Faculty Handbook

PALPABLE INJUSTICE IN GRADING (STUDENT APPEAL PROCEDURE)

Academic grading reflects careful and deliberate judgment of the course instructor. Academic evaluation of student performance requires expert consideration of cumulative information and is to some extent subjective.

The University recognizes that in rare instances there may be “palpable injustice(s)” in the determination of a final grade. Students may use the appeals process when they believe there is evidence to show that a) a final grade was determined by methods and criteria different from those used for determining final grades for others in the same class or 2) the evaluation was made as the result of bias or caprice. The student shall first confer with the instructor who awarded the grade no later than the end of the fourth week of the next regular semester. In the case of half semester courses, students shall have the right to begin the appeal process at the conclusion of the course.

If no amicable settlement is reach, the student shall present the instructor with a WRITTEN copy of his/her grievance along with any supporting documentation which shall be considered confidential. The instructor shall respond in writing to the student within five (5) working days. (It is suggested that students prepare a packet of information for the instructor, the chairperson and the Dean).

Students, if they wish, shall have the right to choose a mentor/advisor for the purpose of guiding them through the appeal process. Students shall have the right to present their case at each stage of the appeal process. At the student’s request, the mentor/advisor may accompany the student to meetings related to the appeals process as an observer.

If the student is not satisfied, the student, within five (5) working days of receipt of the instructor’s response, may present the case in writing to the appropriate department chairperson who may effect a mutually agreed upon settlement with the instructor. The department chairperson shall respond in writing to the student within five (5) working days with a copy sent to the instructor.

If the student is not satisfied, the student may, within five (5) working days of receipt of the department chairperson’s response, present the case in writing to the appropriate Academic Dean who may effect a mutually agreed upon settlement with the instructor and department chairperson. The Academic Dean shall respond in writing to the student within ten (10) working days with copies of the decision sent to the instructor and the department chairperson.

If the student is not satisfied, the student may ask, within five (5) working days of receiving the Dean’s decision, that the dean contact the President of the University Senate to convene the ad hoc Committee on Grade Appeals. The Dean shall forward the request to the Senate President within five (5) working days of receipt. The Dean shall also notify the Provost/Academic Vice President, in writing, that the Senate is being asked to convene an ad hoc Committee.

The ad hoc Committee on Grade Appeals shall be composed of three members of the instructional faculty in the ranks of tenured professors or tenured associate professors presently serving on the senate, selected in alphabetical order each time the committee is appointed.

The Senate President shall appoint the ad hoc Committee within five (5) working days and shall notify the student and the instructor of that fact. The Senate President shall not discuss the details of the case with the ad hoc Committee. The ad hoc Committee will convene within five (5) working days. It is the responsibility of the student to present three copies of all material, including any additional material submitted later in the process and relevant to the case to the chair of the ad hoc Committee.

The instructor shall submit such materials as requested by the Committee and shall have the right to present their case at any stage of the appeal process. The Committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within fifteen (15) working days of its convening by the Senate President. Following its deliberations, the Committee may deny the appeal in which case the matter shall be closed. If the Committee finds that the grading constituted a palpable injustice, as defined above, the case shall be remanded to the instructor for reconsideration. If the instructor disagrees with the finding of the Committee, the instructor shall inform the Committee and the student within five (5) working days of that fact.

The instructor shall submit such materials as requested by the Committee and shall have the right to present their case at any stage of the appeal process. The Committee shall consider the case and reach a decision within fifteen (15) working days of its convening by the Senate President. Following its deliberations, the Committee may deny the appeal in which case the matter shall be closed. If the Committee finds that the grading constituted a palpable injustice, as defined above, the case shall be remanded to the instructor for reconsideration. If the instructor disagrees with the finding of the Committee, the instructor shall inform the Committee and the student within five (5) working days of that fact.

If either the student or the instructor has disagreed, the Committee shall then forward its recommendation for a grade to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs who will implement the recommendation of the Committee within five (5) working days. The action of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs shall be final and binding upon all parties and shall be communicated by the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs to the student and the instructor.

Revised Senate Approval: R97-5-1, 5/21/97
Revised Senate Approval: April 18, 2001
Administrative Approval: May 1, 2001



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