Grade Academic Performance, Termination, Grade Appeal

Assessment of Student Academic Performance

School of Social Work faculty members are assigned official responsibility for unbiased assessment of the academic progress of students enrolled in the B.S.W., M.S.W., PhD, and Certificate programs. Guidelines for student assessment are required to be published in course syllabi for each assigned course.

Student academic assessment includes instructional oversight for the School of Social Work and Wayne State University's academic educational standards. The central function of Social Work student assessment is the evaluation of student progress with course assignments and related course grading, both substantive measures of overall student mastery of course content leading to learning outcomes that demonstrate student competency.

Decisions of unsatisfactory progress may be based on inadequacy in performance in class, in field internships and/or by the overall assessment of a suitability and fitness for the Social Work profession. Wayne State University and the School of Social Work are committed to fairness of assessment based on academic policies and procedures that respect and support student-centeredness and due process approaches in the learning environment. To support this philosophy, the School of Social Work specifies policies and related procedures for the following processes: (1) Academic Termination, (2) Grade Appeals Policy and (3) Reinstatement Policy. These policies and procedures are intentionally designed to ensure fair, reasonable and educationally sound options for students to address problematic academic situations while sustaining program quality and best practices outcomes.

The School of Social Work Student Academic Review Committee reviews petitions for reinstatement into the BSW, MSW, and graduate certificate programs after termination.  At the request of the Dean of the School of Social Work, the committee may review requests related to grade appeals, including those that result in termination.

Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the academic policies that guide program enrollment. The School of Social Work academic advisors are available to assist students with clarification of policies.

Students are advised of their access to the university ombudsperson at any point in the termination, grade appeal, and reinstatement process.

Academic Termination Policies

Undergraduate Program

Undergraduate (BSW) students in the School of Social Work are required to achieve and maintain a minimum grade point average of 2.0 during the junior and senior years, respectively. A student who does not maintain the minimum grade point average will be given an academic warning at the end of the semester in which the grade point average falls below 2.0, or if the student receives a grade of "D+" in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course.  A course is in the "professional curriculum" if it has the prefix "SW."

A student will be terminated from the BSW program if one or more of the following conditions occur:

  1. The student receives a grade of "F" in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course or a mark of "U" in a field instruction course.
  2. The student receives two (2) grades of "D+" or below in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course.
  3. The student receives two (2) marks of "M" (Marginal Pass) in a field instruction course.
  4. The student receives the combination of a grade of "D+" or below in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course and a mark of "M" (Marginal Pass) in a field instruction course.
  5. The student's grade point average is below a 2.0 after two semesters (The required minimum grade point average of 2.0 includes all grades in professional and general education courses, including co-requisites and elective courses).
  6. The student receives a mark of "W" in a course in the professional curriculum (classroom/online) or field instruction/field work without approval of the assigned Academic Advisor or BSW Program Coordinator.

Graduate Programs

Graduate students in the School of Social Work are required to achieve and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0. A student who does not maintain the minimum grade point average will be given an academic warning at the end of the semester in which the grade point average falls below 3.0, or if the student receives a grade of "B-" or "M" in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course or field instruction. A course is considered to be in the professional curriculum if it has the prefix "SW" OR if is part of the student's approve Plan of Work. 

A student will be terminated from the graduate program if one or more of the following conditions occur:

  1. The student receives a grade of "B minus" and below in three professional curriculum (classroom/online) courses.
  2. The student receives two (2) marks of "M" in field instruction courses.
  3. The student receives a combination of a grade of "B minus" and below in two (2) professional curriculum (classroom/online) courses and one (1) mark of "M" in a field instruction course.
  4. The student receives a grade of "F" in a professional curriculum (classroom/online) course or a mark of "U" in a field instruction course.
  5. The student receives a mark of "W" in a course in the professional curriculum (classroom/online) or field instruction/field work without approval of the assigned Academic Advisor or MSW Program Coordinator.

According to the WSU Graduate Bulletin, "Grades of 'B-minus' and below are unsatisfactory for graduate level work. A limited number of 'B-minus', 'C-plus,' or 'C', though unsatisfactory, may be applied toward a graduate degree provided they are offset by a sufficient number of higher grades to maintain a grade point average of 3.0.  Grades below 'B' can constitute reason for dismissal from a program at the department or program's discretion."

