Academic Policies and Regulations
Philosophy of Education
Fairfield Bellarmine has, as its primary objective, the development of the creative intellectual potential of its students within a context of liberal arts-based education in the Jesuit tradition.
Fairfield Bellarmine believes in the particular excellence of a liberal education. To achieve this objective, it requires each student to take courses in various arts, sciences and humanities disciplines. Thus assured of a basic, well-rounded education, students are free to pursue a field of study in preparation for scholarly or professional pursuits.
To assist the student in the quest for truth, Fairfield Bellarmine promotes a lively dialogue among students and professors. This dialogue takes place in an environment of freedom of inquiry and respect for each person.
Normal Academic Progress
Undergraduate students admitted to Fairfield Bellarmine have the benefit of co-creating a premiere educational opportunity, one that attends to their educational, spiritual, vocational, and civic development across an intentional two-year course of study. We seek, of course, to expand students' awareness, during their time at Fairfield Bellarmine, of the many possibilities a Fairfield education makes available to them.
The journey for Fairfield Bellarmine students requires coursework over the span of two years, including fall and spring semester and summer and winter sessions. Undergraduate students admitted to Fairfield Bellarmine are expected to remain full-time until they graduate. Students unable to fulfill the scheduled timeline of course requirements must consult with the Associate Dean, who must assess and approve any changes to the academic program. Reasons to adjust a student's course of study may include extensive personal hardship, such as a documented medical condition that requires a reasonable accommodation, unexpected and substantial family responsibilities, and the first semester of return from an academic or medical leave of absence.
The Associate Dean will address any unexpected emergency situations that arise during a term.
The normal course load for a matriculated student is four courses per semester (fall, spring), equivalent to 12-14 credit hours. To maintain full-time status, a matriculated student must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours each semester.
All Fairfield Bellarmine courses are campus-based; however, students may have the opportunity to take an online course as an elective. In such cases, the student will consult with the Associate Dean.
Associate Degree Requirements
At the time of graduation, a student must have earned a minimum of 60-63 credits, including the major requirements. Students much have a minimum grade average of 2.0 (C) or better overall.
All matriculated full-time undergraduate students must register for classes by December 1 for the following spring semester, and by May 1 for the following fall semester.
To merit a Fairfield University associate's degree, students must complete all coursework in residence at Fairfield Bellarmine.
Diplomas are awarded in May and students will participate in a graduation ceremony.
All students are expected to attend every regularly scheduled class session. The impact of attendance on grading is specified in the syllabus for each course. Unexcused absences may be reported to the appropriate academic dean.
Faculty members must have a policy for dealing with student absence on the syllabus for each course. If a student will miss a class due to an illness/injury, the professor should be notified according to the policy on the syllabus. If a student will miss an exam, quiz or in class presentation due to illness/injury or another type of emergency, the professor should be contacted beforehand. A faculty member may request that the student provide verification of the absence from a health care provider. It is within the purview of the faculty member to determine when or whether a student absence will be excused.
For further information regarding student absences, please see the Policies and Procedures section of the Student Handbook.
A student participating in a University-sponsored event has the right to be excused without penalty or grade jeopardy from exams, student presentations, attendance, and other classroom events during that time, provided the student makes up the required work in the fashion mutually agreed upon by the professor and the student. Students participating in such University-sponsored events will be allowed to make up any major exams, tests, or quizzes they miss in a course when they are involved in a scheduled event provided that participating students, or the faculty moderator, inform all their professors in writing at the beginning of the semester, or as soon thereafter as possible, once scheduling is confirmed.
University-sponsored events covered by this policy are defined as follows:
- All club sporting events
- Concerts, plays, or other group performances where the absence of a member would detract from the overall performance.
- Departmental Clubs are not included in this policy.
