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Any student considering an appeal on a final course grade should understand that each faculty member has the academic freedom and responsibility to determine grades according to any method chosen by the faculty member that is professionally acceptable, communicated to everyone in the class, and applied to all students equally. However, discriminatory, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation by a faculty member is a violation of a student's rights and is the only valid ground for a final course grade appeal. Such an appeal must be made no later than the last day of the next succeeding regular semester. Grades not appealed by that time become permanent.
[NOTE: These procedures are not to be used in cases involving student academic dishonesty or in cases where a student disputes the final course grade for reasons other than alleged discriminatory, arbitrary, or capricious academic evaluation by a faculty member].
Any student who contests a final course grade under this procedure shall first attempt to resolve the matter with the instructor involved. Failing to reach a satisfactory resolution, the student may appeal the grade in accordance with the steps outlined below.
- The student shall present the appeal in writing to the Chair of the department within which the contested grade was awarded. The written statement shall limit itself to a factual description of evidence pertaining to the valid ground for the appeal and documentation of all attempts to reach resolution. By conferring with the student and the instructor, the Chair will seek resolution by mutual agreement. The Chair will provide a written statement of the results of this effort to the faculty member and student.
- Failing to resolve the issue in Step 1, the student shall present the written appeal and all documentation of attempts to reach resolution to the Dean of the college or school, or Director in which the protested grade was awarded. The Dean or Director, by conferring with the student and the instructor, will seek resolution by mutual agreement. The Dean or Director will provide a written statement of the results of this effort to the Chair, faculty member, and student.
- If Step 2 fails to produce a resolution, the student shall provide a written appeal request to the Dean of the Graduate School. The written statement shall limit itself to a factual description of evidence pertaining to the valid ground for the appeal, documentation of all attempts to reach resolution, and the student’s desired outcome, prior to taking the final step of appealing the issue to the Graduate School’s Grade Appeals Committee.
- The Dean of the Graduate School will convene and chair meetings of the Grade Appeals Committee, which consists of faculty members appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. The committee will make recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School following the hearing proceedings.
- If the Dean affirms the instructor’s decision, he/she will notify the faculty member, student, Chair, and appropriate college or school Dean or Director in writing. The decision made by the Dean is a final university decision and may not be appealed further.
- If the Dean affirms the student’s appeal, he/she shall prescribe the method by which the student will be reevaluated and communicate that to the faculty member, student, Chair, and appropriate college or school Dean or Director in writing. If the reevaluation results in a grade change, the established Course Grade Change procedure will be followed. The grade resulting from the reevaluation is a final university decision and may not be appealed further.