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Grade Grievance

Grade Change Policy

"A grade change may be submitted by your instructor to correct an error on a Supplementary Grade Report which the instructor obtains from their department office. The request must be accompanied by a formal explanation by the faculty member in charge of the course outlining the circumstances surrounding the original error and justifying the grade change." (Faculty Code B5.07)

The Academic Standards Board cannot approve any Supplementary Grade Report for a grade change when "extra work is submitted," "student rewrote a paper," "student retook the final," or another special arrangement unless the instructor is able to provide the Board with a statement that the arrangement giving this one student the opportunity to raise his/her grade was an arrangement available to and known by every student in the course. If the grade is being changed because the work was submitted after grades were due and no "incomplete" grade was originally given, the grade will be posted with and "I" as long as the work was completed during the incomplete deadline period.

When the instructor is changing a grade from "incomplete", they must include the date the student submitted their completed work. Even if the course has lapsed to E the grade can still be approved for posting if the work completed by the student was within the incomplete deadline date or the extended deadline date.

Grade Grievance Procedures

"The Office of Student Academic Affairs (formerly the LSA Administrative Board) shall insure that each department has an efficient procedure for dealing with student complaints regarding alleged unfair or improper grading, and shall insure that these procedures are followed in individual cases."

— Faculty Code A.205, 1984 edition

Grade appeals for departments without links listed below should be referred to the Chair of the Department in question.

Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS)

Updated and Approved March 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are required to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their courses.  The expectation is that instructors will evenly apply their grading rubrics to all students.   Students may inquire about the accuracy of their final grade if they can provide evidence that the instructor has: 

1) deviated from previously stated grading standards
2) applied such standards inconsistently
3) failed to take into full consideration all graded components of a course
4) assigned a grade based on criteria other than performance in the course.  A student’s belief that an instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of other instructors normally does not constitute grounds for grievance.

Within the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, students who want to inquire about the accuracy of their final grade should pursue the following steps:

1) Consultation with Instructor:

As a first step, the student should consult with the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  After this initial inquiry, if the student continues to dispute the final grade, s/he may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance procedure. 

2) Formal Complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS):

To initiate a formal grade grievance procedure, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  The student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint.  This written complaint should include: 1) specific evidence that the grade was given in error or was arbitrarily determined, 2) a summary of the student’s initial consultation with the course instructor, and 3) a summary of the aspects of the case that remain in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary explaining how the final grade was determined and respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS will determine whether to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the DUS determines that there is no evidence to support a grade grievance, the matter will be considered closed and the original grade will stand.  If the DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, s/he will set a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee. 

3) Grade Grievance Committee Hearing:

For undergraduate students, the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the Director of Undergraduate Studies and two faculty members of the Curriculum Committee.  For graduate students, the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the Director of Undergraduate Studies, the Associate Director of DAAS, and one faculty member of the Curriculum Committee.  If the instructor in question is a member of the DAAS Grade Grievance Committee, s/he will be excused and another member of the Curriculum Committee will serve as substitute.

Before the Grade Grievance Committee convenes, both the student and the instructor will receive copies of the student’s written complaint and the instructor’s written response.  During the formal hearing, the student will first present the basis of his or her complaint.  The instructor will then explain how s/he determined the student’s final grade.  After an open period of discussion among the student, the instructor, and members of the Grade Grievance Committee, the hearing will be adjourned.  

4) Recommendation from Grade Grievance Committee:

The Grade Grievance Committee will have ten University business days to determine its recommendation. 

If the committee decides that there is no basis for a grade change, the DUS will convey this fact in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will ask the instructor to respond in writing within five University business days indicating whether or not s/he will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will inform the student in writing, the student’s final course grade will be changed, and the matter will be considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  The DUS will inform the student in writing and the matter will be considered closed.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor, and a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.  

5) Consultation with the Office of Student Academic Affairs:

Grade grievances end at the Department level.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.  The Office of the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs is available for consultation and review of the process to ensure that all procedures have been followed.

American Culture Department

Updated and Approved May 2012

I.  Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II.  Consultation with Instructor 

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III.  Formal complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the AC Undergraduate Committee/DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the AC Undergraduate Committee/DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the AC Undergraduate Committee/DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set.  The Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the DUS, at least one other faculty member (typically, a member of the Undergraduate Committee) and at least one undergraduate (to be selected by the DUS).

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the DUS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, (i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members), the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V.  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Anthropology Department

Updated and Approved January 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) within the Department of Anthropology before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Formal complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee. (In Anthropology, Grade Grievance Committee responsibilities are held by the Department’s Curriculum Committee.)  If the DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the DUS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  The student filing the grade grievance will be provided with the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing, and the respective instructor will be provided with the student’s written complaint in advance of the formal hearing. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint. The instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   If the instructor is not available (e.g. on leave) to respond in person, the instructor may provide a written statement.  Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor (if feasible) and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Asian Languages and Cultures Department

Updated and Approved October 2010

The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures reviews grade grievances in order to insure that grades given in departmental courses are fairly assigned.  Our procedures require students to put grievances in writing and ask instructors to provide a written response.  While these procedures are directed toward producing a recommendation on whether or not a grade should be revised, they respect the College of LSA’s Faculty Code B 5.01 policy that a grade given by a faculty member may only be changed by that faculty member (or by the course supervisor in the case of a multi-section course).  The department believes that instructors are in the best position to determine the quality of student work; merely disagreeing with a grade cannot constitute grounds for a grievance.  Only a course grade can be grieved, not the grading on an individual assignment. 

  1. Before a formal grievance can be filed, a student must discuss the conflict with the instructor of the course (or with the course supervisor in the case of a multi-section course).  Both parties must engage in an open discussion of grading policies and endeavor to reach an equitable solution.
  2. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, the student may file a grievance with the Chair of the department.  This must be done within the first six weeks of the Fall or Winter Term following the semester in which the course generating the grievance was taught, or within six weeks after the submission of a grade replacing an Incomplete.  The grievance takes the form of a statement, accompanied by relevant graded materials.  The statement should detail the disagreements that remain after the discussion between the student and the instructor required above. 
  3. The Chair will convey the grievance to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) who, determining that the grievance has merit, will organize an ad hoc committee of at least two other members who may have expertise or knowledge in the subject matter of the course for which the grade is being grieved. In the event that the DUS is the instructor of the course in question, the Chair may appoint another faculty member to chair the review.  The DUS will provide the instructor with the student’s statement and request a written response.  After reviewing the documents, the DUS and the assembled committee, if necessary, may speak with the student and the instructor to determine if further documentation needs to be elicited to aid in the decision-making process.  The DUS will then issue a recommendation agreed upon by all committee members that is communicated in writing to the student and the instructor, and copied to the department’s Chair. No further appeals are possible at the department level.
  4. In the event that the instructor is no longer at the University of Michigan, a student may present a grievance to the department Chair without first discussing the conflict with the instructor.  The DUS and the committee will make every effort to contact the instructor to elicit a response before arriving at a recommendation.

Astronomy Department

Updated and Approved June 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, and the Department of Astronomy, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College of Literature, Science & the Arts is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Chairperson of the Astronomy Department before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Formal complaint to Department Chair

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Chair will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Chair. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Chair will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Biology Programs

(Updated and Approved September 2014; replaces previous version from May 1992)

Preamble 

Within the College of Literature, Science,and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses. The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course. If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.  Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Two principles should be clearly understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:

  1. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.0.1).
  2. While the Program wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example, a grievance based on the argument that one instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of  others will normally not be pursued.

Consultation with Instructor

The student should first confer with his/her instructor (and with the course coordinator, if there is one) to make sure that both are aware of all the pertinent facts and to identify the issues that are in dispute. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen*University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If, after this inquiry,the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response,the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance. To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of the Program in Biology or the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth* week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

If the course is cross-listed with another school or LS&A department, the affiliation of the person responsible for submitting the final grade report should determine the department or school in which the grade grievance is processed.

Formal complaint to the Director of the Program in Biology or the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies in EEB or MCDB.

To initiate the formal grade grievance process,the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Program Director or Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Program Director or Associate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Program’s Grade Grievance Committee. If the Program Director or Associate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed,and the original grade stands.

If the Program Director or Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies determines that the grade grievance should proceed,a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. The Grade Grievance Committee shall consist of the Program in Biology steering committee members (the Program Director and the two departmental Associate Chairs) and a student. The student member will be an undergraduate if the grievant an undergraduate, or a graduate student if the grievant is a graduate student.

If several appeals are being filed, all of which are derived from a common grievance, a single Grade Grievance committee will consider all of the appeals. If the grievants include both undergraduate and graduate students, the status of the student member of the Grade Grievance Committee shall be determined by the level of the course.

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Program Director or Associate Chair will empanel the appropriate Grade Grievance Committee. Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing. During the formal hearing,the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.  Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e. the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members,the formal hearing will be adjourned.

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten* University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Program in Biology steering committee and appropriate departmental chair.

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Program Director or Associate Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor. The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.

If the committee recommends a grade change,the Program Director or Associate Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor. The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five* University business days to the Program Director or Associate Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Program Director or Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.When this occurs, the Program Director or Associate Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.The matter is considered closed. There is no appeal beyond the Department.

For further information, please contact the Student Services Manager at 734-764-2446.

*All time frames are based on faculty availability and are subject to change without warning. Student should consult with the Program in Biology for specific timing.

Biophysics Program

Updated and Approved June 2012

Introduction

The faculty of the Biophysics Program strongly believes that the determination of the grade for course work is the prerogative of the instructor in the course. Grades as a judgment of quality will always be in part inherently subjective, and it is recognized that the course instructor is by far in the best position to make this judgment. On the other hand, it is also recognized that the students and the program as a whole have a strong interest in ensuring that grades are assigned fairly, equitably, and without personal bias.

Therefore, the Biophysics Program adopts the following procedures to resolve disputes over course grades.

Grounds for Appeal

A grade in a course can be appealed on grounds that it is unjust because of clerical error, capricious or biased judgment, ex post facto changes in course requirements or lack of uniformity in the application of standards within a class. Dissatisfaction with the grade alone is not sufficient for an appeal. This procedure is also not applicable to complaints stemming from differences in the level of difficulty from one course to another or to complaints arising from a misunderstanding of the basis for evaluations if that basis was described clearly in writing.

