REGULATION 7: ACADEMIC APPEALS

(Guidance)

Any reference in this regulation to the Director of Student and Academic Services, Head of Department/School, or other named officer of the University shall be deemed to include reference to any person designated by that officer for the purpose. Any reference in these regulations to the Chair shall be deemed to include a reference to the Deputy Chair.

1. Academic appeals are appeals against:

(a) the recommendations to Senate of:

(i) Boards of Examiners properly constituted in accordance with University Regulation 9, and;

(ii) the Research Degrees Committee, properly constituted in accordance with Regulation 2D, sections 6 (Doctoral Progression), section 8 (Satisfactory work during each academic year) or section 11 (Award)

(b) action taken under the Policy on Academic Warnings covered under Regulations: 1A.9, 1B.9, 1C.9, 1F.8, 1G.9, 2A.9, 2B.9, 2C.10 (Appropriate engagement with studies).

Appeals in respect of (a.i) and (b) above may be made only on the grounds listed in 4 below. Appeals in respect of (a.ii) above may be made only on the grounds listed in 5 and 6 below.

2. Appeals against the academic judgement of examiners and/or of properly constituted Boards of Examiners (including for this purpose the Research Degrees Committee) are not permitted.

All programmes of study apart from research degrees

3. A student may appeal against:

(a) one or more of the following recommendations of a Board of Examiners:

(i) the mark awarded for any unit of assessment;

(ii) the overall outcome of a programme of study;

(iii) failure at any stage of the programme of study;

(iv) the decision of the Board of Examiners consequent upon failure.

(b) any action taken under the Policy on Academic Warnings.

4.  Appeals may be made only on one or both of the following grounds:

(i) procedural irregularity in the conduct of the assessment or the academic warnings procedure;

(ii) exceptional circumstances, providing that these circumstances were not already considered by an Exceptional Circumstances Panel, that these circumstances can be substantiated in accordance with University guidelines of admissible evidence, and that there is a reason deemed valid by the University for not notifying the relevant Exceptional Circumstances Panel by the specified deadline in accordance with the relevant provisions of Regulation 13.

Research Degrees

5. For research degree students appealing against decisions made under Regulation 2D, section 6 (Doctoral Progression), section 8 (Satisfactory work during each academic year), or any other decision made by the Research Degrees Committee prior to submission of the thesis, appeals may be made only on one or more of the following grounds:

(i) procedural irregularities;

(ii) exceptional circumstances, providing that these circumstances were not known by the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee at the time it made its decision, that these circumstances can be substantiated, and that there is a reason deemed valid by the University for not notifying the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee in advance in accordance with the relevant provisions of Regulation 8:

(iii) inadequacy of supervision or facilities.

6. For research degree students appealing against decisions made under Regulation 2D section11 (Award), appeals may be made only on one or more of the following grounds:

(i) procedural irregularities;

(ii) exceptional circumstances, providing that these circumstances were not known by the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee at the time it made its decision, that these circumstances can be substantiated, and that there is a reason deemed valid by the University for not notifying the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee in advance in accordance with the relevant provisions of Regulation 8.

Alleged inadequacy of supervisory or other arrangements during the period of study must be raised at the time, in accordance with procedures set out in the Code of Practice on Postgraduate Research Degrees, and do not constitute grounds for appeal following the submission of the thesis (appeals against decisions made under Regulation 2D section 11). 

Procedure for submission of an appeal

7. A student who wishes to appeal must:

(i) where applicable inform the University of the intention to appeal by submitting an Intention to Appeal form before Senate confirms the decision of the Board of Examiners/Research Degrees Committee. Senate will then not confirm the Board/Committee's recommendation pending the outcome of the appeal; and

(ii) submit the full details of the appeal on the approved Appeal Form.

Undergraduate students and taught postgraduate students must submit an appeal no later than 10 calendar days from the official notification of either the decision of the Board of Examiners or actions taken under the Policy on Academic Warnings by the Head of School or Head of Student Records and Examinations.

Research Postgraduate students must submit an appeal no later than 28 calendar days from the official notification of the decision of the Research Degrees Committee.

In completing the form students must set out their case, provide supporting evidence and include a statement of the remedial action which they would like the University to consider in the event of a successful appeal. The student may also invite any other person to write a statement on his/her behalf to be appended to the appeal form.

