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.

College of Literature, Science, and the Arts 500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1382 © 2016 Regents of the University of Michigan