Informal Appeal

The best way to resolve grade disputes is through direct communication with the course instructor. Therefore, the appeals process is initiated through a request from the student to meet with the instructor within two weeks after the final course grade is assigned. This request should by submitted by email and include the grounds for the appeal. The course instructor should meet with the student as soon as possible. Should off-campus duties prevent the instructor from meeting with the student within two week after the request is made, a meeting must be scheduled as soon as feasible, and the appropriate Associate Chair of the Program be informed. If the instructor is a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), the faculty member in charge of the course will be included in all communications and the meeting. After the meeting, the instructor shall follow up with an email to the student and the relevant Associate Chair to confirm any decisions reached in the meeting. This informal appeal can be bypassed only with the permission of the Associate Chair, if the nature of the dispute is such that it would be unreasonable to expect the student to meet with the instructor directly

Formal Appeal to Associate Chair

If the grade dispute cannot be resolved through the informal appeal process above, a formal appeal can be filed with the Associate Chair for the Undergraduate/Graduate Program. If the Associate Chair is also the course instructor, the Program Chair will take his or her place in the appeals process. This formal appeal to the Associate Chair has to be filed in writing within one week after the meeting with the instructor, or within three weeks of the assignment of the final grade. The appeal must state the grounds for the appeal and the remedy sought.

This formal appeal process is intended to correct gross injustices, but not minor disagreements which are inherent to the grading process. Therefore, only appeals that would make a significant difference in the student’s grade or affect his or her standing in the College or Program can be pursued through this process. As a rule, a dispute over one fractional grade (B+ instead of B, for instance) in the final course grade is not considered significant enough for the initiation of a formal appeal, unless overriding concerns of fairness warrant otherwise. The Associate Chair will make this determination.

Once the appeal is received and the determination of significance is made, the Associate Chair will contact the course instructor and request a written reply within two weeks. Based on the complaint and the reply, the Associate Chair will issue a recommendation in writing to the instructor and student, which may range from a request to the instructor change the grade, to requirement for additional work, or to dismissal of the complaint. The instructor must acknowledge the receipt of the recommendation promptly and state whether he or she will abide by it.

Appeal to the Grade Grievance Committee

If the student is not satisfied with the recommendation of the Associate Chair, or if the course instructor refuses to follow the recommendation, the student may request a hearing in front of an ad-hoc grade grievance committee. Such a hearing must be requested in writing within two weeks after the recommendation is issued or the instructor refused to comply. The Grade Grievance Committee is appointed by the Program Chair and consists of the appropriate Associate Chair who will chair the Committee, one additional instructional faculty member of the program, and a student representative. If the complainant is an undergraduate student, the student representative should be an upper-level biophysics major in good standing; if the complaint is filed by a graduate student the student representative should be a graduate student in the Biophysics program. The hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible. During the hearing, all sides should state their positions, and every attempt to reach a mutually agreeable resolution should be made. A student services associate will record minutes of the hearing and collect any documents that are presented for the files of the program. After the hearing, a written decision will be issued and certified by the Program Chair within two weeks of the hearing.

Resolution of the Case

The decision of the Grade Grievance Committee is final and no further appeals are possible. This decision shall be reached within six months after the grade in question is assigned, at the latest. The program expects everyone involved to abide by the decision, even though it is recognized that the final authority for the determination of the grade still rests with the course instructor. If the committee recommends a grade change, the ACUS/DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the ACUS/DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the ACUS/DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the ACUS/DUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Chemistry Department

Updated and Approved January 2013

I.  Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses. The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course. If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade. Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II.  Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance. To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (ACUS) of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III.  Formal complaint to Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (ACUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the ACUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the ACUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee. If the ACUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.

If the ACUS/DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set.

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the ACUS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee. Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.

V.  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the ACUS.

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the ACUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor. The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.

If the committee recommends a grade change, the ACUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor. The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the ACUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the ACUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the ACUS will convey in writing this decision to the student. The matter is considered closed. There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Classical Studies Department

Updated and Approved January 2016; replaces Reaffirmed Version: May 1992

I. Preamble

Course instructors have the responsibility for awarding to students the grades that are most fit, both for the course itself and for all work in the course. The Department expects its instructors to exercise good judgment in grading, and in general presumes that they have done so. For this reason, the Department will not examine a grade unless a student files a grade grievance that raises reasonable doubt about the fairness of the grade. In all cases of reasonable doubt, the Department tries to consider and deal with such grievances in a fair and open-minded manner, so that the rights of the aggrieved students and instructors are both respected.

II. Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the instructor of the course. If a GSI has had the responsibility for grading, the student should first discuss the problem with the GSI. If the issue cannot be settled between the student and the GSI, the student should discuss it with the faculty member in charge of the course.  This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the response of the instructor, GSI, or faculty member in charge of the course, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. In cases in which the DUS is not a Full Professor and the instructor is a Full Professor, the Chair of the Department may choose to appoint a Full Professor to serve in place of the DUS.

III. Formal complaint to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.   If the complaint is against the DUS, the Chair will appoint a replacement.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the
DUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene an ad hoc Grievance Committee to hear the complaint. If the DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. If the DUS determines that there is sufficient evidence to move forward with the grade grievance process, she/he will appoint a Grade Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee will consist of two faculty members of at least equal rank with the instructor against whom the grievance has been lodged, and either an undergraduate or a graduate student (depending on the complainant’s status). The student member of the committee will be selected by the DUS. The role of the student member of the committee is to provide a student perspective on the case, and although the committee does not take a formal vote, it is expected that the view of the student member of the committee be weighted equally with those of the faculty members on the committee in determining the committee’s recommendation.

If the DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a
formal hearing with the ad hoc Grievance Committee will be set.  

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Before the formal hearing is held, the Chair of the Grade Grievance Committee will instruct the student member of the committee on confidentiality issues. In addition, in advance of the formal hearing, the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. A GSI against whom a grievance has been made may ask that the faculty supervisor attend the hearing. If the GSI is no longer at the university, the faculty supervisor may represent him or her. No other representatives may be present.  Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.   

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS.  

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.   

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

In the very rare cases in which an instructor refuses to change a grade in accordance with a panel's recommendation, the grade will stand, but the student should confer with the chair or chair's representative.  The department may, for example, provide the student with a letter explaining the circumstances.

Communication Studies Department

Updated and Approved January 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. Nevertheless, students can inquire about a final grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Students who have received a final grade they consider unjust from teachers in the Department should follow the steps below in seeking a review of the grade. These steps are designed to bring an understanding of the course standards and the grade, not to dispute the ultimate right of an instructor to make such evaluations.

Step 1: Consultation with the Instructor

Any student who believes a final grade is in error may ask to have it reviewed. This initial inquiry should take place no later than within the first ten University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  Grades are only changed in case of clerical error or if it can be demonstrated that the posted grading rubric was not followed.  In courses with GSIs, students should meet with the GSI first to discuss the grade.  If the GSI and student cannot come to an agreement the student should then meet with the faculty supervisor of the course.  In courses without GSIs, the student should contact the faculty member to discuss the grade.  It is hoped that any dispute may be resolved at this meeting.

Step 2: Written Appeal to Department Chair

If the meeting between the student and instructor is not productive in resolving differences, the student should indicate the nature of the complaint in writing to the Department Chair. This document should include evidence supporting the student's claim, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Except for clerical errors or mistakes in following the posted grading rubric, the Chair is not authorized to change grades given by faculty members. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.   If the Chair determines the complaint is justified, s/he will refer the complaint to the department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  On the other hand, if it is concluded that the complaint is not justified, the student will be so informed, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

Step 3: Grade Grievance Hearing

If the Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Step 4:  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Chair.  If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Chair will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Comparative Literature Department

Approved January 2013

I.  Introduction

The Department of Comparative Literature strives to set fair and consistent grading procedures for its courses. Nevertheless, students may inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that a grade has been unfairly given.

There are two principles which should be clearly understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:

  1. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.01).  A grade given in a class taught by a teaching assistant may be changed only by the faculty supervisor of the course.  Departmental grievance procedures are intended to issue a recommendation, for or against a change, to the appropriate faculty member.
  2. While the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. Grievances must be based on substantive grounds; merely disagreeing with the grade does not constitute grounds for a grievance. Grievances based on the argument that one instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued.

II.  Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the instructor (and faculty supervisor of the course, if there is one), to make the instructor(s) aware of all the pertinent facts and to identify the issues in dispute. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III.  Formal complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) or Director of Graduate Studies

If the first step does not lead to a resolution, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  The student must be prepared to make available any written work from the course, if requested. The formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Grievances should be filed by the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS (for undergraduate grade grievances)/DGS (for graduate grade grievances) will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS/DGS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the DUS/DGS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the DUS/DGS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set.

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the DUS/DGS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  The Grade Grievance Committee is comprised of either the DUS and at least two members of the Undergraduate Committee or the DGS and at least two members of the Graduate Committee.

Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V.  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS/DGS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS/DGS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS/DGS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS/DGS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUS/DGS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

If a grade change is permitted, a Supplemental Grade Report must be submitted by the professor so the student can have the grade reported on his/her academic record.

Complex Systems Program

Updated and Approved July 2012

I. Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II. Consultation with Instructor 

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If the Director is the instructor of the course, an alternate faculty member will be appointed to serve in place of the Director.

III. Formal complaint to Director of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems (CSCS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Director will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student. 

If the Director is the instructor of the course for which the grade is disputed, the Director will not participate in the complaint process except as instructor for the course. A faculty member from the Center will be appointed to serve in place of the Director.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Director will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Director determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Director determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Director will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Director. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Director will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Director will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Director indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Director will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Director will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Comprehensive Studies Program

I.  Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II.  Consultation with Instructor 

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (ACUS) or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III.  Formal complaint to the Associate Director of Instruction in Comprehensive Studies

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Director of Instruction will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Director of Instruction will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Associate Director of Instruction determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Associate Director of Instruction determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Associate Director of Instruction will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee which will include the Director of the Comprehensive Studies Program.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V.  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Associate Director of Instruction. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Director of Instruction will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Associate Director of Instruction will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Director of Instruction indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Director of Instruction will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Associate Director of Instruction will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

see Biology Progams above

Economics Department

Updated and Approved May 2011

The University of Michigan vests ultimate grading authority in the teacher.  (In this context, “the teacher” is the person, or group of persons, with ultimate pedagogical responsibility for the course as a whole.)  Accordingly, students should endeavor to resolve any concerns directly and informally with their teachers.  Students unable to resolve their concerns in that manner may invoke the following Grade Grievance Procedure.

