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Grade Appeal Procedures

a.  Step I: Scheduling a Faculty-Student Conference.

1.  A student wishing to appeal a grade shall first confer face-to-face with the instructor of record (hereafter referred to as instructor) who assigned that grade.

(a)        The instructor-student conference shall take place within the first 10 class days of the regular semester immediately following the semester that the disputed grade was assigned (summer sessions are not considered as regular semesters).

(b)        At the request of the student or the instructor, the Department Chair shall assign another departmental faculty member to witness the conference.

(c)        The reasons for questioning the grade shall be stated by the student, and the reasons for assigning that particula grade shall be explained by the instructor.

2.  In a case where the instructor is not available for this conference (non-reappointment, retirement, death, extended absence from the area, or other debilitating circumstances), the instructor’s Department Chair shall act as the instructor of record.

3.  Outcome of the conference between instructor and student.

(a)        If the instructor finds that no grade change is justified, the student shall be so notified at the end of the conference.

(b)        If the instructor does decide to change the grade, the instructor shall complete a Change of Grade form and file it with the Registrar within five class days from the time that the conference occurs.

b.  Step 2: The Student Appeals to the Department Chair.

 1.  Following the instructor-student conference, a student receiving an unfavorable decision may file an appeal with the instructor’s Department Chair.

(a)        The appeal to the Department Chair must be in writing and filed within five class days of the instructor-student conference, or within the first fifteen class days of the semester that the grade is eligible for appeal.

(b)        If the student fails to contact the Department Chair within 15 class days of the beginning of the appropriate semester, the instructor’s grade award shall be considered final.

2.  The student’s grade appeal to the Department Chair must be in the form of a written memo or letter.

(a)        The appeal memo or letter must be copied to the instructor.

(b)        The student’s written statement must include a justification that should conform to at least one of the criteria listed above for making a grade appeal.

(c)        The appeal must include all completed assignments that have been returned to the student.

3.  The instructor shall submit a written justification for the assigned grade with supporting documentation that includes any assignments that have not been returned to the student.

4.  In order to make an equitable decision, the Chair may hold a hearing between the instructor and the student desiring a grade change.

5.  If the instructor is the Dean then the following procedures shall be followed:

(a)        Following the faculty-student conference, Step II shall occur.

(b)        If applicable, Step III will be skipped and the case will proceed to Step IV.

6.  Within ten class days of receiving the student’s appeal, the Department Chair shall provide both the student and the instructor with a written notice of the Chair’s decision.

(a)        The written notice should give the reasons for the decision and may be given to the parties directly or mailed by certified mail.

(b)        Following notification of the Chair’s decision to all parties, the Department Chair shall forward the original grade appeal file to the Dean.

(i)         The file should include a copy of the decision and all written materials including notes from oral investigations that were used for reaching the decision.

(ii)        The Department Chair shall retain a copy of these files for five years.

7.  Both the student and the instructor have the right to appeal the Department Chair’s decision to the Dean of the College in which the original course was taught.

8.  If the Department Chair’s review decides that a change in grade is warranted, and the instructor agrees with the decision, the instructor shall file a Change of Grade form with the Registrar’s Office within ten class days of the date of the decision.

9.  If the Department Chair’s review decides that a change in grade is warranted, but the instructor does not consent to the change, the department chair shall automatically forward the appeal to the Dean of the College in which the course is taught.

c.  Step 3: The Student Appeals to the Dean.

1.  A student or an instructor may appeal the Department Chair’s decision to that Chair’s Dean within five class days of being notified of the Department Chair’s decision.

(a)        The appeal memo or letter must be copied to the Department Chair and the instructor.

(b)        The appeal shall be in writing and shall contain the student’s reasons for appealing the Department Chair’s decision.

2.  Upon receiving an appeal, the Dean shall review the appeal file.

(a)        In arriving at a decision, the Dean should consider the written appeal, the instructor’s written response, and the Department Chair’s written report.

