Appeals of a final course grade assigned by an instructor: student rights and responsibilities, with regard to these appeals, are addressed here and in the Bluefield State College Board of Governors Policy 15: Students Academic Rights.
If, after discussion with the instructor, a student wishes to establish that a recorded grade was reported arbitrarily, capriciously, or prejudicially, he/she must register, within 10 school days of the beginning of the next semester, the complaint with the Dean of the School within which the grade was received. For descriptions of the above terms and their relationship to final course grades please see below:
- An arbitrarily assigned grade is deemed to have been awarded solely by the instructor’s discretion without comparison to an established course metric or calculation by a clearly defined standard as outlined by the course policy sheet or syllabus.
- A capriciously assigned grade is deemed to have been awarded impulsively by the instructor with no clear explanation as to the legitimacy of the grade.
- A prejudicially assigned grade is deemed to have been awarded by the instructor acting upon a preconceived opinion or feeling toward the student based on a student’s age, race, color, national origin, religious affiliation, political affiliation, disability, sexual orientation, or gender.
The student must provide the Dean of the School with 1) a written statement including the reason for the appeal (computational error, arbitrary grading practices, discrimination, etc.); 2) copies of all relevant graded work (course assignments, tests, quizzes, lab reports, etc.); and/or 3) a list of relevant work not in the student’s possession but maintained by the instructor of the course, that illustrate the student’s success in the course. The Dean will return all documentation to the student after the appeal process is completed.
The Dean will attempt an informal reconciliation and may schedule a meeting of the School or a committee of the School to consider the complaint and present its recommendation in writing to the instructor and the student within 5 business days. If the student is not satisfied with, or if the instructor fails to act on the School recommendation, the student may appeal in writing to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs requesting to convene a meeting of the Academics Committee. The student must complete the request form available in the office of the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs. Appeals hearings will occur within 5 days of the beginning of the semester. The faculty member and the student shall be informed of the decision of the Academics Committee in writing within 5 business days of the hearing on the appeal. In cases where the Academics Committee determines that a grade has been improperly assigned, the Committee will ask the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs to have the grade modified in accordance with the findings of the Committee. Grade appeals shall end at the institutional level. Under no circumstances will a grade appeal initiated by a student be considered after the lapse of one semester beyond the semester in which the grade was received.
Appeal of Academic Requirements
A student who wishes to have an exception made to the requirements for completion of an academic program (course substitutions, etc.) should, in consultation with his/her advisor, state his/her case for exception in writing and submit it to the Dean of the School. The requested exception must be approved by the Dean. If the exception involves a course in another School, the requested exception must be approved by both School Deans involved. In cases where either the advisor or the Dean disapproves the requested exception, the student may appeal in writing to the Academics Committee. In such cases, the Academics Committee will hear the request and make its recommendation to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Appeal of Prior Learning Assessments
A student may appeal the denial of credit for prior learning assessment submission within 30 days from the date of the receipt of the denial. The student has the responsibility to complete all paperwork required requesting award of credit for prior learning as detailed in the BSC Board of Governors policy #60. To request an appeal the student should complete the academic appeal committee request form available in the office of the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs. The form will then be conveyed to the chair of the institutional appeals committee for review. Proof must be provided that the denial was based on an arbitrary, capricious, or prejudicial decision. The decision of the academic appeals committee will be provided within 14 days of receipt of the request.
Assessment of Student Learning
Institutions under the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission are committed to excellence in instruction and to programming, which requires student mastery of essential academic skills. To help assure attainment of these necessary skills, an assessment program is utilized to determine the effectiveness of the undergraduate curriculum in preparing students in essential skill areas. Students are required to participate in institutional and programmatic assessment activities as directed by the College. Students not participating in required assessment activities may be denied participation in certain college events such as commencement exercises. Assessment data is used to examine academic programs for quality regarding curriculum, instruction, and student competencies. The degrees granted by the College are Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science. All bachelor’s degrees require a minimum of 120 semester hours (some degrees require more) and all associate degrees require a minimum of 60 semester hours.
