Academic Policies and Procedures
Academic Procedures Committee (APC) Petitions
The members of this committee include three faculty members, the Dean of Students, the Registrar, and two students, one of whom is the ASPC vice-president for academic affairs. The main function of the Academic Procedures Committee is to consider petitions for exceptions to the Academic Regulations adopted by the faculty.
The Committee approaches its deliberations with an assumption that the faculty’s academic rules and regulations should normally be followed. When considering exceptions, the Committee attempts to be both “consistent” (i.e., to apply uniform standards) and “flexible” (i.e., to give personal attention and respond to individual circumstances).
Petitions should include all relevant information and be clearly articulated with appropriate documentation. The Committee cannot fill in missing information; it is the student’s responsibility to present the case fully. The class deans and the vice-president of academic affairs will be glad to talk to students who are considering filing petitions.
Arguments which amount to a fundamental disagreement with existing policy should be avoided. The Committee is charged by the faculty only with making exceptions to regulations when such exceptions are justified by the individual circumstances.
The APC form is available in the My Pomona student portal under “My Academic Records”. Once the form has been completed online, an automated request for comments is sent to the student’s advisor and the course instructor, if the matter concerns a specific course. Once the comments are submitted by the relevant faculty (advisor and instructor) the Registrar’s Office assembles the petition and supporting documents for presentation to the APC.
Examples of the kinds of requests which are handled by the Academic Procedures Committee are:
1. Course overloads
2. Registration changes after deadlines
3. Incomplete grades
4. Final exam time changes (unless the student has three exams in two days, in which case a petition is not needed, and one exam may be re-scheduled without APC approval; or a common final meets at the same time as the final for another course, in which case the instructor offering the common final should provide an alternate time, again, without APC approval)
5. Second major declarations (normally submitted after all General Education requirements have been completed, or final GE requirements are in progress)
6. Residency requirement exceptions
7. Requests to enroll for an additional semester
8. Grade disputes, when the instructor is a Pomona instructor
If all parts of the petition are received by noon on Tuesday, the APC will review the student’s petition on the following Wednesday. Occasionally, petitions must be tabled or take more than one week to resolve. All communications regarding APC petitions are sent by the Registrar to the student via their Pomona email address. Until notification of the Committee’s decision is received, the student should continue going to class and completing assignments, and take no action affecting their status in the course.
Any student who has questions about a petition is invited to discuss these questions with their class dean. The class deans are prepared to advise a student before their petition is submitted. A student whose petition has been denied may consult with the Chair of the Committee for an explanation of the Committee’s action.
Decisions of the Committee are final. Appeals are only approved by the faculty chair of the Committee, and only when there is new evidence or information that was not available when the original petition was filed.
Academic Standards Committee (ASC) and Policies
The Academic Standards Committee reviews the academic standing of students. Its responsibility includes warning those with low grade point averages or problematic rates of progress toward a degree, or placing them on probation, suspending them, or requiring their withdrawal from the College. The Committee meets at least once every semester.
Three faculty members, the Registrar, the Dean of Students, the Dean of Students for Academic and Personal Success, and Assistant Deans of Students, representatives from the Office of Black Student Affairs, the Chicanx/ Latinx Student Affairs Center, and the Asian American Resource Center meet every semester to review the academic progress of students in the college.
To continue in good standing at the College, a student must:
a. Receive at least a C-minus in the Critical Inquiry Seminar (ID 001); those who do not are automatically placed on probation. (This applies only to first-year students.)
b. Achieve at least an overall “C” average each semester in courses taken under the auspices of Pomona College.
c. Maintain normal progress toward a degree with an average of at least four courses passed for each semester of registration.
d. Make suitable progress toward completion of all academic requirements, including completion of a major.
In some cases, the Committee may place a first-year or sophomore student who earns a C+ (2.33) on probation especially if the student completed fewer than four courses for that semester. Such an action facilitates the intervention and support that helps a student to strengthen their academic performance.
The Committee normally expects any academic deficiencies to be reduced or eliminated within one semester. In the case of students who did not receive at least a C- grade in the Critical Inquiry Seminar, the student will need to take a writing tutorial in the second semester and a writing intensive seminar before the end of the sophomore year but may come off probation after the spring semester if spring semester grades warrant it.
The Committee urges students with any academic problems to seek assistance promptly. The Deans and Assistant Deans of Students are the general advisors for the College and are prepared to discuss academic questions, concerns, or problems with students at any time. Students may also see their faculty advisors or staff at Monsour Counseling Center or they may receive help from tutors or fellow students. The Committee does consider evidence that a student has been making serious efforts to seek help and improve their status in the College.
