Appendix A. Academics, Grades, Boards, Graduate Council, and Appeals of Dismissal
A.10 Academic Standards and Integrity
A.11 Waiver of Requirements
A.20 Boards and Officers
A.21 Graduate Council
A.22 Dean of The Graduate School
A.23 University Ombudsman
A.24 The University Judicial System
A.25 Committee on Academic Standards and Appeals
A.26 The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board
A.10 Academic Standards and Integrity
A.11. Waiver of Requirements. Any member of the Graduate Faculty or any graduate student may petition the Graduate School concerning exceptions to the provisions of this manual. Petitions requesting exceptions to, or appeals from the provisions of this manual shall be addressed to the Dean of the Graduate School. Such petitions should include the rationale for the request. It is important to note that only the Graduate Council, or in discretionary cases, only the Dean of the Graduate School may alter or grant exceptions to the provisions of this manual. In particular, the provisions regarding admission to graduate study, advanced standing, transfer credit, and approval and amendment of Programs of Study all explicitly require the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.
A.12. Grades. Regulations concerning grades and grade point averages are presented in Section 10 of this manual.
A.12.1. Only grades of C (2.00) or better in courses numbered 500 and above and grades of B- (2.67) or better in courses numbered below 500 shall be credited toward degree requirements. If a student receives a grade of D, F, or U in a course, or grades of C+ (2.33) or lower in more than one course below the 500 level, or does not maintain a cumulative average of B (3.00) or better, their status as a graduate student will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with appropriate faculty member(s) in the Department. Such review may result in being placed on provisional status, being suspended, or being dismissed. (See Section A.26.1 for appeals procedures.)
A.12.2. For continuation in a graduate degree program and for graduation, an average of B (3.00) in all work taken is required except for courses specified as entrance deficiencies, approved for no program credit prior to registration for the course, or automatically considered for no program credit under the provisions of Section 9. It is the responsibility of the student's program committee to determine a reasonable maximum of C and C+ grades in courses numbered 500 or above which may be considered acceptable in the student's total program. A student exceeding the specified number of these grades will have their status reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with appropriate faculty members in the Department. Such review may result in suspension or dismissal. (See Section A.26.1 for appeals procedures.)
A.12.3. Changes in Record. The University Manual indicates that "No grade (including that of NW) shall be changed after it has been reported to and recorded by the Office of Enrollment Services" except in three circumstances outlined in the University Manual (See UM 8.56.10.)
A written explanation for the reason for the change in grade should accompany any request for a change of grade. Approval for a change in grade normally will not be granted solely for additional work submitted after the semester is completed.
A.12.4. Incomplete. According to the University Manual, a graduate student "shall receive a report of 'incomplete' in any course in which the course work has been passing up until the time of a documented precipitating incident or condition, but has not been completed because of illness or another reason which in the opinion of the instructor justifies the report." An 'incomplete' not removed within one calendar year shall remain on the student's permanent record, except that the instructor with the knowledge of the Chair may extend the time limit, or in the instructor's absence, the department Chair may extend the time limit by which the incomplete work must be finished. (See UM 8.53.20, GSM 10.42.)
"The instructor shall accompany a report of 'incomplete' with a written explanation and file a copy of the explanation with the department Chair. The student receiving 'incomplete' shall make satisfactory arrangements with the instructor, or, in the absence of the instructor, with the instructor's Chair to remove the deficiency and the new grade shall be immediately reported to Enrollment Services and the department Chair." (See UM 8.53.21)
A.12.5. Students admitted to Teacher Certification Programs (TCP) must earn grades of C or better in all courses numbered 100 or above. If a TCP student receives a grade below C (2.00) or grades of C+ (2.33) or lower in more than one course, or does not maintain a cumulative average of B (3.00) or better, their status will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School in consultation with appropriate faculty members in the Department. Such a review may result in the student being placed on provisional status or being dismissed. (See Section A.16.1 for appeals procedures) The provisions of Section A.12.2 shall apply for continuation and completion of certification requirements in the TCP plan.