The quality of student performance in coursework is graded according to the official marks of A, B, C, D, and F. These marks have the following meanings:
|B||Superior level of achievement|
|C||Acceptable level of achievement with course material|
|D||Minimal achievement, but passing|
|F||Unacceptable level of achievement; course must be repeated to obtain credit|
The plus (+) may be added to grades of B or C to indicate work performed at the top of that range.
The minus (-) may be added to grades A, B, or C to indicate work performed below that range.
A semester's grade will normally be determined according to the following procedure:
Each course has a syllabus that details the evaluative components of the course and their weighting in determining the final grade.
The form of the final, end-of-semester comprehensive evaluation (written examination, take-home, oral exam, paper, etc.) must appear on the syllabus at the beginning of the semester. No form of the final evaluation is to be due prior to the date assigned by the Registrar for that course's final examination. Students are not required to take more than two exams in any final exam day.
In addition to the foregoing academic grades, which indicate the quality of student performance, the notations I (Incomplete) or W (Withdrawal) may appear on a student's grade report.
Grade Point Value
The official mark or final letter grade earned in a course is assigned grade points. The grade points per credit hour and numerical equivalency for letter grades are as follows:
|Grade||Grade Points||Numerical Equivalent|
Each semester's course grades are computed into a weighted average. To determine a weighted grade point average, the number of credits per course is multiplied by the grade points earned per course. The total number of grade points for all courses is then divided by the number of credits attempted.
Academic Alert System
The academic progress of Fairfield Bellarmine students is monitored through a comprehensive Academic Alert System administered through the Associate Dean’s Office. A month into the semester, faculty are encouraged to report Early Alerts for undergraduate students, defined as academic and/or behavioral concerns that present obstacles to student success. At the midpoint of each semester, faculty report Midterm Estimates, defined as grades of C-, D, or F. The Academic Alert System remains open throughout the academic year and provides a seamless interface for reporting students of concern while also streamlining academic support processes and providing a holistic approach to supporting student development and engagement. Although not part of a student's official academic record, academic alerts raised are designed to allow faculty advisors and professional staff to review a student's academic progress throughout the year. Each student who receives an academic alert receives comprehensive information and an opportunity to meet with an academic administrator. The goal is to connect students who may be having difficulty or who are academically at-risk to appropriate academic and student support resources. Early intervention with students on the part of professors, faculty advisors, and campus personnel can improve students' persistence, engagement, and success.
Grades are available to all students by accessing the student web portal (my.Fairfield) at the end of each semester.
A grade of "I" is issued when, due to an emergency situation such as illness, a student arranges with the professor to complete some of the course requirements after the semester ends. All course work must be completed within 30 days after the beginning of the next regular semester. Any incomplete grades still outstanding after the 30-day extension will become Fs.
Repeat Course Policy
When a student repeats a course that was failed, the new grade will be recorded. Grade point values will be averaged into the cumulative average, and the credits will count toward the degree. The original grade will remain on the transcript and be calculated into the cumulative average. When a student repeats a course for which the student has previously obtained a passing grade, the new course and grade will be recorded on the transcript with the notation, repeat course. The original grade and the repeated grade will be averaged into the GPA. The credit for the repeat course will not count toward the degree. The original grade will remain on the transcript.
As a cohort-based program with a specific pedagogical model, Fairfield Bellarmine does not permit transfer credit.
Withdrawal from Courses
Students who wish to withdraw from a course after the initial add/drop period may do so through the end of the tenth week of a traditional semester provided that the Associate Dean, in consultation with the course instructor, finds withdrawal to be in the student's best interest (note that a student must maintain 12 credit hours for full-time status). After the tenth week in the semester, course withdrawal will only be granted in highly unusual circumstances, such as a documented health emergency. Withdrawal after the tenth week will not be permitted simply to prevent receipt of a grade that might not meet the student's satisfaction. Students who wish to withdraw from a winter or summer intersession course or an ASAP course (i.e., a 7 week course) may do so by the mid-point of the course. Students who have violated the academic honor code may not be eligible for withdrawal. In all approved cases, the University Registrar will record a grade of W (withdrawal) on the student's permanent record. To initiate a request to withdraw from a course, a student must complete a Course Withdrawal Form and meet with the Associate Dean. A withdrawal may not be granted after final grades have been submitted except in very rare cases, during which an instructor must file a change of grade form.
