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Student academic progress (or lack thereof) Some thoughts on preventing and dealing with problems J.J.B. Smith October 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "Student academic progress (or lack thereof) Some thoughts on preventing and dealing with problems J.J.B. Smith October 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 Student academic progress (or lack thereof) Some thoughts on preventing and dealing with problems J.J.B. Smith October 2010

2 Some causes  Bad choice  Unclear expectations  Poor planning  Inadequate follow-up of early symptoms  Lack of supervisory committee meetings  Unclear outcomes of meetings  Lack of definitive end point for courses

3 Good Standing  To be in good standing, a student must … “make satisfactory progress toward the completion of the degree.”  The School may terminate the registration and eligibility of a student:  who fails to comply with the General Regulations of the School, the relevant Degree Regulations, or the specific degree requirements of the graduate unit in which the student is registered or  who fails to maintain satisfactory progress in the degree program in which the student is registered, as measured either by the general standards of the School or by the specific [standards] of the graduate unit.

4 Clarity in  Program requirements: handbook, web-site  Consequences of not meeting requirements  Second chances?  Timelines

5 SDF, FZ, INC, WDR  SDF has a deadline – use it!  Instructor should base grade on actual mark – no assignment should mean zero!  Grad unit should submit FZ (don’t default to blanks or INCs)  INC is problematic – it is not a failure!  If incomplete for valid reasons, consider WDR 

6 PhD committee meetings  Make sure they occur  “May monitoring”  Consider more than pass fail:  E.g. satisfactory – problematic – fail  Student should respond  What happens if not satisfactory?Is this clear in your handbook?

7 Termination  termination.htm termination.htm  Recommendation to Vice Dean, Students  Clear evidence of failure to maintain good academic standing  Clarity of expectations  Student should have been forewarned, advised; are there “second chances”?  Any extenuating circumstances?  Withdrawal vs. termination – termination can be appealed  Consider using our template letters

8 Expectations  Important to clarify at beginning and revisit  Departmental handbook/web site  Orientation  Initial meeting(s) with supervisor  SGS Guidelines on Supervision  SGS Guidelines on IP: form  Signed Memo of Agreement

9 Resolving conflicts  Remain objective  Look for underlying cause(s)  Seek compromise or outside box solution  Use rules and regs but may be exceptions  Seek advice:  Faculty graduate vice/associate dean  SGS: SSO, Director of Student Services, Vice-Dean  Student Retention Officer (Helen Slade, )  Crisis Response Officer (Becky Smith, )

10 Mental Health  Be aware of signs Marked personality change Inability to cope with problems and daily activities Strange or grandiose ideas. Excessive anxieties. Prolonged depression and apathy. Marked changes in eating or sleeping patterns. Extreme highs and lows. Abuse of alcohol or drugs. Excessive anger, hostility, or violent behaviour. (HealthyMinds.org, American Psychiatric Association)

11 Mental Health  Refer student to Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS)  SGS: Director of Student Services  Student Retention & Crisis Response Officers  Annual Health Services workshop for academic administrators

12 Academic offences  Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters (1995)  Policy on Ethical Conduct in Research (1991)  Policy on Research Involving Human Subjects (2000)  Framework to Address Allegations of Research Misconduct (2007)

13 Challenges  Administrators, faculty unfamiliar with process: offences often rare at graduate level  Process seems time-consuming, complex  Temptation to ignore or deal with problem locally, informally

14 Why comply with Code?  Academic integrity fundamental to our mission  Our graduates shouldn’t cheat  Ensures fairness  Need dispassionate judgment, consistent sanctions across University  Must respect rights of all parties  Identify repeat offenders  No choice: “instructor shall make a report to the department chair”

15 Help prevent offences by  Considering workshops  Including info in course outlines  Reminding that ignorance is no defence  Reducing temptations and opportunities (for tips see the FAS Academic Integrity Handbook at  Referring students and faculty to the SGS website at

16 Procedures  When in doubt  Consult SGS (Jane Alderdice)  FAS Academic Integrity handbook  Sanctions cannot be determined by instructor  Chair or delegate involved for minor offences <10% in course work  Dean of SGS involved for offences >10% or other offences e.g. in thesis

17 Sanctions  At departmental level  Sanction possible only when student admits  Max penalty zero for piece of work  At SGS level  Sanction possible only when student admits  Dean can refer to Provost if serious or no admission  Max penalty one-year suspension  Transcript notation  At Tribunal, GC level  Up to expulsion or revocation of degree

18 Instructor interviews student Instructor believes offence committed? Yes Inform chair No No action Major (>10%)? No Chair handles Yes Dean handles Chair/Dean writes to student, offers interview No Case? No No action Yes Dean refers to Provost or Chair refers to Dean Yes Student Admits? Yes Chair/Dean imposes allowable sanction V. serious? No Tribunal


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