A.13.1. The University Manual lists the expectations of the University concerning academic integrity as follows:
A.13.2. "Students are expected to be honest in all academic work. Cheating is the claiming of credit for work not done independently without giving credit for aid received, or any unauthorized communication during examinations." (See UM 8.27.10)
A.13.3. "A student's name on any written exercise (theme, report, notebook, paper, examination) shall be regarded as assurance that the work is the result of the student's own thought and study, stated in the student's own words and produced without assistance, except as quotation marks, references, and footnotes acknowledge the use of other sources of assistance. Occasionally, students may be authorized to work jointly, but such effort must be indicated as joint on the work submitted. Submitting the same paper for more than one course is considered a breach of academic integrity unless prior approval is given by the instructors." (See UM 8.27.11.)
A.13.4. "In preparing papers or themes, a student often needs or is required to employ sources of information or opinion. All such sources used in preparing to write or in writing a paper shall be listed in the bibliography. It is not necessary to give footnote references for specific facts which are common knowledge and have obtained general agreement. However, facts, observations and opinions which are new discoveries or are debatable shall be identified with correct footnote references even when restated in the student's own words. Material taken word for word from the written or oral statement of another person must be enclosed in quotation marks or otherwise clearly distinguished from the body of the text and the source cited. Paraphrasing or summarizing the contents of another's work usually is acceptable if the source is clearly identified but does not constitute independent work and may be rejected by the instructor." (See UM 8.27.12.)
A.13.5. "Notebooks, homework and reports of investigations or experiments shall meet the same standards as all other written work. If any work is done jointly or if any part of the experiment or analysis is made by someone other than the writer, acknowledgment of this fact shall be made in the report submitted. Obviously, it is dishonest to falsify or invent data." (See UM 8.27.13.)
A.13.6. "Written work presented as personal creation is assumed to involve no assistance other than incidental criticism from others. A student shall not knowingly employ story material, wording or dialogue taken from published work, motion pictures, radio, television, lectures or similar sources." (See UM 8.27.14.)
A.13.7. "In writing examinations, the student shall respond entirely on the basis of the student's own capacity without any assistance except that authorized by the instructor." (See UM 8.27.15.)
A.13.8. "Instructors shall have the responsibility of insuring that students prepare assignments with academic integrity. Instructors shall do all that is feasible to prevent plagiarism in term papers or other written work." (See UM 8.27.16.)
A.13.9. "Instructors shall have the explicit duty to take action in known cases of cheating or plagiarism. The instructor shall have the right to fail a student on the assignment on which the instructor has determined that a student has cheated or plagiarized. The circumstances of this failure shall be reported to the student's academic dean. The student may appeal the matter to the instructor's dean, and the decision by the dean shall be expeditious and final. The Vice Provost for Urban Programs shall be considered the instructor's dean only in cases of courses offered exclusively through the Alan Shawn Feinstein College of Continuing Education (e.g. courses with the code BGS)." (See UM 8.27.18.)
A.13.10. "If the violation warrants more severe censure, the instructor may recommend additional action to the instructor's dean. Upon this recommendation the dean may authorize the instructor to fail the student in the course. The student or instructor may appeal the dean's decision to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs whose decision on the appeal shall be final." (See UM 8.27.18.)
A.13.11. For further information on University policies related to standards of behavior and disciplinary actions, see sections 9.18.10 – 9.25.10 of the University Manual.
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A.20 Boards and Officers
A.21. Graduate Council
A.21.1. It is the responsibility of the Graduate Council to determine requirements for admission of students to graduate work, their candidacy for degrees, and awarding of degrees; to approve, subject to action by the Faculty Senate, all plans of graduate instruction and all courses carrying graduate credit; to act upon all petitions from graduate students relating to their academic work and degree requirements; to establish academic standards for all graduate work; to recommend to the Graduate Faculty those who have completed degree requirements; and to make recommendations to the Faculty Senate on all matters relating to teaching and research on the graduate level. The Council is the policy-setting body of the Graduate Faculty.
