Policy Review and Appeal of Academic Progression Outcomes Procedure

Review and Appeal of Academic Progression Outcomes Procedure


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Intent

To provide a systematic approach for all students to apply for a review and then appeal of an academic progression outcome decision in line with the Student Review and Appeal Policy.

Scope

This procedure applies to all students admitted to undergraduate, postgraduate coursework and Pathway Courses and programs offered by James Cook University (JCU) in Australia, Singapore, and via JCU Online.

This procedure applies to all  decisions made under the Academic Progression Policy and its associated procedures, including the Unsatisfactory Academic Performance Procedure and the Maximum Time to Complete Procedure.

Definitions

Except where otherwise indicated in this policy, the definitions used in this policy are aligned with the Student Review and Appeal Policy. the Academic Progression Policy and the Policy Glossary.

Extenuating Circumstances means: an unexpected event that is outside a student's capacity to prevent or overcome that demonstrably affects their capacity to complete teaching/learning and/or assessment tasks or achieve the level of attainment typical of their previous performance in the subject or course. These could include:

a. medical or psychological conditions or events

b. loss or bereavement – e.g. death of an immediate family member

c. family relationship breakdown

d. hardship/trauma – e.g. victim of crime, sudden loss of income or employment resulting in severe disruption to domestic arrangements.

e. relevant obligations to military or jury service or service to emergency services such as the SES

Legitimate Grounds for Appeal means:

a. a breach of Procedural Fairness having occurred during the determination of a Stage 1 Informal Review or a Stage 2 Formal Review application; and/or

b. the Dean fails to give sufficient weight to a student’s Extenuating Circumstances during a Stage 2 Formal Review determination.

Introduction

Decisions related to Academic Progression, Unsatisfactory Academic Progression and Maximum Time to Complete are rules-based decisions.  When a student meets certain thresholds (academic results or timing) relevant processes and outcomes are triggered.  These decisions are not subjective and are typically the result of an automated process rather than the decision of an individual person.  The purpose of this Procedure is to provide a mechanism of review and appeal from those rules-based decisions.

Procedure

1.  Stage 1 – Informal Review

1.1  Students who receive notification of conditions or notification of suspension or exclusion from a course due to unsatisfactory academic performance, or notification of Intention to Withdraw due to exceeding or being unable to meet the maximum time to complete their course, have the right to request a review and then to appeal in accordance with this Procedure.

1.2  A student who has received a notification of a decision relating to Academic Progression, Unsatisfactory Academic Progression and Maximum Time to Complete can email the Team Leader, Examinations and Progressions (exams@jcu.edu.au) seeking an informal review of the decision.

1.3  Students must send their informal review email within 10 University working days of receiving the decision.

1.4  The Team Leader, Examinations and Progressions will instigate a review process to check for the following:

1.4.1 The Academic Status and conditions that have been applied are true and correct.

1.4.2 Whether the student is potentially eligible for another administrative process such as Withdrawal without Academic and/or Financial Penalty.

1.5  The Team Leader, Examinations and Progressions will contact the student within 5 University working days to advise:

1.5.1 The Academic Status and conditions appearing in the notification of decision are correct; or

1.5.2 The Academic Status and conditions appearing in the notification of decision are incorrect and provide notification of the correct details; or

1.5.3 Confirm the student will access a different administrative process under another JCU Policy or Procedure.

1.6  Where a student, opts to pursue another administrative process as identified at 1.4.2 they will withdraw their informal review application.

2.  Stage 2 - Formal Review

2.1  If unresolved at clause 1, the student may, within 5 University working days of the date of the Team Leader Examinations and Progressions email, provide a complete Formal Review form on the following grounds:

2.1.1 new and compelling evidence of Extenuating Circumstances is provided which has not been previously considered by the University; or

21.2 evidence that any conditions arising from the rules-based decision are unfair or unreasonable.

2.2  The Formal Review form will be sent to the relevant Dean who can determine an outcome consistent with the appropriate stage in the Unsatisfactory Academic Performance Procedure or Maximum Time to Complete Procedure (whichever is relevant), purely based upon the evidence provided.

