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. Departmental grievance procedures are intended to issue in a recommendation, for or against a change, to the appropriate faculty member.
- 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.
When a student believes a grade is unfair and wishes to invoke the departmental grievance procedures, these steps are to be followed:
- 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.
- If the first step does not lead to a resolution, the student should then write a letter detailing his/her objections and send it with all the written work for the course to the department's grade grievance officer. Any grievance must be filed within the first eight weeks of classes of the first regular full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or within eight weeks of the issuance of a grade removing an Incomplete.
- The grade grievance officer will invite the instructor to reply in writing to the objections of 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). 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. After considering the case, the DUS will make a recommendation to all parties.
- If the recommendation that the Director of Undergraduate Studies submits is not satisfactory to the student, the student can then register his or her concern at the College level. All cases at this level are reviewed by Dr. Esrold Nurse, Assistant Dean for Academic Services, located in 1255 Angell Hall. If a grade change is permitted, the professor shall complete an online grade change so the student can have the grade reported on his/her academic record.