(i)     The Dean may also consider the student’s written work for the course in question.

(ii)  In order to make an equitable decision, the Dean may hold a hearing between the instructor and the student desiring a grade change.

(b)        The Dean shall communicate the reasoning for the decision and the decision to the student, the instructor, and Department Chair within ten class days of receiving the student’s appeal directly or by certified mail.

3.  Both the student and the instructor have the right to appeal the decision of the Dean to the Academic Appeal Committee.

4.  If the Dean’s review decides that a change in grade is warranted, and the instructor is in agreement, the instructor shall file a Change of Grade form with the Registrar’s Office within ten class days of the date of the decision.

5.  If the Dean’s review decides that a change in grade is warranted, but the instructor does not consent to the change, the dean shall automatically forward the appeal file to the Appeal Committee.

D.  Step 4: Petition to the Academic Appeal Committee.

1.  A student or instructor may appeal the Dean’s decision to the Academic Appeal Committee, by filing a written statement with the Academic Affairs Office within five class days of receiving the Dean’s report.

(a)        Within five class days of receiving the written appeal, the Provost shall notify the Dean, Department Chair, and the instructor that an appeal has been filed.

(b)        Within five class days of receiving an appeal, the Provost shall:

(i)         Provide the student with a list of seven faculty member chosen from “the faculty pool” as described in Section 4.

(ii)        The student shall be instructed to strike two names within three class days.

(c)        Next, the Provost shall submit the five names to the instructor asking that the instructor strike two names within three class days.

(i)         The three remaining names shall constitute the Academic Appeal Committee for the current grade appeal.

(ii)  The Provost shall appoint one of these three faculty members as chair for this appeal process.

2.   The Academic Appeal Committee may consider all materials in the appeal file constructed by the Dean, i.e., the student’s original appeal, the instructor’s written justification, the Department Chair’s written report, the Dean’s written report, the student’s written work for the course, and all other documents the Dean may have used in reaching a decision.

(a)        The student and the instructor shall each be entitled to submit additional written statements for consideration by the Academic Appeal Committee.

(b)        The Academic Appeal Committee shall hold a formal hearing, including all parties having standing (see above), and should address the following:

(i)         Questions from members of the Academic Appeal Committee.

(ii)        Cross examination of witnesses by both parties.

(iii)       Additional inquiries that the Academic Appeal Committee feels are necessary or beneficial to determine a successful outcome.

3.  The Academic Appeal Committee shall reach a decision no later than the last day of regular classes before the final exam period of the semester when the appeal was filed.

(a)        Within three days following the decision, the student, the instructor, the  Department Chair, the Dean, and the University President shall be given written notice of the Committee’s decision.

(b)        If the Academic Appeal Committee decides that a grade change is justified, and with the instructor’s agreement, the instructor shall complete and submit a Change of Grade form to the Registrar’s office within five class (or business) days following this decision.

If the Appeal Committee decides that a change in grade is warranted, but the instructor does not consent to the change, the Appeal Committee will meet in discussion with the instructor with regard to its decision. If the instructor again will not consent to the grade change, the Appeal Committee Chair will instruct the Registrar to make the appropriate grade change.

4.  A decision of the Academic Appeal Committee may be appealed to the President of the University, whose decision will be regarded as final.

e.  Step 5: Unusual Circumstances in Processing Grade Appeals.

1.  Some grade appeal cases may present practical obstacles for pursuing the procedures precisely, as outlined above.

(a)        An instructor may be absent from campus during the applicable appeal period or the student may have an overwhelmingly compelling reason for a rapid decision.

(b)        A last semester senior’s qualification to graduate may depend upon the outcome of a currently received grade.

2.  In such circumstances, the Provost or the Provost’s designee has the discretion to modify the procedures, as little as possible, to accommodate the special requirements of the situation.

(a)        In exercising this discretion, the Provost must attempt to adhere to the spirit of the procedures outlined above.

(b)        The Provost shall commit to writing and distribute these exceptional rules to parties having standing.