1. Within the time limits set forth at the end of this document, the student shall submit a written grievance to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS).  This document shall contain specific complaints, supporting evidence, and a description of the student’s attempts to resolve the issue directly with the teacher.

2. The DUS shall convene the Undergraduate Program Committee (UPC) for a hearing.  Normally, the hearing shall occur no later than one week after the DUS receives the grievance.  At least one day before the hearing, the DUS shall distribute to each member of the UPC, and to the teacher, a copy of the written grievance.  Both student and teacher shall be invited to participate in the entire hearing.  The parties shall be invited to make opening and/or closing statements.  The UPC may question the parties.  The DUS may invite one or more of the course’s Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs) to speak.

3. After deliberating privately, the UPC shall issue a recommendation to the teacher.  The student shall receive a copy of this recommendation.  The UPC shall send this recommendation to the teacher and to the student no later than one day after the hearing.

4. If any party to the grievance is a member of the UPC, that party shall not participate in the deliberation and decision-making described in paragraph 3.

5. The teacher shall decide whether or not to modify the grade.  The teacher shall communicate this decision in writing to the student and to the DUS.  The teacher shall send these communications no later than three days after the teacher receives the UPC’s recommendation.  If the student does not appeal, the Department’s procedure ends here.

6. The student may appeal to the Chair of Economics (the Chair).  Only the process of the decision-making to this point in the Grade Grievance Procedure, by the UPC and/or by the teacher, may be appealed.  The appeal must be filed in writing, with a copy to the DUS, no later than one week after the communication mentioned in the previous paragraph is sent to the student.  The appeal shall include the original grievance and specific claims regarding violation of the process specified in this Grade Grievance Procedure.

7. If the student does appeal to the Chair, the Chair shall issue a recommendation to the teacher.  The student and the DUS shall receive copies of this recommendation.  Normally, the Chair shall send the recommendation and the copies no later than three days after the Chair receives the student’s appeal.

8. The teacher shall decide whether or not to modify the grade.  The teacher shall notify the student, the Chair, and the DUS in writing of this decision.  The teacher shall send these notifications no later than three days after the teacher receives the Chair’s recommendation.  If the student appealed to the Chair, the Department’s procedure ends here.

9. According to the Handbook for Faculty and Instructional Staff (LSA, Office of Student Academic Affairs, September 2010, p. 23), the decision resulting from this Grade Grievance Procedure is final.

 

TIME LIMITS FOR FILING GRADE GRIEVANCES IN ECONOMICS UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

Term              Last day to file

Fall                 January 31 of the subsequent term or two weeks after the Registrar posts the student’s grade, whichever occurs later.

Winter            May 31 of the subsequent term or two weeks after the Registrar posts the student’s grade, whichever occurs later.

Spring            July 31 of the subsequent term or two weeks after the Registrar posts the student’s grade, whichever occurs later.

Summer         September 30 of the subsequent term or two weeks after Registrar posts the student’s grade, whichever occurs later.

 

English Language and Literature Department

Updated April 2016

English Department Grade Grievance Policy

The Department of English Language and Literature expects instructors to set fair and consistent grading procedures. Students may inquire about a grade and initiate a grade grievance if they have grounds to believe that an instructor has deviated from previously stated grading standards or applied such standards inconsistently.

Two principles should be clearly understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:

  • A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.01). A grade given in a class taught by a teaching assistant may be changed only by the faculty supervisor of the course.
  • While the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example, a grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will not be pursued.

I. Consultation with Instructor

The student should first confer with his/her instructor (and with the course supervisor, if there is one) to make sure that both are aware of all the pertinent facts and to identify the issues that are in dispute.   This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

II. Formal Complaints to Grade Grievance Officer and Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

If the first step does not lead to a resolution, the student should then write a letter of complaint and append to it all the written work for the course. The letter of complaint should include: 1. specific evidence that the grade was given in error or was arbitrarily determined, 2. a summary of the student’s initial consultation with the course instructor, and 3. a summary of aspects of the case that remain in dispute. If the grievance pertains to English 124 or English 125, these materials should be submitted to the EDWP Director, who serves as grade grievance officer. For all other courses, the materials should be submitted to the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will forward them to the English Department grade grievance officer. Grievances must be filed by end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

The grade grievance officer will forward the student’s letter to the instructor and invite the instructor to explain in writing how the final grade was determined and respond to the specific claims made by the student. Any such communication will be made available to the student.

If the grievance cannot be resolved in conversations between the instructor, the student, and the grade grievance officer, the case goes forward to the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in the English department. All pertinent written documents will be forwarded to the DUS, and the DUS will also meet separately with the officer, the instructor, and the student to obtain their accounts of the case.   The DUS will determine whether sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee to review the case.   If the DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.   

III.   Review of the case by the Grade Grievance Committee 

Once it has been determined that a Departmental Grade Grievance Committee will review the case, the committee will be empaneled and a date set on which the committee will meet.   Committee members will be provided with copies of the student’s complaint and the instructor’s reply; the student and the instructor may also submit a written response to these materials in advance of the meeting.   

After the meeting at which they review the case, the Grade Grievance Committee will have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS. If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.   The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed. If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.   The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.   If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision, and the student’s final course grade will be changed.   The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.   By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUS will provide to the student written notification of the committee’s recommendation and the instructor’s decision.   The matter is considered closed; there is no appeal beyond the Department.

If a grade change is permitted, a Supplemental Grade Report must be submitted by the instructor so the student can have the grade reported on his/her academic record.

For further information please contact the Undergraduate Administrator at 734-764-6330.

English Language Institute

Updated and Approved March 2012

Students who believe they have received an unfair grade in an English Language Institute (ELI) course are encouraged to discuss the issue with their instructor in an effort to resolve the issue. Such discussion should take place as soon as practical following receipt of the grade. Discussion between the student and the instructor regarding a grade does not necessarily constitute a step in the grievance process. The student and the instructor may reach a resolution that is acceptable to them both without launching a formal grievance process. If such mutually satisfactory resolution is not reached, students have the right to file a grievance and should follow the procedures described below.

  1. The student must first contact the instructor who assigned the grade and explain the particular grievance within two weeks of the beginning of the term following the semester when the grade was given.    The instructor should respond to the student within 2 weeks of receiving the student’s complaint and schedule a meeting with the student if necessary.  If the grade disagreement is not resolved, the student may file a formal grievance.
  2. To grieve a grade, the student must file a written appeal and submit it to the ELI Grade Grievance Committee, addressed to the ELI Director.  This letter must be received no later than two weeks following the instructor’s response in Step 1. If the ELI Director is the instructor in question, the letter should be addressed to the Director of the Instructional Division.  The student must clearly explain the nature of the dispute and attach copies of all relevant graded materials.  The instructor will receive a copy of the letter and will have the opportunity to respond.

The ELI Grade Grievance Committee will consider the appeal and the instructor’s response at the next meeting after the letter is received.  The student and instructor have the option of appearing before the Committee and may appear without the other being present if they so request.

  1. If the Committee judges the original grade to have been reasonable, a statement shall be drafted stating that an appeal had been made and outlining the reasons for the rejection of the appeal.
  2. If the Committee recommends that the grade be changed, a document will be drafted stating the reasons for the recommendation and specifying the recommended new grade.  The Committee will then determine whether the instructor is willing to change the grade, or if some alternative action is acceptable.  If these efforts fail, the Committee will state its findings in a letter that is placed in the ELI’s grievance file, and in the instructor’s and student’s files.  The student will also receive a copy of the letter.
  3. The Committee will notify the student in writing of the final decision.  At this point, there shall be no further hearing of the matter within the English Language Institute.

The ELI wishes to see a demonstrably unfair grade changed and provides through review by a faculty committee, a procedure for grade review.  Nevertheless, the ELI believes that the instructor of the course is the most qualified person to assess the student’s work.  The review committee does not share the instructor’s familiarity with the subject matter of the course, nor does it know the range of excellence of students in the class.  While the review committee may recommend that the instructor change the grade, our procedures conform to the traditional policy that confers responsibility for assignment of a grade on the instructor of the course.

Grievances must be based on substantive grounds, and the burden of proof in challenging a grade rests on the student.  Normally a student must provide evidence that the grade is not consistent with the stated grading procedure, fails to give full consideration to all graded material, or otherwise deviates from previously stated standards.  Because there is some imprecision in grading, the difference between an A and an A-, for instance, should not become a matter for grievance.  In cases where there is reasonable doubt, the grade assigned by the instructor will be maintained.

Earth and Environmental Sciences Department

Updated and Approved March 2012

Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given. The procedure discussed in this document is for courses in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department (EARTH).

Consultation with Instructor  

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.   

Formal complaint to Associate Chair of Undergraduate Affairs  

To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Associate Chair for Curriculum before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If the Associate Chair is the instructor of the course in which the disputed grade was issued, the Chair of the Department will take his/her role. To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.     

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Associate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Associate Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set.    

Grade Grievance Hearing  

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Associate Chair will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation 

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Associate Chair.    

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.     

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Associate Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Chair will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.  

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Associate Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.    

Geography Course

Updated and Approved August 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Geography is a unit of the Office of the LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education.  Its grade grievance procedures fall under the University Courses Division’s policy.  Students who want to inquire about the accuracy of their final grade in UC courses should pursue the following steps:

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Formal complaint to the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Assistant Dean will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Assistant Dean will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the UC Division’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Assistant Dean determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Assistant Dean determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Assistant Dean will empanel the appropriate University Courses Division Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Assistant Dean. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Assistant Dean will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Assistant Dean will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Assistant Dean indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Assistant Dean will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Assistant Dean will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the University Courses Division.

Germanic Languages and Literatures Department

Updated and Approved February 2012

The faculty of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures recognizes that instances may arise where a student feels that his or her academic performance has been unfairly or improperly graded due to prejudice, capricious changes in course requirements, inconsistency in the criteria applied to judge the student's work, or clerical error. Although an unfair or improper grade should certainly be changed, the following principles must be understood: (1) a grade given by a faculty member can be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.07); (2) a grade given by a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) can only be changed by that GSI, or by the faculty supervisor of that course; (3) these grievance procedures are intended to result in a recommendation to change or not to change a grade, and will not supersede the faculty member's judgment of a student's performance.