Student Responsibilities after Termination

If any of the above listed circumstances occur, it is the student's responsibility to immediately withdraw from all social work classroom, online and/or field instruction courses. Students may not attend social work classes or field instruction courses while terminated from the school of social work.

If students do not officially withdraw from all classes and field, there may be liability for additional university tuition and fees. Students can find information on the course withdrawal process and how to avoid additional fee charges on the Registrar's webpage.

Students are urged to immediately contact the assigned Academic Advisor to seek guidance about next steps. 

Grade Appeal Policy and Procedures

It is the instructor's responsibility to evaluate student work using his/her professional academic judgment based on the course grading criteria and procedures published in the course syllabus in the section for Grading and Assignments.

Grounds for appeal of course grades are:

  1. Application of non-academic criteria in the grading process, as listed in the university's non-discrimination/affirmative action policy: race, color, sex (including gender identity), national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, familial status, marital status, height, weight, disability, or veteran status; 
  2. Sexual harassment or discrimination; 
  3. Evaluation of student work by criteria not directly reflective of performance related to course requirements.

Grade Appeal Request Procedures

Within thirty (30) days following official notification of grades through the university Academica system for the term in which the disputed grade was awarded the student is to submit a letter petitioning the instructor for reconsideration of a change in grade, along with any documentation that supports the student's request.  The letter to the instructor should include:

  1. A statement identifying the grade the student believes he/she has earned in the course,
  2. A precise statement of the details that constitute the objections to the course grade awarded, along with any supporting documentation for the appeal. The student's objections to the course grade must be consistent with the grounds for appeal of grades as outlined in the Grade Review Policy.     

The course instructor shall provide a written and dated response to the student's petition for the grade change within 10 business days.  The instructor's response to the student should address each of the student's objections to the course grade.

If the dispute remains unresolved or in instances where the university schedule or other circumstances occur so that faculty members may be unavailable to participate in the Grade Review discussion, the student is to complete a Request for Grade Appeal Form. For assistance with the appeal process, you may contact Sarah Doyle, Associate Director, Scheduling and Administration at sdoyle@wayne.edu. Submission of this form serves as the official request to the WSU School of Social Work for the appeal of a course grade. The form should include:

  1. The grade the student believes he/she earned in the course,
  2. The details of the student's objections to the grade awarded,
  3. Any supporting documentation, which must include the letter from the course instructor denying reconsideration of the student's petition for a grade change.

The final decision for granting the appeal of the grade rests with the Dean of the SSW.  When deemed appropriate, the Dean may refer the appeal to the Student Academic Review Committee for resolution.  Students and the course instructor will be notified of the decision within 30 business days after the Dean receives the request. The Dean's decision shall be the final decision of record at the college level.

University Level Academic Appeals Procedure

Grade Appeals

If, after your school/college appeal path is exhausted and you wish to continue wit hthe grade appeal process, per the University Academic policy, you may request a Provost Review Form within 30 days of this desicion. For assistance with the appeal process, you may contact the Ombuds Office at ombudsoffice@wayne.edu.

Postponement

If an unresolved disputed grade, based on student extenuating circumstances, results in termination of the student from a program, the student may request the University Provost to review the school's decision of record. The student must make a written Request for a Provost Review with a copy to the Dean of the School of Social Work within 7 days from the notification of termination from the social work program. The student may also file with the Provost a Request for a Postponement of the effect of the School's final decision. If granted, a postponement permits the student to continue in his/her degree program until the grade dispute has been resolved through the University's Grade Appeal process. Students may be liable for university tuition and fees if the grade is upheld. Request for a Provost Review should outline any additional arguments the student wishes to be taken into consideration by the Provost's review. Procedures for requesting a Provost review are published in the Undergraduate and Graduate University Bulletins. 

