Academic Appeals

General Process

An academic appeal may be made in accordance with this policy when a student believes that an academic decision (e.g., a course grade, admission to a program or major, etc.) involving that student is unfair or erroneous. It is the intent of the University that appeals should be dealt with in a timely manner and moved toward closure with appropriate balance of deliberation and speed. During the regular semesters, the appeal will normally be brought under review by the relevant party within two (2) weeks of its receipt. The process will then move forward to the final decision as rapidly as is reasonably possible. During times between regular semesters (summer, January), review of the appeal may be delayed until the relevant people are available.

Course grades and decisions regarding admission to a major must be appealed within 90 days of the posting of grades or notification to the student of a decision regarding admission to a major.

A. Appeal of Academic Decision by a Faculty Member

Step 1: Consultation with Faculty Member

In order to appeal an academic decision made by a faculty member (e.g., course grade), the student must first interact with the relevant faculty member. This interaction may be made verbally or in writing (letter or email) stating why the student disagrees with the decision. This level of interaction is likely to resolve the issue in most cases.

Step 2: Appeal to Chair of Department or Dean of School/Division

If the situation is not resolved in Step 1, the student may appeal the faculty member’s decision to the Chair of the faculty member’s department or the Dean of the School or Division in which the department resides. This appeal must be in writing and must set forth the reasons for the appeal. The Chair or Dean will contact the student and the faculty member and may seek further information or consultation regarding the merits of the appeal. The Chair’s or Dean’s decision will be provided to the student in writing.

Step 3: Appeal to Vice Provost for Academic Administration

If the student is not satisfied with the decision made by the Chair or Dean, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The Vice Provost will review the appeal in consultation with the School or Division Dean, contact the relevant parties and gather information pertinent to the matter. The Vice Provost may convene an advisory committee to review and make recommendations to the Vice Provost. The decision related to the appeal shall be made by the Vice Provost and is final. The Vice Provost’s decision will be provided to the student in writing.

B. Appeal of Academic Decision by a Department/Major

Step 1: Appeal to Chair of Department

In order for a student to appeal a decision made by a department or major, the student must first submit the appeal in writing to the Chair of the department setting forth the reasons for the appeal. If the original decision was made by a committee within the department, the Chair will forward the appeal to the relevant committee. The Chair or committee will contact the student to discuss the student’s concerns and the relevant departmental policies and practices. In most cases, this interaction will resolve the matter.

Step 2: Appeal to Vice Provost for Academic Administration

If the situation is not resolved in Step 1, the student may then appeal in writing to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The Vice Provost will review the appeal in consultation with the School or Division Dean, contact the relevant parties and gather information pertinent to the matter. The Vice Provost may convene an advisory committee to review and make recommendations to the Vice Provost. The decision related to the appeal shall be made by the Vice Provost and is final. The Vice Provost’s decision will be provided to the student in writing.

C. Appeal of Academic Decision by the University

Step 1: Appeal to Registrar

In order for a student to appeal an academic decision made by the University (e.g., academic probation or dismissal), the student must submit the appeal in writing to the Registrar setting forth the reasons for the appeal. The appeal must be made within three (3) weeks of the posting of grades. In most cases, this interaction will resolve the concern.

Step 2: Appeal to Vice Provost for Academic Administration

If the situation is not resolved in Step 1, the student may appeal the decision to the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. The Vice Provost will review the appeal, contact the relevant parties and gather information pertinent to the matter. The Vice Provost may convene an advisory committee to review and make recommendations to the Vice Provost. The decision related to the appeal shall be made by the Vice Provost and is final. The Vice Provost’s decision will be provided to the student in writing.

D. Appeal Beyond the University

If your complaint is associated with the institution’s compliance with academic program quality and accrediting standards, WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is the agency that accredits Biola University’s academic programs. Therefore, if your complaint remains unresolved after exhausting all of the steps and appeals outlined by Student Development or the Office of the University Legal Council, you may present your complaint to WSCUC at www.wascsenior.org/comments.

Federal regulations require the States to provide students the ability to file complaints against educational institutions located in their state. Listed below are the states where Biola University maintains a Title IV approved site and contact information for the filing of a complaint. Biola University encourages all students to first use all available grievance procedures provided by the institution before pursuing a complaint with a state agency.

California: Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: 916-431-6924
Fax: 916-263-1897
Website: http://www.bppe.ca.gov

New York: State Education Department
Office of College and University Evaluation
EBA Room 969
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
Download NY complaint form at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/spr/documents/complaint62015.pdf

Nothing in this disclosure should be construed to limit any right that you may have to take civil or criminal legal action to resolve your complaints. Biola University has provided this disclosure in compliance with the requirements of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, as regulated in CFR 34, sections 600.9 (b) (3) and 668.43(b). If anything in this disclosure is out of date, please notify the Office of University Legal Counsel at Biola University, 13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639.

Biola University
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