Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The DRC is Caught With Their Pants Down

It's time to get back to the story of my grade appeal in Professor Bush's course. When we left off, I had finally been put in touch with Danny Blair, the chair of the Senate Appeals Committee. However, to my consternation, registrar Colin Russell continued to meddle in my negotiations with Blair, despite my protests. Weeks were turning into months, and I was still trying to get Blair to follow through on his commitment to provide written reasons for the Departmental committee's rejection of my initial appeal. I wrote him as follows:
It is now six weeks since I received an undertaking (see below) from Prof. Blair that the Education DRC would provide me with written reasons for their rejection of my grade appeal.
I would also remind the University that I expect them to provide me for a grade on all assignments handed in prior to my removal from the program, and that Mr. Russell and Prof. Metz are aware of the one remaining assignment which I am still owed.
If no response is forthcoming on either of these items before the end of this week, I will assume the University does not intend to follow through on its obligations to me, and I will proceed accordingly.
Marty Green
But once more, instead of hearing back from Blair, it was Russell who responded:

Dear Marty,
Dr. Blair has received the report from the Education DRC; it addresses the exam, but not the assignment which was the basis of your appeal. Therefore, the Senate Appeals Committee will convene to review the appeal process undertaken by the Education DRC, as you have requested. Dr. Glenn Moulaison, Dean of Arts, will be the Acting Chair of Senate Appeals for this proceeding.
On the matter of the outstanding assignment, I reiterate the University's position that no evaluation is provided for course-work after a student's withdrawal from a course, whether the work was submitted before or after the date of withdrawal.
Best wishes,

Again, I protested Russell's meddling in the process:
Dear Prof. Blair:
I cannot for the life of me understand why Colin Russell continues to be involved in this process. I understood that I was dealing with you on the matter of my grade appeal; you had made certain undertakings which, thanks in some measure to Mr. Russell's interference, you now do not seem willing to follow through on. If the Senate wishes to delegate its authority in this affair to Mr. Russell, then I need to be so informed officially. Otherwise I await your answer on my request for the DRC's reasons for rejecting my grade appeal.
Marty Green

Russell replied to this by threatening me with harassment proceedings...under what jurisdiction, I can't imagine, since I was no longer a student at the U of W:

Dear Marty,
Further appeal to the Senate Appeals Committee is typically undertaken through the Registrar, so I am usually involved in such processes. In any case, for purposes of communication with the University on all matters including the grade appeal, I will be the point of contact and you should desist in emailing all others including Professors Blair, Metz and Bush. Your continued non-compliant conduct may be considered as harassing, and misconduct under the Policy.

It was January 2013 already and I still hadn't got the Committee's written reasons! So I wrote back:

>>> "Marty Green" <> 1/18/2013 12:33 PM >>>
Okay, so what about my appeal? Is it still in progress? Will I be getting the DRC report? Am I going to appear before the Senate committee?
Russell replied with the following bombshell:

Dear Marty,
As Dr. Moulaison has taken over from Dr. Blair as Chair of Senate Appeals for this matter, the office of the Dean of Arts will be in touch shortly to schedule a hearing if you wish to appear before the Committee or provide any further written material for them to consider. Below is the report from the DRC that was received by Dr. Blair.
Best wishes,
To: Danny Blair
Chair of the Senate Appeals Committee
From: Allan Appel
Co-chair of the DRC, Faculty of Education

January 9, 2013

The Education Departmental Review Committee (DRC) consists of eight faculty members who have many years of experience and relevant qualifications in both setting and grading assessment instruments at the university level. Members on the committee include experts in science teaching pedagogy. We met on October 3, 2012 to consider the appeal of Martin Green (1057942).

The committee had received two documents for our deliberations:
1.Copy of the exam used in EDUC-4869-150 Senior Years Curriculum and Instruction: Theory of Science Teaching,
2.Martin Greens answers to the exam.
In our meeting, we reviewed both documents using the following parameters as reference:

For the exam instrument:
a.Was the exam a suitable assessment instrument for a university course of this calibre?
b.Were students given a choice as to which questions they could answer?
c.Were the mark allocations clearly demonstrated on the exam document?
d.Did the exam evaluate topics that had been taught in the course and were part of the course outline?
e.Was adequate time given for students to respond to the exam questions?

Instructions to prepare students for the exam
a.Were students apprised of the contents of the exam?
b.Were they advised as to what materials they could bring to this open book exam?

For the exam written by Martin Green
a.Was each section of his paper marked?
b.Did the instructor allow part marks and some interpretation in the marking of his paper?
c.Were the questions evaluated objectively? Were his responses congruent or incongruent with the questions asked?

Upon review of these parameters, the DRC found that the construction of the exam instrument and the marking thereof was objective and appropriate for the Faculty of Education at the University of Winnipeg.
Why had Blair been replaced as chair of the appeals committee? Could it be that he wasn't toeing the party line to the satisfaction of his masters? But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Russell had at last revealed the Departmental Committees reasons for rejecting my appeal, and shockingly, they had made that decision without even reading the term paper (30% of the course grade) which was the subject of my appeal!

How were they going to talk their way out of that one?

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