Petitions, challenges and appeals

In some situations you may believe that some action or decision related to your academic career is either inappropriate or incorrect. If you are unsure at any step in this process you should contact your academic advisor, a student services advisor in the Engineering Undergraduate Office, or meet with the Associate Dean, Undergraduate Studies.

The two university policies that describe in detail your rights and responsibilities are:

Specific information for Faculty of Engineering students:

Some basic questions to ask yourself when going in this direction:

  • is this a short term situation that you will be able to work out with the instructor, in which case you should start by contacting your instructor
  • is the problem related to some extenuating circumstance that may have impacted your term decision, or
  • has there been a mistake (or error) at some point that you have not been able to resolve with the instructor or within the department

Extenuating circumstances (petitions - described in policy 70)

Extenuating circumstances such as an illness or other medical condition, death in your close family, living circumstances beyond your control that affected your work in the term, are all considered under the petitions portion of policy 70. Often you would have been in contact with Counselling Services with respect to these issues during the term. If any such issues do arise during the term, and you feel they may impact your academic performance, it is best to contact Engineering Counselling Services at that time as they can provide assistance. Petitions are considered by the Examinations and Promotions committee. This committee is comprised of the E and P Chair, one person per plan, a member of the Engineering Society, a member of Co-operative Education and Career Action, a member of Engineering Counselling Services, and representatives from the Registrar's Office. The types of decisions made relate to the term decision and typically do not relate to an individual course for an individual student. Petitions are accepted on an ongoing basis, ideally within a month of when marks are made "official". However, if you have unofficial marks and you feel that you may wish to file a petition, contact your departmental academic advisor as soon as possible to discuss your options. This is especially important if you have back-to-back academic terms, and it appears there may be an academic decision (example, Failed-Must Repeat Term) that will impact the next term.

Challenges (described in policy 70)

In situations where you perceive unfairness in some aspect of a decision by a faculty or staff member, it may be appropriate to consider a challenge. The first step in challenges is for you to seek a resolution with the person (the instructor or staff member) that you believe has made the mistake. If the informal approach does not reach an acceptable conclusion, then a more formal challenge may be appropriate. There are two types of challenges: a reassessment challenge and a challenge.

A reassessment challenge

If you believe that some item has been graded in an unfair manner, then you should take any evidence as well as the appropriate form to the Chair of the department that offers the course. If the result of the reassessment challenge is to have the course deliverable remarked (by a different instructor) the resulting grade change is final and may result in no change, an increase, or a decrease in the grade.

A challenge

If you believe that there has been an unfair decision related to matters other than the assessment of a piece of submitted material, then take your evidence as well as the appropriate form to the Associate Dean Undergraduate studies for consideration.

Appeals (policy 72)

The appeal process is intended to be used in the event that you believe a decision made as part of the Grievance process (policy 70), the Harassment policy (policy 33) or the Student Discipline policy (policy 71) is unfair in some way.

Co-operative education and work terms

The information above is related to all academic matters except those related to work terms.

Also see Policy 70 - Co-op Student Petitions and Grievances