A.22. Dean of the Graduate School. (See UM, 3.30.11-14)
A.22.1. It is the responsibility of the Dean to administer the policies and procedures of graduate study set down by the Graduate Council. The Dean is to administer and enforce the regulations pertaining to the conduct of graduate work and the granting of graduate degrees.
A.23. University Ombud. (See UM, 2.39.10-20)
A.23.1. The primary function of the Ombud is to maintain a known center for the handling of individual grievances and complaints and to publicize their availability. This availability provides the individual, whether student, faculty member, or administrative official, with the knowledge that there is one independent party always available to receive complaints, inquire into the matters involved, pass judgment, and make recommendations for suitable actions. This individual therefore, can make appeals personally to an impartial official with broad perspective who has ready access at all levels to those involved in the grievance.
A.23.2. Although the primary function of the Ombud is to handle grievances brought directly to that office, the ombudsman will not be expected to recommend changes to the normal operations of established procedures, as outlined in the Graduate School Manual, except where it appears, in their sole judgment, that they are not functioning in their intended manner.
A.23.3. "The Ombud shall be assisted by a student appointed by the President by July 1 each year." (UM 2.39.19)
A.24 The University Judicial System
A.24.1. The Office of Student Life administers the University Judicial System. Each student should obtain a copy of the Students' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, available at the Office of Student Life, that provides a detailed description of policies and procedures related to the Judicial System. The University Judicial System is designed to promote student growth and to preserve the atmosphere of learning necessary to the well being of all students. Disciplinary action may be implemented only through referral of violations to the Office of Student Life. Where infractions of University standards and policies are involved, reports of violations or complaints shall be submitted to the Office of Student Life from the campus police or local police departments, from other students, and from faculty and staff in a timely manner. In all cases, the available facts shall be gathered from the accuser (complainant or the reporting agency) and a careful evaluation of these facts, as well as the dependability and character of the person reporting them, shall be made. If corroboration of the information presented is deemed necessary, further inquiry and investigation shall be undertaken. If, at this point, in the judgment of the Office of Student Life, there is insufficient evidence of a violation, or the case lacks merit, a decision not to refer the matter to the judicial system may be made. If a case is referred to the judicial system, it must be presented by the accuser. If the situation warrants it, the Director of Student Life may appoint special judicial boards in addition to the regular boards.
A.25 Committee on Academic Policies, Standards and Appeals
A.25.1. This committee is a standing committee of the Graduate Council.
A.25.2. This committee hears, at the request of the Graduate Council, student appeals on academic matters directed to the Council. It hears only those matters not involved in suspension or dismissal decisions.
A.25.3. In addition, the committee functions in an advisory capacity to the Dean of the Graduate School and the Graduate Council on any matter relating to academic standards which may be referred to the committee.
A.26 The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board
A.26.1.1. The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board was authorized by the Graduate Council. Jurisdiction of the Board is limited to hearing appeals of graduate students who are being suspended or dismissed for academic failure and to affirm or reverse the original decision.
A.26.1.2. If the decision is to suspend or dismiss, the Dean of the Graduate School shall notify the student by a letter sent by certified mail, return receipt requested. The letter shall inform the student:
- That the student is being suspended or dismissed, the reasons why, and when it takes effect.
- That the decision may be appealed, and the procedure for filing an appeal.
- The time limits for filing the appeal.
- That the student is entitled to counsel of choice at the student's own expense.
A.26.1.3. A student who wishes to appeal suspension or dismissal for academic failure shall file a formal appeal within 15 business days after the return receipt has arrived at the Dean's Office. The Appeals Board and only the Appeals Board has the authority to grant an extension of time.
A.26.1.4. The grounds on which the appeal is based must be clearly stated.
