Definitions

  1. Instructor of Record: Person(s) identified in the course syllabus as the instructor(s). In most cases, this refers to a faculty member; however in cases of clinical or laboratory study, the term may refer to a professional staff member who oversees student progress and is responsible for course evaluation (for example, clinical, laboratory, or program director).
  2. Dean or designee: In most instances, an academic school dean’s designee will be an assistant or associate dean. However, in the School of Health Sciences, the respective program director will receive appeals and render decisions in cases where the student denies the instructor’s charges. In such cases, the program director will consult with the Dean of Health Sciences, who must review and approve the decision. In cases where the program director is also the instructor of record for the course in question, the responsibility for receiving appeals and rendering decisions falls to the dean.
  3. Business day: Monday through Friday, excluding any days that the College is closed. Also excluded, for the purposes of instructor responses, are days that classes are not in session for the given semester (e.g., Spring Break).

Policy

A student in the classroom is to be evaluated solely on his/her academic performance, not on the basis of his/her opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Academic performance is to be evaluated in accordance with the grading standards and rubrics identified in the course syllabus. Evaluation of individual papers, exams, quizzes, and laboratory/clinical skills is to be based on specific, pre-established standards. Evaluations of academic performance are not to be negatively or positively influenced by a perceived agreement/disagreement of opinion, or by biases relating to politics, personal interests, religion, or any other characteristic prohibited by nondiscrimination laws.

The instructor, in the classroom and in individual conference, is to encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about debatable issues; however, students are responsible for understanding the content of any course in which they are enrolled. The protection does not extend to any form of verbal abuse, harassment, or threats, which are prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct.

The instructor, in the classroom and in individual conference, is to practice consistent and fair treatment of all students, without bias or favoritism.
Students are protected against improper/unfair academic evaluation or treatment through the Academic Fairness Complaint Procedure.

Procedure

  1. A student who feels that an instructor has infringed upon the student's right to fairness and verbal expression, as articulated in the Academic Fairness Policy Statement (P 4.23) has the right of complaint.
  2. Questions related to allegations of improper academic evaluation, administrative withdrawal from a course (not related to academic dishonesty – see PR 4.45), or violation of the student's personal freedoms can be addressed through the following student-initiated procedure:
    1. Within five business days of the alleged infraction (including unfair evaluation/grading), the student must request a meeting with the instructor of record to discuss the student's complaint and any related supporting documentation gathered by the student. If the complaint is regarding a final grade in a course, the student must contact the instructor of record within two weeks of the grade being officially published on the Student Information System.
    2. The meeting between the student and the instructor of record must occur within 10 business days of the request.
      1. In cases where the student fails to attend the scheduled meeting, the process is considered complete. The student will be deemed to have withdrawn the allegation.
      2. In cases where the student attends the scheduled meeting, Penn College strongly encourages the instructor of record and the student to informally arrive at a resolution. If they agree upon a resolution, the process is concluded. The instructor of record will maintain any documentation relating to the complaint and resolution.
    3. If the student and instructor of record are unable to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, the student has five business days from the date of the notification of the instructor of record's decision in which to submit in writing an outline of the complaint and to request an administrative review by the appropriate school dean or designee.
      1. The school dean/designee, will proceed with an investigation of the complaint, and within 10 business days of receiving the student's request for an administrative review, will render a decision on the issue.
      2. The dean/designee will provide the student and the instructor of record with a written outcome notice and will notify the director of academic operations.
    4. The student and/or instructor of record may appeal the dean's/designee’s decision, but such an appeal is permissible only when new information has been discovered.
      1. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the director of academic operations within five business days from the date of the notification of the dean's/designee’s written outcome.
      2. The written appeal must clearly state the basis for the appeal, specifically detailing the new information that has been discovered for review.
      3. The director of academic operations will provide the student, the instructor of record, and the dean/designee with a written outcome notice within ten business days of receiving the student's and/or instructor of record's written appeal.
    5. The decision of the director of academic operations is final; there is no further appeal of administrative review outcomes. 
  3. In the case of an appeal to the school dean/designee, all relevant materials (electronic or hardcopy) will be maintained in the respective school office in accordance with records retention protocol established by the College. If the case is appealed to the director of academic operations, all relevant materials (electronic or hardcopy) will be maintained by Academic Affairs in accordance with records retention protocol established by the College.
  4. All written communication with the student regarding academic fairness outcomes are delivered via the Penn College email system. It is the student's responsibility to monitor his or her PCT email account to stay abreast of matters relating to the process and to respond in a timely manner.
  5. The time periods provided for in this procedure may be extended if there are extenuating circumstances or additional time is necessary for applicable College personnel to explore issues presented.
    1. If the instructor of record requires additional time to explore the student's complaint, he/she will notify the student of the extension.
    2. If the dean/designee requires additional time to explore the initial appeal, he/she will notify the student and instructor of record of the extension of time.
    3. If the director of academic operations requires additional time to explore an appeal, he/she will notify the dean/designee, instructor of record, and the student of the extension of time.