1. Purpose

 

1.1 The Academic Appeals Regulations are intended to allow the formal raising of concerns by UEA students* undertaking taught or research programmes regarding their academic results or circumstances relating to them. The Academic Complaints Regulations are intended to allow the formal raising of concerns by UEA students undertaking taught or research courses regarding academic matters not relating to academic results. We take students’ concerns seriously at UEA and the Regulations are designed to enable their effective consideration and the enacting of timely remedies as appropriate. If a more appropriate route exists to consider the substantive concern, the student will be advised to engage with the relevant alternative Regulations.

 

1.2 The Regulations have been informed by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator’s (OIA) guidance on Good Practice and embodies the following core principles: Natural Justice, Ease of Use, Time Frames that meet OIA recommendations, Transparency, Consistency, The Treatment of Students as Adults, Recognition of Professional Body Requirements.

 

1.3 The Academic Appeals and Complaints Regulations comprise three parts: an informal stage; a formal Stage One, in which the Faculty Appeals and Complaints Panel (FACP) considers the Academic Appeal or Complaint, and a formal Stage Two, which a student may follow if dissatisfied with the outcome of the Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint and if the submission meets the required conditions for consideration.

 

1.4 Guidance documents for staff and students detailing the processes associated with these Regulations are available from the Learning and Teaching Service (for taught students) or the Postgraduate Research Service (for research students).

 

* Students studying at UEA or registered within the last 30 days, or registered with UEA and based at the John Innes Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the Earlham Institute or Quadram Institute Bioscience. For students based at the John Innes Centre, Sainsbury Centre, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the Earlham Institute or Quadram Institute Bioscience, Stage One Academic Appeals and Complaints are considered by the FACP applicable to the School of registration. Students on validated or accredited programmes at partner institutions wishing to submit an appeal or complaint should use the relevant Regulations at their place of study.

2. commitments

 

2.1 Students who submit an Academic Appeal or Complaint under these Regulations will not be unfavourably treated for having done so. Any student who believes that they have been less favourably treated as a result of submitting a case should immediately contact the Head of Learning and Teaching or the Head of the Postgraduate Research Service.

 

2.2 The University expects that students will not engage in frivolous or malicious appeals or complaints. It should be noted that if an Academic Appeal or Complaint is found to have been brought with mischievous or malicious intent this may provide grounds for disciplinary action against the student.

 

2.3 The University will operate in accordance with its Equal Opportunities Policy when applying the Academic Appeals and Complaints Regulations.

 

2.4 Students should be aware that any information they supply will be treated with due discretion and on a ‘need to know’ basis.

 

2.5 All personal information will be processed by the University in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.

 

2.6 Training will be provided for all University staff involved in the processing of Academic Appeals and Complaints.

3. First Steps to Try to Resolve Concerns

 

(Note: In this and the following sections, references to ‘Board of Examiners’ in relation to postgraduate research students normally mean the internal and external examiner of the thesis appointed by the University. For other students, and for the taught elements of the professional doctorates (ClinPsyD, EdD, ProfD and EdPsyD) references to ‘Board of Examiners’ normally mean those internal and external examiners appointed by the University in respect of taught provision.)

 

3.1 Students are encouraged to seek an informal resolution of the matter about which they are concerned before beginning the formal Regulations. Informal explorations of possible ways in which a matter may be resolved will not prejudice the consideration of a later formal submission. The University recognizes that an informal approach is most likely to be of use in respect of Complaints rather than Appeals against academic outcomes.

 

3.2 Marks allocated to work which has not been blind double-marked can be challenged by students either via the re-marking policy or as part of an Academic Appeal. Work which has been double-marked cannot be challenged or the subject of an Academic Appeal unless the Appeal relates to circumstances affecting the submission rather than concerns about marking. Details of the Regulations are available from the relevant Learning and Teaching Hub or the Postgraduate Research Service. Under the Submission of Work for Assessment Policy the outcome should normally be available within a further 10 working days of the re-mark request.

