Appeals Policies and Procedures for Lower Division Courses
The appeals and complaints policies and procedures outlined below are based on the Arts and Sciences’ statement of policies and procedures. The policies below cover grade appeals and complaints for Lower Division Studies in English ONLY (1000- and 2000-level courses taught in the Department of English).
Information for Students
In order for a grade appeal to be considered, you the student must prove that your instructor has issued a grade in a capricious, arbitrary, or discriminatory manner. Refer to the following definitions of these terms:
Arbitrary refers to a grading decision for which there is no sound academic reason, or a decision based solely on preference or whim;
Capricious refers to a grading decision not resulting from a reasonable and announced grading policy and procedure;
Discriminatory refers to a grading decision reflecting differential treatment based on race, religion, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin.
According to university policy, unless there is capricious, arbitrary, or discriminatory behavior, the professional judgment of the instructor is not a matter that can be challenged or appealed in this process. It is your responsibility as the student to prove that the grade was issued in an arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory manner.
You may only appeal after having officially received the final grade in the course.
All appeals must be initiated no later than the mid-point of the semester (as indicated by the last day to withdraw with a W) immediately following the semester during which the alleged grievance occurred, whether or not you are enrolled that semester.
Remember that the syllabus is a contractual agreement between you and your instructor. By staying enrolled in the class, you tacitly accept the policies and terms outlined in the syllabus. Therefore, all matters having to do with Department policy or with curriculum and program requirements are not appealable, nor are any of the instructor’s stated classroom policies such as attendance and behavior policies.
If you feel certain that your instructor has issued a course grade in a capricious, arbitrary, or discriminatory manner, you must complete these steps:
- Talk to your instructor about the situation. You may also request a meeting with the instructor and the Chair of the Appeals Committee if you think a mediating presence would be helpful. Only after attempting informally to resolve the situation by meeting with the instructor can you initiate a formal grade appeal procedure;
- If you cannot resolve the complaint by meeting with the instructor, contact the Chair of the Appeals Committee for Lower-Division Studies in English, Dr. Angela M. Christie (2245 25 Park Place; 404-413-5879;(firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss the appeal (contact Dr. Christie ONLY if you have an appeal for a Lower-Division course;
- If the complaint remains unsolved, you may initiate the appeal process by submitting a written statement of the grievances to the Chair of the Appeals Committee and to the instructor who assigned the grade in question. The statement must include the following elements:
- explain informal attempts to resolve the issue;
- allege that you were the object of capricious, arbitrary, or prejudicial behavior;
- include copies of any evidence to which you allude (course syllabus, graded papers, tests, etc.);
- list any witnesses, their names, addresses, and telephone numbers; and
- explain the specific outcome you would like to see happen.