Appealing Academic Complaint Decisions

The Graduate Student Handbook details acceptable grounds and processes for student academic complaints. Expectations and criteria must be faithful to the catalog descriptions of the course and clearly stated in the course syllabus, outline, or individual study agreement, and the faculty member is responsible to correct clerical errors as they occur. The student’s first place of complaint is the to faculty member. Student appears of faculty decisions must be in writing; the intent is always to resolve the appeal at the most immediate level; and academic appeals are allowed only on grounds of unfair treatment against the stated standards, not against the professional judgment of the faculty member.

levels of appeal

For appeals on academic decisions such as grades on course activities, evaluations, course grades, and decisions on program admissions, the levels to be followed in order are:

  1. Faculty member(s) at the course level
  2. Department Chair (if applicable)
  3. Dean (Graduate Director first if graduate student)
  4. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  5. Provost

Academic petitions regarding general University matters such as decisions on graduation requirements or other Catalog academic regulations may be made in the following order:

  1. Office of Student Academic Services (Graduate Director if graduate student)
  2. The Curriculum Committee
  3. Dean
  4. Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  5. Provost

The decision of the Provost in any student appeal shall be final.

acceptable evidence

Most academic complaints will be resolved at the level of conference between the student and the faculty member. In the exceptional case when the student appeals a decision, the complaint must be in writing. Before a judgment of error is made against the faculty member, the faculty member will be informed of the appeal and given opportunity to respond. Recollections of advice and agreements can be undependable and may reflect what the individual intended or expected, rather than what actually transpired; therefore, formal evaluations from a class, course syllabi or assignment sheets, the University catalog, or other forms of written documentation to which both the student and the faculty member had access at the time, will be the most acceptable evidence for a student academic appeal.