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College of Arts and Sciences

Student Resources

Grade Appeals

First, here's the official IPFW checklist for you to follow in pursuing a grade appeal
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Here's the department's policy:

Department of Communication
Grade Appeals Procedures

Senate Document 13-27, amended and approved 17 March 2014, outlines the following three-step process for grade appeals:

Steps in the Process of a Grade Appeal

1. Course instructor:  The student makes an appointment with the instructor to discuss the matter.  If the instructor is unavailable, the department or program chair shall authorize an extension of time or allow the student to proceed to Step two.  If the chair is unavailable, the dean of the school shall authorize the extension.

2. Department or program: If the matter has not been resolved at Step 1, the student makes an appointment with the chair of the department or program offering the course, who may make an informal attempt to resolve the appeal.  If the appeal is not resolved informally, the chair will direct the student procedurally in making an appeal to the department, school, or program committee.  Only one committee shall hear the appeal in Step Two.  The student filing an appeal shall have the opportunity to be heard in person by the committee.  The department chair and/or the department grade appeals committee shall provide the instructor with a written copy of the appeal and the identity of the student who filed the appeal.

3. Grade Appeals Subcommittee: If the matter has not been resolved at Step Two, the student makes an appointment with the Dean of Students, who will direct the student procedurally in submitting the case to the Grade Appeals Subcommittee.

Pursuant to Senate Document 01-16, the Department of Communication establishes the following department appeals procedures:

Committee Composition

A standing panel of four full-time Communication faculty shall be elected in September of each academic year.  The committee shall consist of three of the four persons elected.  The fourth person -- as determined by vote frequency -- shall serve as an alternate member of the committee.  The three members of the committee shall elect a “convener.”  The committee shall elect a chair for each case appealed.

Committee Jurisdiction

The committee shall meet to respond to the student’s grievance and shall decide for or against the allegation.  To facilitate this end, the committee may hear testimony, call witnesses and consult the instructor.  The procedure shall provide the opportunity for the student to be heard in person, and for the decision to be reported in writing to the student and the instructor.

If the committee recommends changing a grade or similar evaluation, the committee shall recommend in writing to the instructor that the grade be changed and report its recommendation to the student.  If the instructor chooses not to change the grade, the committee shall report the result of its deliberation to the Grade Appeals Subcommittee. If the committee does not concur with the statement of grievance, the committee shall report in writing its judgment to the student and the instructor.

The report to the committee shall be limited to an enumeration of the membership of the committee, the dates and places of the meetings of the committee, and the decision for or against the grievance.

Burden of Proof

The student proposing the alleged grievance to the Communication Department Grade committee must support the alleged grievance in writing.  The student may have an advisor or friend present during all meetings with faculty members, administrators, and/or committees; he or she may advise the student but may not speak for the student during the meetings. The statement shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following:

a. the specific allegation, which shall address prejudice, caprice, or another improper condition;
b. the substantiating evidence, or reasons why the evidence exists but is not available to the student; and
c. the remedy sought.

During an appeal, the burden of proof is on the student, except in the case of alleged academic dishonesty, where the instructor must support the allegation.

Role of Department Chair

The department chair may not serve on the appeal committee.  The department chair shall direct the grieving student to the convener of the appeals committee.  The department chair shall receive from the convener a) confirmation that the process is initiated; b) confirmation that the process has been completed; and c) the report of the committee.

Committee Calendar

The committee shall deliberate and report its conclusion within thirty calendar days of the filing of an appeal provided that this deadline falls within the regular academic year (fall or spring semester).  If the deadline falls during the summer, the decision must be reported within 30 calendar days of the start of the fall semester.


Committee members shall maintain the confidentiality of all committee deliberations except as described in these procedures.  Upon request of the student or the instructor, the convener shall provide an enumeration of the criteria used to reach the decision.  This statement shall not include the content of the deliberations.

Amended 25 Mar. 2014.

Approved September 20, 2002.

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