Disruption of Academic Progress
Academic records will be formally reviewed at the end of the fall, spring, and summer terms. Students who do not meet the stated requirements will be placed on Academic Probation. The purpose of academic probation is to alert the student and the institution to the problems associated with the student's academic performance and to recommend or implement strategies for improvement. The continuation of poor academic performance will result in the dismissal of the student. Faculty advisors are notified of all advisees placed on academic probation.
A student placed on academic probation will remain on academic probation until the overall GPA is at or above the requirements specified below. A student will be removed from academic probation when the overall GPA is equal to or greater than the requisite GPA according to credits earned.
A student on academic probation is ineligible to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities. A student on academic probation may petition the Associate Dean for the right to participate in extra- or co-curricular activities. The appeal must contain a valid and compelling reason why restriction of extra- or co-curricular activities is inappropriate, and must demonstrate effectively that the activity will contribute an improvement in academic performance.
First semester, first-year students with a GPA below 1.90 will not be placed on academic probation for their second semester, but they will lose their right to participate in extracurricular or co-curricular activities.
- Students with 29 or fewer credits earned by the end of the second semester, or the first year at Fairfield, will be placed on academic probation if the overall GPA is below 1.90.
- Students with 30-59 credits earned will be placed on academic probation if the overall GPA is below 1.90.
Students meeting any of the following conditions will be dismissed from Fairfield Bellarmine:
- A student who, regardless of academic standing, has received the grade of F in three or more 3- or 4-credit courses during the preceding 12 month period inclusive of all grades earned.
- A student with 29 or fewer credits earned, who regardless of incompletes, while on academic probation proceeds to earn a semester GPA below 1.90.
- A student with 30-59 credits earned, who regardless of incompletes, while on academic probation, proceeds to earn a semester GPA below 1.90
Students are removed from registered courses based on the date of their dismissal letter. Students who have been dismissed from Fairfield Bellarmine for reason of academic failure are expected to remain away for at least a full semester (fall or spring) before seeking readmission. Such individuals lose all entitlement to institutionally funded financial aid. Except in extraordinary circumstances, students who are academically dismissed a second time will not be considered for readmission.
READMISSION AFTER AN ACADEMIC DISMISSAL
Prior to formally requesting readmission after an academic dismissal, students should consult with the Vice Provost of Fairfield Bellarmine. Formal request for readmission should be made at least three weeks before the start of the semester in which the student seeks to resume enrollment.
- The student seeking readmission must write a letter stating the rationale for the request including why the student is ready to resume study. The letter should be sent in advance to the Vice Provost of Fairfield Bellarmine. The letter should include the student's name, ID, address, phone, current plan of study, returning semester.
- After formal review of the student's request, the Associate Dean and Assistant Dean will assess whether the student should or should not be readmitted. Recommendations for readmission are forwarded to the Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine, where a final decision will be rendered.
- The Vice Provost of Fairfield Bellarmine will send an official letter of acceptance or denial to the student, inclusive of any contingencies as deemed appropriate by the Associate Dean. The student may not register for classes until the official letter of readmission is reviewed and processed.
Voluntary Withdrawal from Fairfield Bellarmine
To apply for a voluntary withdrawal, a student must complete the following steps:
- To discuss voluntarily withdrawing (for non-medical reasons); contact the Associate Dean. This meeting is necessary to facilitate the withdrawal process and to discuss any future plans to return to the University.