 

3.3 Students should make every attempt to submit their case concerning a provisional academic result before the Board of Examiners meets. This is in students’ best interests as an early decision can then be made. Where the interval between the notification of an academic result and a meeting of the Board of Examiners is less than 10 working days, consideration of an Academic Appeal shall be postponed until after the relevant Board of Examiners has met. At this point, the formal Academic Appeals Regulations shall be followed.

 

3.4 Should these steps not resolve the matter to the student’s satisfaction, the student may submit an Academic Appeal or Complaint under Stage One of the Regulations.

4. The Nature of the Academic Appeal or Complaint

 

4.1 Students may appeal any of the following:

  • A degree result
  • Confirmed marks (i.e. following internal moderation)
  • A failure to be transferred to a PhD from an MPhil or to an EdD from an MEd
  • A required withdrawal from a course
  • A penalty applied in respect of plagiarism and/or collusion, except where the student has been referred to Senate Student Discipline Committee regarding the alleged plagiarism and/ or collusion
  • A refusal to permit the late submission of work for assessment or to approve a delayed first sit

 

4.2 Only those decisions/ judgements/ outcomes detailed at 4.1 above can be cited as the object of an Academic Appeal and any appeal based on grounds not covered by 4.1 above shall be rejected without consideration by the FACP.

 

4.3 Academic Complaints may address any aspect of a student’s academic experience about which they are dissatisfied with the exception of those grounds detailed at 4.1 above

5. Submitting a Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint

 

5.1 Students must submit a completed Stage One Academic Appeal Form or a completed Stage One Academic Complaint Form to their Learning and Teaching Hub or the Postgraduate Research Service.

Forms can be downloaded for taught students from the LTS Students MyUEA web page or  for research students from the PGR MyUEA Appeals and Complaints web page. Students should be guided by Section 4 (above) in selecting the appropriate form. Students should submit all relevant evidence with their form.

5.2 The Learning and Teaching Hub or the Postgraduate Research Service may suspend the Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint where appropriate, pending clarification by a student that they have tried to resolve the matter they are concerned about informally before beginning the formal stage of the process.

 

5.3 A student may decide to withdraw an Academic Appeal or Complaint at any time prior to its consideration by the FACP.

 

5.4 The Head of School shall be notified of the substance of the Academic Appeal or Complaint and may choose, within the limits of their authority, to reverse the action or decision giving rise to the Academic Appeal or Complaint in advance of the FACP meeting to consider the case. Where this occurs it shall be regarded as an informal resolution of the Academic Appeal or Complaint subsequent to a confirmation by the student that they are now content that the Academic Appeal or Complaint has been satisfactorily addressed.

 

5.5 Until such time as the Academic Appeal or Complaint has been resolved the student should continue in accordance with such requirements as are placed upon them with regard to their situation as it stands at the point of submission. For example, students appealing against a failing mark should continue to engage with any reassessment opportunities they are required to undertake.

6. Consideration of the Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint

 

6.1 Stage One Academic Appeals and Complaints that meet the grounds for consideration (see 4.1-4.3 above) shall be considered by a Faculty Appeals and Complaints Panel (FACP), which shall meet with a frequency that ensures that the time between submission and consideration by a panel does not exceed 20 working days for any taught student case (normally this will require monthly meetings). PGR FACP meetings are arranged on an as-required basis but shall meet within 30 working days of submission of the Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint.

 

6.2. There shall be two panels in each Faculty, one being responsible for UG and PGT cases and the other being responsible for PGR cases. Each Panel shall be chaired by a senior trained member of academic staff in the Faculty concerned. The Panel shall comprise two members of academic staff from the Faculty in question, one member of staff from a Panel in another Faculty, plus the Chair and an experienced Learning and Teaching Service or Postgraduate Research Service Secretary/Advisor. The Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service will advise on procedural matters in relation to particularly complex cases.

 

6.3 The Learning and Teaching Service or Postgraduate Research Service will provide the FACP with the documentation submitted by the student under Stage One, a summary of the case and an indication as to whether the submission appears to meet one of the necessary grounds in order for it to be considered.

