsibilities page on the Student Wellness Services website (under “Accessibility Services,” Faculty and Staff.)

For more information see the “Academic Consideration vs. Academic Accommodation” section above, or the “Accommodation vs. Consideration” section in the Academic Consideration Instructor Handbook.

What if a request is verified beyond the end of the academic term? 

The role of the Academic Consideration team is to validate the duration and severity of a student’s circumstance. This can sometimes mean that a student’s request is validated beyond the end of the academic term. Professors should evaluate the student’s academic progress to determine which academic remedy would best assist the student:  

  • In cases where a student has one outstanding requirement or has missed a small percentage of the course, the instructor may decide to grant an Incomplete (IN) grade (see “When should Instructors provide an Incomplete (IN) grade?” below for more information).  
  • In the following cases, it may be more appropriate to counsel the student to submit an Academic Appeal to late drop the course.  
    • If the student has not completed a significant portion of the course and can no longer meet the learning outcomes.  
    • Sometimes the design of the course requires the student to participate in continued practice and feedback, or to perform work in a group or lab setting. As the course will have ended, the student may not have the opportunity to work with others or receive cumulative feedback. If these aspects of the course are essential to the learning outcomes of the outstanding requirements 

When should Instructors provide an Incomplete (IN) grade?

As per Academic Regulation 10.3.4: In cases where a student will receive a failing grade if all outstanding work is not completed or the exam is not written, an IN grade will be submitted by the instructor. A grade of IN will not be included in the determination of a student’s GPA, and any course with an IN designation may not be counted for credit towards a degree program.

If the outstanding work is not submitted by the end of the subsequent term, the IN grade will lapse to an F (Failure) and will be included in the student’s GPA.

In cases where a student will pass the course even if the outstanding work is not completed or the exam is not written, the actual earned letter grade will be assigned. The letter grade shall be included in the student’s GPA and may be counted for credit towards a degree program. If the outstanding work is not submitted by the end of the subsequent term, the original letter grade shall stand.  

So, for example, if this student has a D grade, and would receive a D grade even if they did not complete the outstanding work, then an instructor would input a D rather than an IN. If the student is already failing the course, then the instructor would submit an IN – if the student does not complete the outstanding work then the grade would change from IN to F at the end of the subsequent term.

Anything beyond the subsequent term would require the student to submit an Academic Appeal to the Associate Dean (Studies) to allow an extension of the Incomplete.

A student submitted a request for a course that was offered in a previous term. Is this permitted? 

Yes and no. Students are expected to submit requests for Academic Consideration in the academic term for which the course is being offered. However, there are two possible exceptions where we would permit requests pertaining to previous terms:

  • If the student experienced a substantial extenuating circumstance which impacted their ability to submit a request for Consideration before the end of the academic term (i.e.: the student was in a coma), leeway may be provided to the student IF grades have not yet been posted. Please have the student contact our office at asc.consideration@queensu.ca so we can assist the student in determining whether the Consideration or Academic Appeal process would be appropriate in their specific case.  
  • If the student has been granted an incomplete (IN) grade in the course and they experience a new extenuating circumstance which impacts new deadlines, students will be able to submit requests. For example, the student has been granted an IN and negotiated a new deadline for an outstanding essay for July 15th; however, one of the student’s family members passed away on July 12th. The student can submit a new request pertaining to this circumstance. The professor will receive a request for Consideration pertaining to the current academic term as the circumstance occurs in this semester. 

When should Instructors advise students to contact the faculty regarding appeal options?

Depending on the timing and impact of the extenuating circumstances, the student may not be able to engage in academic tasks to the extent that dropping the course should be considered.

Instructors should refer students to speak with an Academic Advisor or the Academic Consideration Team in the Faculty Office to consider dropping a course before the academic deadline. Dropping a course after the academic deadline requires an Academic Appeal to the Associate Dean (Studies).

What is the difference between “re-weighting” and an Aegrotat Standing?

