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Faculty Appeal

Stages of Appeal


Faculty Appeal
Appeal Reviews
University Appeal

This article is for Faculty Appeals and is intended as a helpful guide that should be read alongside Academic Appeals Procedure, for related processes see University Appeals or Appeal Reviews

Overview

If there is an academic decision you want reconsidered, an appeal might be the best way to do that. Academic decisions are normally made by an Assessment Board or Postgraduate Research Degrees Subcommittee’s for research cases.

The aim of a successful appeal is to put you back into the position that you would have been in, if not for the circumstances (that you are appealing) occurring.

Faculty Appeals are the first step in the appeals process. Your Faculty appeal must be reach the university within two weeks of the publication of the result or decision you wish to appeal.

Unsure if you should make a complaint or appeal?

Complaint may be better for you if you’re not happy with a particular service or other aspect of University provision.

If you want to change an academic decision, then you should submit an Academic Appeal.

If there are issues of complaint which needs to be decided upon before it is possible to judge whether an appeal has valid grounds, those will be considered through the Complaints Process and the outcome of that Complaints Process will then inform the Appeal.

Appeals likely to be considered
include situations where you meet one or more of the following grounds to appeal;

  • Material Procedural Irregularity, meaning
    • administrative error, 
    • that proper processes has not been followed, or
    • that the academic decision was not arrived at in accordance with the regulations of the course, and
    • this has had a direct bearing on the outcome of the assessment decision you’re appealing
  • Unconsidered Extenuating Circumstances, meaning
    • performance in assessment was badly affected by illness or other factors, and
    • you were unable, or for valid reasons unwilling, to tell the university about this with an extenuating circumstance form at the time, and
    • if you submitted or attended an assessment, you have deemed yourself to be fit to sit the assessment, and will need to demonstrate there is exceptional and compelling reason, supported by evidence (usually medical), as to why you were not fit to make the decision to submit or attend.

Appeals likely to be rejected
includes situations where the basis of your claim is

Drafting your appeal form
Once you have downloaded a faculty appeal form try drafting your claim. You don’t need to get it perfect straight away- it is normally easier to correct/delete/add points from a rough draft than it is to try it write it perfect the first time.

Speak to Sunderland Students’ Union Advisor to help you review your drafts to see what you could do to strengthen your claim.

  • Be concise; this doesn’t mean it has to be short, just avoid covering a point several times and keep the phrasing simple
  • Try not to be emotive in your language; it is important the reader can see the facts of your case. Phrases like “please, I’ve worked so hard this year and would be devastated not to get my degree” does not add any factual points to your claim and is likely to make your appeal longer than it needs to be
  • Find ways to break up information into bite sized chunks with bullet points, timelines, shorter paragraphs, headers etc
  • Use a short summative introduction which describes the main point(s) you are making in your appeal before going into details
  • Use a reverse chronological ordering; talk about an impact on or around the date of the submission/attendance of the assessment, then (only if appropriate) talk about any contributing elements leading up to the point (this is to avoid confusing the reader who might otherwise think your claim is based on something that happened long ago)
     

Preparing evidence            
Evidence should ideally demonstrate both the circumstance and the impact an issue had on you around the time of the submission or attendance of an assessment. 
Evidence that is from an independent source, from a professional individual or service, is more likely to help your claim.

Evidence likely to be helpful

  • GP letter or other medical letters from specialist medical staff
  • Letters from your tutors
  • Death Certificates
  • Letters from professionals; solicitors, counsellors, social workers
  • Legal Paperwork
  • Police documentation
  • Copies or weblinks to policies or procedures for claims of procedural irregularity (highlight specific pages/clauses/paragraphs you believe are of significance)

Evidence not likely to be helpful

  • Retrospective medical evidence, such as a doctor’s note which states that you was seen after the illness occurred
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Letters demonstrating you didn’t approach anyone until after the assessment or that do not demonstrate the impact it had on you
  • Letters from friends or family members
  • Web/newspaper articles
  • Photographs

False evidence or a false application for appeals is an offence under both academic and disciplinary regulations and may lead to expulsion from the University.

When to appeal
You have 2 weeks after the Faculty have published the results or decision, for the Faculty to receive your appeal. If you are posting the faculty appeal form and evidence, you should allow enough time for the postal service to deliver the appeal by the deadline.

The University will not accept a late appeal unless you can demonstrate very good cause for not meeting the deadlines, supported by evidence.

Where to send your claim
The appeal form gives details on the last page as to where to submit; to the Student Gateway at either City Campus or St Peter's Campus, or you can email your appeal and evidence digitally to gateway@sunderland.ac.uk

Confidential information
If there is anything in your appeal or evidence which you feel must remain confidential you must highlight this when you submit your appeal; The University cannot guarantee that this will be possible.  When information is restricted because you request confidentiality, the University may not be able to ensure that full consideration is given to the case.

Timescales
You should receive a written response within 10 working days of you submitting your appeal. If the University can’t respond, due to good cause, within 10 working days they should write to you and give you a reason and issue you with a revised timescale.

What to expect if the appeal is upheld
The aim of a successful appeal is to put you back into the position that you would have been in, if not for the circumstances (that you are appeal) occurring- This does not mean the university will change a fail mark to a pass. 

Example

Before the Appeal

For a first attempt, if you didn’t submit any work or an extenuating circumstance claim, you will have a referral attempt due which is capped at 40%

If Appeal is upheld

At the point in which your referral attempt is due, it will now be considered your first attempt; you will not be capped at 40% and will still have a referral opportunity should you not pass

 

Expenses
If your Appeal succeeds, you can request that the University pays towards any reasonable and fair costs that couldn’t be avoided and were needed for your appeal. Such contributions are discretionary, and you need to submit a request before the costs are incurred. No payments will be made for legal advice or representation.

Taking legal action
if you start legal action against the University, any appeal or complaint will be paused until those proceedings are complete. Legal actions may also rule out opportunities for you to approach the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA); speak to an advisor for more details.

Attendance, Studying and Graduation during appeals
If you have referred exams or other work to complete, you should continue with that work pending the outcome of your appeal unless advised otherwise.

Normally you cannot progress to the next stage of study during an appeal, but you maybe allowed on an exceptional basis by the University. If you are allowed to progress, it is on the understanding that if your appeal is not successful you will discontinue study immediately.

If you have been awarded a degree but are appealing against the classification, you may attend graduation (the University does not read out classifications at the ceremony).

If you have not been awarded a degree, you may not attend graduation, but if your appeal is successful you will be offered a place at the next graduation.

If you have been issued with a parchment, you will be required to return it before a new parchment is issued should your appeal be successful.

If you are not happy with the handling or outcome of a faculty appeal there are further options you may wish to consider.

No response to your appeal
if the Appeals Reviewer decides not to refer your case back to the Board, or if you do not receive a response within two weeks, you can make a further University appeal

Appeal was considered but not upheld
You can submit a University appeal within 30 working days of the original assessment result or decision you are appealing.

Appeal was upheld but you’re unhappy with the outcome
You can submit a University appeal within 30 working days of the original assessment result or decision you are appealing. However it might be worth speaking with an advisor to see if you the outcome you are seeking is possible within the University’s regulations.

Appeal was rejected due to academic judgment
If the reviewer believes your appeal is a challenge to academic judgement, your appeal will be rejected without further consideration and this will terminate the appeals process. However you do have the right to ask, within 10 working days of the appeal outcome, for the decision to be reviewed, if you can evidence why your appeal does not rest solely on a challenge to academic judgement.

Page last reviewed: 01/03/2019
Next review due: 31/08/2020