Reinstatement Policy and Procedures

SSW Reinstatement Policy

Students who fail to meet the academic standards of the Wayne State University School of Social Work (WSU SSW) will be terminated from the program. Students who are terminated cannot be enrolled in social work courses. Students who have been terminated from the WSU SSW BSW, MSW or a Certificate Program may formally request to be reinstated into the program if they demonstrate readiness for academic success.  It is the responsibility of the student to provide evidence that the circumstances leading to termination has been resolved. If reinstated, students may resume their studies a minimum of one academic semester following the semester of their termination. Students who wish to request reinstatement should adhere to the submission deadlines set forth in the reinstatement procedures.

The Request for Reinstatement Form and the Petition Letter are submitted together to the Dean of the School of Social Work. The Dean will forward all reinstatement requests to the Student Academic Review Committee (SARC) for review and recommendations. Please note that submission does not guarantee reinstatement. 

Reinstatement Procedure

Students must consult with the Academic Advisor for information before submitting a request. Students must complete the electronic Request for Reinstatement Form and upload required and supplemental documents to the Dean of the School of Social Work. All submitted materials will be provided to the Student Academic Review Committee for review and recommendation to the Dean of the School of Social Work. The SARC may request additional relevant written data, opinions, recommendations and/or evaluations from any appropriate sources determined to assist in decision-making. Committee deliberations are confidential. When the committee has reached a decision, it will transmit its advisory written recommendations to the Dean, normally within a period of five (5) business days unless there is an inability to obtain suitable material for review. The Committee, however, will make all efforts to obtain all needed materials to inform its decision-making for the review process within the designated time frame. The Dean will review the Committee's recommendations. The final decision is at the discretion of the Dean.

Reapplying and Readmission

Students are no longer eligible to apply for reinstatement after one calendar year of termination. Students are only eligible for reinstatement once. Thus, students who are terminated after reinstatement may not apply for reinstatement again. Students (1) who are not eligible for reinstatement or (2), who are not reinstated by the Dean following termination from a social work program, must reapply for admission to the School of Social Work. For readmission, regular SSW admissions policy and procedures must be followed. Students may not be readmitted to a social work program for a period of at least two (2) years.  Students terminated from a SSW program, if eligible, are not restricted from applying to other university programs or enrolling in courses in other WSU programs. The termination status applies only to programs and courses in the School of Social Work. Students wishing to reapply for admission are advised to seek guidance from the program Academic Advisor for assistance and/or further clarification.

Request for Reinstatement Instructions

  1. Please carefully review the SSW Reinstatement Policy and Procedures and consult with your Academic Advisor for additional information and guidance for submitting your request.
  2. Students must complete the electronic Request for Reinstatement Form and upload required and supplemental documents to the Dean of the School of Social Work.
  3. The electronic Request for Reinstatement Form will serve as your formal request to the WSU SSW for reinstatement. Students should specifically address each of the following in the from:
    1. Were there extenuating circumstances that led to the termination?
      1. Provide an explicit statement of the circumstances, which led to termination from the program including any supplemental/supporting documentation.
    2. Provide an explanation of how you have addressed the problem areas or academic deficiencies that resulted in termination. Include any supporting documentation. 
      1. Identify and articulate the reasonable changes to circumstances that caused the problem(s).
    3. Provide a detailed plan for continued remediation of the circumstances or problem-solving of the circumstances which led to termination, if granted reinstatement into the program.
      1. Identify and articulate the practical strategies that you have implemented to ensure a reasonable chance for success if reinstatement is granted.

Please contact Sarah Doyle, Associate Director, Scheduling and Administration at sdoyle@wayne.edu if you have any questions about the reinstatement process or submitting your electronic Request for Reinstatement Form or uploading your supporting documents.         

Submission Deadlines

Students who have been terminated from the WSU SSW BSW, MSW or a Certificate Program may formally request to be reinstated into the program in accordance with the submission deadlines for each semester.  Please see Table I below.

Table I - Submission Dates to Request Reinstatement to the Social Work Program

Semester Termination Occurred Deadline to Submit a Request for Reinstatement* Semester that Reinstated Students Will Return
Fall term February 15 Spring/Summer
Winter term June 15 Fall
Spring/Summer term October 15 Winter

Note: Students cannot be enrolled in social work courses while they are terminated from the WSU SSW BSW, MSW or a Certificate Program.

Revised 11/19/19 dp