III:00:09 Student Grade Appeals Process

I. PURPOSE AND SCOPE

This policy provides an avenue for students to appeal a final course grade in cases in which the student alleges that unethical or unprofessional actions by the instructor and/or grading inequities improperly impacted the final grade.

II. DEFINITIONS

An "appeal" is a request by a student for a determination by a Grade Appeals Committee of an assigned grade where inequities, or unethical or unprofessional actions, are alleged.

"Grade Appeals Committee" refers to the committee established under MTSU Policy I:01:02 University Committees.

The term "faculty" includes any individual who is a member of the teaching staff.

III. APPEAL PROCEDURES

A. Level One

1. Student appeals should be resolved by a conference between the student and the faculty member who assigned the grade.

2. In the event of an impasse between the student and the faculty member, a student with an appeal of a grade shall discuss it with the department chair within ten (10) business days of the conference with the involved faculty member. The department chair shall investigate the circumstances, record his/her findings, and send a copy to the student and the faculty member within ten (10) business days of the notification of impasse. Although the department chair does not have the power to change the grade, he/she will make a recommendation concerning the appeal. The recommendation and findings will become a part of the appeals record, and a copy will be provided to the student and the faculty member.

B. Level Two

1. If the student is not satisfied, he/she may, within fifteen (15) business days following receipt of the department chair's recommendation, refer the appeal, plus all relevant data, including stated reasons why he/she believes the appeal has thus far not been satisfied, to the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. The appeal to the Provost's Office must occur within forty (40) business days of the graduation date for each term. The Vice Provost for Academic Affairs shall select a Grade Appeals Committee to hear the appeal and transmit the appeal documents to the committee chair or to the dean of the college which houses the selected appeals committee. A given committee will not hear appeals originating in courses offered in its own college but will deal with appeals from other colleges.

2. Written notification of the meeting and of an opportunity to appear before the Grade Appeals Committee will be sent by the Committee chair to the concerned faculty member and student. A simple majority of members present constitutes a quorum. The Committee will receive documents and testimony regarding the circumstances, will record its findings, and shall render a decision. Notification of the Committee's decision will be made to the student, faculty member, department chair, college dean, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and the Director of Records.

3. The decision of the committee hearing the appeal will be final.

*In cases where the department chair is the person against whom the complaint is lodged, the dean in whose college the department is located shall assume the duties of the chairman in the investigation and decision-making.

IV. MISCELLANEOUS

A. A student or faculty member involved with a grade appeal may discuss his/her case informally with a member of the faculty or administration except with a member of a Grade Appeals Committee. A committee member who discusses committee deliberations with the faculty member or student concerned shall automatically disqualify himself/herself from any further proceedings of the case.

B. The number of days indicated at each level above shall be considered the maximum, but every effort should be made to expedite the process.

C. The failure of the student to proceed from one level of the appeal procedure to the next level within the prescribed time limits shall be deemed to be an acceptance of the recommendations and/or decision previously rendered. All further considerations and proceedings regarding that particular appeal shall cease at that point.

D. A grade appeal may be withdrawn at any level without prejudice. However, the stated time frames continue to be applicable if the student determines to begin the process again.

E. All appeal proceedings shall be kept as confidential as may be appropriate at each level.

F. The Grade Appeals Committee shall have reasonable access to all official records for information necessary to the determination of a recommendation.

G. Appeals filed after the spring graduation date will be considered in the summer ONLY under 2 circumstances:

1. If it affects the student's ability to graduate in that term or in the summer; or

2. If the Vice Provost determines that there are extenuating circumstances to warrant a special hearing.

H. Otherwise, such appeals will be held over until the beginning of the fall semester. If an appeal is to be heard in the summer, an ad hoc committee of the chairs/available members from each grade appeals committee will hear the case. If a chair cannot attend the summer meeting, he/she will (if at all possible) endeavor to provide a replacement from his/her committee. The chair from the college in which the appeal originated shall be excused from the meeting. There will also be a student representative assigned with one alternate, each not from the college from which the appeal originates.

Revisions: February 9, 2001; September 19, 2003; January 28, 2008; September 24, 2008; August 11, 2010; January 30, 2012; March 29, 2013; July 1, 2013.

Cross-references: MTSU Policy I:01:02 University Committees.