If a student believes that he or she has received an unfair or improper grade for a course in this department, these steps should be taken:

  1. Within two weeks of the subsequent term of receiving the grade in question, the student should confer with the instructor and attempt to resolve the issue. The student will be expected to write a thorough rationale (calculation) for what s/he expected his/her grade to be and submit this calculation to the instructor. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of this meeting, the instructor or supervisor must make available to the student a copy of these procedures, in order that the student may proceed with the grievance properly and promptly.
  2. If the first step does not produce a solution that is agreeable to the student, and if the instructor is a German 101-232 Graduate Student Instructor or Lecturer, the student is to submit a written appeal to the language program coordinator. The student must initiate this appeal no later than ten days after the meeting with the instructor. If this does not produce a solution that is agreeable to the student, then the language coordinator, student, and instructor will involve the Chair of the Department. The student is to submit to the department’s Chair a written appeal, citing all relevant factors, and attach papers, homework assignments, tests, and other supporting evidence. The student must initiate this appeal (to the Chair) no later than one week after the meeting with the language program coordinator. If the issue is not resolved at this point, the process continues with step (4) below.
  3. For a student in a class other than German 101-232, or a course taught by a Visiting, Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor, the student is to submit to the Chair of the Department a written appeal, citing all relevant factors, and attach papers, homework assignments, tests, and other supporting evidence. The student must initiate this appeal no later than ten days after the meeting with the instructor. If the issue is not resolved at this point, the process continues with step (4) below.
  4. If the Chair, instructor, and student cannot produce a solution, the Chair of the Department will appoint a Grievance Committee to review the appeal. The committee will consist of the Department Chair, one additional professor, one department advisor, and a student from the Student Advisory Committee.
  5. The Chair of the Department will ask the instructor to respond to the appeal in writing; this response should be submitted no later than two weeks after the student's initial appeal to the Chair. The Chair will distribute copies of this response, of the student's letter of appeal, and of all other relevant documents, to the members of the Grievance Committee; the Department’s Chair will also make a copy of the instructor's response available to the student.
  6. Within two weeks after the committee has been appointed, the committee will conduct a hearing at which the instructor, the course supervisor (if any), and the student must be present, and at which they may present their cases orally. The time and place of the hearing will be announced at least one week in advance. If the instructor is off campus, the Chair of the Department will solicit a letter from him/her in which the instructor's position is set forth.
  7. Immediately after the hearing, the committee will consider the matter and arrive at its recommendation. The recommendation will be delivered in writing to the instructor, with copies to the course supervisor (if any), and to the student. The committee may recommend:
    1. that the grade be changed;
    2. that the grade not be changed; or
    3. that some other solution be sought, e.g., additional time to write a paper.
    4. If the instructor refuses to follow a recommendation to change the grade, then the grade will stand. The student, however, may request that the Chair of the Department provide him or her with a letter recording the decision of the Grievance Committee, and the faculty member's refusal to follow its recommendation.  The student may request to have a copy of the letter retained by the Office of the Assistant Dean.

History Department

Updated and Approved August 2012

Instructors in the History Department are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   However, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

To appeal any grade (or other course-related matter), students must follow these steps:

I. Consultation with the Instructor. The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade or any other course-related matter should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  In general, the student should communicate the concerns to the instructor in writing and then schedule an appointment if necessary.  Many instructors spell out specific procedures for grade appeals in their syllabi, which should be followed as long as they do not conflict with this Departmental policy.

II. Filing a Grievance. If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To start this process, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (if an undergraduate) or the Director of Graduate Studies (if a doctoral student) before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUGS/DGS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUGS/DGS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Board.  The DUGS/DGS should also consult with the Associate Chair about the case.

If the DUGS/DGS determine that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  If the DUGS/DGS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the grievance board will be set.  The DUGS/DGS should communicate this decision in writing to the student, the instructor, and the Associate Chair.

III. Grievance Board Hearing. In the event of a formal hearing, the DUGS/DGS will appoint a 4-person grievance board from among the members of the relevant committee.  In a case involving an undergraduate student, the grievance board will consist of two faculty members and the two undergraduate members of the Undergraduate Committee.  In a case involving a graduate student, the grievance board will consist of two faculty members of the Graduate Committee and two graduate students executives from GOSH (Graduate Organization of Students in History).  The grievance board will not include the DUGS, DGS, Associate Chair, or anyone else with a potential conflict of interest in the case.

The grievance board will receive the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing, and both the student and the instructor will also receive these records as well.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

IV. Grievance Board Recommendation. The grievance board will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUGS/DGS. 

If the grievance board decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUGS/DGS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.   

If the grievance board recommends a grade change, the DUGS/DGS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUGS/DGS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the grievance board’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUGS/DGS will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the grievance board’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUGS/DGS will convey this decision in writing to the student.  The matter is considered closed. 

There is no grade appeal beyond the Department.  If, however, the student or the DUGS/DGS has concerns about the unfolding of the process itself, rather than the specific grade, these should be communicated to the Associate Chair as the representative of the Executive Committee.

History of Art Department

Updated and Approved July 2012

I. Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II. Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the Department of the History of Art before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III. Formal complaint to Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the DUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the DUS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  The Grade Grievance Committee will consist of the DUS, at least one other faculty member (typically, a member of the Undergraduate Committee) and at least one undergraduate (to be selected by the DUS).  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the DUS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the DUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Honors Program

Updated and Approved May 2012

I.  Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II.  Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term (Fall or Winter) following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Associate Director or the Director of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III.  Formal complaint to Associate Director or Director

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Director or Director will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Director or Director will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Honors Academic Board (HAB).  If the Associate Director or Director determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Associate Director or Director determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Honors Academic Board will be set. 

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Associate Director or Director will empanel the Honors Academic Board.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Honors Academic Board members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V.  Honors Academic Board’s Recommendation

The HAB will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Associate Director or Director. 

If the HAB decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Director or Director will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the HAB recommends a grade change, the Associate Director or Director will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Director or Director indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the HAB’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Director or Director will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the HAB’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Associate Director or Director will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Honors Program.

International Studies Programs

Normally students accept an instructor's evaluation of their work. Nevertheless, there are instances when a student feels that his or her academic performance has been unfairly or improperly graded. Typical complaints include prejudice, capricious changes in the course requirements, and lack of uniformity in judgment applied. When these charges arise, discussion and arbitration can bring out the facts to ascertain if there is a wrong that should be righted. However, such hearings are not intended to dispute the instructor's right to make his or her own evaluation of a student's work.

GROUNDS FOR A GRADE CHANGE

For a change in grade to be recommended, a student must make the case that the grade originally given was unjustly awarded. Dissatisfaction with a grade alone is not sufficient for an appeal.

Grade appeal procedures are available only for review of alleged capricious grading, and not for review of the judgment of an instructor in assessing the quality of a student's work. Capricious grading, as that term is used herein, constitute any of the following: (1) the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than performance in the course; (2) the assignment of a grade to a particular student by resorting to more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in that course; (3) the assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor's previously announced standards. Correction of clerical errors does not require grade appeal procedures; the instructor simply fills out a Supplementary Grade Report.

We recognize that an unjust grade should be changed, and that students need and deserve a means of redress. The establishment of a grade appeal procedure provides this means. However, the committee that is called upon to hear an appeal by a student must acknowledge that it cannot possibly share the instructor's familiarity with the subject matter of the course or with the specific material used in it. The committee must also acknowledge that there is an inevitable minimum of imprecision in grading, and that the difference between a C and a B-, for instance, is hardly one that can, or should, become a matter for detailed litigation. The committee, in judging a single case, cannot know the range of excellence of the students in the class, and it should be cautious about raising the grade of one individual. Otherwise, it may thereby diminish the apparent achievements of other student who may have done better and whose original grade may have been higher. A grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will not be pursued.

For all these reasons, students contemplating appeals should be warned that the review committee will not, and must not, place their judgment over that of the instructor involved except in clear cases. The burden of proof in challenging a grade once given must rest on the student. In all cases of a reasonable doubt, the grade once given will be approved. The department's obligation to handle a grade complaint is limited to a maximum of one term after the course in question.

ADJUDICATION PROCESS

1.  Within two weeks after the start of the following semester, the student should convey his or her concerns about the grade in writing to the instructor or professor who assigned the grade and request a meeting to discuss the matter. At this meeting, the instructor/professor should explain the basis upon which the grade was conferred and give the student an opportunity to point out any apparent errors or misjudgments. If the instructor conferring the grade is a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), the GSI should be consulted first. If agreement is not reached with the GSI, the student should then contact the faculty member in charge of the course. If the instructor/professor is not available to respond to the student’s concerns, then the student should proceed directly to step 2. It is expected that Step 1 will be completed by January 30th of the following year for a grade given in fall term or by September 30th for a grade given in spring, summer, or winter term. Only in extenuating circumstances will a grievance beyond this time frame be heard.

2.  In the event that the conference with the instructor does not resolve the difficulty,    the student should discuss the problem with the Director of the IS program, and should submit to him/her a letter detailing the nature of the complaint.  The Director of the IS Program shall solicit a response from the instructor and shall then determine whether any basis for a committee hearing exists.  If the Director of the IS Program is a party to the grievance, his/her role shall be assumed by the Director of the International Institute.

3.  If the Director of the IS Program concludes that there is no basis for a committee hearing, he/she will inform the student.  If the student is not satisfied with the explanation, he/she may still insist upon a committee hearing.

4.  If the basis for a formal hearing is found to exist in the review described in item 2,    or if the student insists upon a review in spite of the advice of the Director of the IS Program, the grievance shall be referred to an ad hoc review committee.

5.  The review committee shall consist of three persons to be appointed by the Director of the IS Program (or the Director of the International Institute, if the Director of the IS Program is a party to the grievance or if he/she has decided there is no basis for a formal hearing):  two faculty members and one student.  The student member of the review committee will be an undergraduate if the grievant is an undergraduate or a graduate student if the grievant is a graduate student.

6.  The review committee will submit a written summary of its findings and recommendations to the instructor and the Director of the International Studies Program.

