Probation, Termination and Appeals

Grounds for Probation and Termination

Graduate students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are expected to maintain a high level of achievement in their graduate studies. Accordingly, students who do not maintain satisfactory progress may be subject to being placed on probation, being terminated from a degree program, or being denied permission to continue graduate studies in the University. Except in cases of dismissal because of violations of the Student Code of Conduct, upon termination from a graduate degree program and/or dismissal from the Graduate College, students may apply for admission to another degree program or admission as a non-degree seeking student only with the approval of the Dean for Graduate Studies.

Probation or termination recommendations may be made by the student’s adviser (masters students), the Supervisory Committee (doctoral students), and must be approved by the Graduate Committee overseeing the student’s major. The Graduate Committee overseeing the student’s major must communicate the probation or termination recommendation in writing to the campus Dean for Graduate Studies. A copy of the recommendation must be sent to the student.

For all graduate students at UNL, probation or termination recommendations may be made under the following conditions: a) violations of the “Student Code of Conduct” listed in this bulletin, b) failure to satisfy “Scholastic Grade Requirements” also listed in this bulletin, c) failure in qualifying examinations, preliminary examinations, comprehensive examinations or final degree examinations, d) failure to master the methodology and content of one’s field in a manner that is sufficient to complete a successful thesis or dissertation, or e) in fields leading to licensure or certification, ethical misconduct or lack of professional promise in the professional field. Termination recommendations may also be made if a student fails to satisfy conditions required for removal of probationary status or provisional admission. Graduate Committees wishing to adopt additional conditions for probation or termination must specify these conditions in writing and inform all students affected by these conditions.

Graduate Grade Appeals

(Approved by UNL Graduate Council, March 9, 1993.)
Appeal of grades in graduate-level courses shall be made through the graduate student grade appeal procedures for the campus through which the grade was awarded.

Students who believe their evaluation in a course has been prejudiced or capricious must first attempt to resolve the matter with the course instructor.

If unsuccessful, the student may then file a written appeal to the Graduate Chair for consideration by the Graduate Committee responsible for the administration of the course. This appeal must be filed within sixty days of the posting of the grade report by the Office of the University Registrar. If the department does not have a graduate program, the standing grade appeal committee of the department would consider the appeal. A written determination of the appeal shall be presented to the student and instructor.

If the matter is unduly delayed or not resolved, the student may present the original appeal documentation to the UNL Dean of Graduate Studies who shall request a review by a subcommittee of the Graduate Council. A last appeal may be made to the full Graduate Council, if it agrees to hear the case.

Since awarding grades in courses occurs at the individual campus level, the decision of the UNL Graduate Council shall be final and is not subject to further appeal beyond the campus.

During the appeal process, if the instructor’s grade is overturned, the instructor of record has the right of appeal, in writing, at successive levels of review.

Graduate Student Program Appeals

A. Graduate students holding admission with unclassified status in the Graduate College, admission with a masters objective, or admission with a doctoral objective (but prior to the appointment of a doctoral supervisory committee) should appeal as follows:

  1. Initially, the appeal should be submitted to the student’s adviser.
  2. If denied, the appeal may be submitted to the departmental or interdepartmental area Graduate Committee administratively responsible for the student’s graduate program.
  3. If denied, an appeal may be made to the Graduate Council for the campus administratively responsible for the student’s graduate program. Normally, this will be the final appeals body (for exceptions, see paragraph E).

B. Graduate students holding admission with a doctoral objective in the Graduate College and for whom a doctoral supervisory committee has been appointed should appeal as follows: Initially, the appeal should be submitted to the student’s adviser:

  1. If denied, the appeal may be submitted to the student’s supervisory committee.
  2. If denied, the appeal may be submitted to the departmental or interdepartmental area Graduate Committee administratively responsible for the student’s graduate program.
  3. If denied, an appeal may be made to the Graduate Council for the campus administratively responsible for the student’s graduate program. Normally, this will be the final appeals body (for exceptions, see paragraph E).

C. When a student’s graduate program consists of registration essentially or entirely on one campus, the Graduate Council of the campus administratively responsible for the program will constitute the appeal board. When a student’s graduate program includes substantial registrations on a campus other than the one administratively responsible for the program, three members of the Graduate Council for the other campus will be designated by the Dean of Graduate Studies on that campus to augment the Graduate Council on the campus administratively responsible for the program. In this case, the augmented Council will constitute the appeal board. The decision concerning augmentation of a campus Graduate Council for a specific appeal involving registrations on a campus other than the one administratively responsible for the student’s program will be made by the Deans of Graduate Studies on the campuses involved.

D. In all cases, appeals should be made in writing to the appropriate adviser, committee, or council. In those cases where the appeal concerns graduate-level qualifying examinations, comprehensive examinations, or final examinations, the following deadlines must be observed. It is the responsibility of the student to make reasonable efforts to ascertain the results of the examination within 30 days after its completion. The initiation of the appeal, in writing, by the student must be filed within 30 days following the student’s receipt of notification of the evaluation.

In those cases involving an appeal of termination of program, initiation of the appeal, in writing, by the student must be filed within 30 days following the student’s receipt of the official written notification by the Office of Graduate Studies.

E. Appeal to the Executive Graduate Council:

  1. There is no absolute right of appeal to the Executive Graduate Council. The Executive Graduate Council will accept appeals only in those cases where in the exercise of its sole discretion it shall first find that one or more of the following grounds for accepting the appeal exist:
    1. That the campus Graduate Council has violated some element of fair procedure (i.e., has failed to allow the parties concerned to present their cases fully to their campus Graduate Council);
    2. That the campus Graduate Council has failed to examine or give adequate weight to important evidence relevant to one party’s position;
    3. That the campus Graduate Council has given undue weight to evidence not pertinent to the case; or
    4. That some gross miscarriage of justice would be perpetrated if the decision of the campus Graduate Council is allowed to stand.

    A decision by the Executive Graduate Council not to accept jurisdiction of an appeal shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.

  2. Appeals to the Executive Graduate Council must be made in writing and must specifically outline the grounds for the appeal. Such appeal must be made within 20 working days of the day the decision of the campus Graduate Council is received (working days shall not include those days the University is not in session).
  3. The Executive Graduate Council must make a decision to hear the appeal or not to hear the appeal within 30 working days after receipt of the appeal. Acceptance or denial of jurisdiction over the appeal will be made in writing.
  4. The decision of the Executive Graduate Council on the merits of the case will be made and transmitted to the concerned parties within 40 working days after the decision to hear the appeal.
  5. No person who was a member of the department or campus Graduate Council involved in the case will be eligible to participate in the decisions of the Executive Graduate Council either to decide whether the case should be heard or to decide the merits of the case. However, the Dean for Graduate Studies may replace members of the Executive Graduate Council not eligible for participation in the decision to hear the appeal or in the appeal itself.