Academic Appeals

SMUSA is dedicated to identifying and representing the academic needs of the student population at Saint Mary’s University. In this respect, we have made the following resources available to the students at Saint Mary’s.

The following are Saint Mary's University's policies and procedures related to the most common academic processes that students have challenges with. For more information, please review the Saint Mary's University's Academic Calendar.


Academic Disclipinary Appeals

If you have been accused of academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, misconduct, or fabrication), refer to this policy to understand the process by which your case will be dealt with. This is important to understanding your rights and options for defending yourself. The policy also outlines specifically what constitutes academic dishonesty for your reference.

Examples of Academic Offenses

Plagiarism 
"The presentation of words, ideas ortechniques of another as one's own. Plagiarism is not restricted to literary works and applies to all forms of information or ideas that belong to another (e.g. computer programs, mathematical solutions, scientific experiments,graphical images, or data)."

Cheating
"The attempt to secure a grade by unethical means. Knowingly assisting someone to cheat is itself cheating".

Falsification
"It is an offence to falsify any academic record or to use a falsified record".

Tampering
"It is an offence to tamper with University library materials or computer system resources in any way which would deprive others of their use".

Formal Resolution of Academic Discipline Complaints

In cases that cannot be resolved informally, the Senate Academic Discipline Committee shall:

  • Consider all complaints or allegations in relation to offences or irregularities of an academic nature at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including but not limited to, those relating to admissions procedures, evaluation procedures, second offences of plagiarism, cheating and other academic dishonesty. The Committee may impose penalties in cases where the Committee finds an offence or irregularity has occurred;
  •  Have the power to discipline a student who, before or during the disciplinary process involving him or her, but prior to a Hearing or adjudication, has:
    • been compelled to withdraw academically;
    • chosen to withdraw from the University prior to being disciplined; or
    • chosen not to register at the University.
  • Assume jurisdiction when a complaint or allegation in relation to offences or irregularities of an academic nature is brought to its attention by the Registrar. Complaints or allegations may be made by Faculty or other evaluators of academic work done by students. The Registrar will provide documentation to the Senate Office. Four copies will be generated and forwarded to the Chair of the Committee.

Academic Regulations

Grading System

If you have questions or concerns about the grading system please refer to this policy. This policy outlines the procedure for the grading system and the obligations of the professor. Please note there is a separate grading system for graduate programs.

Grade    Points     Percentage
A+          4.30         90-100
A             4.00         85-89
A-           3.70          80-84
B+          3.30           77-79
B            3.00           73-76
B-           2.70          70-72
C+          2.30          67-69
C             2.00         63-66
C-           1.70          60-62
D            1.00          50-59
F            0.00           0-49

Standing Required 

If you are facing academic probation or suspension as a result of poor grades, refer to this policy to understand the conditions under which you can be put on probation or be suspended and what you must do to regain full academic standing.

a. There are multiple regulations governing a student’s program of study. These include the overall regulations for the credential (degree, certificate or diploma) as well as those for the area(s) of specialization (concentration, major, honours, minor). For each set of regulations, the ones that apply are those in effect at the time the student first registers in the credential or declares the specialization. For example, a student admitted to a B.A. in 2004 who then declares an English major in 2006 is governed by the B.A. requirements in effect in 2004 and the English major requirements in effect in 2006. If it is advantageous for a student to follow the new regulations in meeting the requirements for the credential or specialization, the new regulations will apply.

b. In the case of students readmitted after an absence of five or more years, or after having been required to withdraw for academic weakness, or in the case of students transferring to a different academic program, the regulations in force at the time of readmission or transfer apply. In addition, the Dean may attach specific and binding conditions to the students’ performance to ensure that the normal standards of the degree requirements are met.