- The student must submit a written request for withdrawing from Fairfield Bellarmine, including the reasons for the withdrawal. Voluntary withdrawals from Fairfield Bellarmine are subject to the following conditions
a. There are no pending student conduct issues.
b. The student is not liable for academic withdrawal due to insufficient progress or excessive absence.
c. The student has settled all financial obligations
d. Voluntary withdrawals cannot be granted retroactively.
Note: If a student wants to withdraw when classes during the traditional semesters are not in session, the student must still submit a letter to the Associate Dean.
READMISSION AFTER A VOLUNTARY WITHDRAWAL
Prior to formally requesting readmission after a voluntary withdrawal, students should consult with the Vice Provost of Fairfield Bellarmine. Formal request for readmission should be made at least three weeks before the start of the semester in which the student seeks to resume enrollment.
- The student seeking readmission must write a letter stating the rationale for the request including why the student is ready and wants to resume study. The letter should be sent in advance to the Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine The letter should include the student's name, ID, address, phone, current program of study, and returning semester.
- After formal review of the student's request, the Associate Dean and Assistant Dean will assess whether the student should or should not be readmitted. Recommendations for readmission are forwarded to the Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine, where a final decision will be rendered.
- The Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine will send an official letter of acceptance or denial to the student, inclusive of any contingencies as deemed appropriate by the Associate Dean or Assistant Dean. The student may not register for classes until the official letter of readmission is reviewed and processed.
Medical Withdrawal from Fairfield Bellarmine
A medical withdrawal is an extraordinary remedy and is reserved for all full-time and part-time matriculated students, as well as non-matriculated students, who have been presented with circumstances of a physical or mental health condition preventing the student from remaining enrolled at Fairfield Bellarmine. While each request for a withdrawal will be considered on its own merits, students should be aware that the following do not constitute circumstances which will support a request for a medical withdrawal:
- failing to attend class
- insufficient academic performance
- financial difficulties
- dissatisfaction with course materials or offerings
- change of interest or major
- inability to meet all curricular and extracurricular commitments
Medical withdrawals cannot be granted retroactively.
The following process applies to students who wish to withdraw from Fairfield Bellarmine for medical reasons
- To discuss withdrawing as a student for medical reasons, contact the Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine. Information from personal or private physicians or psychologist is subject to review by Bellarmine, which has final decision-making authority on the withdrawal request.
- A request for a medical withdrawal (whether physical or mental health based) must include at a minimum:
- An explanation of why the student is unable to perform the essential academic functions of a student.
- Complete and timely documentation from a physician or other appropriate health care provider who is competent to provide an opinion as to the nature, severity, and duration of the illness, and has provided treatment for, and in relation to, the condition(s) which form the basis for the requested withdrawal. These documents should be sent to the Student Health Center or Counseling and Psychological Services at Fairfield University.
3. If the request is granted, a student must arrange for the return of their StagCard. The institutional refund policy applies.
4. Students are expected to remain away for at least a full semester (fall or spring) after a medical withdrawal before seeking readmission.
READMISSION TO FAIRFIELD BELLARMINE AFTER A MEDICAL WITHDRAWAL
Prior to requesting readmission after a medical withdrawal, the student should consult with the Associate Dean or Assistant Dean. Requests for readmission are strongly encouraged to be submitted by August 1 for fall semester, December 15 for spring semester, and April 15 for summer term.
- To seek readmission following a medical withdrawal, the student must submit a letter stating the rationale. A copy of the letter must be sent to the Vice Provost of Fairfield Bellarmine. The letter should include the student's name, ID, address, phone, current program of study returning semester.
- Students must submit a completed Post-Medical Withdrawal Readmission form to the Student Health Center (when medical situation is physical in nature) or Counseling and Psychological Services (when medical situation is psychological in nature). The requesting student may be asked to provide authorization allowing the director of the Student Health Center or the director of Counseling and Psychological Services to contact the student's medical or health care provider if, after review of the documentation provided, it is determined that more information is required.
