The purpose of this process is to resolve grade disputes between students and instructors in a manner that is timely and upholds academic integrity.*
This process is to be used only for disputes regarding final grades. A student who perceives an individual grade received during a course to be unfair must resolve the matter informally with his or her instructor. Only when an individual grade has impacted a student’s final grade, or when a student perceives a final grade to be otherwise unfair, may the student invoke the formal grievance process noted below.
Step 1: The student shall contact the instructor within 15 school days** after the posting of a perceived unfair final grade to try to resolve the matter informally.
Step 2: If the grade dispute is not resolved at Step 1, the student has five school days to contact the appropriate department head or program director to try to reach a resolution that is mutually agreeable to the student and instructor. A written description of the grievance may be requested by the department head or program director.
Step 3: If the issue is not resolved at Step 2, the student has five school days to initiate the Formal Grade Grievance Process by completing a Grade Appeal Form and delivering it to the associate dean of the academic department responsible for the course. Grade Appeal Forms are available in all associate deans' offices. For Arts and Sciences courses, contact Associate Dean Christopher Johnston, 310 Main, 616-234-2214, firstname.lastname@example.org; for Workforce Development courses, contact Associate Dean Jimmie Baber, 161 ATC, 616-234-3724, email@example.com; for CLS courses, contact Associate Dean Raynard Ross, 347 Student Center, 616-234-4839, firstname.lastname@example.org. The associate dean has 15 school days from receipt of the Grade Appeal Form to discuss the situation with the student and instructor, and, if necessary, department head/program director, and make a written decision to:
- deny the request for a change of grade, or
- move forward with the Formal Grade Grievance Process by convening the Academic Governing Council (AGC) Grade Appeal Hearing Committee.
The associate dean may deny a request for a change of grade and decline to refer the grievance to the AGC Grade Appeal Hearing Committee in the following instances:
- When the instructor has followed the guidelines set forth in his or her syllabus.
- When the instructor has followed college policies and procedures that would impact the student’s grade.
- When the student provides no evidence that he or she was treated in a partial or otherwise unfair manner.
- When the student provides no evidence that a grade was miscalculated.
- Other cases may exist in which an associate dean may deny a grade change request.
Written notification of the associate dean’s decision and rationale will be sent to the student (via first-class mail), instructor, and appropriate department head/program director.
The associate dean’s decision at this stage is final and binding. However, cases in which a student’s final grade results in expulsion from a program will be forwarded from the associate dean to the AGC Grade Appeal Hearing Committee, if the student so requests and if the student has followed all the steps of the Informal Process.*
Step 4: If the associate dean’s decision is to convene the AGC Grade Appeal Hearing Committee, its Chair shall do so within 10 school days. The Grade Appeal Hearing Committee shall be a standing committee of the Academic Governing Council. The Committee shall be comprised of five members and shall include three faculty members, one academic administrator and one student. The Chair of the Hearing Committee shall be an appointed faculty member. The student shall be a member of the Student Congress.
In a case where any member of the AGC Grade Appeal Hearing Committee (faculty member, student, or administrator) is involved in the grade dispute at hand or is otherwise unavailable, an appropriate substitute member will be appointed by the AGC Executive Board to the Committee for that case. The Educational Support Professional working with the academic administrator serving on the Hearing Committee shall serve as Recording Secretary (a non-voting position) for the Committee. Hearings also will be audio-recorded. Students may have a support person/advisor with them at the hearing, but that person has no role at the hearing other than to advise the student. The support person/advisor will not be permitted to ask or answer questions, or to make arguments. Both the student and the instructor shall be invited to attend the Hearing Committee.
If either the student or the instructor fails to appear before the Hearing Committee, a decision will be made based upon the information that is presented at the Hearing and evidence already submitted during the grievance process. The Hearing Committee will present its written decision to the student (via first-class mail), instructor, and appropriate associate dean within five school days of the hearing.
If the Hearing Committee finds in favor of the student, it shall ask the instructor and, if necessary, the appropriate associate dean to submit a Change of Grade Form to the Registrar’s Office within 5 school days of the written notification. The decision of the AGC Grade Appeal Hearing Committee is final and binding.
*For Students in Health Programs: When the appeal involves a grade awarded or an expulsion from the clinical component of a health course (Nursing, Dental, Radiologic Technology, and Occupational Therapy Assistant), the student will first follow that program’s specific grade grievance process. The student handbook for each program contains the grade grievance process and can be found on Blackboard.
**School days are Mondays through Fridays, while classes are in session.