 

6.4 The Learning and Teaching Service or Postgraduate Research Service will write to the student, within 5 working days of receipt of the Academic Appeal or Complaint for taught students or within 10 working days of receipt for research students, acknowledging receipt and informing the student of the date of the next meeting of the FACP at which their case will be considered. This letter will also inform the student of the date by which they should normally expect to be advised of the Panel’s decision.

7. Timescales for Stage One

 

7.1 The student’s submission including any supporting documentation must be received in the Learning and Teaching Hub no later than 10 working days after, or the Postgraduate Research Service no later than 15 working days after:

 

  • Academic Appeals - the date on which the student was formally notified of the outcome against which they are appealing or, where informal resolution has been sought, the date of the last communication to the student regarding the outcome of the informal stage (this may include, but is not limited to, meetings, emails, and letters)
  • Academic Complaints – the date on which the attempt to resolve matters informally was concluded. This date shall be the date of the last communication to the student regarding the outcome of the informal stage (this may include, but is not limited to, meetings, emails, and letters).

 

7.2 Academic Appeals or Complaints submitted after the deadline (see 7.1 above) with good reason for the delay may still be considered. The student should contact the Learning and Teaching Hub or the Postgraduate Research Service if they are unable to meet this deadline.

 

7.3 The decision by the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee as to whether a late submission should be accepted shall be final and not subject to appeal.

 

7.4 Where a case is received by the Learning and Teaching Hub or the Postgraduate Research Service not later than 5 working days prior to the next scheduled FACP meeting it shall be considered at that meeting. Cases received after that date will be deferred to the following FACP meeting to allow sufficient time for supporting documentation to be collated.

 

7.5 In normal circumstances the student shall be advised of the outcome of their Stage One Academic Appeal or Complaint within 10 working days of the date of the FACP meeting. Where the complexity of the case prevents this the student shall be notified of the delay.

8. Actions and outcomes at Stage One

 

8.1 A FACP will uphold Academic Appeals where any of the following are found:

  • Correct procedure was not followed which undermined the validity of the academic result
  • Prejudice and/or bias affected the academic result
  • The student’s performance was adversely affected by extenuating circumstances not previously submitted (ONLY where late submission of extenuating circumstances has been approved by the Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College as appropriate – see Appendix A)
  • Significant changes were made to a course without being properly communicated and/or were not properly taken into account.
  • The teaching, supervision or research training provided was insufficient
  • Extenuating circumstances were not fully and properly considered
  • Natural Justice dictates that the appeal be upheld
  • The learning support provided was unsatisfactory or inappropriate.

8.2 A FACP will uphold Academic Complaints where any of the following are found:

  • Correct procedures were not followed
  • The student experienced prejudice and/or bias
  • Significant changes were made to a course without being properly communicated and/or were not properly taken into account
  • The teaching, supervision or research training provided was insufficient
  • Natural Justice dictates that the complaint be upheld
  • The learning support provided was unsatisfactory or inappropriate.

8.3 The possible remedies to an upheld Academic Complaint will, by the nature of Complaints, be too individual to summarise here. They shall be determined by the FACP, will not involve any adjustment to academic outcomes (since academic outcomes must be addressed through the Academic Appeals route) and where a concession would be needed to allow the proposed remedy to apply the Chair of the relevant FACP should seek advice from the Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College as appropriate.

8.4 FACPs shall be able to agree compensatory payments to be made to students in relation to upheld Complaints up to a limit of £500. If it is felt that such compensation would provide an insufficient remedy the Chair of the relevant FACP should seek advice from the Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College as appropriate who will exercise the powers they hold in relation to Stage Two cases in this regard.

