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Faculty Review of Student Progress

Review of Student Progress, Attendance, Warnings, Probation, Dismissals, and Appeals


Faculty review of student progress

A Committee of at least three WISR faculty, reviews each student’s progress semi-annually, in consultation with the faculty with whom the student has been most closely working.  The purpose of these reviews is to help students make timely progress toward their degree and their personal and professional career goals. Further, when reviewing student progress every six months, faculty monitor not only the pace of each student’s progress, but their performance in each course. Faculty give special attention to what we can do to provide assistance to any student who has “only” met minimum requirements on two occasions in the last three courses they have completed.

In conducting these reviews, faculty are mindful that during the first year or so of study, students at WISR typically complete courses at a slower rate than they do after that.   When faculty have concerns about a student’s progress, they notify the student that they will be working with them to improve their academic progress, and negotiate with that student a progress plan for the next six months.  The purpose of the plan is to enable the student to make better progress, and to assess whether or not it is realistic for the student to succeed in completing the program within the maximum allowable time.

  • for MS in Education and Community Leadership, maximum allowable time is 4 ½ years;
  • for MS in Psychology (MFT) students it is 6 years.
  • for EdD students it is 6 years.

However, students who are consistently engaged in their studies, but who are slowed down due to disabilities or other extenuating factors may petition WISR faculty for permission to take somewhat longer than these maximum allowable times to complete their studies.

After the end of the six-month progress plan, WISR faculty may then take one of three actions:

1)If the student has demonstrated clearly that they are making good progress they will be notified that their progress is no longer under special review, but that there will continue to be reviews of the progress of all students every six months. The definition of “good progress” is based on a combination of a) student being engaged with a faculty member at least twice every month, b) the quality and quantity of the assignments completed, and c) most importantly, that they are now on a pace that will enable them to finish in less than the maximum allowable time for their degree program. [Unless faculty decide there is a special, extenuating circumstance, including for example, a disability.]

2) If the student has demonstrated significant progress in terms of engagement with faculty and the quality and quantity of assignments completed, but it is not yet clear whether or not they are on a pace to finish within the maximum allowable time for their degree program, they will be given another notification that their academic progress is under special review during the next 6-month period. At the end of that time, either their progress will no longer require special review, or they will be placed on probation and required to take a leave of a minimum of 6 months.

3) If the student has failed to demonstrate significant progress, based on all three criteria outlined in #1 above, they will be placed on probation and required to take a leave of absence for at least 6 months.

[Note:  students enrolled prior to July 2014 will have a longer period of time to complete their studies, but those who will not be able to finish within the maximum amount of time, will still be subject to a mandatory leave of absence if they do not show continual progress during each six-month period of time. Otherwise, they will be placed on probation and required to take a 6 month leave.] 

In Cases of Persistent Lack of Progress

Since WISR faculty are committed to helping all students succeed, and because of the thoroughness of our admissions counseling process, no student at WISR has ever been dismissed. However, in addition to the regular 6-month review of student progress, a faculty adviser can recommend review of a student’s persistent lack of academic progress, or persistent failure to participate in mentoring sessions with an academic advisor, to a WISR faculty academic progress review committee.


The student may appeal any decision to WISR’s Board of Trustees. If the student is placed on probation and required to take a 6 month leave, they will be given an opportunity, after a period of at least six months, to be taken off probation and officially re-enroll as an active student not on leave, if they can make the case that their circumstances and/or ability to complete the program have improved.  The Chief Executive Officer or the Chief Academic Officer, in consultation with at least one other faculty member, will review the student’s request to be taken off of probation and to resume active status as an enrolled student. If re-enrolled, they will be given an initial six-month probation period to demonstrate good progress, at end of which time they will be eligible to be taken off probation. Nevertheless, they must continue to demonstrate good progress in each subsequent six-month period, or be subject to a warning, and then after that a subsequent period on leave while on probation.  A student may receive no more than two warnings without being placed on a probationary leave. A student may receive no more than two probations, without then being subject to permanent dismissal.