A 2.0 grade point average (GPA) overall and for all work completed at Bluefield State College is the minimum required for most degrees, although selected programs of study require a higher GPA (reflected in program descriptions within this publication). Some engineering technology, computer science, and education specializations require a few hours beyond 120 for graduation. Most credits, up to a maximum of 72 semester hours, earned by a student in fulfilling requirements for an associate degree from a regionally accredited two-year institution, may be transferred to meet credit hour requirements within baccalaureate degrees. (See Transfer Credit section of this catalog.) The grade point average earned in completing the associate degree will be carried forward and included in the student’s permanent grade point average at Bluefield State College.
The baccalaureate degrees in Nursing and Imaging Science are based upon successful completion of an appropriate associate degree. An associate degree in Engineering Technology in a technical field approved by the Dean of the School of Engineering Technology and Computer Science is required to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management. In many cases, a student may utilize the completed associate degree requirements to satisfy a second specialization for a baccalaureate degree. For further details, students should refer to curricula in the applicable bachelor’s degree program.
Withdrawing from Courses
Withdrawing from courses prior to the deadline date for withdrawal as published within the academic calendar is accomplished by securing a change in schedule form and having it signed by appropriate persons. Blank copies of the change in schedule form are available in the Offices of the Registrar, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Dean and the advisor. The signatures required on a change in schedule form are the advisor and course instructor; in addition to the advisor and course instructor(s), approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is required for schedule changes occurring after the end of the registration, add, drop period. After obtaining the required signatures, the student must submit, prior to the deadline date, the change in schedule form to the Office of the Registrar. STUDENTS SHOULD TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF THE FOLLOWING: Schedule changes (course adds or drops or withdrawal from the College) are effective only if processed properly by the student. It is the responsibility of the student to see that proper documentation is completed and processed for such actions, rather than relying on verbal notification to instructors or to others within the College.
All electronic communications equipment is to be turned to the “off” position and placed in a purse, backpack, or other storage compartment prior to entering laboratory or classroom settings, unless individual exceptions are made by the instructor. Students should be aware that the handling of such equipment in a laboratory or classroom could make them vulnerable to charges of violation of standards of academic honesty.
Students should make note of the fact that any form of “tampering” (marking or altering in any way other than instructed) with materials distributed in connection with classroom or laboratory tests of evaluations shall be considered a form of academic dishonesty. Students committing such actions are subject to penalties ranging from assignment of a failing grade to dismissal from the course. Other statements regarding standards of academic integrity are contained in the Student Handbook/Planner, in instructors’ course syllabi, and under the “Academic Dishonesty” section of this catalog.
Academic Dishonesty (Plagiarism, cheating, falsifying records, etc.)
Charges of academic dishonesty on the part of a student may be filed by any member of the academic community. Such charges shall be reviewed first at the departmental and/or School level by the Dean, faculty member, and student involved with a maximum penalty of a grade of “F” in the course. If the penalty is “F”, then the student does not have the option to withdraw from the course. The faculty member must notify the Registrar so the “F” grade can be placed on the student’s academic record.
If the student denies guilt, or the Dean feels the penalties at this step are insufficient for a specific act, the case shall be forwarded in writing to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. The case may be resolved at this level, or if considered by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or requested in writing by the student, the case shall be forwarded to the Academics Committee.
The Academics Committee shall present to the accused student, and the person making the accusation, written notification of the charges, which shall include:
- A statement that a hearing will be held before the Academics Committee, together with the notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing.
- A clear statement of the facts and evidence to be presented in support of the charges made.
A recommendation by the Academics Committee for imposition of sanctions in a case of academic dishonesty is final. The Academics Committee may also recommend that the imposition of sanctions be held in abeyance where appropriate.
Student Honor Code
Each Student should read and adhere to the Honor Code Statement, shown below, as instructed, for each course in which he/she is enrolled:
I affirm that I have read and understand the Bluefield State College General Catalog statements on academic integrity and academic dishonesty, and the Student Handbook/Planner statements on plagiarism and records. I am responsible for the work that I submit herewith. I am also ethically responsible for maintaining the academic integrity statement by reporting any instances of academic dishonesty to the appropriate faculty member or administrator.