7.  If the review committee concludes that the assigned grade should stand, the Director of the IS Program (or the Director of the International Institute) will inform the student in writing that the grade will not be changed, and that no further appeal within the International Studies Program is possible.

8.  If the review committee concludes that the instructor did not act fairly, properly or judiciously, the Director of the IS Program shall attempt to persuade the instructor to follow the recommendations of the committee.

9.  If the instructor refuses to change a grade in spite of the recommendations of the    review committee and the urgings of the Director of the IS Program, the instructor shall provide the student and the Director of the IS Program with a written explanation for his/her refusal to change the grade, and the Director of the IS Program shall provide the student with a written statement summarizing the procedures followed in processing the appeal, noting the recommendations of the review committee, adding his/her own evaluation of the review committee’s findings, and noting the refusal of the instructor to change the grade.  There is no appeal beyond the International Studies Program.

10.  These procedures describe the full appeal mechanism available in the International Studies Program to deal with grade grievances.  When these procedures have run their course, no further appeal within the Program is possible.

The only exception we envisage would be when the instructor is no longer at the University of Michigan. In that case a student may present a grievance to the committee without first discussing the conflict with the instructor. The committee will try to contact the instructor to elicit a response and arrive at a recommendation. If this attempt is unsuccessful, the Director of the International Studies Program may approve a grade change in consultation with the committee.

Judaic Studies Program

Updated and Approved March 2012

Preamble

The Program upholds the principle that the instructor in a course is always in the best position to determine the quality of students' work. The Program in Judaic Studies also has confidence in the qualifications and good judgment of its faculty. The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the Program is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a particular course.  Where it can be proven that a clerical error, a procedural fault, or a capricious or biased appraisal has resulted in the awarding of an unfair grade, the Program will do everything in its power to correct the error. It must be understood, however, that only the instructor of a course can determine the substantive value of a student's performance in that course and only the instructor can change the grade.

Furthermore, while the Program wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example, a grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued. Nor will minor imprecision in grading, such as between a B- and B, normally be considered an appropriate grievance.

Grievance Procedure

  1. A student who feels that he or she has been unfairly graded should first consult with the instructor of the course, in an effort to resolve the disagreement. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. 
  2. If the student is not satisfied by the explanation(s) offered by the instructor of the course, the student may submit to the Director of the Program a written appeal, citing the factors which bear explicitly upon the specific grievance. The grievance takes the form of a written statement, accompanied by relevant graded materials. The statement should detail the disagreements that remain after the discussion between the student and the instructor required above. These materials and the appeal should be submitted before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. Exceptions to this rule will be allowed only in extraordinary circumstances
  3. Upon receipt of these materials, the Director of the Program will appoint an ad hoc committee to review the appeal and will name its Chair. This committee will consist of the undergraduate or graduate advisor (depending upon the status of the student), one additional faculty member and one student chosen from the suitable peer group (undergraduate majors or graduate students).
  4. The Director of the Program will ask the instructor involved to respond to the appeal in writing no later than three weeks after the filing of the appeal with the Director. This response, together with the appeal and all relevant materials will be put into the hands of the committee.
  5. The committee will meet no later than one week after receiving all the aforementioned materials. Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing. 
  6. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; if the instructor chooses to attend he or she will be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Committee’s Recommendation

  1. The committee will then have ten University business days for deliberation. If it is the consensus of the committee that the grade awarded was unfair, the committee will inform the instructor of this opinion and suggest that the grade be changed. It will be possible to suggest a lower grade as well as a higher one. If the consensus is that the grade should not be changed, the committee will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The appeal procedure will terminate at this point.
  2. If the instructor involved is asked by the committee to change the grade and declines to do so, the grade will stand. However, in this case the Director of the Program or a representative will place a letter recording the decision of the grievance committee and the refusal of the faculty member to change the grade in the student's permanent academic record, unless the student requests this not be done.
  3. In the event that the instructor is no longer at the University of Michigan, a student may present a grievance to the Director of the program without first discussing the conflict with the instructor. The Director and the committee will make every effort to contact the instructor to elicit a response before arriving at a recommendation.
  4. If the Program declines to appoint a hearing committee, or if the instructor refuses to follow the Committee’s decision, the Director of the program will prepare a letter of recommendation, which the student could then opt to have retained by the LSA Office of Student Academic Affairs.

Linguistics Department

Updated October 2013

Approved August 2014

Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

1) Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance for a course for which Linguistics is the home department, the student should contact the Linguistics Undergraduate Chair before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

2) Formal complaint to the Linguistics Undergraduate Chair

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Undergraduate Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Undergraduate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Executive Committee.  If the Undergraduate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Undergraduate Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Linguistics Department Executive Committee will be set.

3) Grade Grievance Hearing

In advance of the formal hearing, both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Executive Committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

4) Executive Committee’s Recommendation

The Executive Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Undergraduate Chair. 

If the Executive Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Undergraduate Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Undergraduate Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Undergraduate Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Executive Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Undergraduate Chair will inform the student, in writing, of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Executive Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Undergraduate Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Mathematics Department

Grade Grievance Procedures for the Department of Mathematics
(August 2016)

The Department upholds the principle that the instructor in a course is always in the best position to determine the quality of students' work. The Department of Mathematics also has confidence in the qualifications and good judgment of its faculty. Nonetheless, where it can be proven that a clerical error, a procedural fault, or a capricious or biased appraisal has resulted in the awarding of an unfair grade, the Department will do everything in its power to correct the error. It must be understood, however, that only the instructor of a course can determine the substantive value of a student's performance in that course and only the instructor can change the grade.

Furthermore, while the Department wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grievance. For example a grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued. Nor will minor imprecision in grading, such as between a B– and a B, normally be considered an appropriate grievance.

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course.  “Lead instructor” is to be understood as the student’s classroom instructor, except in the case of the large multi-section courses math 105,115,116. For these courses the lead instructor is the course coordinator.  The initial inquiry into the accuracy of the grade should take place before the fifteenth University business day of the first full term (Fall or Winter) following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student should contact the Associate Chair for Education of the Mathematics Department. The appeal should be filed (a) by the end of the first eight weeks of classes of the first full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or (b) within eight weeks of the issuance of the grade received by making up a grade of "Incomplete." Requests to file complaints at later times will be considered in unusual circumstances.

The student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee. If the Associate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. In the case when the Associate Chair determines that sufficient evidence does exist, a two-step procedure will be followed:

Step 1

A discussion is held between the student and the instructor in the presence of the Associate Chair. If the discussion results in a mutually agreed resolution of the problem (i.e. retention of the current grade or change of grade), the Associate Chair will convey in writing the content of the agreed resolution to both instructor and student. If the problem is not resolved, Step 2 is taken.

Step 2

A review committee is appointed by the Associate Chair. The Committee will consist of the Associate Chair and

  • Two other recent instructors of the course in question. If the course was taught by a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), then one instructor should be a GSI and the other should be a faculty member, preferably a mentor in the case of a mentored course. 

  • Two students from the complainant’s peer group; the students ordinarily will have completed the course in question. 


The review committee meets together with the complainant and the instructor (if in residence). The Associate Chair chairs the review session. Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal 
hearing. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned. 


The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report. The Associate Chair has a vote only in the case of a tie. The recommendation may be for no change in grade or for a specified increase or decrease in grade. 


If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor. The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed. 


If the committee recommends a grade change, the Associate Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor. The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Chair will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter is considered closed. 


If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By LSA College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Associate Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student. The matter is considered closed. There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

see Biology Programs above

Near Eastern Studies Department

Updated March 2013

Approved August 2014

Instructors in the Department of Near Eastern Studies are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses. If the grading rubric has been used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade. However, students may inquire about a grade and, if they think that their grade has been assigned unfairly, they may subsequently initiate a grade grievance .

To appeal any grade, students must follow these steps:

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the course instructor.  In a multi-sectioned course, the inquiry should be made to the student’s GSI, who will then consult with the course’s faculty supervisor. This initial inquiry should take place no later than three weeks after the beginning of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Filing a Grievance

If, after this inquiry, the student disputes the instructor’s response regarding the student’s grade, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance. To start this process, the student should contact the Department Chair before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued, or within five weeks after the submission of a grade that replaces a grade of Incomplete.

To initiate a formal grievance, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the student’s argument that the grade was given in error or determined arbitrarily. This formal complaint should also summarize the outcome of the student’s initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating the matters that remain in dispute. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Chair will then ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the instructor determined the final grade, and responding to the student’s  specific claims.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Department Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Executive Committee.  If the Chair determines that there is no evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. If the Chair determines that the grievance can proceed, then a date will be set for a hearing with the Department Executive Committee.

Grade Grievance Hearing

The Department Executive Committee will receive the student’s written complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing; the student and the instructor will receive these documents as well. During the formal hearing, the student will be asked first to present the basis of his or her complaint. The instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e. the student, the instructor and the Executive Committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Executive Committee’s Recommendation

The Executive Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation.  If the Executive Committee decides there is no basis for a grade change, the Executive Committee Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor. The original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed. If the committee recommends a change in the grade—whether up or down—the instructor will be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Executive Committee Chair, indicating whether or not he or she will abide by the Executive Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Executive Committee Chair will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter will then be considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Executive Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Executive Committee Chair will convey this decision to the student in writing. The matter is then considered closed.

Organizational Studies Program

Updated and Approved July 2012

I. Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II. Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen (15) University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Organizational Studies Faculty Curriculum Coordinator of before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III. Formal complaint to OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene Organizational Studies Grade Grievance Committee.  If the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the OS Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the OS Director will empanel the appropriate OS Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties,    i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Program.

In the event that the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator is the instructor whose grade is being disputed, the Director of the Program will assume the role of the OS Faculty Curriculum Coordinator.

Philosophy Department including Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Updated and Approved February 2012

I.  Preamble

Instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is presumed to be the correct grade.  Because instructors are in the best position to determine the quality of student work, a grievance cannot be grounded on a mere disagreement with a grade, nor can it normally be based on the claim that one instructor’s grading standards are stricter than those of others.  For a grievance to be considered, a student must normally provide evidence that the grading has deviated from previously stated standards, or applied such standards inconsistently, or failed to take into full consideration all graded components of a course, or assigned a grade on a basis other than course performance.

