Procedures for Investigating Complaints about Grade or Student Academic Performance

Students who are dissatisfied with treatment by a faculty member in reference to grades or student academic performance should pursue the following procedure. Due process must be followed at each step of this procedure. No grade will be changed by anyone other than the faculty member who assigned it unless there is convincing evidence that the assignment of the original grade was inconsistent with professional standards in the discipline.

Each step in the procedure must be initiated within ten (10) working days of the faculty, chairperson, or departmental response. Dated, written statements are required at each step. Likewise, at each level, the faculty member, chairperson or Department Executive Council (or other appropriate departmental committee) must complete a review of all pertinent written materials prior to rendering a decision and inform the student, in writing, of the decision within ten (10) working days of receipt of the complaint materials. If the student can verify that she or he has not been able to contact the faculty member, it is understood that the student's right to appeal will not be jeopardized, and the deadline will be extended. The student should retain a copy of all materials submitted at each level of the appeal process. If the student so chooses, he/she will be allowed to appear before the appropriate committee or council at each level of the appeal process.

  1. The student must write to the faculty member within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the grade or of the incident related to the student’s academic performance to request an appointment to discuss the complaint. The letter must also include any pertinent documentation to substantiate the student’s complaint.
  2. At the meeting with the faculty, the student must present any additional pertinent documents to substantiate the complaint. At this meeting, the faculty member must make available for review materials submitted by the student for evaluation and not yet seen by the student.
  3. If the student is unsuccessful in making contact with the faculty member or upon meeting with the faculty member is dissatisfied with the outcome and wishes to pursue the complaint further, the student must write to the department chairperson and request an appointment to discuss the complaint. A copy of all material originally presented to the faculty member must be included. The department chairperson will try to resolve the issue by reaching a settlement that is agreed upon by both the student and the faculty member.

    Each student who registers a complaint with a department chairperson must be given a copy of this policy. A copy must be attached to the appeal and signed by the student to indicate that he/she has been given a copy of this procedure, has read it, and understands it before the appeal can proceed.

  4. If the complaint is not resolved at the chairperson’s level, and if the student wishes to pursue the complaint, the student must request, in writing, that the department chairperson convene the Department Executive Council (or other appropriate department committee) to hear the appeal. The committee must consult with the faculty member involved in the complaint and review the documents provided by the student. The committee will then submit a decision to the department chairperson. When the faculty member involved is the chairperson, the student may request that the dean of the college convene the Department Executive Council (or other appropriate department committee).
  5. If not satisfied with the Department Executive Council’s (or other appropriate department committee’s) decision, and if the student wishes to pursue the complaint further, the student must write to the dean of that college requesting that the complaint be brought to the College Council for a decision by the department chairpersons of the college concerned. The chairperson of the department concerned will not take part in the final vote. This decision will constitute the University’s final decision.
  6. The faculty unequivocally has the final responsibility with regard to grade changes.