c. Good Standing
(i) Student are deemed to be in “Good Standing” if they have achieved a minimum cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of at least 1.70.
(ii) To qualify for a Bachelor’s degree in Arts, Science, or Commerce a student must achieve a minimum degree grade point average (DGPA) of 2.00. Note: A higher DGPA may be required for some programs (e.g., honours).
(iii) To qualify for a Diploma in Engineering or a Certificate students are required to achieve a program grade point average (PGPA) of at least 2.00. Note: Individual programs may require a higher PGPA.

d. Academic Probationary Status
Academic Probationary status is incurred:
(i) if, at the end of any academic year (i.e., on or about 1 May), a student has attempted a minimum of 24 credit hours with a CGPA of at least 1.00 but less than 1.70;
(ii) if on readmission after being required to withdraw because of academic weakness [see (i) below];
(iii) if students are required to confer with their academic advisor and fail to do so or fail to make appropriate efforts to resolve problems which are affecting their academic performance.

e. Eligibility to Continue
Students in Good Standing are eligible to continue. Students on academic probation are eligible to continue if at the end of any academic year (i.e., on or about 1 May) their annual GPA is at least 1.70

Evaluation 

If you are unsure of when to expect your grades for courses and where to find your grades, refer to this policy to understand the process by which your grades will be submitted to the registrar’s office and made available to the students

At the end of each semester, instructors must submit to the Registrar, through Self-Service Banner, their evaluations of all students registered in their courses. For six credit hour courses taught over two terms, interim grades will be submitted at the end of the first term and final grades at the end of the academic year. The time frames for the submission of mid-year and final grades to the Registrar are:

(i) in the case of courses in which no formal examination was scheduled by the Registrar within the period designated by Senate for formal examinations, one week from the beginning of the examination period;
(ii) in the case of courses in which formal examinations were scheduled by the Registrar within the period designated by Senate for such examinations, one week from the day on which the examination was written;
and
(iii) in the cases of courses taught in Summer Sessions, grades are due in the Service Centre no later than one week from the last day of instruction in the course. Students have the right to expect their grades to be submitted by these deadlines in conformity with the faculty members’ terms of appointment.


Grade Appeals

At SMUSA we understand the importance of grades for a student and we want to help! SMUSA is dedicated to represent the needs of the student population at Saint Mary’s University. If you think you have been assessed unfairly and you think you have a strong case to support your claim.

If you want to appeal a final grade; application of Senate policies, procedures, or regulations as they relate to your academic performance; or perceived unethical conduct of SMU staff or other students, refer to this policy. The policy outlines steps to take before filing for a formal appeal, step to file for a formal appeal, the composition of the Appeal Committee and Hearing Panels, principles by which a case will be considered, and the procedure by which a case will be considered.

The only grades that may be appealed are official final grades. Students should be aware that when a grade appeal is launched, the grade can be raised, lowered, or remain unchanged.
(i) Students who wish to appeal a grade must first consult the instructor concerned within one month of receiving the grade and, if unsatisfied, should then consult the appropriate Chairperson and Dean. If the problem is still unresolved, students may forward the appeal to the Committee on Academic Appeals. This must be done in writing, through the Registrar, within three months from the last day of the semester in which the course is taken. This appeal statement must contain specifics as to when the instructor, the Chairperson, and the Dean were consulted, together with any other information the student considers relevant. A form to launch an appeal is available from the Registrar and students are strongly encouraged to use this.
(ii) It is the responsibility of students and instructors to provide the Committee with all relevant available material on which the grade was based. A student’s course documentation should include grade history and copies of any retained graded materials on which the student’s grades were based (i.e. exercises, reports, papers, tests, examinations). This documentation shall be retained on-campus for a minimum of twelve months from the deadline of submission of grades.
(iii) The Committee will normally appoint two qualified examiners to review the evidence presented and reconsider the grade. The examiners will submit their report and the evidence reviewed to the Chairperson of the Committee.
(iv) On the appeal for a change of grade, the decision of the Committee shall be final.


If you have questions or need clarification on these policies, please contact:

Blair Jones, Vice President Academic Affairs
vpacademic.smusa@smu.ca
(902) 496-8709
SMUSA 5th Floor Student Centre