A.26.1.5. A student who has filed an appeal concerned with suspension or dismissal for academic failure, may remain enrolled in courses, may enroll while the appeal is in process, and may receive credit for courses completed while an appeal is pending, but no degree shall be granted while an appeal is pending. A student whose dismissal or suspension is affirmed by the Appeals Board during a semester when the student is enrolled in courses may choose to finish the courses for transcript credit or withdraw with full tuition refund.
A.26.1.6. The grounds for appeal and the decision of the Appeals Board are limited to the consideration of those matters preceding the date of dismissal or suspension.
A.26.1.7. The Dean of the Graduate School shall inform the Graduate Council when an appeal has been filed.
A.26.1.8. The Board shall convene as soon as possible after receiving a request for appeal, and ordinarily no later than 14 days after the request has been received by the Chair of the Appeals Board.
A.26.1.9. The Board shall conduct hearings in full accord with conventionally accepted principles of due process. The procedure shall be developed in consultation with University legal counsel, and shall be stipulated in writing prior to commencing operations. The Board shall be empowered to invite specialists to supply information or consultation as needed, including "outside" specialists. All reasonable costs for such services shall be borne by the Graduate School.
A.26.1.10. The hearings of the Board shall be a matter of record. Stenographic, synoptic, or taped records are required, and these and the final report shall remain on file in the Graduate School Office for ten years. The final report shall be kept in the student's file as long as the file is kept.
A.26.1.11. Routine aspects of an appeal such as scheduling meetings, notifying members of the Board and the appellant of meetings, keeping records and typing the final report are solely the responsibility of the Chair of the Appeals Board.
A.26.1.12. At the time of the first hearing of an appeal, the Chair of the Board shall inform the Graduate Council, via the Dean of the Graduate School, that the appeal process has begun.
A.26.1.13. The final report on the appeal shall be transmitted by the Chair of the Board to:
- The Dean of the Graduate School
- The student
- The student's Major Professor or Advisor, and Committee if the student has a committee
- The Department Chair
- The Graduate Council
A.26.1.14. If additional announcements are required, they shall be made by the Chair of the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board, and only by the Chair, and in strict accordance with URI policies and procedures governing news releases.
A.26.2. Composition of the Board
A.26.2.1. The Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board shall be a standing body composed of three members of the Graduate Faculty, two graduate students, and an alternate member for each position.
A.26.2.2. The Board shall elect its own Chair. The Chair shall serve for one year and shall be eligible for reelection.
A.26.2.3. Two of the faculty members and two faculty alternates shall be elected by the Graduate Council. The third faculty member and faculty alternate, and the two student members and alternates shall be elected by the Graduate Student Association.
A.26.3. Criteria for Membership on the Board
A.26.3.1. Any member of the Graduate Faculty who holds a full time continuing appointment, and who is not a member of the Graduate Council may serve on the Board. A member of the Board whose status changes will be replaced by an alternate or by a newly elected member.
A.26.3.2. The faculty members and alternates elected by the Graduate Faculty must have tenure. The faculty member and faculty alternate elected by the Graduate Student Association may be tenured but are not required to be.
A.26.3.3. Graduate student members and alternates must be registered as full-time students in a degree program during the Spring and Fall semesters that they serve on the Board and should be available but not necessarily registered during the summer.
A.26.3.4. Of the five members and five alternates, no more than two shall be from the same department, but no two members reviewing any one appeal shall be from the same department. In case of conflict, an alternate will serve or a new member will be elected.
A.26.4.1. Elections for members of the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board shall be held in October or November.
A.26.4.2. Consent of each nominee must be obtained before a nomination is made. Acceptance of a nomination implies that if elected, the member or alternate will be available most of the times when an appeal is likely to be made.
A.26.4.3. As far as possible the nominees will be selected from among individuals who will be available to serve on the Board during periods when appeals are most likely to be made. Ordinarily these are in June, August and February.
A.26.4.4. A special election may be held at any time, to fill a vacancy or to resolve a conflict of interest because of departmental affiliations.