The following actions are among those that may be taken with respect to students whose academic records are judged inadequate. These actions do not represent a sequence which will be followed in every case. The committee chooses the course of action which seems most appropriate. Students are reviewed based on the standards of pace and/ or performance in accordance with the parameters outlined above.
The College, through the Academic Standards Committee, may at any time require the withdrawal of a student if the quality and amount of their work seems to warrant such action.
1. Warning: This is the action most taken when the academic deficiency is minor. If there is not substantial improvement the next semester, the Committee will usually take more serious action. Students are typically given a warning for performance when they receive a D, F, or W in a course or when their semester GPA is between 2.3-2.5. Students are typically given a warning for pace when they are 0.75 credits off-pace.
2. Academic Probation: This action indicates that the Committee is concerned about a student’s work at Pomona. It is usually accompanied by a firm set of expectations for the following semester requiring immediate and substantial improvement of the student’s record. Students are typically placed on academic probation for performance when they have a semester GPA of 2.0-2.3 or if they do not earn at least 3 full credits in a semester. Students are typically placed on academic probation for pace when they are 1.0 credits or more off pace. Failure to meet these expectations is likely to result in a suspension or required withdrawal, especially if the student earns less than a C (2.0) average for two consecutive semesters. A student on academic probation is required to meet with their class dean about their progress during the following semester.
3. Suspension: This action is taken when, in the judgment of the Committee, the interests of the student will be best served by a period away from the College, or when the Committee also believes that successful completion of the College program is likely at a later time. After the period of suspension and if the student has met the criteria outlined in the suspension notification letter, the Committee will review the case and may authorize the student to return to the College if there is sufficient evidence of ability and motivation to succeed.
Reinstated students return to the College on academic probation. A student who is suspended and plans to take coursework elsewhere with is advised to secure transfer credit approval in advance from the appropriate Pomona College department and the Registrar. Credit for such courses may be applied toward a degree at Pomona, but grade points earned may not be used to reduce grade point deficiencies incurred at Pomona.
4. Required Withdrawal: This action is taken when, in the judgment of the Committee, it appears that the student will be unable to meet minimum graduation requirements. While it does not mean that it is impossible for the student ever to return to the College, the Committee will not look favorably on a request for re-admission unless there is strong and compelling evidence of a change in the student’s readiness to perform college work. A student will not be considered for re-admission by the Academic Standards Committee before at least a year has elapsed.
Decisions of the Committee are normally final. However, if there is pertinent and compelling information which was not available at the time of the decision, actions of Suspension or Required Withdrawal may be appealed. The letter of suspension or required withdrawal notification indicates the process for an appeal and provides the corresponding deadline for the appeal submission.
Appeals should provide new and significant evidence, and will be considered by a subcommittee of the Academic Standards Committee.
Disputed Grades Policy
The normal presumption in the administration of grades at Pomona College is that the instructor alone is qualified to evaluate the academic work of a student in their courses and to assign grades to that work. Once recorded in the Registrar’s records, a grade may be changed only in one of two ways:
1. Upon the certification by the instructor that an error has occurred, and with the approval of the Associate Dean of the College.
2. By the procedures described below, when a student has substantial grounds for believing that a particular grade was assigned in a manner that was arbitrary or unjust, or that crucial evidence was not considered. This is apart from questions of the quality of the work, which is subject to the judgment of the instructor.
The student should first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the outcome of that discussion is satisfactory, and the instructor proposes a changed grade based on the criteria laid out in (2) above, then the instructor should submit a petition to the APC based on that discussion and request the change in grade. If the outcome of that discussion is not satisfactory, the student can submit a petition to the APC to hear a grade dispute based on the criteria laid out in (2) above. Based on this petition, the APC makes an initial determination to hear the case. If the APC decides to hear a grade dispute, the case is brought to the full committee of the APC, which will serve as the hearing panel for the case, unless the student petitioner had requested that student APC members not review the petition, and in that case, there will be no students on the hearing panel. The decision of the APC hearing panel on the disputed grade shall be final.
A grade dispute petition must be submitted by the end of the seventh week of the semester following the one for which the disputed grade has been given, and final disposition of the case must be made by the end of that semester. If extenuating circumstances make it impossible for these deadlines to be met, the APC may arrange to postpone the process. Examples of such circumstances would be the temporary absence of either the faculty member or the student from Claremont, or illness which makes it impossible for one of the participants to be present.