Sifting Stage

8. Appeal cases will be considered in the first instance by the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct (or nominee) and a member of the University Academic Appeals Committee. This Sifting stage of the appeals process consists of an initial assessment of readily available documentation, to include the student submission, information on SCIMS, previously submitted exceptional circumstances, initial comments from the School or Service, as appropriate. Where such initial comments from the School or Service are going to be taken into consideration in the Sifting Stage, the student will be given the opportunity to respond to these comments before a decision is made. In cases where they deem the case to be straight forward and the evidence to be sufficiently compelling, the case may be referred back to the Board of Examiners for consideration with a recommendation to uphold the appeal. The final decision regarding the outcome of the appeal rests with the University Academic Appeals Committee. Where they deem that the case is more complex or requires further exploration of the evidence, the appeal shall be considered by the University Academic Appeals Committee. Where the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and the member of the Academic Appeals Committee are of the view that based on the information available, no case exists, the student will be advised in writing, stating the reasons. In exceptional circumstances a student may be eligible to submit a grievance against the decision by following the provisions of 7.18 below. 

9. Where in the case of an appeal against withdrawal it is deemed at the sifting stage that no case exists, the Head of Academic Quality and Student Conduct and a member of the Academic Appeals Committee may nevertheless and at their discretion refer the case to the University Academic Appeals Committee with a view to seek a means within the provisions of the academic regulations by which the student may remain a registered student of the University.

Constitution of the University Academic Appeals Committee

10. The Academic Appeals Committee shall be constituted as follows:

Three nominees of the Vice-Chancellor (one in the Chair and two to act as Deputy Chairs, each to be a member of a different faculty);

Three senior academic members of each faculty, nominated by the Dean of the Faculty;

The Committee shall be serviced by the Directorate of Planning and Academic Administration.

For a meeting of the Committee to be quorate, five of the thirteen members must be present, one of whom must be the Chair or Deputy Chair. 

Function and powers of the Academic Appeals Committee

11. The functions of the Academic Appeals Committee shall be:

(i) to consider and investigate academic appeals by students;

(ii) to act on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor and the Senate in making final decisions regarding the outcomes of appeals in accordance with the regulations;

(iii) to provide an annual report to Senate on the appeals received.

12. Where an appeal is upheld or partially upheld, the Committee shall be empowered to allow:

(i) progression to the next level of study, but only in exceptional cases where there is a procedural irregularity and only where this is not disallowed by the relevant course regulations,

(ii) continued study at the same level of study,

(iii) an additional assessment opportunity,

(iv) re-instatement as a student, or

(v) a course transfer.

13. Where the appeal is against the award decision made by the Research Degrees Committee, and the University Academic Appeals Committee determines that the thesis should be subject to re-examination the following procedures shall normally be followed:

(i) new examiners shall be appointed, in number not fewer than the original number and containing not fewer than two external examiners;

(ii) the examiners shall be advised that they are conducting a re-examination on appeal but no information will be made available about the previous examination;

(iii) the examiners shall submit independent reports on the thesis before they examine the student orally, and a joint report after any oral examination;

(iv) the reports by the original examiners and by the new examiners shall be considered by the Research Degrees Committee before a final decision is reached.

Meetings of the University Academic Appeals Committee

14. Appeals will normally be considered at a meeting of the University Academic Appeals Committee. Consideration will be based on documentary evidence. This evidence will consist as a minimum of the appeal form submitted by the student, together with a report from the relevant School(s) or any other body relevant to the student's appeal, written in response to the information provided on the appeal form and a response from the student to this information, where submitted. The University Academic Appeals Committee will also be provided with the student's academic results and any relevant Examination Board minutes.

15. The University Academic Appeals Committee at this point has the power to uphold the appeal based solely on this documentary evidence. In more complex cases, either identified as such at the Sifting Stage or where the University Academic Appeals Committee is of the opinion that a decision cannot be made based solely on the documentary evidence available to it, the case will be considered at a meeting of the University Academic Appeals Committee to which the student and the academic School(s) or any other body relevant to the student's appeal are invited to attend.

16. The student and/or his/her representative, who should normally be a member of the University as defined by Statute 2, shall have the right, but is under no obligation, to give evidence to the meeting. A representative of the academic School(s)/Research Institute concerned is normally also required to attend to discuss their report.

17. The outcome of an appeal shall be notified to the student and the relevant Head(s) of School/Director of Research Institute in writing no more than 7 working days after the meeting of the University Academic Appeals Committee. Reasons for the decision shall be given. The decision of the University Academic Appeals Committee shall be final.

Grievances against appeal decisions

18. In very exceptional circumstances, following exhaustion of the appeals procedure it may be permissible for a student to lodge a grievance if it fulfils one or both of the following criteria:

a) Procedural irregularity in the conduct of the appeal;

b)There is new evidence that can be substantiated, including exceptional circumstances, which was not known at the time, and may have affected the outcome had it been known to the committee and that there is a valid reason for not making it known at the time. 

19. Grievances will be considered under the provisions of Ordinance XXVIII: Appeals and Grievances Considered by Council, and must be submitted in writing within 14 calendar days of the letter informing the student of the outcome of their appeal.

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