Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure
The George W. Truett Theological Seminary seeks to protect students’ rights and provide them relief from unfair criticism and treatment in a course for which they are enrolled. Issues related to the violation of students’ rights may include, but are not limited to, matters involving grades, class assignments, mentoring, and alleged violations of professional behavior. If the matter involves an alleged violation of the University Honor Code, it will be handled through the processes identified under the Baylor University Honor Code.
The procedures listed below provide the appropriate avenue for students seeking to register a formal complaint.
- Conference with Faculty Member. Any student who believes a faculty member of Truett Seminary has treated him or her unfairly with respect to a course for which the student was registered may complain of such alleged unfair treatment. The student should set forth his or her complaint in a written statement that details the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The student shall give a copy of the statement to the faculty member and attempt to discuss and resolve the matter with the faculty member.
- Appeal to Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. If the situation is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may appeal to the Associate Dean. A written statement that details the circumstances giving rise to the complaint and a narrative of the effort to resolve the situation with the faculty member must be provided to the Associate Dean in advance of the meeting. The faculty member will also provide the Associate Dean with a written description of her or his view of the situation including efforts to resolve the issue. The Associate Dean, in consultation with members from the Academic Planning and Policy committee, will review both documents and then render a decision. If the faculty member involved in the complaint is the Associate Dean, the student may appeal directly to the Dean of the School. If the faculty member involved is the Dean, the student may appeal directly to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University.
- Appeal to the Dean of the School. If the situation is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, he or she may appeal to the Dean of the Seminary. The student must provide the Dean with a written statement that details the circumstances giving rise to the complaint and a narrative of efforts to resolve the conflict at the faculty and Associate Dean level. The faculty member and Associate Dean will also provide the Dean with a written description of their views of the situation, including efforts to resolve the issue.
- Appeal to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. If the complaint is not satisfactorily resolved by the Dean of the Seminary, then the student shall have the right to appeal the matter to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, who after review may refer the matter to the University Academic Appeals Committee.
- Appeal to the University Academic Appeals Committee. The function of the University Academic Appeals Committee is to hear student complaints of alleged unfair treatment by members of the faculty. The committee shall receive complaints only by referral from the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and shall not otherwise receive or hear complaints.
- Composition and Appointment of the Committee. The Academic Appeals Committee is appointed by the president of the university and consists of eleven members (nine faculty members and two students).
- Hearing Before an Academic Appeals Committee Hearing Panel. The chair of the academic appeals committee shall select a hearing panel consisting of five members (three faculty members and two students) from members of the larger committee to hear the complaint. The hearings panel shall arrange a conference between the parties involved and attempt to arbitrate the matter. At least three members of the panel (two faculty members and one student) shall participate in any meeting with the parties involved. The meeting shall be informal and private and conducted for the purpose of resolving the matter to the agreement of both parties.
- Appeals Committee Recommendation. If such a resolution agreeable to both parties is not reached, then the hearing panel shall make a recommendation concerning the disposition of the appeal to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
Copies of all written materials pertaining to the filed complaint will be kept in the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
Academic Complaints Policy and Procedure
Students may make a formal academic complaint with regard to the faculty, program, seminary or university. This section refers to academic matters that are general in nature and not related to a grade in a course. (For grade-related concerns, follow the Academic Appeals Policy and Procedure).
Baylor defines a “written student complaint” (academic complaint) as one in which a student submits notification in writing of a policy or procedure violation that interferes with the student’s learning experience. Seminary students have several options for submitting complaints at Baylor.
When appropriate, a written student complaint should first be made to the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. Students may also submit a report via one of the links on Baylor’s “Report It” website (https://www.baylor.edu/reportit/) or utilizing information on the Institutional Effectiveness “Student Complaints” webpage (https://www.baylor.edu/ie/index.php?id=962817).
Student academic complaint policies and procedures are posted in many locations including on the University Policy webpage, the Student Policies and Procedures webpage, the Truett Seminary Catalog, and the Undergraduate Catalog. The academic complaint procedure applies to all students, regardless of location or mode of instructional delivery. Students residing outside the state of Texas or participating in online programs can also file a complaint to the applicable state agencies as noted on the Student Complaints webpage.
All complaints should include their concerns with regard to academic matters that are general in nature and not related to a grade in a course. Written student complaints exclude suspension and probation appeals, financial aid appeals, parking citation appeals, academic grade appeals, or Honor Council appeals. Anonymous complaints, student complaints about other students, and Student Code of Conduct violations are not considered written student complaints.
Depending on the nature of the student complaint, the student complaint will be forwarded to the appropriate Baylor office or department. When appropriate, the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will work with the student to respond to the student complaint. Additional university faculty and staff may be included in this process.