Grades Disputes in Cross-Registration
1. Students charged with academic dishonesty in a course taken outside their home college shall be tried according to the procedures for handling such cases in their home institution. Faculty members at the Colleges are obligated to accept the decision of the student’s college and may not impose a penalty should the appropriate hearing panel fail to find guilt. Any student grievance concerning a grade given by an instructor because of such a hearing decision will also be handled according to the rules of the student’s home college.
2. All other grievances concerning grades are handled by the procedures of the college sponsoring the course.
Procedures for APC Grade Dispute Hearings
1. Once the APC has decided to hear a grade dispute petition, the Chair of the APC will solicit from the student and instructor any additional evidence for the APC to consider beyond the petition and petition materials.
2. Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as evidence for consideration by the hearing panel at the discretion of the Chair. All such material must be approved by the chair 72 hours prior to the start of the hearing. The student and instructor have the right to review such evidence at least 48 hours prior to the start of the hearing. The Chair shall exclude evidence that does not meet College standards. Evidence shall be limited to:
o Facts pertinent to the grade dispute
o Physical and/or electronic evidence associated with the grade dispute (exams, papers, lab reports, etc.)
o Witness statements that are directly relevant to the grade dispute
o Circumstances or attitudes that are directly relevant to the grade dispute
3. A hearing panel on the grade dispute shall be convened as soon as possible after a grade dispute petition has been accepted, normally within 60 days.
4. The APC Chair shall notify the Dean of the College of the grade dispute hearing.
5. Both the student and instructor have the right to be present for the hearing.
6. Both the student and instructor have the right to have an advisor present in the hearing.
7. The full APC Committee will constitute the hearing panel for grade disputes, unless the student had requested that only faculty members of the APC review the grade dispute petition. In that case, students would not sit on the hearing panel for the grade dispute.
8. The faculty chair of the APC will serve as chair of the hearing panel, and will vote only in the event of a tie.
9. The APC Chair shall convene the hearing, notify the committee members, student, and instructor of the time and place of the meeting, and conduct the hearing. If the Chair is unable to serve, the Dean of Students shall designate a tenured faculty member of the APC to serve as the hearing panel chair.
10. The Chair may appoint, to assist the panel, a neutral faculty expert from the discipline in question who is not a faculty member at Pomona College.
11. All information upon which the determination of the grade dispute is to be based shall be introduced into evidence in the presence of the student and instructor at the hearing.
12. The Chair presides at hearings and shall conduct the hearing to ensure the fair presentation of all pertinent evidence and witnesses. As the hearing begins, the Chair shall:
o Describe the procedures under which the hearing will be conducted
o Read the criteria in the Grade Dispute policy which have to be met in order for the panel to determine the grade dispute
o Indicate the order in which evidence and testimony will be presented
o Indicate that all decisions must be based solely on information presented at the hearing
o Indicate that the decision of the APC hearing panel is final
13. The members of the hearing panel shall not discuss the case outside of the hearing. Likewise, statements of the instructor, student respondent(s), and witnesses, whether written or oral, are confidential and may not be used or quoted for any purpose outside of the hearing.
14. Any advisor to the student or instructor is prohibited from addressing the hearing panel and may speak only to the student or instructor.
15. As the hearing begins, the Chair will call on the student bringing the grade dispute to make a statement and present evidence regarding the substantial grounds for believing that a particular grade was assigned in a manner that was arbitrary or unjust, or that crucial evidence was not taken into account (apart from questions of the quality of the work, which is subject to the judgment of the instructor).
16. The instructor shall then have the opportunity to make an opening statement and address questions to the student bringing the dispute.
17. Panel members, the panel Chair, the instructor, and the student are entitled to question the instructor, the student, and any witnesses.
18. Witnesses shall appear one at a time in an order determined by the Chair.
19. The student and instructor shall each have the opportunity to make a final statement in the hearing.
20. The hearing panel may recess at any time, upon the decision of the Chair, for the purpose of gathering additional information or to provide a break in the hearing or the deliberation.
21. The student or instructor may ask the Chair for a recess at any time during the hearing in order for their advisors to ask a question of the Chair or consult with their advisors.
22. After the hearing has been concluded, the APC shall go into closed deliberations to determine the grade dispute.
23. If the grade dispute is determined to have merit, the Hearing Panel can determine a new grade for the student. The Chair shall inform the student and instructor of the results of the hearing. The Chair shall prepare a written opinion for the Vice President and Dean of the College and the Vice President and Dean of Students which summarizes the findings of the panel and the new grade assigned, if any, and explains the reasons for the decision. The Registrar will issue an official notification of the grade change.