Annual Progress Reports
Graduate General Regulation 1.8.1: The Supervisory Committee will meet annually to assess the student’s progress
The Annual Progress Report should be a meaningful evaluation that provides the student with feedback AND direction. Particularly in the case of students whose progress is deemed either ‘satisfactory with concerns’ or ‘unsatisfactory’, supervisory committees must give the student specific instruction on how to improve their work, how their work will be assessed and when and what the consequences will be if they do not improve.
Much can be gained through annual reporting of student progress. Annual progress reports serve as opportunities to state, discuss and assess expectations within the supervisory relationship. They offer an opportunity to identify problem areas within the student’s training or ability to move forward with their program, and to offer remediation where necessary.
Finally, annual progress reports provide a repository of student activity that can be used to assess graduate training as a whole, to help academic units and Graduate Studies formulate goals for the Office of the Dean of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Fellows and to recognize the accomplishments of our students.
The process mandated in GGR 1.8.1 is as follows:
- Once a year, usually within 9-10 months of admission, when problems may be emerging but before the student has invested a year or more in the program, the supervisory committee shall report on the student’s progress using the following criteria:
- CGPA, which must meet the minimum standard of 3.0
- Satisfactory progress guidelines where such have been set by academic units;
- Norms of the discipline or program relevant to the student’s stage of degree completion;
- Annual goals or requirements set by the supervisory committee and the student.
- The supervisory committee reports on student progress to the Graduate Program Committee [GPC] who then makes the final recommendation on the student’s progress. While we only have two choices currently in the calendar (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory), units are encouraged to use: good, satisfactory, satisfactory with concerns or unsatisfactory. In all cases, the Annual Report becomes a permanent record in the student’s file in their home academic unit and copies are sent to DGS.
- Prior to making an unsatisfactory determination, the GPC will consult with the supervisory committee and meet with the student. The GPC will make a determination as to their evaluation of the annual progress. In this case the determination will be either satisfactory with concerns or unsatisfactory. If an unsatisfactory determination is made, a decision as to whether the student will be required to withdraw from SFU or be allowed to continue will be made. Unless the unsatisfactory determination is based on CGPA, normally a detailed plan of action through which the student may improve their performance so that it may be deemed satisfactory will be developed if the student is allowed to continue. The timeframe for this action plan should be between 4 and 6 months and its goals and assessment criteria must be detailed and specific, including when an interim progress evaluation will be performed. The committee should consider setting the deadline in such a way that students have time to initiate an appeal (within 21 days of receipt of the RTW) before the close of an academic semester in which they would already be registered should they be required to withdraw. If the decision is to allow the student to continue, whether the student was given a satisfactory with concerns or an unsatisfactory review, the detailed action plan must be communicated to the student and her/his supervisor normally within 7 days of the meeting with the student.
- If the determination of progress made during the interim progress review meeting indicates that the student meets the criteria stated in the action plan, her/his progress may be deemed satisfactory and s/he will be assessed again at the time of the annual progress review.
- If the student has not met the criteria stated in the action plan, progress may be deemed unsatisfactory and he/she may be asked to withdraw from her/his program of study. A required to withdraw letter [RTW] will be sent to the student with copies sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Director, Graduate Admission, Records and Registration.
- If a student’s CGPA is significantly below 3.0 his/her progress may be deemed unsatisfactory and s/he may be issued an RTW immediately with copies sent to the DGS and Director, Graduate Admission, Records and Registration.
- Best practices indicate that RTWs be issued only when a student has failed to meet the minimum CGPA of 3.0 or when s/he have failed to meet the goals of a detailed action plan for improvement or if unsatisfactory progress has been identified on more than one review.
- The student may appeal an RTW through to the Senate Graduate Studies Committee [SGSC] Appeals Subcommittee, which consists of the Dean of Graduate Studies, the chairs of faculty graduate studies committees and one student member. The criteria and processes for appeal can be found on the Unsatisfactory Performance Appeal form at http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/managing_your_progress/appeals.html.
- The student must initiate the appeal within 21 days of receipt of the RTW letter. Decisions of the appeals subcommittee are final.
- No appeals will be processed during the last 2 weeks of August.