Academic Protest and Appeals

Basic information

  • Applies to:
    • Current Students
    • Full-time faculty
    • Instructor
    • Part-Time/Adjunct
  • Approved by:
    • Student Life
  • Last updated: October 16, 2014

Student concerns and appeals regarding faculty

At Calvin University the goal to become a model Christian academic community should direct the attempts to resolve conflicts that may occur between students and faculty members. We would expect that members will all “accept one another…” (Romans 15:7) and that student protest and appeal will occur infrequently and only over matters of significance. Moreover, the process of protest should be one that should lead to restoration of Christian community in which the members are affirmed and express love for one another.

  1. A student may have criticism of a professor for which he or she requests some action. Criticisms may regard the requirements of a course, the nature of a test, a grade received, teaching effectiveness, personal lifestyle, general performance, or sanctions given for academic dishonesty. The student should present such criticism directly to the faculty member. The student criticism should be heard and given serious attention by the faculty member.
  2. If the faculty member's response does not satisfy the student, or if the student does not feel free to approach the faculty member, the student should bring the criticism to the department chair person and, if necessary, the academic dean. The chair person or the academic dean should work for resolution.
  3. If the student or faculty member does not accept the advice of the chairperson or academic dean, the academic dean will suggest one of the following procedures:
    1. If the complaint regards a sanction given by a faculty member for academic dishonesty, the student must follow the procedure outlined in "The Student Conduct Code and Disciplinary Procedures" found in the Expanded Handbook for Teaching Faculty.
    2. If the protest is on matters other than sanctions given by a faculty member for academic dishonesty, the academic dean will refer the issue to an ad hoc committee of two faculty members, a student, and an academic dean. The ad hoc committee should hear the student protest and hear the professor's response, as well as collect appropriate material evidence. The student, if he or she so chooses, may ask a student, faculty member, or the Dean of Residence Life to give counsel at this hearing. The committee should work for resolution of the differences and prepare a written recommendation to the provost, a copy of which will be sent to the student and faculty member.
  4. The decision of the ad hoc committee may be appealed to the Provost by either the student or the faculty member. In cases where the student protest involves the academic standards, i.e., course requirements or grades, the decision may be appealed to the Academic Standards Committee. Cases where the protest involves teaching effectiveness, professional standards, religious commitment, or personal lifestyle may be appealed to the Professional Status Committee.
  5. The report of either of these committees will be advisory to the Provost, who will prepare a recommendation for the President.
  6. Further appeals by the student or faculty member would be to the President, and by way of the President, to the Board of Trustees.
  7. Correspondence addressed to a member of the Board of Trustees should be sent to the Board of Trustees office, Spoelhof Center. Such correspondence is routinely opened by a member of the Board staff and forwarded to the person to whom it is addressed and to the President. If the correspondence is marked "Confidential,” it will be forwarded unopened to the trustee to whom it is addressed.

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