8.5 The FACP shall have the power to institute the following actions in respect of upheld Academic Appeals. The precise remedy determined by the FACP shall depend on the details of the case:

  • Reconvene a Board of Examiners to reconsider the academic decision/outcome
  • Recommend to Senate that it instructs the original Examination Board to award a specified classification
  • Instruct a new set of examiners to examine a thesis
  • Permit the student to submit a revised thesis within a time period specified by the FACP
  • Permit the student a further upgrade attempt with a new transfer panel
  • Require the correction of procedural irregularity
  • Set aside a penalty applied in relation to work alleged to have been plagiarised or in respect of which there is alleged collusion
  • Require a Plagiarism Officer, not previously involved in the case, to investigate the case and determine the level of any plagiarism and/ or collusion
  • Grant retrospective approval of extension for late submitted work
  • Permit a student a further period of supervised study and to submit a revised thesis within a time period set by the FACP
  • Retrospective granting of a delayed assessment/ reassessment
  • Recommend a concessional remedy to be approved by the Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College as appropriate.

8.6 Where the outcome of an Academic Appeal requires the establishment of a reconvened Exam Board, the reconvened Board should have different internal members from the original Board. The Board should reconvene as soon as practical and the Secretary to the reconvened Board shall advise both the student and the Secretary of the FACP of the outcome.

8.7 In all cases the Secretary to the FACP shall write to advise the student of the outcome of the consideration of their case in accordance with 7.5 above.

8.8 The letter shall advise the student that a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint can only be submitted if the student believes that correct procedures were not followed at Stage One (for example, evidence was not fully and properly considered). The letter shall advise the student that, if they do not believe that they are able to pursue a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint on those grounds, the student may treat the Stage One outcome letter as a Completion of Procedures notification and, if they wish, exercise their entitlement to contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

9. Submitting a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint

 

9.1 A Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint can only be considered where the student claims that there was a procedural irregularity at Stage One. It is fundamental to the proper operation of the Academic Appeals and Complaints Regulations that Panels consider all evidence fully and properly. Where a student believes that evidence was not fully and properly considered at Stage One this shall be regarded as a claimed procedural irregularity and any Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint submitted on this basis shall be duly considered. The decision as to whether to consider a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint will be made in the context of the principles set out at 1.2 above, with particular reference to the institution’s commitment to apply Natural Justice.

 

9.2 A student must submit a completed Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint Form downloadable for taught students from the LTS Students MyUEA web page or  for research students from the PGR MyUEA Appeals and Complaints web page, with any supporting documentation to the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service.

 

9.3 A student may decide to withdraw an Academic Appeal or Complaint at any time prior to its consideration by the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee and the Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College.

 

9.4 Until such time as the Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint has been resolved the student should continue in accordance with such requirements as are placed upon them with regard to their situation as it stands at the point of submission. For example students appealing against a failing mark should continue to engage with reassessment opportunities. In instances where a student has been withdrawn, they will retain this status until such time as the outcome of an Academic Appeal or Complaint results in their reinstatement.

 

9.5 The Learning and Teaching Service or Postgraduate Research Service will, within 5 working days of receipt of the Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint, write to the student acknowledging receipt.

10. Consideration of the Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint

 

10.1 The Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee will check that the Academic Appeal or Complaint rests on a claim of procedural irregularity which shall include claims that evidence was not fully or properly considered. Where this is not the case the Stage Two submission will not be accepted for further detailed consideration and the student will be advised in writing that the submission does not meet the conditions necessary for consideration as a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint.

 

10.2 Where the Stage Two submission makes a claim of procedural irregularity at Stage One this will be investigated by the relevant Director of University Services or their nominee.

 

10.3 Where the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee is satisfied that there is evidence of procedural irregularity at Stage One the student will be advised that their Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint has been upheld.

 

10.4 Where the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee is not satisfied that there is evidence of procedural irregularity at Stage One, the case shall also be considered by either the ADTP/ADDC as appropriate.

11. Timescales for Stage Two

 

11.1 The student’s submission including any supporting documentation must be received in the Academic Services Office or Postgraduate Research Service no later than 15 working days after the date on which the student was formally advised of the Stage One outcome.

 

11.2 Academic Appeals and Complaints submitted after this deadline with good reason for the delay may still be considered. The student should contact the Academic Services Office or Postgraduate Research Service if they are unable to meet this deadline.

 

11.3 The decision by the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee as to whether a later submission should be accepted shall be final and not subject to appeal.