II.  Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the fairness of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  The student must confer with the lead instructor to make sure that both parties are aware of all pertinent facts and to identify the issues in dispute. Both parties must engage in an open-minded discussion of these issues and try to reach a solution both regard as equitable.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Chair of Undergraduate Studies (CUS) of Philosophy before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued (or within five weeks after the submission of a grade replacing an Incomplete, if that time period lies within a full term).  The initial contact may involve a preliminary oral discussion of the basis of the student’s complaint.  If, after this discussion, the student still believes that a formal grade grievance is warranted, the student must proceed in writing.

III. Formal complaint to Chair of Undergraduate Studies (CUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. This formal complaint should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. The student should accompany this letter with any relevant graded materials and all written grading rubrics provided by the instructor during the term.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the CUS will provide this complaint to the instructor and ask the instructor to provide a written summary stating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  Normally the instructor will be expected to respond within two weeks.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the CUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Appeal Board.  If the CUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.   The CUS shall inform the student and instructor of this decision in writing.

If the CUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Appeal Board will be set in consultation with all parties.

IV.  Grade Grievance Hearing

The CUS shall convey all written materials to the Philosophy Department Grade Grievance Appeal Board.  For Undergraduates, the Board shall consist of the CUS, one other faculty member on that committee (appointed by the CUS), and one student, selected randomly from a group of volunteer undergraduate majors. For graduate students the Appeal Board will consist of the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, one other faculty member on that committee (appointed by the Committee chair), and one student, selected randomly from a group of volunteer Ph.D. students.  If the instructor in question is a member of the Appeal Board, then she/he will be excused and the relevant committee chair will appoint a substitute faculty member. The Appeal Board may, at its discretion, ask another faculty member to act as a consultant on the issue.

Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s written response in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance Appeal Board members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.

V.  Grade Grievance Appeal Board’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Appeal Board will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the CUS. 

If the Grade Grievance Appeal Board decides that a grade change is not warranted, the CUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the Appeal Board recommends a grade change, the CUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the CUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Appeal Board’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the CUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Appeal Board’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy (Faculty Code B 5.01), a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the primary instructor’s consent. [1] When this occurs, the CUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.  However, the Appeal Board may, at its discretion, prepare a letter setting forth its view of the instructor’s conduct and forward the letter to the Department Chair for inclusion in the instructor’s personnel file. The Board may also prepare a letter for the student; the student may request to have a copy of the letter retained by the Office of the Assistant Dean.

 

 

 

[1] An exception may occur when the instructor is no longer at the University of Michigan. In that case, if the CUS has been unable to elicit a response from the instructor, the CUS may approve a grade change in consultation with the Appeal Board and the Chair of the Department.

 

 

Physics Department

Updated and Approved March 2012

Instructors in the Physics Department are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  By College of LSA policy, assignment of final course grades rests solely with the instructor of record.  As such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.

If a student believes that his/her academic performance has been unfairly or improperly graded, the following appeal procedures may be followed.

Step 1.  Consultation with the Instructor

A discussion between the student and instructor of the course regarding the accuracy of the final grade should take place, preferably no later than fifteen (15) days after the grade is posted.

Step 2.  Formal grievance to Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies

If there is no resolution after this consultation, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.   The student should contact the Associate Chair for the Undergraduate Program (hereafter, AC) in Physics regarding the grade in question before the end of the fifth (5th) week of classes in the next full term in which the student is active following the term/course in question.

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. 

Upon receipt of the written complaint, the AC will ask the instructor to provide a written statement that responds to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the AC will determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene a departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  If the AC determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed and the original grade stands.  

Step 3.  Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the AC will set a hearing date and empanel an ad hoc departmental Grade Grievance Committee consisting of two other recent instructors of the course in question.   Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined for the class in general and this student in particular.  Following an open period of discussion among all parties, i.e., the student, instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Step 4.  Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten (10) University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the AC. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the AC will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the AC will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five (5) University business days to AC indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the instructor will enact this change and the matter will be considered closed.

If the instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed. 

In either outcome, the AC will convey in writing the decision to the student. 

Political Science Department

Updated and Approved February 2012

This document outlines procedures to be followed in cases of grade disputes between students taking undergraduate political science courses and their instructors.

Grading complaints should be referred initially to the faculty member who assigned the grade.  This initial inquiry must take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Every effort should be made to gain agreement between the student and the faculty member without further intervention. In extraordinary cases, where the issues cannot be resolved in this manner, a student may initiate formal grade grievance procedures. Departmental grievance procedures are intended to result in a recommendation, for or against change, to the appropriate faculty member. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member. A grade given by a Graduate Student Instructor may be changed by that instructor or by the faculty supervisor of the course.

A student may invoke the departmental grievance procedures within the first five weeks of classes of the first regular full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or within five weeks of the issuance of a grade removing an "Incomplete."

In cases where a student wishes to submit a grade complaint to grievance procedures, the following steps are to be followed in sequential order:

  1. The student may petition the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for a hearing before the Undergraduate Affairs Committee (UAC).  The student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating which aspects are in dispute. Within three weeks of receiving the petition the DUS will inform the student and the UAC whether an appeal will be heard.
  2. If the DUS allows the appeal to be heard, both parties to the dispute will be encouraged to participate. No additional persons will be permitted at the hearing without the advance approval of the hearing committee. If the Undergraduate Affairs Committee assents to the presence of any such persons, it will see to it that same privileges are extended to both sides.
  3. The Undergraduate Affairs Committee will arrive at a recommendation within ten days, suggesting what action (if any) it feels should be taken. Copies of the recommendation will be sent to the student, the instructor who assigned the contested grade, the course supervisor (if the former is a GSI), and the Department Chair.
  4. If the DUS declines to provide a hearing before the UAC, or if the student is dissatisfied with the Subcommittee's decision, any further appeal that the student may wish to pursue should be directed in writing to the departmental Executive Committee within two week of receiving notice of the above decisions.
  5. Per College policy, there is no appeal beyond the Department.
  6. In unusual circumstances, the time limits specified above may be extended by the Department Chair.

Program in the Environment

Updated and Approved August 2012

Preamble 

Normally students agree with an instructor's evaluation of their work. Nevertheless, there are instances when a student feels that his or her academic performance has been unfairly or improperly graded. Examples of unfair or improper grading include prejudice, capricious changes in the course requirements, and lack of uniformity in applied judgment. When these complaints arise, discussion and arbitration reviews can bring out the factual basis for the situation and ascertain if there is a wrong that should be righted. However, such review is not intended to dispute the instructor's right to make his or her own evaluation of a student's work.

The following procedures have been established by the Program in the Environment (hereafter, the Program) in compliance with Section A.2.05 of the Faculty Code in order to deal efficiently with student complaints regarding alleged unfair or improper grading.

Appeal Structure 

1. A) The student must communicate with the instructor of the course in question, in writing within 15 working days after the posting of final grades, stating his/her reasons for requesting a change in grade. 

1. B) The instructor must reply promptly (within 15 working days). She/he must reply in writing that is dated, stating his/her reasons for the assignment of the grade in question.

1. C) A student's complaint will be considered for review by the Program only after the student and his or her instructor have discussed the matter together as described in 1A & B.

2.  If a student is unable to obtain resolution of an alleged unfair or improper grade through discussions with his or her instructor, the student may seek redress by filing a written complaint with the Program Associate Director. The written complaint must be made within seven working days after the student receives the explanation by the instructor stating his/her reasons for the assignment of the grade in question. If the Program Associate Director is included in an appeal, the Associate Director will delegate administering the subsequent appeals process to the Director. 

3. A) The Associate Director or the Director of the Program will appoint a Review Committee on Grading Appeals (hereafter, Review Committee). The Review Committee shall consist of at least three members. It shall be chaired by the Associate Director or the Director of the Program. The remaining two members shall be named ad hoc for each case that arises; one shall be chosen from among the current members of the Program’s Advisory Committee or faculty with at least a 25% appointment in PitE, and the other shall be a peer representative. The peer representative shall be an undergraduate selected by the Review Committee Chair from among students in the Program volunteering to serve on a panel from which Review Committee members would be chosen when needed.. If there are no student volunteers or panel members available, a representative will be selected by the Associate Director or the Director of the Program.

3. B) Initial arrangements regarding time and place for any meetings with the Review Committee and the instructor and/or student may be made by telephone or in person, but the Chair of the Review Committee shall confirm such understandings in writing.

3. C) Meetings with the Review Committee and the instructor and/or student shall be held at a time convenient for all parties concerned.

3. D) The Review Committee will have the final responsibility for promptly initiating and conducting an adequate investigation of student complaints regarding alleged unfair or improper grading.

4.  At the discretion of the Chair of the Review Committee, an informal meeting may be held between an arbitrator appointed by the Chair and the two concerned parties in order to seek resolution of their differences of opinion. If the differences cannot be resolved in this manner, or if the Review Committee Chair believes the allegations are of a more serious nature, the Chair may proceed with a formal review by the whole Review Committee. 

5. A) The Chair of the Review Committee will notify the student and instructor of the date and time of the formal hearing in writing at least two weeks before the hearing date. The student and instructor will be provided an opportunity to submit supportive documentation for review by the Review Committee. The Review Committee will provide each party with copies of all documents that it has received at least 3 business days before the formal hearing. 

5. B) For a formal review, all available course work should be available to the student, instructor, and members of the Review Committee. The student is responsible for presenting work which was turned back to him/ her.

5. C) At any meeting held before the Review Committee, both the student and the instructor shall appear at the same time.

5. D) The student has the burden of establishing that the grade that he/she received was inappropriate.

6.  If the Review Committee finds that the Instructor has not acted fairly or properly, it should attempt to persuade the instructor to change the grade. Should this attempt prove unsuccessful, the committee may at its discretion prepare a letter setting forth its view of the instructors conduct and forward the letter as a matter of record to the LSA Dean’s office noting the instructor refused to change the grade.   The letter will be filed with the LSA Dean’s office, with a copy for the instructors file.

7.  The Review Committee will notify the student and instructor in writing of its decision, within five business days of the hearing. The decisions of the Review Committee with regard to the validity of the grade grievance and any appropriate remedy are final. 

8.  A report stating what procedures were followed and what decision were reached will be sent to the LSA Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs within five business days after the conclusion of the review process. 

Psychology Department

Updated and Approved February 2012

Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (ACUS) or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) of the home department of the course in question before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  In Psychology, students need to contact the Student Academic Affairs Office, 1343 East Hall, psych.saa@umich.edu.