Since WISR faculty are committed to helping all students succeed, and because of the thoroughness of our admissions counseling process, no student at WISR has ever been dismissed. However, a faculty adviser can recommend review of a student’s persistent lack of academic progress, or persistent failure to participate in mentoring sessions with an academic advisor, to a WISR faculty academic progress review committee.  This committee, in turn may 1) put the student on academic probation with certain conditions to be met to avoid dismissal, or 2) dismiss the student. All actions taken by faculty review committees, as well as by faculty advisors, and Graduation Review Boards are subject to appeal by the student to the WISR Board of Trustees. Such appeals may request reevaluation of credits awarded, graduation decisions, dismissals, or any other decision bearing on the student’s learning and academic progress. Decisions of the Board of Trustees, made after reviewing the relevant evidence, are final.

While on Probation and on Leave

When a student is on leave while on probation, they of course incur no expenses for tuition and fees. If they apply to re-enroll, and are accepted, they must pay a $250 re-enrollment fee. Further, they will be on continued probation for the next six months, at the end of which time they will either 1) be re-enrolled in good standing, 2)  be re-enrolled for another period of six months in which their academic progress is under special review, 3) have the option of extending their leave in order to ready themselves for re-enrollment at a later date, or 4) permanently withdraw.

Furthermore, in order to support students who are on leave while on probation, students have access to: 1) all WISR seminars and events, 2) WISR’s online courses (to study, but not to submit work), and 3) WISR faculty will be available to meet monthly with the student in an effort to increase the likelihood that they can successfully resume their studies at WISR. However, faculty will not review work submitted for credit until the student is accepted for re-enrollment. Faculty may, if their time permits, give feedback to students on drafts of work.

Reviews of Each Student’s Progress

End of Course Oral Exams

WISR faculty use end oral exams at the end of each course to assess, and to give students feedback, on their progress toward the degree, and achievement of degree program learning outcomes (PLOs). These oral exams are designed to evaluate student progress toward the degree, and are intended to offer constructive suggestions, and in some cases required further study and action, to help students strengthen weak areas, and to support growth by building on areas where the student shows strength. At the end of each course, the faculty member notes on the student’s record any additional program learning outcomes they have addressed, and the evidence that supports their assessment.

In addition–for Master’s students–also a Mid-Program Review, a Review Prior to Beginning the Thesis, and the Graduation Review Board at the End. 

The mid-program review is held about the time that they have completed half of their coursework.

The second review is at the time of the Review of the Master’s Thesis Proposal. For this, the student convenes their Graduation Review Board (two WISR graduate faculty and an outside expert in the topic of their proposed thesis). At this time the Review Board engages in the following assessments:

1) They review the record of the student’s previous achievement of program learning outcomes (PLOs).
2) If any Program Learning Outcomes have not yet been achieved, they then do one of the following:
a) If the Review Board deems it feasible for the student to achieve the remaining PLOs in the course of doing their thesis, then specify which PLOs must be addressed, and outline below the plan for accomplishing this. [If this option is deemed feasible, then the student’s Graduation Review Board must determine not only that the Thesis submitted is of acceptable quality, but also that there is evidence that the PLOs have been addressed in doing the thesis.]
b) If the Faculty Review Board believes that it is not feasible for the student to achieve all the remaining PLOs during the thesis, then they must develop, and negotiate with the student, a plan for the student to complete those PLOs, not readily accomplished during the thesis, prior to embarking on the thesis. Once the student has completed the agreed-on work and study to achieve these PLOs, the Review Board will be reconvened to evaluate the evidence of the student having achieved those PLOs, and then the student will be approved to move forward with the Thesis, and the Review Board will state whether or not there are any remaining PLOs to be addressed during the thesis.

The final review is done by the Graduation Review Board when the student has submitted the final draft of their thesis, and is ready to be examined on their thesis and also have the Review Board evaluate the evidence of any PLOs not previously achieved. .

In addition, for MFT students, there is an earlier review of their readiness to begin a Practicum:

The student is eligible to begin a practicum once they have completed 12 semester units of coursework. They confer with two WISR faculty, at least one of whom holds an MFT license to evaluate and discuss their readiness for the practicum. If they are then deemed ready, they may begin the practicum.

EdD students:

For Doctoral students, there are four formal evaluation steps prior to the Final Graduation Review Board meeting, when the dissertation is reviewed, approved, and authenticated by the Review Board.

