Below outlines the procedure for redress of a student grievance concerning academic and instructional matters 1.
Please note that appeals for decisions in the following areas are guided by separate appeal or grievance policies and procedures: Affirmative Action, Academic Honesty, Student Life, and Financial Responsibility.
Step 1: Informal Procedure
Students should first contact the instructor with the appropriate concern. Every effort shall be made to resolve the issue between the student and instructor through this informal procedure.
If the issue is not resolved through the informal process, the student may begin the formal department grievance process.
Step 2: Formal Department Grievance Procedure
Prior to initiating the formal grievance process at the departmental level, the grieving student may seek advice from the department by consulting with the Director of Graduate Studies (if grievant is a graduate student) or Director of Undergraduate Studies (if grievant is an undergraduate student). In the case the grievance involves the director themselves, the Department Chair shall be contacted instead.
A student with a justifiable grievance that can be substantiated should initiate the formal department grievance process during the academic term when the concern arises or within 90 calendar days of the posting of final grades for the course, regardless of the student’s enrollment status.
- Description of the grievance
- Informal steps already taken and the outcome of the informal process
- Desired resolution to the grievance
- Optionally, students may include supporting documentation
The department will notify the faculty member, if appropriate, through the Department Chairperson or another faculty member designated by the Department and a copy of the grievance form will be given to the faculty member.
The designee of the Department may form an ad-hoc committee to hear the complaint. This ad-hoc committee will be composed of two faculty members and one student from the Department. The ad-hoc committee will review the evidence presented and meet with the grievant and the faculty member as needed to seek additional information and evidence. In addition, the ad-hoc committee may seek testimony from individuals involved in the case. Such individuals will be contacted to set a time, place, and date for their testimony to be given. No formal record of the proceedings need be kept. Normally, the ad-hoc committee shall complete its work within thirty calendar days of the filing of a grievance unless extenuating circumstances make this deadline impossible to meet.
A brief, written summary of the findings of the ad-hoc committee and their recommendations will be provided to the Department Chair upon completion of the committee’s work. The Department Chair will make a final decision which shall be binding on both the department and the student, and shall notify the grievant and the department in writing within ten calendar days from the receipt of the committee’s report.
Step 3: Formal College Grievance Procedure
Undergraduate Students: students not satisfied with the outcome of the department decision may appeal to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM). The student must file written notice of a formal grievance with the NSM Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs within fifteen calendar days from the receipt of the departmental decision regarding the grievance. Details of the NSM procedures can be found in the NSM section of the Undergraduate Catalog.
Graduate Students: if the departmental grievance procedures do not resolve the grievance, the graduate student may petition the college for redress of the grievance. The student must file written notice of a formal grievance with the NSM Associate Dean for Graduate Studies within ten calendar days from the receipt of the departmental decision regarding the grievance. Details of the NSM procedures can be found in the Graduate section of the Graduate Catalog and NSM website.
Step 4: University Grievance Procedure
Undergraduate Students: if the student is unsatisfied with the college-level decision, the student may appeal their case at the university-level. This appeal must be filed within ten calendar days of the receipt of the college decision.
Graduate Students: if the student is unsatisfied with the college-level decision, the student may appeal for a university-level review which is under the purview of the Vice Provost/Dean of The Graduate School. This appeal must be in writing explaining the party’s position, and filed with The Graduate School within 30 calendar days of the final disposition at the college level. Details of the university-level grievance procedures can be found in the Policies section of the Graduate Catalog.1 Because assigning a grade or evaluating a student’s academic performance involves the faculty’s professional judgment and is an integral part of the faculty’s teaching responsibilities, disagreement with an instructor concerning a grade or evaluation is not a justifiable grievance under this policy. In cases where such is in question, the faculty member shall be responsible for the assignment of grades, unless a violation of university, college, or department academic policies or procedures can be shown to have affected that grade or evaluation.