Formal complaint to Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies (ACUS) or Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the ACUS/DUS will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the ACUS/DUS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the ACUS/DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the ACUS/DUS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the ACUS/DUS will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the ACUS/DUS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the ACUS/DUS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the ACUS/DUS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the ACUS/DUS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the ACUS/DUS will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the ACUS/DUS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Residential College

Approved August 2012

I. Preamble

Within the Residential College (RC) in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.  The guidelines below shall serve to advise students in RC classes, faculty, and administration as to RC grade grievance procedures.

II. Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the RC course. The student’s initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the RC Director of Academic Services (currently Jennifer Myers,jeniferm@umich.edu). 

III. Formal complaint to the RC Director of Academic Services (RCDAS)

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Director of Academic Services will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the RCDAS will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the RCDAS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the RCDAS determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the RCDAS will empanel the RC Grade Grievance Committee – comprised of the Director of Academic Services (ex officio), an advisor from the Board on Academic Standing, an outside faculty member, the Residential College Director, the program head of the course in question, and, if possible 1 or 2 students who have taken the course, chosen at random.   Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the RCDAS. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the RCDAS will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the RCDAS will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the RCDAS indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the RCDAS will, in writing, inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the RCDAS will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.

Once this procedure has been exhausted, there is no other appeal procedure in the Residential College or in the College of LSA or at the University of Michigan at large.

Romance Languages and Literatures Department

(Revised July 1992)

Any student in a course offered by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures has the right to file a grievance against a grade he/she believes to be unfair. Grievances must be based on substantive grounds; merely disagreeing with the grade does not constitute grounds for a grievance. Grievances must be filed with the Department no later than the end of the sixth week of the first Fall or Winter Term in which the students is enrolled on the Ann Arbor campus following the term in which the disputed grade was assigned. Students wishing to invoke the departmental grade grievance procedure must take the following steps.

The student must confer with his/her instructor (and with the course supervisor in the case of multi-sectioned language courses) in an attempt to resolve the conflict. The Grade Grievance Officer will not pursue any grievance in which this step has not been taken. This requirement will be waived for upper-division and graduate courses taught by instructors who are not on campus during the term in which the grievance is filed or who are no longer employed by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.

If this first step fails to resolve the complaint, the student must write a letter to the Department Grade Grievance Officer in which the objections to the assigned grade are detailed. This letter will form the basis for the Grade Grievance Officer's investigation of the complaint. The faculty member against whom the complaint has been lodged will be shown the letter and will have the opportunity to respond. The student must be prepared to make available to the Grade Grievance Officer any written work from the course if requested. If the Grade Grievance Officer feels that the evidence presented points to possible unfairness on the part of the instructor, he/she will convene a Grade Grievance Hearing Committee, which will consist of the Grade Grievance Officer and one member of the departmental Executive Committee.

The decision of the Grade Grievance Officer or the Grade Grievance Committee can be appealed to the Department Chair. The appeal must be based on concrete objections to the procedures employed in the original grievance hearing or on the existence of substantial new and relevant evidence. Disagreement with the original decision does not by itself constitute sufficient grounds for appeal. All appeals must be filed in writing no later than two weeks after receipt of the written decision of the Grade Grievance Officer.

Screen Arts and Cultures Department

Updated and Approved September 2012

Preamble

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance within the Department of Screen Arts and Cultures, the student should contact the department’s  Associate Chair before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Formal complaint to Associate Chair

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Associate Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Associate Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Associate Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands. 

If the Associate Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Associate Chair will empanel the appropriate Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Associate Chair. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Associate Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Chair will, in writing, inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Associate Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Slavic Languages and Literatures Department

I. Preamble

It is the intent of the Slavic Department that all instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their courses.  Grading criteria are applied evenly and consistently for all students in a course and the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

II. Consultation with Instructor

A student who believes that an unfair grade has been given to him/her in a particular course should consult with the course instructor within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If this meeting fails to resolve the issue satisfactorily, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Department Chair before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

III. Formal complaint to Department Chair

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Department Chair will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Department Chair will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the Department’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Department Chair determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Department Chair determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with a Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Department Chair will empanel a Departmental Grade Grievance Committee.  The Grade Grievance Committee will be comprised of the Chair, two members of the Department Executive Committee, and two other students from the course (graduate or undergraduate, depending upon the level of the complaining student), selected by the student.  In advance of the formal hearing, both the student filing the grade grievance and the instructor in question will be provided with copies of the written student complaint, the instructor’s response statement and all coursework for which grades are being disputed.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report.  The report submitted must be approved by a majority of those voting, with the Chair’s vote as a tie-breaker, if necessary.

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Department Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter will be considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Department Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Department Chair indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Department Chair will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter will be then considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Department Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter will be considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

Sociology Department

I. Preamble 

The Department of Sociology believes that an instructor is in the best position to determine the quality of a student’s work in their course. The department also has confidence in the qualifications and good judgment of its faculty. Nevertheless, there are instances when a student feels that his or her academic performance has been unfairly or improperly graded. When such charges arise, discussion and arbitration can help ascertain if there is a wrong which should be righted. However, it is ultimately only the course instructor who can determine the substantive value of a student’s performance in that course, and only the instructor can change the grade.

To submit a grade grievance, the student must make the case that the grade received was unjust and substantially different from the grade that was justified. The difference between an A- and a B+ is not, for example, a substantial difference. Dissatisfaction with a grade alone is not sufficient for a grade grievance nor will appeals be heard where a student has not attended class regularly or turned in all required work.

A grade grievance is available only for review of alleged capricious grading, not an instructor’s judgment in assessing the quality of a student’s work. Capricious grading includes any of the following: the assignment of a grade to a particular student on some basis other than course performance; the assignment of a grade to a particular student by more exacting or demanding standards than were applied to other students in that course; or the assignment of a grade by a substantial departure from the instructor’s previously announced standards. A change in course or examination requirements that applies equally to all students is not grounds for an individual student’s grievance. 

II. Consultation with Instructor 

The first step in inquiring about the fairness of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance. To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the department’s undergraduate program director before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. 

III. Formal Complaint to Undergraduate Program Director 

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade was unfairly determined. This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute. The student should also submit all papers and examinations written for the course to which the student has access. Upon receipt of the written complaint and within three weeks, the undergraduate program director will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the undergraduate program director will then determine if sufficient evidence exists for a grade grievance.

If the undergraduate program director determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.

If the undergraduate program director determines that the grade grievance should proceed, he/she will convene an ad hoc committee (hereafter the Grade Grievance Committee) and set a date for a formal hearing. The hearing should be scheduled within two weeks of the Committee’s receipt of materials from the student and instructor. This committee will consist of the department chair, two additional faculty members, the undergraduate department advisor, and two sociology majors chosen by the undergraduate director. 

IV. Grade Grievance Hearing

Before the formal hearing the undergraduate program director will supply both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary. During the hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined. Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance Committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.

V. Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation 

The Grade Grievance Committee will have ten University business days from the date of the hearing to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the undergraduate program director.

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the undergraduate program director will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor. The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.

If the committee recommends a grade change, the undergraduate program director will communicate that decision directly to the instructor. The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the undergraduate program director indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the undergraduate program director will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed. The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand. By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the undergraduate program director will convey in writing this decision to the student. The matter is considered closed. There is no appeal beyond the department.

Statistics Department

Updated and Approved August 2012

I. Preamble

The Department of Statistics sets high standards for students and maintains a high standard of fairness in grading.  Problem sets can often be measured against model solutions with little ambiguity as to the correct score. With open ended or writing-focused assignments, grading standards are articulated in assignment sheets and, where appropriate, in grading rubrics. When these standards are consistently applied throughout a course, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.

Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given. 

II. Consultation with Instructor

The student’s first recourse is to contact the instructor assigning the grade. Any student who believes a final grade is unfair must meet with the instructor of the course (a) by the end of the first six weeks of classes of the first regular term (Fall or Winter) following completion of the course, or (b) within six weeks of the issuance of a grade received by making up a grade of "incomplete". Grade appeals at later times will be considered only in extraordinary circumstances.  If the instructor of the course is no longer employed at the University, however, the student may bypass this step and immediately initiate a formal complaint.

III. Formal Complaint to Department Chair

If the outcome of the instructor consultation is not satisfactory to the student, he or she can make a formal complaint. The complaint should take the form of a letter describing the student’s grievance and presenting specific evidence that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined. Relevant graded work and assignment sheets may be included as appendices. The letter should also summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry with the course instructor and indicate what aspects of the grievance remain in dispute.

The letter should be addressed to the Chair of the home department of the course in question, and must be delivered within two weeks of the student’s consultation with the instructor or, if the instructor indicates during the consultation that she or he will convey a decision afterwards, within two weeks of the instructor's communicating her or his response to the student. (If the student waits more than two weeks without receiving the instructor's response, he or she can initiate a formal complaint before hearing from the instructor, and has an additional three weeks within which to do so.)  If the letter or accompanying appendices are delivered in paper form, the student should also notify its intended recipient of its delivery by e-mail.

If the instructor is the Chair, the formal complaint should be submitted to the Associate Chair, who will oversee the steps in IV.

IV. Department Review of Grade

Timely receipt of a letter of complaint initiates a formal peer review, administered by a Grade Review Committee appointed by the Chair.  The Grade Review Committee may, at its discretion: (a) issue a recommendation upon its review of the complaint; or (b) solicit a response from the instructor and upon receipt of the response issue a recommendation to the Department Chair. 

If the Grade Review Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Chair will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.   

If the Grade Review Committee recommends a grade change, the Chair will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will consider the recommendation and make a final decision.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Chair will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If the instructor does not accept the Grade Review Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent.  When this occurs, the Chair will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the Department.

The student can expect a final decision within three month of filing a letter of complaint.

Sweetland Center for Writing

Updated and Approved August 2012

Two principles should be clearly understood as part of the context of any grade grievance:

  1. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member (Faculty Code B 5.01). Sweetland’s grade grievance procedures are intended to result in a recommendation, for or against a change, to the appropriate faculty member.
  2. While Sweetland wishes to see demonstrably unfair grades rectified, it will not automatically invoke the full procedure described below for every grade grievance. For example, a grade grievance based on the argument that one instructor's grading standards are stricter than those of others will normally not be pursued.

