Grade Appeal Policy for Graduate Students

Graduate students having concerns in the academic area are encouraged to resolve these concerns through direct communication with the professor or administrative office involved, with the assistant dean of education and graduate studies, the dean of the School of Education or the vice president for
academic affairs. Often these concerns will involve a dispute over a grade. On those rare occasions when disagreements may not be resolved directly, the appeals process detailed below may be used.

Students having academic related concerns should first consult with the faculty member involved. In the case of a grade, no grade may be changed after it has been filed in the Registrar’s Office except by action of the faculty member or the decision of an appeal by the vice president for academic affairs. If a grade remains uncontested for a period of six weeks into a subsequent semester/term following the date published as the official end of the semester/term, it will be assumed to be correct and will not be eligible for change. For example, a grade from the spring semester must be appealed no later than six weeks into the following fall semester.

Prior to a formal appeal, the student should discuss his/her questions with the faculty member
involved. The appeal process is intended for those rare occasions when students and faculty cannot come to understanding of the faculty member’s assessment of the student’s work.

Steps students must take in this process must include:

1. In writing, the student identifies his/her concerns by drafting a letter indicating the course, instructor, the grade received, the grade the student believes he/she should have received, and the reasons why a grade different from the one assigned is more appropriate in his/her judgment.

2. The letter must include the student’s signature and is delivered or mailed to the assistant dean of education and graduate studies.

3. Generally within a week’s time, the assistant dean of education and graduate studies will meet with the student. The student should bring any related course materials from the course in question with him/her to this meeting.

4. The assistant dean of education and graduate studies will meet with the faculty person involved with the grade challenge. At this point, the faculty member may also have documents for review (papers, final exams, etc. for which the student does not have ownership).

5. Based on the materials and information from the student and faculty member, assistant dean of education and graduate studies resolves the question(s) identified in the appeal. The assistant dean of education and graduate studies may choose to ask for a meeting with the student and faculty member or consult with others as appropriate; the assistant dean of education and graduate studies decision of the appeal will be communicated in writing to the student and faculty person involved within two weeks of receiving the request for appeal from the student. If a change of grade is warranted, appropriate paperwork for a change of grade will be initiated by the assistant dean of education and graduate studies.

6. The student or faculty member in the graduate program may appeal the assistant dean of education and graduate studies’ decision to the dean of the School of Education. Such an appeal must state the reason(s) and be presented in writing within two (2) class days after receiving the decision from the assistant dean of education and graduate studies and includes forwarding the paperwork the assistant dean of education and graduate studies received to the dean of the School of Education who reviews the materials and may ask for meetings with the student and/or faculty member involved. The dean of School of Education may also need to confer with appropriate school deans or others.
The dean of the School of Education communicates her/his decision in writing within two weeks of receiving the request for appeal.

7. The student or faculty member may appeal the dean of the School of Education’s decision to the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA). Such an appeal must state the reason(s) and be presented in writing within two (2) class days after receiving the decision from the dean of the School of Education and includes forwarding the paperwork the dean received to the VPAA.  The VPAA reviews the materials and may ask for meetings with the student and/or faculty member involved. The VPAA communicates her/his decision in writing within two weeks of receiving the request for appeal. The decision of the VPAA is final.

Student concerns which are for issues other than grades should be handled similarly. Because of the specific nature of a concern a student may have about how the interaction with a faculty member is occurring, it may be most appropriate for the student to meet with the assistant dean of education and graduate studies initially rather than first speaking to the faculty member.

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