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Graduate Grade Appeal Policy and Procedure

Graduate Grade Appeal Policy: Every student has the right to appeal if they consider their final grade in a graduate-level course to be unreasonable, unjust, or capricious. A grade appeal can be initiated no later than two semesters (including summer) after the grade was assigned. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research makes the final decision on graduate grade appeals.

Process for appealing a grade in a graduate course:

  1. The student must first consult the faculty member who issued the grade for reconsideration of the grade. The Chair or Coordinator and other members of the department are encouraged to be available for consultation with the faculty member and the student at this stage. Note: This is the only stage at which an appealed grade can be changed to an A, B, C, D, or F. At every subsequent stage of the grade appeal process, the Chair, Associate Dean of the graduate program’s college or Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research can change the grade to a P only.
     
  2. If the faculty member is unavailable or the student contests the faculty member’s decision and wishes to continue the appeal, the student should (next) approach the Chair of the department in which the course was taught. The Chair may designate the relevant program’s Coordinator to serve this role for this stage, if the department has a Coordinator. The student must present a written statement to the Chair explaining the reasons he/she believes the grade is unreasonable, unjust, or capricious. The Chair is responsible for investigating the student’s claims by gathering relevant information, and preparing a written statement of the findings of the investigation. At the conclusion of this investigation, the Chair must recommend that the student’s grade appeal be supported or denied. The Chair shall communicate this recommendation and its rationale in writing to the student and the faculty member.

    If the faculty member who issued the grade is also the Chair, the student should appeal directly to the Associate Dean of the college in which the course was taught, submitting a written statement explaining the reasons he or she believes the grade is unreasonable, unjust, or capricious. The Associate Dean is responsible for investigating the student’s claims by gathering relevant information, and preparing a written statement of the findings of the investigation. At the conclusion of this investigation, the Associate Dean must recommend that the student’s grade appeal be supported or denied. The Associate Dean shall communicate this recommendation and its rationale in writing to the student and the faculty member (Chair).
     

  3. If the student believes that the process was flawed or that there was evidence that was not considered, he/she can bring the appeal to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research. In addition to the appeal materials already provided to the Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean in Step 2 above, the student must justify in the appeal why he or she believes the decision should be reconsidered, including any new pertinent information. Disagreement with the outcome of the deliberations of the Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean is not sufficient on its own to pursue an appeal with the Dean. If the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research agrees that the process was possibly flawed or there was evidence not considered, he/she will convene the Graduate Grade Appeal Committee to hear the grade appeal.

    The Graduate Grade Appeal Committee, selected each year, will consist of five members, as follows:

    • Two faculty members from the Graduate College Advisory Committee
    • Two master's degree program students in good standing selected by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research ​
    • The representative of the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research.

    Before hearing any appeals, any student serving on the Graduate Grade Appeal Committee must fill out and sign a FERPA Privacy and Confidentiality Understanding/Agreement, available from the Associate Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research or the University Registrar.

  4. The Graduate Grade Appeal Committee will investigate the case and will hold a hearing. The student, the faculty member, and the Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean involved with Step 2 shall be invited to participate. If the student fails to attend the agreed-upon, scheduled hearing, then the hearing will be canceled and the grade appeal dismissed without further review.
  5. The Graduate Grade Appeal hearing generally takes about one hour and has the following format:
    • The student has 10 minutes to present the appeal, after which the committee members may ask questions of the student. The faculty member of the course has 10 minutes to respond, after which the committee members may ask questions of the instructor.
    • The Chair (if he/she is not the faculty member), Coordinator, or Associate Dean may add comments and answer any questions the committee members may have.
    • The student does not ask questions of the faculty member, Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean, and the faculty member, Chair, Coordinator, and Associate Dean do not ask questions of the student.
    • The student may have two or three minutes for final rebuttal and the committee may ask final questions of the student, faculty member, Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean.
    • Everyone except for the Graduate Grade Appeal Committee leaves the hearing room.
    • The committee members discuss the appeal.
    • The Dean’s representative will lead the discussion.
    • When the discussion is complete, the committee members will take a vote on the appeal.
  6. The committee will communicate to the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research its written recommendation, which will be one of the following:
    1. If the Committee decides that the challenged grade is unreasonable, unjust, or capricious, it shall so communicate to the Dean its recommendation that the grade be changed to a P.
    2. If the Committee decides there is insufficient evidence to support the student’s claim, it shall recommend to the Dean that the original grade should stand.
    3. If the committee cannot agree on the appeal, the lack of agreement will be communicated to the Dean.
  7. After receiving the recommendation of the committee and reviewing the materials submitted by the student, the faculty member, and the Chair, Coordinator, or Associate Dean, the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research may decide that the grade should remain as recorded, or that it should be changed to a P (Pass). If the grade is changed to a P, the credits for the course will count toward the student’s degree requirements, but the grade will not contribute to the GPA.
  8. The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research will share his or her decision in writing with the student, the faculty member, and the Chair, Coordinator, and/or Associate Dean, and a copy of the decision will be placed in the student’s records. The decision of the Dean is final.

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