When a student believes a grade is unfair and wishes to invoke the Sweetland grade grievance procedure, these steps are to be followed:

1.    Meet with the Instructor

The student should first confer with her/his instructor within the first 15 University business days of the first full term (i.e. Fall or Winter) following the term in which the disputed grade was issued to make sure that both are aware of all the pertinent facts and to identify the issues that are in dispute. For example, if a student is challenging a grade received in winter term 2012, the student must meet with the instructor before the end of the fifth week of fall term 2012.

2.    Write an appeal to the Associate Director

If the first step does not lead to a resolution, the student should then write a letter to Naomi Silver, Associate Director of Sweetland, detailing her/his objections and send it with both clean copies and original graded copies of all her/his written work for the course, and any other relevant work (e.g., new media assignments), to Molly Bancroft, Sweetland Center for Writing, 1310 North Quad, 1285 or mollyjb@umich.edu.  These materials must be received before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued. 

3.    Sweetland’s Associate Director requests written response from the Instructor

Upon receipt of the written grade grievance, the Associate Director will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.

4.    Sweetland’s Associate Director reviews materials

If the Associate Director determines there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is closed and the original grade stands.

If the Associate Director determines that the objections presented by the student point to possible unfairness, she will recommend to the Director of the Sweetland Center for Writing that a Grade Grievance Committee be appointed. Such a committee normally will consist of the Associate Director, at least one other faculty member, and at least one undergraduate.

5.    Hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee, when necessary

Within two weeks of the appointment of the Grade Grievance Committee, the committee will arrange a hearing at which both parties to the dispute will be asked to appear. No additional persons will be permitted at the hearing without the advance approval of the committee, which, if it agrees to such persons, will see to it that the same privileges are extended to both sides. Prior to this hearing, both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary.

The purpose of the hearing will be to allow the committee to inform itself as fully as possible. The student will first be asked to present the basis of her/his complaint, the instructor will then be asked to explain how grades were determined, followed by an open period for questions to all parties.

6.    Grade Grievance Committee Decisions

After the hearing, the Grade Grievance Committee will have ten University business days to arrive at a recommendation.

If the committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Associate Director will inform the student and the instructor in writing and the matter is considered closed.

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Associate Director will inform the instructor. The instructor will be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Associate Director indicating whether or not she/he will abide by the recommendation from the committee. If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Associate Director will inform the student in writing of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final grade will be changed.

If the instructor does not accept the recommendation to change the grade, the original grade stands.  The Associate Director will inform the student in writing of this decision and the matter is considered closed. 

University Courses

Updated and Approved August 2012

Within the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, instructors are expected to set fair and consistent grading procedures for their respective courses.  The key to implementing fair grading procedures in courses across the College is that individual instructors adhere to grading rubrics that are applied evenly and consistently to all students within a respective course.  If the grading rubric is used consistently for each student, then the final grade is assumed to be the correct grade.   Nevertheless, students can inquire about a grade and subsequently initiate a grade grievance when they think that the grade was unfairly given.

The University Courses Division is a unit of the Office of the LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education. Students who want to inquire about the accuracy of their final grade in UC courses should pursue the following steps:

Consultation with Instructor

The first step in inquiring about the accuracy of a final grade should be directed to the lead instructor of the course. This initial inquiry should take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.  If, after this inquiry, the student is not satisfied with the instructor’s response, the student may choose to initiate a formal grade grievance.  To initiate a formal grade grievance, the student should contact the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education before the end of the fifth week of classes in the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Formal complaint to the Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education

To initiate the formal grade grievance process, the student must convey in writing the basis for the complaint, with specific evidence in support of the argument that the grade either was given in error or was unfairly determined.  This formal complaint also should summarize the outcome of the initial inquiry to the course instructor, indicating what aspects are in dispute.  Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Assistant Dean will ask the instructor to provide a written summary restating how the final grade was determined and to respond to the specific claims made by the student.  

After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Assistant Dean will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene the UC Division’s Grade Grievance Committee.  If the Assistant Dean determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.  

If the Assistant Dean determines that the grade grievance should proceed, a date for a formal hearing with the Grade Grievance Committee will be set. 

Grade Grievance Hearing

Once it has been determined that a formal hearing will be held, the Assistant Dean will empanel the appropriate University Courses Division Grade Grievance Committee.  Both the student filing the grade grievance and the respective instructor will be provided with copies of the written student complaint and the instructor’s summary in advance of the formal hearing.  During the formal hearing, the student will be asked to first present the basis of his or her complaint; the instructor will then be asked to present his or her explanation for how grades were determined.   Following an open period of questions to all parties, i.e., the student, the instructor and the Grade Grievance committee members, the formal hearing will be adjourned.  

Grade Grievance Committee’s Recommendation

The Grade Grievance Committee will then have ten University business days to determine its recommendation and submit a written report to the Assistant Dean. 

If the Grade Grievance Committee decides that a grade change is not warranted, the Assistant Dean will convey this in writing to the student and the instructor.  The original grade will stand and the matter is considered closed.  

If the committee recommends a grade change, the Assistant Dean will communicate that decision directly to the instructor.  The instructor will then be asked to respond in writing within five University business days to the Assistant Dean indicating whether or not he/she will abide by the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation.  If the instructor agrees to a grade change, the Assistant Dean will in writing inform the student of the instructor’s decision and the student’s final course grade will be changed.  The matter is considered closed.

If an instructor does not accept the Grade Grievance Committee’s recommendation to change the final grade, the original grade will stand.  By College policy, a final course grade rests solely with the instructor and, as such, a course grade cannot be changed without the instructor’s consent. When this occurs, the Assistant Dean will convey in writing this decision to the student.  The matter is considered closed.  There is no appeal beyond the University Courses Division.

Women's Studies Department

Instructors have the responsibility and authority to assign grades to students in

their courses. While instructors may have different standards in grading, grading should

not be capricious or biased, but reflect the standards operative in the course. This

document outlines the procedure to follow if a student in a Women’s Studies course

disputes a grade.

I. Required Informal Process

  1. Students are required to present the dispute to the instructor and obtain a response. While the process may begin with a GSI, the student must have had a meeting or other communication with the instructor before moving proceeding to the next step.
  2. If the grievance is against the department Chair or the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) in her capacity as an instructor, another faculty member shall be designated to handle the grievance.     
  3. If the student and the instructor are unable to resolve the complaint they must meet with the Women’s Studies Department Director of Undergraduate Studies or designate and discuss the complaint. The DUS or designate shall mediate between the student and the instructor, either via email or in person, and resolve the matter if possible. If mediation is not successful, the student may file a formal grade grievance with the Women’s Studies Department.      

II. Formal Grade Grievance Process

  1. Students may not begin the formal grievance process until a final grade has actually been assigned in a course.
  2. The student may decide to drop the grievance at any time in the process.
  3. All proceedings of the grade grievance process will be treated as strictly confidential by all concerned.
  4. The formal grievance process begins with a written complaint from the student, which must be filed with the instructor and the Women’s Studies Department office within a month after receipt of the grade or a month into the following full term. The written complaint must explain the student’s reasons for requesting a change in grade.
  5. The instructor must reply in writing within three weeks of receipt of the complaint and file the reply in the Department Office. If the instructor is on leave or away from campus, all reasonable attempts should be made to contact her/him. If the instructor is off campus the director may solicit a letter from her/him, in which s/he describes his/her position. This letter must state reasons for the assignment of the grade in question.
  6. After receiving this information from both the student and the instructor, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) will then determine if sufficient evidence exists to convene a formal review by a departmental committee. If the DUS determines that there is insufficient evidence for the grade grievance, the matter is considered closed, and the original grade stands.
  7. If there is sufficient evidence to proceed, the DUS will then promptly arrange a formal review. The review committee will be drawn from the Women’s Studies Executive Committee and will include two student representatives, two instructors, and the DUS or designate. Alternates may be chosen at the discretion of the Director of Undergraduate Studies. An effort will be made to ensure that the review committee is fair in the eyes of both parties. The committee should not include students in the class in question or a class currently taught by the instructor. At least one person at the same level as the complainant (undergraduate or graduate student) should be on the committee.
  8. The Director of Undergraduate Studies shall schedule the hearing in consultation with the student and set a date and time agreeable to all. Alternates may be used for the student and instructor representatives if any of them are unable to attend.Hearings may be rescheduled for emergencies or other critical scheduling problems only. If a student complainant does not appear for the hearing on the scheduled date and there is no such reason for rescheduling, the hearing will not be rescheduled.
  9. Should the departmental review take place during the summer months and student representatives are not available, the student placing the grievance has the option of waiving the presence of student representatives at their level or of asking that the committee wait until the fall term when students are available.
  10. The Director of Undergraduate Studies or designate will chair the hearing.
  11. Only the grievance stated in the written complaint will be considered by the grade grievance committee.
  12. The instructor and the student should appear before the committee at the same time. They will each present an oral statement in addition to the written statement. Committee members may ask questions of both. The student and faculty member will each be allowed one rebuttal after the complete statement of the other is given. Each may call a reasonable number of witnesses who may make brief statements after the oral statement of the person they are supporting. Witnesses must leave the hearing after they make their statement. Advisors or counselors may not be present for either party.
  13. All disputed course work and correspondence will be made available to the complainant, the instructor, and members of the review hearing. It is the student’s responsibility to produce the original copy of all disputed course work. If the original work has not been returned to the student, it is the responsibility of the instructor to produce the original work. In addition, it is the responsibility of the instructor to produce all grading records and grading policies. The committee is free to hear any evidence that will help them decide the grievance. The committee may call for other evidence as it pertains to the case.
  14. The sole ground for disputing a grade within the Women’s Studies Department is that it reflects inequitable conduct on the part of the instructor of the course. The grade grievance panel is tasked solely with deciding whether the instructor displayed inequitable conduct in the situation presented.
  15. If the committee determines that the instructor has displayed inequitable conduct, it should issue a written recommendation to the instructor to change the grade.
  16. If the instructor refuses, the review committee will prepare a letter setting forth its view to be entered in the student’s file.
  17. If the review committee finds that the instructor has not displayed inequitable conduct, then the grade stands.
  18. A faculty member on the committee shall communicate the decision to the student and the instructor separately at the end of the proceedings.