2.3  The Dean will review the information provided and make a determination.  The Dean will provide a written decision including reasons for the decision, and information regarding the student’s rights to further appeal, to the student and the Team Leader, Examinations and Progressions, within 10 University work days of receiving the Stage 2 Formal Review request from the student.  The outcomes from Stage 2 are:

  • The Dean determines  the Formal Review application does not contain a ground for review as stated in clause 2.1 and dismisses the application.
  • The Dean overturns the decision.
  • The student, with a better understanding of the grounds upon which the decision was made, does not seek to appeal the Stage 2 Formal Review.
  • The student submits an application for a Formal Appeal which demonstrates a Legitimate Ground to Appeal the decision.
  • The student lodges an internal Formal Appeal application or appeals to an external agency if the student has no further internal appeal rights.

2.4  The Dean’s written decision will contain:

  • The findings and decision(s), and
  • The reason(s) for the decision, and
  • Notification that the student will be placed on a Probationary Academic Status as a result of the decision if they are to continue in their course; and
  • The new maximum time to complete date, if applicable; and
  • The student’s right to lodge a complaint or appeal through an external body such as the Queensland Ombudsman’s Office, or to lodge a Formal Appeal under Stage 3 of this Procedure.

3.  Stage 3 – Formal Appeal

3.1  After completing Stages 1 and 2 the student may lodge a formal Appeal under the Student Review and Appeals Policy as follows:

3.1.1 The Appeal application must be made within 20 University working days after the Dean’s notification is sent to the student (via JCU email); and

3.1.2 A late application may be accepted at the discretion of the Director, Student Services where it can be demonstrated that Extenuating Circumstances prevented an appeal application being made within the stipulated timeframe; and

3.1.3 A student may only appeal a progression decision upon one or more Legitimate Grounds for Appeal; and

3.1.4 An appeal application will not be accepted if the student has previously appealed a final subject result and the outcome of that appeal has affected the student’s enrolment status.

3.2 A student who appeals a progression outcome must apply in writing using the appropriate application form, to the Director, Student Services stating the Legitimate Ground/s for Appeal. The application must be supported by relevant documentation that includes all feedback from the processes undertaken in Stage 1 and Stage 2.

3.3 A student may withdraw an appeal application at any time.

4.  Appeal Assessment

4.1  Upon receipt of the Formal Appeal application, the Director Student Services will make an assessment of  the application and provide the student with written notice within 5 University working days that:

4.1.1 the application is  incomplete, and invite the student to provide a new application within a further  5 University working days; or

4.1.2 the application fails to demonstrate Legitimate Grounds for Appeal or is frivolous, trivial or vexatious and dismiss the application.  The student will be provided with reasons for the dismissal and notice of options for an external review or appeal.  This is a final decision and there are no internal options for appeal.

4.1.3 the  application contains Legitimate Grounds for Appeal to be heard by the  University Appeals Committee who will make a final determination.

5.  Appeal Committee

5.1  Where the Director Student Services does not dismiss an appeal at clause 4.1 the complete Appeal Application will be sent to the relevant Director of Academic Quality and Strategy.

5.2  The Director of Academic Quality and Strategy will review the Appeal Application and convene an Appeal Committee within 10 University working days of receiving the Appeal Application.

5.3  The University Appeals Committee (the “Committee”) will comprise the following members (one member must be from the relevant College):

  • The relevant Director of Academic Quality and Strategy (as Chair);
  • A College Dean or Dean, Learning Teaching and Student Engagement (for Diploma Higher Education/TAC);
  • The Chair, Academic Board or an academic member of Council;
  • An Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching;
  • The Campus Dean (if the student is admitted to a course delivered by the JCU Singapore Campus).

5.4  An administrative staff member, as appointed by the Chair, will attend the hearing to provide secretariat support.  Due regard shall be given to gender balance in determining the final membership of the Committee.  No member of the Committee will have participated in the original decision or any decisions associated with the matters under Appeal, this includes being involved in consultation or making recommendations that contributed to the original decision.

5.5  Once convened, the Committee will, within 5 University working days notify the student:

  • That their appeal has been successful, and the Committee has decided in the student’s favour; or
  • The matter will proceed to a hearing for a final determination on a particular time and date.

5.6  The Chair will ensure that the communication sent to the student regarding the appeal hearing includes the following:

  • the names and roles of Committee members; and
  • the Committee's role and powers; and
  • the time and location of the hearing; and
  • information regarding the students right to be heard; and
  • information regarding the students right to utilise a support person; and
  • copies of all materials to be considered by the Committee in advance of the hearing.