Truett Seminary will maintain the official records of written student complaints that are academic in nature in the Office of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
The Student Honor Code of the Seminary is administered by the Honor Council. A student accused of an honor code violation is entitled to a procedure in accordance with the Honor Code rules. The Honor Code is found online in the Student Policies and Procedures.
The provisions of the “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1979 (FERPA)” are designed to protect the privacy of educational records and to establish the rights of students to review their educational records. Further information on FERPA and its implementation at Baylor University may be found online in the Student Policies and Procedures.
Occasionally, policies and specific rules related to the administration of the Seminary, such as registration, changing courses, or graduation requirements, will be posted on the bulletin boards in the seminary facility and all students are charged with notice of them.
General Expectations of Baylor Students
Baylor University is controlled by a predominantly Baptist Board of Regents and is operated within the Christian-oriented aims and ideals of Baptists. The University is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, a cooperative association of autonomous Texas Baptist churches. We expect that each Baylor student will conduct himself or herself in accordance with Christian principles as commonly perceived by Texas Baptists. Personal misconduct either on or off the campus by anyone connected with Baylor detracts from the Christian witness Baylor strives to present to the world and hinders full accomplishment of the mission of the University.
While attending Baylor, a student is expected to obey the laws of the United States, the State of Texas, and municipalities, or, if studying abroad, the laws of other countries. A student is also expected to obey the rules, regulations, and policies established by Baylor University. “Attending” is defined as all persons taking courses at the University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies. Persons who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with the University or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission are considered to be “attending” the University.
Each student is responsible for learning about and adhering to the Baylor University Student Code of Conduct. The Division of Student Life attempts to ensure that the student code of conduct is communicated to all students through various means. However, the student is responsible to the University for his or her conduct that violates University policies. Moreover, should a student witness a violation of University policies on the part of other students, the student is responsible for reporting that violation to the appropriate University official.
Change of Address and Telephone Number
It is frequently a matter of great importance to students for University officials to be able to locate them quickly. For this reason, students are asked to file a notice of change of student local or student home address and telephone number with the University promptly, and not later than ten days thereafter in any case. Address changes may be made through BearWeb. For assistance, contact the Office of the Registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 710-1181. Failure to receive University notices because of an incorrect address provided by the student will not relieve the student of responsibility for responding to the notice.
Baylor considers personal safety on campus a top priority. Residence halls enforce a locked door policy and residents must swipe their student IDs at main entrances to show residential status and gain access to their building.
The Baylor Police Department provides additional 24-hour security with car and bike patrols and works in close alliance with the Waco Police Department to create a safe environment for the university community. Seventy-five emergency call boxes are located on campus with direct access to BPD, which has a staff of thirty-five, including twenty-three commissioned police officers.
Safety and Security Education Officers (SSEOs) work closely with BPD and after-hour personnel to ensure the safety and security of our residential communities. SSEOs are on duty between the hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. These full-time Campus Living & Learning staff members move freely in and around residential communities and escort students as needed, confront and report unacceptable behavior, check that all exit doors are secure, and alert Baylor police about suspicious behavior.
Baylor’s Crime Prevention and Security Report is provided annually to all students and is available at http://www.baylor.edu/baylor-police.
If you or someone you know would like help related to an experience or sexual violence including sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or other type of non-consensual sexual conduct, please contact Laura Johnson, Title IX Coordinator at Baylor University, by email (Laura_S_Johnson@baylor.edu) or phone (254-710-8454).
Anonymous reporting for students or third parties is also available on the Title IX website, www.baylor.edu/titleIX.
The Title IX office understands the sensitive nature of these situations and can provide information about available on- and off-campus resources, such as counseling and psychological services, medical treatment, academic support, university housing and other forms of assistance. We will also explain your rights and the judicial process options, if you choose to file a complaint with the University. You will not be required to share your experience, and the Title IX Office will keep any information private. The Title IX Office exists to support and empower students, while allowing them to remain in control. If you or someone you know feels unsafe or may be in imminent danger, please call the Baylor Police Department (254-710-2222) or Waco Police Department (9-1-1) immediately.
Civil Rights Policy and Procedures for Students
Baylor University (“Baylor” or “University”) is committed to maintaining an environment in which all students are treated with respect and dignity, equal opportunities are promoted, and discriminatory practices, including unlawful discrimination, are prohibited. Baylor does not tolerate harassment or unlawful discrimination against students because of age (over 40), color, disability, genetic information, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, Texas, or local law (collectively “Protected Characteristics’). Baylor also prohibits retaliation against any student who engages in Protected Activity.
The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies for students and to coordinate the University’s response to claims of discrimination on the basis of Protected Characteristics made by applicants or students:
Civil Rights Coordinator Shirl Brown
Manager EEO & Inclusion Human Resources
Robinson Tower, Suite 200
Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798-7053