 

11.4 In normal circumstances the student shall be advised of the outcome of their Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint within 20 working days of the date of receipt by the Learning and Teaching Service’s Academic Services Office or Postgraduate Research Service. Where the complexity of the case prevents this the student shall be notified of the delay.

12. Actions and Outcomes at Stage Two

 

12.1 A Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint shall be upheld where there is evidence that correct procedures were not followed at Stage One.

 

12.2 Where a Stage Two Academic Appeal or Complaint is upheld the case shall be referred to the next FACP for consideration in accordance with correct procedures. This further consideration will constitute the conclusion of the University’s procedures; the subsequent outcome letter will advise the student of their entitlement to contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

12.2.1 Where the procedural irregularity giving rise to the Stage Two Academic Appeal being upheld relates to a failure by a Board of Examiners to follow the requirements and/ or recommendations of the FACP fully and properly the Chair of the relevant FACP shall be advised that there is no need for a further consideration by the FACP and that the matter has been referred back to the Board of Examiners. This further consideration will constitute the conclusion of the University’s Regulations; the subsequent outcome letter will advise the student of their entitlement to contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

 

12.3 Where there is no evidence that correct procedures have not been followed the Academic Appeal or Complaint shall be rejected and there shall be no further right of Appeal or Complaint within the University.

 

12.4 Where 12.3 applies, a Completion of Procedures letter shall be sent to the student by the Academic Services Office or Postgraduate Research Service advising the student of their entitlement to contact the Office of the Independent Adjudicator

APPENDIX A

 

1) For the purposes of the Academic Appeals and Complaints Regulations the following definitions shall apply:

Academic Result:

The result of the exercise by one or more duly authorised Teachers or Examiners of academic and/or professional expertise in determining the quality of a student’s performance in any part of the assessment process for a degree or qualification of the University.

Formal Notification:

Communication by the University, its representatives and/ or staff through any of the following: delivery of a paper form notification in person or to designated mail collection points within the University or student address as held on SITS; electronically either via email or through e:Vision or any software package currently in use by the University for the purposes of communication with students.

Grounds for Consideration:

Where an Academic Appeal or Complaint has been accepted as meeting the criteria that allow it to be considered by an FACP it is referred to as meeting the grounds for consideration

Upheld:

Where an Academic Appeal or Complaint is described as having been upheld this means that the FACP (or the Head of Learning and Teaching or Head of the Postgraduate Research Service or their nominee for Stage Two cases) has determined sufficient evidence exists that the necessary grounds have been met (e.g. that there is evidence of a bias or prejudice). It is important to note that upholding an Academic Appeal does not necessarily imply a particular final outcome for the student. For example, a student may appeal a classification decision on the grounds of bias or prejudice. The FACP may find evidence of bias and prejudice and so uphold the Academic Appeal. The action prescribed by the FACP may be for the Board of Examiners to reconvene and the reconvened Board may still determine that, notwithstanding the outcome of the Academic Appeal, the degree classification itself remains appropriate.

Procedural Irregularity:

This term refers to circumstances where agreed processes have not been correctly applied, procedures not followed, or where other errors have been made by the University either in the actions that led up to the appeal or complaint, or in the consideration of the appeal or complaint. This might include cases where not all the available evidence has been weighed in the consideration of an Appeal or Complaint or where factual data has been misinterpreted.

 

2) Decision making process of Academic Director of Taught Programmes or Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College for allowing late submission of ECs to be considered:

a) Are there good/legitimate reasons for why the submission is late? If no, reject; if yes consider (b).

b) Can the circumstances claimed be considered extenuating given the current regulations? If no, reject; if yes, consider (c).

c) Is there appropriate supporting evidence? If no, reject; if yes, refer back to the Extenuating Circumstances Panel (ECP).

This process for late submission of extenuating circumstances applies to taught programmes and, for research degree programmes, and taught elements of professional doctorates. The consideration of late submission of extenuating circumstances for other elements of research degrees will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Director of UEA Doctoral College.