- The Associate Dean or Assistant Dean will ask the Student Health Center or Counseling and Psychological Services for their evaluation of the request. Upon receipt of that information, the Dean will contact the student to arrange an appointment in-person, if at all possible, or over the phone, if necessary, to review the request.
- After formal review of the student's request for readmission, the Associate Dean and Assistant Dean will assess whether the student should be readmitted or not. Recommendations for readmission are forwarded to the Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine, where a final decision will be rendered.
- The Vice Provost for Fairfield Bellarmine will send a notification regarding the student's request for readmission. If readmission is granted, it may include directives as deemed appropriate by the Dean's office. The student may not register for classes until the official letter of readmission is issued.
While in high school, some students pursue one or more college-level Advanced Placement courses. Fairfield Bellarmine will award three or four hours of credit toward graduation for each AP course taken by a student, provided that the student has taken an Advanced Placement Test prepared by the CEEB program. Fairfield Bellarmine will only accept a score of 5 on the test for some subjects; however, for most a score of 4 or 5 will be accepted. It is the discretion of college/school officials to determine if such AP credits can be used to exempt students from specific University courses or requirements. Normally, AP credit will not exempt a student from requirements in their major. AP credit will not be awarded for Tier I Orientation courses in the Magis Core. No student will be awarded more than a total of 15 AP credits by Fairfield Bellarmine. If a student is placed into the same Fairfield Bellarmine course after AP credit has been awarded (in most cases due to either Language or Mathematics placements), the student must waive the AP credits.
Below is a partial list of AP tests submitted by students that are considered for Fairfield Bellarmine credit at the undergraduate level.
|Computer Science Principles||3|
|Computer Science A||3|
|Physics I or II||3|
|U.S. Government and Politics||3|
|Comparative Gov't and Politics||3|
|Studio Art: 2D Design||3|
|Studio Art: 3D Design||3|
|Studio Art: Drawing||3|
Students may receive credit toward Fairfield's degree requirements for only one AP English exam. Further, these will only count as elective credits, as all students must complete ENGL 1001 in the Magis Core.
College Courses Completed While in High School
For students who pursue college courses while in high school, upon receipt of an official college transcript and related documentation, the course work will be evaluated by the Associate Dean in consultation with the appropriate curriculum area, provided the following criteria are met:
- The course(s) must have been completed in a college environment and must have been taught by a college professor
- The course(s)/credits were not used to satisfy high school graduation requirements
- A final grade of "C" or better was earned
The Associate Dean will determine the appropriateness of the transfer credit for the student's program and decide whether it has met Fairfield Bellarmine's curriculum standards. A maximum of 15 credits of approved coursework will be awarded transfer credit. The grades will not be transferred. If a student is placed into the same Fairfield course after transfer credit has been awarded (in most cases due to either Language or Mathematics placements), the student must waive the transfer credits.
Transcript requests may be made by following the instructions available on the Registrar's website.
Academic Freedom and Responsibility
The statement on academic freedom, as formulated in the 1940 Statement of Principles endorsed by the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and incorporating the 1970 interpretive comments, is the policy of Fairfield Bellarmine. Academic freedom and responsibility are here defined as the liberty and obligation to study, to investigate, to present and interpret, and to discuss facts and ideas concerning all branches and fields of learning. Academic freedom is limited only by generally accepted standards of responsible scholarship and by respect for the Catholic commitment of the institution as expressed in its mission statement, which provides that Fairfield Bellarmine "welcomes those of all beliefs and traditions who share its concerns for scholarship, justice, truth, and freedom, and it values the diversity which their membership brings to the university community."
Freedom of Expression
As an academic institution, Fairfield Bellarmine exists for the transmission of knowledge, pursuit of truth, development of students, and the general well-being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. Fairfield Bellarmine recognizes that academic freedom, freedom of expression, and responsibility are required to realize the essential purposes of the University.
As constituents of the academic community, students should be free, individually and collectively, to express their views on issues of institutional policy and on matters of general interest to the student body.
