Political Science Department

Updated and Approved February 2012

This document outlines procedures to be followed in cases of grade disputes between students taking undergraduate political science courses and their instructors.

Grading complaints should be referred initially to the faculty member who assigned the grade.  This initial inquiry must take place within the first fifteen University business days of the first full term following the term in which the disputed grade was issued.

Every effort should be made to gain agreement between the student and the faculty member without further intervention. In extraordinary cases, where the issues cannot be resolved in this manner, a student may initiate formal grade grievance procedures. Departmental grievance procedures are intended to result in a recommendation, for or against change, to the appropriate faculty member. A grade given by a faculty member may be changed only by that faculty member. A grade given by a Graduate Student Instructor may be changed by that instructor or by the faculty supervisor of the course.

A student may invoke the departmental grievance procedures within the first five weeks of classes of the first regular full term (Fall or Winter) following the completion of the course, or within five weeks of the issuance of a grade removing an "Incomplete."

In cases where a student wishes to submit a grade complaint to grievance procedures, the following steps are to be followed in sequential order:

  1. The student may petition the Department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for a hearing before the Undergraduate Affairs Committee (UAC).  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 which aspects are in dispute. Within three weeks of receiving the petition the DUS will inform the student and the UAC whether an appeal will be heard.
  2. If the DUS allows the appeal to be heard, both parties to the dispute will be encouraged to participate. No additional persons will be permitted at the hearing without the advance approval of the hearing committee. If the Undergraduate Affairs Committee assents to the presence of any such persons, it will see to it that same privileges are extended to both sides.
  3. The Undergraduate Affairs Committee will arrive at a recommendation within ten days, suggesting what action (if any) it feels should be taken. Copies of the recommendation will be sent to the student, the instructor who assigned the contested grade, the course supervisor (if the former is a GSI), and the Department Chair.
  4. If the DUS declines to provide a hearing before the UAC, or if the student is dissatisfied with the Subcommittee's decision, any further appeal that the student may wish to pursue should be directed in writing to the departmental Executive Committee within two week of receiving notice of the above decisions.
  5. Per College policy, there is no appeal beyond the Department.
  6. In unusual circumstances, the time limits specified above may be extended by the Department Chair.

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