Re-weighting of marks: Allocation/shifting of marks associated with missed academic work to another academic requirement that assesses similar learning outcomes. This type of academic consideration should be used mainly when: 

  • A student has missed a small component of academic work; and/or
  • It is not possible to have the same assessment at a later time because the component has been compromised (i.e., answers posted or material covered in class); or
  • It is not possible to set an alternative assessment (with the same learning outcomes).
  • It is possible to redistribute marks on a mid-term to a final exam when the final exam assesses the same learning outcomes as the mid-term. However, it is not recommended if it puts the student in a Pass/Fail situation. It is not possible to retroactively redistribute marks from a missed final exam (or a comprehensive/end of term assignment) to a previous component of the course. If this final component of the course is missed, the preferred option will be to give the student an Incomplete (with a deferred exam or an extension of the assignment). The alternative option would require an appeal to the Associate Dean (Studies) for Aegrotat Standing, which is only possible when the student has completed at least 60% of the course and has demonstrated achievement of the course learning outcomes.

Aegrotat Standing (Academic Regulation 10.3.1): Aegrotat Estimated Standing in a course is reserved for situations in which a student, who has completed and passed at least 60 per cent of the work for a course, but because of illness or other extenuating circumstances beyond his or her control, is unable to complete all the work of the course (see Academic Regulation 6). Aegrotat grades will be included in the student’s grade point average (GPA), can be used as credit earned towards a degree program, and can be used to qualify for entry to a degree Plan.

A student seeking Aegrotat Standing in a class must submit a formal appeal to the Associate Dean (Studies) (see Appeal of Academic Decisions, Section 3). As part of the appeal, the instructor must indicate whether the student has demonstrated an understanding of the class material and must provide an estimation of the student’s grade in the class based on the work completed. If the request is granted, this estimated letter grade will appear on the student’s transcript together with a note reading “Aegrotat Estimated Grade.”  Students may be granted Aegrotat and/or credit standing for a maximum of 36.0 units during their entire program.

What to do when an Instructor teaches one half of a full-year course?

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the instructor teaching the portion of the course to which academic consideration applies. Should the instructor no longer be available to contact, then students should be directed to contact the Department Head for support.

Instructors should also update their auto-e-mails to direct students to contact the Department Head after the portion of the course that they are teaching has ended.

What should departments do if the Instructor is on sabbatical or their contract has ended?

It is the responsibility of the Department Head to assign a new instructor to oversee any Incomplete (IN) grades for courses for which the instructor is on sabbatical or if their contract has ended. Instructors who are on sabbatical or have completed their contract should also update their auto-e-mails to direct students to contact the Department Head after the course has ended.

A student in my course needs to defer their exam. How is this arranged?

If the request for academic consideration pertains to a time period when a final examination is scheduled, please note that the decision to defer an exam is at the discretion of the Instructor. Deferred examinations may be scheduled as early as the day after the student’s consideration period ends or up to maximum of the end of the subsequent term. 

On-Campus/OnlineThe central Exams Office will communicate pertinent deferral information and deadlines with Professors prior to each exam period. Although their office coordinates most deferrals, there are circumstances where the Professor may arrange for their own exams. Please refer to this semesterly correspondence for further details and contact exams@queensu.cashould you have additional questions.

Bader College: Professors offering exam deferrals for courses at Bader College should notify Deputy Director, Dr. Anna Taylor at bc.deputyad@queensu.ca.

A student in my course has been granted Academic Accommodation. How do I arrange an accommodated exam?

It is the student’s responsibility to contact the Professor 10 business days before the date of the exam. Students registered with QSAS before November 15th (Fall) and March 15th (Winter) will be guaranteed their exam accommodations for the upcoming exam session. If a student is granted Accommodation less than 10 days prior to an exam, they may be eligible for Consideration and an exam deferral instead.

On-Campus/OnlineThe central Exams Office will communicate pertinent accommodated exam information and deadlines with Professors prior to each exam period. Please refer to this semesterly correspondence for further details and contact exams@queensu.ca, should you have additional questions.

Bader College: Students needing exam accommodations must advise Deputy Director, Dr. Anna Taylor: bc.deputyad@queensu.ca, AND the Accommodations Officer, Dr. Isabelle Brent isabelle.brent@queensu.ca immediately by email.

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Should students need assistance in submitting requests for Consideration, please refer them to the Video Tutorials listed on the Academic Consideration website.

If a student needs support from a resource outside of our office, please refer to the Faculty’s Campus and Community Support Resources page.

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If you have questions or need support, please reach out to our team at asc.consideration@queensu.ca or join our Zoom Office Hours on:

  • Tuesdays: 2:00pm - 3:30pm
  • Thursdays: 10:30am – 12:00pm
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