Fairfield Bellarmine students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens of a private institution, Fairfield Bellarmine students enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that students at other private institutions enjoy as accorded by law, and as members of the academic community, they are subject to the obligations which accrue to them by virtue of this membership. Faculty members and administration officials should ensure that institutional powers are not employed to deprive students of their rights as accorded to them by law and University policy. At the same time, the institution has an obligation to clarify those standards which it considers essential to its educational mission and its community life. These expectations and regulations should represent a reasonable regulation of student conduct.
As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth. They do this within the requirements of the curriculum and the courses in which they are enrolled.
The professor in the classroom and in conference should encourage free discussion, inquiry, and expression. Student performance should be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. This means that students are free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. Students in pre-professional programs are expected to understand and uphold the standards required in their profession.
Students bring to the campus a variety of interests previously acquired and develop many new interests as members of the academic community. They should be free to organize and join associations to promote their common interests. Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Students should be allowed to invite and to hear any person of their own choosing. Those procedures required by an institution before a guest speaker is invited to appear on campus should be designed only to ensure that there is orderly scheduling of facilities and adequate preparation for the event, and that the occasion is conducted in a manner appropriate to an academic community. Guest speakers are subject to all applicable laws, and to the University policies on harassment and discrimination. Students' freedom of expression extends to their ability to express their opinions in writing or through electronic means, and to distribute and post materials expressing their opinions. Any restrictions should be designed only to ensure the orderly use of space and facilities, to provide reasonable restrictions on commercial messages, to comply with applicable fire, health or safety codes, to comply with the University's Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy, or to comply with state or federal law. Students should always be free to support causes by orderly means which do not disrupt operations of the institution. At the same time, it should be made clear to the academic and larger community that in their public expressions or demonstrations, students or student organizations speak only for themselves and not the institution.
Freedom of expression enjoyed by students is not without limitations. The rights set forth herein must be balanced against and considered in the context of the following responsibilities:
- Students have the obligation to refrain from interfering with the freedom of expression of others.
- Students have the responsibility to respect the rights and beliefs of others, including the values and traditions of Fairfield Bellarmine as a Jesuit, Catholic institution.
- Students have the responsibility to support learning, and when learning, to engage others in a respectful dialogue, to never threaten the safety or security of others, and to comply with all University policies prohibiting harassment, hate crimes, and discrimination.
All policies in this catalog and the actions taken under them must support Fairfield Bellarmine's Mission Statement and the Statement on Academic Freedom.
Fairfield Bellarmine's primary purpose is the pursuit of academic excellence. This is possible only in an atmosphere where discovery and communication of knowledge are marked by scrupulous, unqualified honesty. Therefore, it is expected that all students taking classes at the University adhere to the following Honor Code:
"I understand that any violation of academic integrity wounds the entire community and undermines the trust upon which the discovery and communication of knowledge depends. Therefore, as a member of the Fairfield Bellarmine community, I hereby pledge to uphold and maintain these standards of academic honesty and integrity."
All members of the Fairfield Bellarmine community share responsibility for establishing and maintaining appropriate standards of academic honesty and integrity. As such, faculty members have an obligation to set high standards of honesty and integrity through personal example and the learning communities they create. Such integrity is fundamental to, and an inherent part of, a Jesuit education, in which teaching and learning are based on mutual respect. It is further expected that students will follow these standards and encourage others to do so.
Students are sometimes unsure of what constitutes academic dishonesty. In all academic work, students are expected to submit materials that are their own and are to include attribution for any ideas or language that are not their own. Examples of dishonest conduct include, but are not limited to:
- Falsification of academic records or grades, including but not limited to any act of falsifying information on an official academic document, grade report, class registration document or transcript.
- Cheating, such as copying examination answers from materials such as crib notes or another student's paper.
- Collusion, such as working with another person or persons when independent work is prescribed.
- Inappropriate use of notes.
- Falsification or fabrication of an assigned project, data, results, or sources.
