The Senate has voiced concerns that student awareness of Good Cause policy is too low
The University of Glasgow is currently working on plans to improve and standardise the University’s Good Cause policy for students affected by mental and physical illness, according to a report from the University Senate meeting. These plans, which are still in development, could include increased training for staff on Good Cause policy and implementation, as well as campaigns to increase student awareness of Good Cause and to reduce exam stress.
The University Good Cause policy is used when a student believes that their academic performance has suffered due to factors outside their control. According to the University, “‘Good Cause’ means illness or other adverse personal circumstances affecting you and resulting in you missing an examination, or failing to submit coursework on time, or your performance in the assessment being clearly prejudiced.”
According to the report, the University’s Education Policy and Strategy Committee (EdPSC) suggested “regular training sessions for staff, with worked examples, to clarify the expectations of evidence required when considering mitigating circumstances and Good Cause, and on the application of the Fitness to Study policy for students with mental health problems.” The report also noted that the outcomes of Good Cause applications are often inconsistent, particularly relating to differences in implementation across academic departments and student difficulties in obtaining medical paperwork from GPs.
Another difficulty noted in the report is the lack of student awareness of Good Cause procedures. They found that students find the Good Cause procedure “bureaucratic” and has “the effect of inhibiting students from pursuing their cases”. To this end, the EdPSC suggested that the University run social media campaigns in order to better inform students of the purpose and use of Good Cause reporting, as well as work to teach students good study skills to avoid “extreme stress” at exam time.
Other complications involve the way that the Good Cause policy interacts with the University’s Fitness to Study policy, which is used to review whether students are capable of continuing study at the University in a manner that is productive for themselves and not disruptive to their fellow students. The report recognised that there are often overlaps in which policy should be invoked under certain circumstances, and stressed the need for students to “engage in their own interests with the Fitness to Study procedure and to be aware of the supportive intention of the procedure.”
Students should also be made aware of policy details concerning chronic illnesses. The Good Cause policy states that “chronic illness is not covered unless there has been a short-term worsening of the condition which specifically affects an assessment” and advises students with chronic illness to register with Disability Service.
The full details of the report can be found on the University Senate’s website as item 7.3 of the agenda for the Senate meeting taking place on 5/10/2018, or at the following link: https://glasgowguardian.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/10/06.pdf.