5.7  Except with the express permission of the Chair of the Committee, no additional material will be presented at the hearing.  Any additional material that is permitted will be made available to the Committee and the Student.

5.8  The student will be given the opportunity to be heard by the Committee, but only at the time and date fixed by the Chair. Students attending in person are not required to prepare or present a verbal summary of the appeal application.

5.9  The student may be heard in person or by other means of communication which are acceptable to the Chair (phone, video conference or via an additional written submission).

5.10 The student will be present only for such time as is necessary for them to be heard by the Committee.

5.11 A student who appears in person before the Committee may be accompanied and assisted by a support person.   The support person must not be a currently practising solicitor or barrister. The role of the support person is to bear witness to the meeting and what is discussed. The support person shall take no part in the proceedings unless expressly authorised by the Chair of the Committee.

5.12 After considering all material relevant to the appeal, the Committee will make findings on each ground of appeal, and record whether the ground is substantiated or not on the balance of probabilities, and determine an outcome.

5.13 The student may withdraw an appeal application at any point in the appeal process.

6.  Students awaiting the outcome of an appeal

6.1  Until the appeal outcome has been determined, a student who submits an appeal will be permitted to:

6.1.1 Complete any outstanding assessment from the previous Teaching Period if they were granted a supplementary/deferred exam or an extension,

6.1.2 Remain enrolled in their course of study pending the outcome of an appeal, including enrolment in any subject for which the subject under appeal is a prerequisite. However, this will not apply if it is demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Director Student Services that the student’s continued enrolment poses a risk to the safety of themselves or others.

6.1.3 Apply for a Leave of Absence, if applicable, and request to be withdrawn from any existing subject enrolments or candidature.

6.1.4 Withdraw from all current and future enrolled subjects or candidature.

6.1.5 Withdraw from their course or candidature (applicable only for excluded students and international students studying on a student visa).

7.  Action following the appeal outcome

7.1  Where an appeal has been heard by the Committee, the Chair will communicate the outcome of the appeal.  The outcome will be sent in writing to the Student, the Director, Student Services, the Dean and the Team Leader, Examinations and Progressions within 5 University working days of the hearing. This communication will advise the student of:

  • The findings in relation to the grounds of appeal, and
  • evidence considered, and
  • whether the appeal is upheld (even if only in part) or not (in which case it is dismissed and the original decision stands); and
  • the decision, and
  • reasons for the Committee’s  decision, and
  • their Academic Status or revised maximum time to complete date as a result of the decision, and
  • any restrictions on the student’s enrolment as a result of the decision, and
  • any conditions the student must meet in the next Teaching Period in which a student is enrolled, and
  • their right to lodge a complaint or appeal through an external body such as the Queensland Ombudsman’s Office, if they remain dissatisfied with the University’s decision.

7.2  Where the student is an International Student visa holder studying in Australia, and the decision impacts the student’s ability to continue in their course, the University will only report to Department of Education against the student’s ‘Confirmation of Enrolment’, if required to, once the decision maker has notified the student of the outcome. The student will be given 10 University working days to notify the University that they have submitted a complaint or appeal with the Queensland Ombudsman’s Office.

8.  External Appeal and Records

8.1  A decision of the Committee is final and there is no further right to appeal internally at JCU.  Avenues for external appeal appear in the Student Review and Appeal Policy.

8.2  Record keeping will be managed in line with the Student Review and Appeal Policy.

Related policy instruments

Student Review and Appeal Policy

Academic Progression Policy

Maximum Time to Complete Procedure

Policy Glossary

Unsatisfactory Academic Performance Procedure

Administration

NOTE:  Printed copies of this procedure are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

DVC Students

Version no

19-1

Date for next Major Review

10/12/2022

Revision History

Version

Approval date

Implementation date

Details

Author

19-3

10/12/2019

11/12/2019

Amendment to clarify 3 stage process for review and appeal of decisions regarding academic progression outcomes.

Project Manager, Student Facing Policy

19-2

29/08/2019

30/08/2019

Amendment to allow for appeal of final subject results to be finalised before dealing with appeals regarding academic progression.

Manager, Academic Administration and Enrolments

19-1

04/07/2019

05/07/2019

Procedure established

Director, Student Services

Contact person

Director, Student Services

Keywords

Progression, Appeal, Maximum Time,