- Giving, receiving, offering, or soliciting information in examinations.
- Using previously prepared materials in examinations, tests, or quizzes.
- Destruction or alteration of another student's work.
- Submitting the same paper or report for assignments in more than one course without the prior written permission of each instructor.
- Appropriating information, ideas, or the language of other people or writers and submitting it as one's own to satisfy the requirements of a course - commonly known as plagiarism. Plagiarism constitutes theft and deceit. Assignments (compositions, term papers, computer programs, etc.) acquired either in part or in whole from commercial sources, publications, students, or other sources and submitted as one's own original work will be considered plagiarism.
- Unauthorized recording, sale, or use of lectures and other instructional materials.
In the event of such dishonesty, professors are to award a grade of zero for the project, paper, or examination in question, and may record an F for the course itself. When appropriate, expulsion may be recommended. A notation of the event is made in the student's file in the academic dean's office. The student will receive a copy.
Student Academic Grievance Procedure
Procedures for review of academic grievances protect the rights of students, faculty, and the University by providing mechanisms for equitable problem solving.
Types of Grievances
A grievance is defined as a complaint of unfair treatment for which a specific remedy is sought. This procedure is concerned solely with academic grievances. It excludes circumstances that may give rise to a complaint for which explicit redress is neither called for nor sought, or for those for which other structures within the university serve as an agency for resolution.
Academic grievances relate to procedural appeals, academic dishonesty appeals, or quality of work appeals.
Procedural appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy in which no issue of the quality of a student's work is involved. For example, a student might contend that the professor failed to follow previously announced mechanisms of evaluation.
Academic dishonesty appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy because of a dispute over whether plagiarism, cheating, or other acts of academic dishonesty occurred. Remedies would include but not be limited to removal of a file letter, change of grade, or submitting new or revised work.
Quality of work appeals are defined as those seeking a remedy, following the completion of a course, because the evaluation of the quality of a student's coursework is alleged to be prejudiced or capricious.
The procedure herein defined must be initiated by the end of the subsequent fall or spring semester after the event that is the subject of the grievance. If the grievance moves forward, all subsequent steps of the informal process must be completed and the formal process must be initiated before the end of the second semester subsequent to the event that is the subject of the grievance.
- The student attempts to resolve any academic grievance with the faculty member. If, following this initial attempt at resolution, the student remains convinced that a grievance exists, she or he advances to step two.
- The student consults with the Associate Dean of Fairfield Bellarmine and the Chair of the department to which the faculty member is assigned, bringing written documentation of the process to this point. If the student continues to assert that a grievance exists after attempted reconciliation, she or he advances to step three.
- The student presents the grievance to the dean of the school in which the course was offered, bringing to this meeting documentation of steps one and two. After conversation with the instructor of record and the department chair/program director, the dean will inform the student whether or not the grade shall be changed by the instructor of record. If the student is dissatisfied with the outcome, the dean will inform the student of the right to initiate formal review procedures.
- If the student still believes that the grievance remains unresolved following the informal procedures above, she or he initiates the formal review procedure by making a written request for a formal hearing through the dean of the school in which the course is offered. Such a request should define the grievance and be accompanied by documentation of completion of the informal process. It should also be accompanied by the dean's opinion of the grievance.
- The Provost determines whether the grievance merits further attention. If not, the student is so informed. If, however, the grievance does merit further attention, the Provost determines whether it is a procedural appeal, an academic dishonesty appeal, or a quality of work appeal.
For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the Provost will convene a Grievance Committee according to the process described below, providing the committee with the written documentation resulting from the previous steps in the appeal process.
For quality of work appeals, the Provost will request that the chair of the department through which the course is taught, or if the chair is the subject of the grievance a senior member of the department, assemble an ad hoc committee of three department/program members to review the appeal, providing the committee with the written documentation resulting from the previous steps in the appeal process.
3. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the Grievance Committee takes whatever steps are deemed appropriate to render a recommendation for
resolving the grievance. The committee adheres to due process procedures analogous to those in Faculty Handbook.
For quality of work appeals, the department committee shall make itself available to meet and discuss the appeal with the student, and shall discuss the appeal with the instructor of record for the course. If the final consensus of the department committee is that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was neither prejudiced nor capricious, the appeals process ends here.
4. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the recommendation from the Grievance Committee is forwarded to the Provost in written form, accompanied, if necessary, by any supporting data that formed the basis of the recommendation. Should the Grievance Committee conclude that a change of grade is warranted, the two faculty members on the Grievance Committee will recommend an appropriate grade. In case of disagreement between the two faculty members, the dean chairing the Grievance Committee will decide which of the two recommended grades to accept. The recommended grade change shall be included in the report.
For quality of work appeals, if the final consensus of the department committee is that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was prejudiced or capricious, the department committee will recommend an alternative course grade. If the instructor of record agrees to change the grade to that recommended by the committee, the appeals process ends here. If the instructor of record declines to change the grade, the department committee shall prepare a written report, including the department committee’s recommended grade. The report will be forwarded to the Provost and the instructor of record, who may send the Provost a written response to the report.
5. For procedural appeals and academic dishonesty appeals, the Provost renders a final and binding judgment, notifying all involved parties. If such an appeal involves dispute over a course grade given by a faculty member, the Provost is the only university official empowered to change that grade, and then only to the grade
recommended by the Grievance Committee.
For quality of work appeals, if the Provost agrees with the department committee that the academic evaluation that led to the course grade was prejudiced or capricious, she or he is authorized to change the course grade to the grade recommended in the department committee’s report.
Structure of the Grievance Committee
The structure of the Grievance Committee will be as follows:
- Two faculty members to be selected from the Student Academic Grievance Board. The faculty member against whom the grievance has been directed will propose four names from that panel, the student will strike two of those names, and the two remaining faculty members will serve.
- Two students to be selected from a standing pool of eight students elected by the student government. The student filing the grievance will propose four names from that panel, the faculty member will strike two of those names, and the two remaining students will serve.
In the event that any faculty member or student selected through the foregoing process is unable to meet, another elected member of the panel will serve as an alternate.
The Grievance Committee will be chaired by a dean (other than the dean of the school in which the course was offered) to be selected by the Provost. The dean so selected will have no vote except in the event of a tie, and will be responsible for overseeing the selection of the Grievance Committee, convening and conducting the committee meetings, and preparing the committee's report(s) and other appropriate documentation.
Due Process Procedure
- Both the student and the faculty member shall have the right to be present and to be accompanied by a personal advisor or counsel throughout the hearing.
- Both the student and the faculty member shall have the right to present and examine witnesses and to cross-examine witnesses.
- The administration shall make available to both the student and the faculty member such authority as it may possess to require the presence of witnesses.
- The Grievance Committee shall promptly and forthrightly adjudicate the issues.
- The full text of the findings and conclusions of the Grievance Committee shall be made available in identical form and at the same time to both the student and the faculty member. The cost shall be met by the university.
- In the absence of a defect in procedure, recommendations shall be made to the Provost by the Grievance Committee as to possible action in the case.
- At any time should the basis for an informal hearing appear, the procedure may become informal in nature.
Grievance Process Complaints
Fairfield University endeavors to resolve all grievances, complaints and disputes in a timely and fair manner. In the event a student believes a complaint remains unresolved after the conclusion of Fairfield University's grievance and/or dispute resolution processes (including all appeals), the student may request that the complaint be reviewed by the State of Connecticut Office of Higher Education. The Office of Higher Education is responsible for quality review of independent colleges and will investigate complaints concerning matters within its statutory authority. For more information or to file a complaint, contact:
61 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105-2326
Fairfield University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Students may contact:
3 Burlington Woods Drive
Burlington, MA 01803