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Faculty Services

Student Academic Appeals

If a student objects to an academic decision, the Student Handbook provides procedures whereby the student may appeal the decision. The procedures differ somewhat depending on whether the student is in a graduate program or in an undergraduate program. Faculty, who serve as academic advisors to students should hold an awareness of what the procedures are and where to find them. Learn more about the undergraduate appeal procedure. Learn more about the graduate appeal procedure.

The Student Handbook configures as something of a contract between the student and the institution. Therefore the appeal procedures should be considered to have legal ramifications and should be taken seriously. If a faculty member is engaged in an appeal process with a student, it is highly advisable to look up the procedures, no matter how well one thinks one knows them, and follow them closely.

If an academic appeal pertinent to a faculty member comes all the way through the process to the associate provost, she will (a) inform the faculty member and the relevant dean, (b) request relevant documentation about any prior steps of the appeal as well as the original situation, and (c) request a meeting to get the faculty member’s opinion and other input regarding the case. Often the faculty member, the dean, and the associate provost meet together to discuss the situation and its potential resolution. On occasion, other relevant personnel will be included in the consultation. The associate provost also meets in person with the student, unless the student chooses not to meet.

The associate provost is available to consult with faculty (or with department chairs or deans) should they have questions about the procedures, about how university policies and practices pertain to the specific case, or about potential alternative actions that might be possible in the specific case.

Grade Changes

Recording of grades does not flow perfectly every time, so it may become valuable to request a change of grade. Sometimes this is because the grade was recorded incorrectly in the first place. Occasionally it is because the grade was not calculated correctly. Most often this latter phenomenon is caused by the fact that the student used an alternate method to submit an assignment (e.g., using email rather than Canvas). Completed Incomplete (IN) Grade will also require a grade change.

Most often the student will alert the faculty member of the incorrect grade record. It is then the responsibility of the faculty member to enter the grade change request into the system. Grade changes can be submitted online using a digital Grade Change form available on My Account under the Faculty Profile page.

Please note that the grade change request should not replace the Incomplete (IN) Grade system. If a student needs more time to complete a course due to unpredictable and extreme circumstances, the student should request a Incomplete (IN) Grade. The Office of the Associate Provost deals with such situations in a compassionate and understanding manner.

If students want more time for the course assignments because they are busy or they made poor time-management decisions during the term — or other circumstances that are common to many students — this is distressing but not good reason to allow them to turn in late assignments for a grade change. This practice feels gracious and benign, but it is unfair to all the students who did the work in the allotted time. It also distorts the meaning of the course grade, which indicates how well the student learned the course content in the designated time.

Patricia Pike, the associate provost, will help faculty change a grade and correct a student’s record to make it as accurate as possible. She also provides consultation and input should a faculty member question the appropriateness of a grade change in a particular case.

Student Incomplete (IN) Grade Policies and Procedures

Every term there are a few students who experience unpredictable situations out of their control that interfere with the completion of the final course assignments. The Incomplete (IN) Grade system is intended to support these students’ efforts to complete their coursework and move forward toward degree completion. Most often the faculty members hear about the situation first, because the student comes to the faculty with the problem.

Faculty are welcome to advise students experiencing such crises to contact the Office of the Associate Provost to ask about an Incomplete (IN) Grade.

Generally speaking, giving some students more time to complete a course and not giving all of the students the extra time is not equitable. Since grades reflect learning accomplished within a particular time frame, giving some students more time also distorts the grade record for those students. However, a crisis situation disrupts these assumptions. An Incomplete (IN) Grade provides a review and approval process in order to maintain as closely as possible the equity and accuracy of the record. The IN allows a student more time (5 weeks for a regular semester) to complete the coursework in the face of extreme situations. This allows a student a bit more time and helps this student stay on track with the degree plan trajectory in place.

Sometimes an Incomplete (IN) Grade is not the best solution for the student. The interplay between enrollment, financial aid, registration for the next semester, and the student’s life circumstances can be complex and need to be taken into consideration carefully. The Office of the Associate Provost will help the student understand their options.

Most often Incomplete (IN) Grades are only considered toward the end of a term. If a student is already having difficulties before the term withdrawal deadline, it is most often the better academic decision to withdraw from the course — even though that does not feel like the better economic or timing decision.

Also, an Incomplete (IN) Grade assumes that the student has missed or is delayed with assignments by only about 20 percent of the term. This system is not intended to run a delayed course across the subsequent term. It is also not academically beneficial to allow students to accumulate delays thus putting their next term’s work into conflict with their past term’s work. If a student has missed more than 20 percent of the course or cannot complete the course in the deadline for the delay, it is most often wiser for the student to withdraw from the course and retake it when it fits better into their circumstances.

PHRRC

The PHRRC reports to the associate provost. If faculty members need difficulties addressed, have suggestions for the process, or feel that they have not received a satisfactory hearing form the committee chairs, contact the associate provost.

The PHRRC reviews research only by researchers internal to Biola. External research proposals seeking approval from Biola University to run in the Biola community (students, faculty, staff) through Biola communication channels are reviewed by the associate provost. External parties who would like more information on how to process research approval at Biola should first contact the PHRRC at phrrc.submissions@biola.edu. The proposal will likely be sent to the associate provost for review and decision, but the first contact can go through the regular PHRRC communication system.

View more details about the Protection of Human Rights in Research Committee on the PHRRC website.

Prioritization Project Tracking

The associate provost has been tasked with tracking progress related to the decisions made by the president and the cabinet (vice presidents) related to the prioritization project of 2016-2017. Questions about reporting or about general progress of work coming out of the prioritization project can be addressed to the associate provost. Questions specific to the faculty member’s department or school will best be made to the department chair and the dean.

Study Tours

Biola encourages faculty to take advantage of the summer term to lead academic study tours, engaging students in a learning experience away from their usual daily activities as well as away from Biola’s campus. There are policies and procedures to help to make unique aspects of study tours mesh as well as possible with the regular academic and financial systems of Biola.

Information about current study tours may be found in the “Short Term Programs” section of the Study Abroad Programs website.

Faculty led study tours must be academically sound and financially feasible for both the University and the student. The study tours policies document articulates a number of policies and practices that have developed over several decades of experience by multiple faculty and staff who have worked on the myriad of details that arise related to study tours. The current policies were developed by a joint committee of faculty and staff. View Study Tour Policies and Procedures.

Once a faculty member has reviewed the Policies related to Study Tours, there is an application, the submission of which will begin the review and approval process. The associate provost welcomes the opportunity to meet with the faculty member who wants to develop a study tour even before the application form is completed.

Summer Session

The associate provost also serves as the director of summer session. Therefore, questions about course offerings, contracting for summer, scheduling, policies, pay scales and various other facets related to teaching courses during the summer can be addressed to the associate provost. Comments and suggestions for making the systems work well for the faculty and the students are also welcome.

However, please be aware that academic courses are offered by the school that houses the course. The associate provost only serves as an administrative convenience for the deans by centralizing the administrative logistics. The courses offered and faculty assignments for teaching them are determined by the school deans.

Consultation

The associate provost is available to consult with faculty about academic issues. For the most part, it is understood that a primary input of consultation, support, guidance, and advice will come to faculty and their department chairs from the dean. However, if an additional perspective might be valuable, the associate provost is pleased to be of service. To schedule an appointment with the associate provost, please e-mail associateprovostacademicadmin@biola.edu or call (562) 903-5307.