as described above), the student desiring to proceed with a formal appeal shall present in writing the reasons on which the appeal is based, together with any and all supporting documents. Such appeal shall be addressed to the Faculty Grade Appeals Committee and personally delivered to the head of the department in which the course in question is offered. Check the UTC web site or departmental office for the required form.
Upon receipt of a formal appeal, the head of the department (or the dean, if the department head is the faculty member whose grade is being appealed) involved shall notify the faculty member who awarded the grade and shall immediately appoint two members of the department faculty to serve as observers at the appeals hearing and as informational resources for the Faculty Grade Appeals Committee. The head shall forward those names, and the written appeal, together with all relevant material and information concerning the case, to the dean of the college or school. The dean shall then meet with the student to counsel the student and discuss the appeals process. If the student wishes to continue with his or her appeal the dean, with the cooperation of the Committee chair, will call, as soon as possible, a meeting of the Faculty Grade Appeals Committee.
The Faculty Grade Appeals Committee shall consist of three (3) faculty members and two (2) alternate faculty members (who can be called on if one of the three regular members is unavailable or is in the same department as the appealing student) elected annually by the Faculty Senate. In addition, two (2) faculty members shall be selected at the time of an appeal by the head of the department (or dean of the appropriate college) in which the appealed course is offered to serve as observers at the appeals hearing and as informational resources for the Committee. These faculty are invited to answer questions asked them of the Committee, but otherwise are observers only, and will be excused before deliberations begin. The student may also invite up to two observers, but they are to be observers only. The dean of the academic unit involved shall convene the meeting but the Committee chair shall run the hearing. Should the dean be the course professor involved in the appeal, the Provost will serve in place of the dean. The dean shall not vote on an appeal except in cases of a tie vote. A quorum for this committee will consist of three (3) members of the Grade Appeals Committee.
C. Responsibilities of the Committee, Department Head and Dean
- The responsibility of the Grade Appeals Committee is to hear undergraduate student appeals whenever students feel that their rights have been seriously jeopardized by way of unfair, arbitrary, or malicious exercise of faculty grading prerogatives and desire to appeal the grade. The committee reviews grades after a student who is appealing has followed the current published procedures.
- As soon as possible after the complete appeal is received in the Dean’s office, the dean shall inquire of the student and the faculty member involved whether either desires a hearing before the committee. If no hearing is requested within 5 business days, the committee shall determine the appeal and issue its ruling on the basis of the record. If either party requests a hearing within 5 business days, such a hearing shall be held within 10 working days of the request, at which time both the student and the faculty member shall be afforded the opportunity to present further evidence. Within five working days after the hearing, the committee shall, on the basis of all the material before it, determine the appeal and issue its ruling as it deems appropriate, either upholding the grade or requesting the faculty member to change it accordingly. As soon as possible after this ruling is made, the Dean (or Provost, if appropriate) shall notify the faculty member and the student about the Committee’s ruling, by email and hard copy. Either party shall have the right to appeal the committee's decision to the Chancellor of the University.
D. Grade Appeals Committee Guidelines
If a student appeals a grade to the Grade Appeals Committee, the following guidelines will be used in he appeal process:
- The burden of proof in the appeal lies with the student. Instructors should maintain, however, documents related to the assignment of grades for a period of at least one semester to facilitate the investigation of improperly assigned grades. If requested, instructors shall make copies of all relevant documents available to the student, following FERPA guidelines. If the student requests the hearing but fails to appear at the hearing without sufficient cause the grade appeal will be denied and cannot be refiled.
- Grade appeals may be warranted in the case of deviations from the syllabus. This constraint should not be interpreted to mean that instructors may not change grading criteria during the course of the semester, as long as all students in the class are notified of these changes in a timely manner. Events may necessitate such changes.
- Grade appeals should never be based upon a student’s individual needs or circumstances; students do not have the right to appeal a grade because of their health, anxiety, family circumstances or other such circumstances. Grades should only be based upon student performance.
- Instructors have a right to set standards for a course consistent with department parameters including the number and types of exams, amount of outside work required, attendance policies, class discussion requirements, exam time limits or any other grading criteria. It is the responsibility of the instructor to clearly outline these standards in the syllabus. Students may not use the issue of an instructor’s standards (e.g., “an instructor was too hard”) as the basis for a grade appeal.
- Students may not use the grade appeal procedure as a bargaining mechanism. Grade change recommendations will be based on already completed course work.
- Student claims of unjust assignment of grades based upon the perception that an instructor did not like or was biased against the student must still stand the burden of objective proof. If proof can be provided that the instructor was biased or disliked a student, then the possibility of arbitrary or capricious assignment of grades may result in a successful appeal.
- The outcome of a grade appeal is a recommendation only. If the Grade Appeal Committee finds with the student, the instructor may request the committee to explain its decision in writing. If the instructor refuses to change the grade, a copy of the committee’s rationale shall be provided to all administrators who are part of the appeals process. The student may appeal to the Chancellor.