  1. The Qualifying Exam. First, three WISR faculty members review the doctoral student’s completed projects and coursework, after all of the courses required for the degree program have been completed (except for the dissertation and the exam/dissertation readiness “course”).The purpose of the review is to determine if the student has either completely achieved degree program outcomes, or sufficiently to be able to finish achieving those outcomes while doing their dissertation. In this way the faculty are evaluating if the student is  prepared to undertake the rigorous study required for a doctoral dissertation, and to focus their attention on the dissertation, and on achieving any modest added progress toward degree program outcomes required and identified by faculty.
  2. The Written Comprehensive Exam. The student also engages in a thoroughgoing review, critical reflection, and written analysis of what they have learned thus far—on how the WISR learning process has helped them to learn in areas of the doctoral program degree learning outcomes. The specific directions to guide the student in the written exam are as follows:

The student will:

Write a comprehensive self-assessment paper that evaluates, organizes and synthesizes their learning thus far during their doctoral studies. In that paper, the student will:

  • Articulate and write a critical and well-informed statement about their field(s) of specialization that includes details and nuances beyond broad generalizations.
  • Articulate and explore several insights and questions about this emerging, interdisciplinary field of “higher education and social change” and about their area(s) of specialization in particular that their review committee considers to be at the level of proficiency and to be promising of leading toward new knowledge and/or practices;
  • Demonstrate the depth and breadth of their perspectives on what they’ve learned, and how they plan to build on this knowledge as they move forward toward their goals; and
  • Articulate and discuss the evidence of the extent to which they have addressed each degree program learning outcome.
  1. Oral Comprehensive Exam. The student then discusses their reflections and written analyses with three WISR faculty members—assessing their breadth and depth of knowledge in the area(s) of primary interest, and in the interdisciplinary field of higher education and social change, as well as their skills in action-oriented inquiry and knowledge-building, in preparation for undertaking the dissertation.
  2. Dissertation Proposal

The faculty will evaluate the dissertation proposal with the following criteria in mind. If the proposal does not meet all criteria, faculty will work to help the student to make the necessary improvements within a two month period of time. The student will:

  • develop a coherent, well thought out plan for their dissertation to these six members of what will become their Graduation Review Board, and
  • will present a plan that meets standards for original, ethically-informed action-oriented inquiry, including
  • an appropriately thorough and targeted literature review,
  • a well-designed plan for collecting original data, and
  • well-formulated questions that reflect the student’s interests and the potential to contribute to new knowledge and/or practices in the student’s proposed area of study.

MORE DETAILS ON THESE PROCESSES CAN BE FOUND AT:  https://www.wisr.edu/academics/sample-page-2/edd-program-in-higher-education-social-change/doctoral-program-curriculum-and-regulations/

Student Rights: Grievance Procedures

A student may lodge a complaint (grievance) by communicating verbally or in writing to any instructor or administrator. Any such person contacted shall attempt to resolve the student’s complaint immediately. Oral and written complaints will be accepted by the Institute in any form. In matters of the evaluation of a student’s academic work, the student may request that another faculty member, qualified in the area of study, evaluate their work. Oral and written complaints will be accepted by the Institute in any form. When submitted in writing, a simple, specific statement about the issue to be resolved should be sufficient.

If a student complains verbally and the complaint is not resolved within a reasonable time, and the student again complains about the same matter, the President of the Institute shall advise the student that the complaint must be submitted in writing. If a student complains in writing, the President of the Institute shall, within ten days of receiving the complaint, provide the student with a written response, including a summary of the Institute’s investigation and disposition of it. However, if the President is the subject of the complaint, the Chair of the Board, or a core faculty member designated by the Chair of the Board, will lead an investigation and provide the student with a written response as noted above. If the resolution requested by the student is rejected, the reasons for the rejection shall be explained.

Grievances not resolved by agreement between the student and the President of the Institute, or by the Chair of the Board or designated faculty member, may be submitted to the WISR Board of Trustees for a final decision by the Institute.

Although it is suggested that students first use an internal process to address their grievances, it is not required that they do so, and they may contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at any time by calling (888) 370-7589 [toll-free] or by completing a complaint form at www.bppe.ca.gov

In any case, any questions or problems concerning this institution that have not been satisfactorily answered or resolved by the Institute should be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, by calling (888) 370-7589 [toll-free] or by completing a complaint form at www.bppe.ca.gov