Our goal in EDAD is to provide the support and resources that students need in order to be successful in their academic programs and to achieve their personal and professional goals. As such, it is in the interest of students and the department to identify challenges that students are encountering in their academic pursuits as early as possible so that the department can provide the support needed to help students get back on track.
In order to identify potential issues, at the end of each semester the Graduate Secretary will review all students’ records for signs that a student may be getting off track. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Receiving a grade below a B- in any course.
- Failure to enroll in courses in any given term without taking an Academic Leave.
- Withdrawing from all courses in any term.
- Having more than 2 grades of “incomplete” at any given time.
- Having at least 1 grade of “incomplete” that has been unresolved for one year or more.
- Failure to meet other program-specific academic requirements as described in the second section of this handbook.
The Graduate Secretary will communicate these issues to the Graduate Chair, who will then communicate the necessary information to students’ advisors. Advisors will then reach out to individual students in order to develop a specific Academic Success Plan to address the identified issues. Plans should describe the issue, outline the specific steps the student needs to take to get back on track, a timeline for completion of the plan, and a schedule of regular check-ins to ensure the student is progressing towards the goals outlined in the plan. The student and advisor should work together to identify whatever support the student needs to complete the plan (e.g., finding an outside tutor, utilizing the University Writing Center, seeking additional help from a particular course instructor, finding other students to form accountability groups, utilizing student resources available through CEHS, etc.) and how the student can access that support. Plans should also outline any potential consequences for failure to complete the agreed upon plan in a timeline fashion, or for generally not getting back on track. These consequences may range from revisiting the plan to a recommendation for termination of a student’s program, as outlined below.
Any plan that includes the possibility of recommending termination of a student’s program needs to be approved by the Graduate Faculty of the department and communicated to the Dean of Graduate Studies.
After developing the Success Plan in consultation with their advisor, students must submit the written plan, via e-mail, to the Graduate Chair, who will keep a record of all Academic Success Plans and their resolution. Doctoral students are also required to provide a copy of their plan to their supervisory committee if established.
In addition to the issues identified each semester by the Graduate Secretary, any faculty member can recommend that a student develop an Academic Success Plan based on their professional observations of the student’s performance in coursework, adherence to professional standards and expectations, or other observations of the student’s ability to progress towards the completion of their degree. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Specific poor performance in coursework (e.g., writing or research skills) that raise concerns about the student’s ability to complete a dissertation, capstone paper, or other program requirements, irrespective of the student’s grade in the class.
- A relatively minor and unintentional violation of the academic integrity standards of the University and department that indicate that the student has insufficient knowledge and skills related to appropriate paraphrasing, citations, etc.
- Failure on the program-specific capstone or comprehensive exam requirements outlined in Section 2.
- Failure to live up to the professional standards and expectations outlined in Section 2.
To do so, the faculty member should contact the student’s advisor and the Graduate Chair, who will discuss the matter and determine whether an Academic Success Plan is necessary. If at least two of the three agree that an Academic Success Plan is appropriate, the advisor will follow the procedures described above to work with the student to develop such a plan.
In the process of developing an Academic Success Plan, or at any other time during the program, it may become clear to a student that they are no longer interested in continuing their academic pursuits. If a student decides that they would like to withdraw from their program, they should first contact their advisor to discuss what other options may exist. For some students, it may be possible to graduate with a different degree or certification (e.g., leaving with a MA degree instead of continuing towards a PhD, earning superintendent certification but not completing an EdD, etc.). Advisors may also be able to help students develop plans for continuing with their studies despite whatever challenges they are encountering (e.g., taking a leave of absence to deal with personal issues before returning to the program, temporarily adjusting the number of courses taken each term, or seeking out additional academic supports).
If after consulting with their advisor a student still wishes to withdraw from the program, they should confirm their intent to withdraw via email to their advisor, who will forward that email to the Graduate Chair. The Graduate Chair will then forward that email to the EDAD Graduate Secretary and the UNL Office of Graduate Studies.
Once a determination has been made that an Academic Success Plan is necessary, students must develop a Plan with their advisor within 30 days. If a student refuses to develop a Plan in a timely fashion, the Graduate Chair will recommend the student’s dismissal to the Graduate Faculty of the Department.
Although most students will be able to get back on track by following their Academic Success Plan, there will be situations where students are unable to do so. If a student fails to meet the expectations and/or deadlines set forth in the Plan, they may adjust the Plan in consultation with their advisor and notify the Graduate Chair of the changes. If the student does not wish to modify the Plan, the advisor does not agree to the modifications, or if the student fails to meet the expectations and/or deadlines set forth in the modified Plan, the Graduate Chair will recommend the student’s dismissal to the Graduate Faculty.In addition to failure to meet the expectations and/or deadlines set forth in an Academic Success Plan, any faculty member can recommend a student’s dismissal from the program to the Graduate Faculty for the following reasons:
- Serious or repeated breaches of standards of academic integrity (see section on Academic Integrity).
- Serious or repeated violations of the Student Code of Conduct.
- Serious or repeated breaches of professional standards and expectations, outlined in Part 2 of this handbook and in the UNL Graduate Catalog.
Dismissal ProceduresIf it becomes necessary to dismiss a student from their academic program within the Department, the faculty will follow the current procedures for “academic action” set forth in the Graduate Catalog:
A recommendation to terminate a student’s degree or certificate program or preclude the student from pursuing any further graduate studies at UNL will be addressed in the following manner:
- The Graduate Committee Chair will promptly inform the student in writing of the recommendation, the reason(s) given for the recommendation, and the name of the individual(s) making the recommendation.
- The Graduate Committee Chair will provide the student with the opportunity to confer directly with the individual(s) making the recommendation through an in-person meeting or a telephone or video conference. The student will be given at least one-week advance notice of this meeting or conference.
- The student will be granted the opportunity to respond to the recommendation verbally or in writing, or both, which will be documented and taken into consideration by the Graduate Committee Chair. The Graduate Committee Chair will consider any extenuating circumstances communicated by the student and will seek to determine whether the matter can be resolved.
- After considering the student’s response, if the decision is made to proceed with the recommendation to terminate the student’s program or preclude the student from pursuing any further graduate studies, the Graduate Committee Chair will inform both the student and the Dean for Graduate Studies of that decision in writing.
- The Dean for Graduate Studies will investigate the matter and decide whether to proceed with terminating the student from a program or precluding that student from pursuing any further graduate studies at UNL.
If the Dean for Graduate Studies decides to proceed with terminating the student from a program or precluding that student from pursuing any further graduate studies at UNL, the Dean will inform the student of that decision in writing and advise the student of the right to appeal the decision.
Appealing Program Dismissal
Students should follow the policies for “Appeal of Academic Action” found in the Graduate Catalog here.