Chapter 3: Chair Interaction with and Responsibilities to Students


A chair advises students in the major and minor and common curriculum and may assign students to departmental advisors, as needed. Assistance in advising is available from Academic Advising, the Office of the Registrar, Career Services and Counseling Services.

Grade Appeal

From time to time students will appeal a course grade. The Academic Catalog policy states, "Students who believe that they have been otherwise graded unfairly have the right to appeal to the department chair if discussion with the faculty member proves unsatisfactory." It is helpful for the department chairs to familiarize themselves with these policies as members of the department often turn to their department chair for advice. When this occurs, the procedures set out below should be followed:

  1. The student should first meet with the professor to appeal the grade. If a suitable resolution cannot be reached or the student does not feel comfortable discussing the situation with the faculty member, the appeal moves to the chair.
  2. The chair should meet with the instructor and the student to obtain input in the hopes of coming to a suitable resolution.
  3. Inform the student of your findings. If the student is not satisfied, then he or she should be directed to appeal to the assistant dean/director of Academic Advising.

Note: It is important to keep careful notes of all discussions involving grade challenges.

Academic Misconduct

The Academic Catalog contains information regarding the institution's policies regarding academic integrity. Note that the Academic Misconduct Policy includes a link entitled 'Academic Misconduct Form' that is the official form to be used to report a violation of our academic integrity policies. Faculty members and chairs are encouraged to seek counsel from the assistant dean/director of Academic Advising in case of Academic Misconduct.

Transcript Evaluations

Students transferring credits from another institution must have an official transcript sent to the Registrar's Office. The Registrar's Office (or transfer evaluator in the Registrar's Office) evaluates the transcripts and lists courses that will be accepted by CSB/SJU for credit. The Major Transfer Evaluation form is sent to the chair of the student's intended major to determine if any accepted courses can be used to satisfy major requirements. The chair should complete and sign a Major Transfer Evaluation form listing the courses that will be accepted and the CSB/SJU major requirement they fulfill. This form should be returned to the Registrar's Office. It is the responsibility of the chair person to evaluate the transcripts of transfer students upon receipt from the registrar.

The chair should either schedule a meeting for advising purposes with the transfer student as soon as he or she arrives on campus or should assign the student to an advisor in the department and request that person schedule such a meeting.

Student Records

In departments that are accountable to outside accreditation agencies other than the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association), it is the responsibility of the chair to ensure that the appropriate student records are maintained in a secure and confidential manner. They should contain up-to-date transcript information, Degree Works records and any other information that the accreditation agencies require. In addition, records of grade appeals, course substitutions, unusual records, etc. should be kept in these files. For assistance with data collection and storage needs, contact the Assessment and Program Review Facilitator.

For those departments not accountable to outside accreditation agencies, having the chair maintain files on all majors in addition to those kept by individual advisors in the department is unnecessary duplication. Only in extraordinary circumstances such as disciplinary problems, grade appeals, course substitutions, etc. should it be necessary for a chair to maintain files on those majors who are not his or her advisees.


On all occasions involving parent contact, chairs must be cautious about giving out confidential information regarding students. This would include, but is not limited to, information concerning specific grades or GPAs. Only parents claiming students as dependents may receive this information. In cases in which the student claims him or herself on tax returns, the parent would not be entitled to the information, as would be the case for the parent in a divorce situation who does not claim the student for tax purposes. The Office of the Registrar has this information.

In the event the parent of a student contacts the chair person with a problem, the following procedures should be followed:

  1. Listen to the parent and take careful notes. (It is important in these conversations to remember that students sometimes misinform their parents and that both students and parents may be confused.) If the problem is not an academic one, help the parent to connect with the appropriate office. If the issue is academic, explain to the parent that the chair is the person who is responsible for gathering all relevant information, you need to do some fact finding and will be back in touch.
  2. Contact the Office of the Registrar to ascertain whether or not the parent is entitled to the student's confidential information. If the parent is not so entitled, request the Registrar's Office to contact the parent and relay this information. Otherwise, proceed as set out below.
  3. Once the necessary information has been gathered from all parties, the chair might seek advice from Counseling Services, Academic Advising, the Registrar and/or the Academic Dean's Office to help to establish a plan of action.
  4. Talk to the parent again, explain the findings and inform him or her of the intended steps to be taken.
  5. If the matter cannot be resolved at the chair's level, let the student and parent know that it is their right to appeal a chair person's decision to the assistant dean/director of Academic Advising

Student Support Team

CSB/SJU has an administrative committee called the Student Support Team (SST). The SST meets regularly during the academic year to review students who might be at-risk academically and/or behaviorally either on or off-campus and to develop a plan to assist those students as needed. The team is co-chaired by the CSB and SJU Deans of Students. The committee is composed of members of the Academic Advising Office, Student Development and the Campus Security/Life Safety. If you or a member of your department have concerns about a student, feel free to contact the staff members from these departments, they will assist you with your concerns and can share your concerns with the SST's at the next scheduled meeting. The Director of Counseling and the Disability Specialist also serve on this committee in an advisory capacity.

Last updated: September 2013