A.26.4.5. The term of office of members and alternates shall normally begin and end on January 1, but if for any reason elections are delayed, members and alternates shall serve until their successors are elected.
A.26.4.6. A member or alternate elected at a special election to resolve a conflict of interest shall serve for the particular appeal only; but if elected to fill a vacancy, shall serve until the next regular election.
A.26.4.7. If an additional member (or members) is needed to complete the required number for an appeal during the summer, when nominations and elections cannot be carried out quickly, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall appoint a member of the Graduate Faculty or a graduate student to fill the vacancy.
A.26.4.8. The Office of the Dean of the Graduate School shall be responsible for keeping records of elections, terms of office of members and alternates, notifying the two electing bodies when elections are needed, and conducting the Graduate Council election.
A.26.5. Elections - Graduate Student Association
A.26.5.1. The Graduate Student Association shall elect two graduate student members and two student alternates from four different departments every year.
A.26.5.2. When the votes have been counted, the two nominees who have received the highest numbers of votes shall be declared members, and the next two, alternates. If there is a tie vote, the order shall be decided by lot.
A.26.5.3. The faculty member elected by the Graduate Student Association will serve one year as alternate, and as a member the following year. The alternate Graduate Faculty member will be elected every year from a slate that contains at least one nomination. If for any reason, the Graduate Faculty alternate elected the year before is unable to serve as a member, the nominating slate shall contain at least two nominees. The nominee who receives the highest number of votes shall be declared member, the next highest alternate. A tie vote shall be decided by lot.
A.26.5.4. Nomination and election of members and alternates by the Graduate Student Association shall take place in accordance with the procedures as described in the Constitution and By-Laws of the Graduate Student Association.
A.26.6. Elections - Graduate Council
A.26.6.1. The election by the Graduate Council shall generally be for two alternates; the faculty members elected as alternates shall serve as members the following year.
A.26.6.2. The slate of nominees to be elected by the Graduate Council shall be prepared by a nominating committee appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School and approved by the Graduate Council.
A.26.6.3. The nominating committee shall consist of three elected faculty members of the Graduate Council.
A.26.6.4. Members of the nominating committee shall be appointed by the first Graduate Council meeting of the academic year and shall serve a term of one year.
A.26.6.5. The nominating committee shall elect its own Chair.
A.26.6.6. If for any reason an alternate is unable to serve as a member the following year, the nominating committee shall be informed that a member must be elected in addition to the two alternates, and the slate of nominees shall reflect this.
A.26.6.7. Prior to the second Graduate Council meeting of the academic year the Dean of the Graduate School shall inform the Graduate Faculty that nominations for the Appeals Board are being sought.
A.26.6.8. At the second Graduate Council meeting of the academic year, the nominating committee shall present a slate of candidates that will consist of at least two nominations for each vacancy.
A.26.6.9. Election by the Graduate Council shall take place at the third meeting of the year and shall be by written ballot.
A.26.6.10. Additional nominations may be submitted by any member of the Graduate Faculty 10 days prior to the meeting at which the election takes place provided the nominees satisfy the criteria specified in A.26.3.
A.26.6.11. When the votes are counted, the nominees who receive the highest number of votes shall be declared elected as members, if vacancies for members exist, and the next two nominees in order shall be alternates. Tie votes shall be decided by lot.
A.26.7.1. Any of the following conditions shall disqualify a Board member from participating in a hearing on a particular appeal:
- When a Board member is enrolled in or is a faculty member of the same academic department as an appellant, or is a member of the faculty responsible for administering the student's plan.
- When a Board member is also a member of a student appellant's advisory committee.
- When a Board member feels that for any reason they cannot render a fair judgment in a particular case, they are required to disqualify themself.
- When a Board member is directly involved in the matter under appeal.
A.26.8.1. The procedures for the Graduate Student Academic Appeals Board should be reviewed every five years and changes made as needed.
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