The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a mechanism, within the framework of existing University policies and regulations, for the review and consideration of course grade disputes in all Caspersen School degree programs.
Responsibility and Guidelines for Course Grades
The assignment of final grades for a course is the responsibility of the instructor in charge of the course. The syllabus of a course provides the guidelines for the assignment of grades in a course. In addition, the Caspersen School academic policies regarding grades, academic accommodations, academic integrity, attendance, incompletes, and pass/fail grading are applicable to all courses.
Criteria for Appeal
Students have the right to appeal final course grades. The Caspersen School grade appeal policy is intended to present a process that is fair to both students and faculty.
In order for a grade appeal to be reviewed, a student must demonstrate at least one of the following:
a. A demonstrable error was made in the calculation of the grade,
b. The assignment of a final course grade was apparently made on a basis other than the policies described on the course syllabus,
c. The instructor did not assign or remove an Incomplete or initiate a grade change as agreed upon with the student in writing,
d. Substantial extenuating personal circumstances (e.g., serious medical or family emergencies) call the appropriateness of the final grade into question. In these cases, the student must first contact the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School who will receive formal documentation and affirm the validity of such issues before the student can proceed to appeal.
This policy is not applicable to allegations of violations of academic integrity. Matters involving human rights violations or claims of sexual harassment should be handled under the University Human Rights policy.
Grade appeals proceed as follows:
1) The student shall first seek to resolve the matter in conversation with the instructor of the course. Students may contact their instructor in person or by email. Written records of all communications should be maintained.
2) If there is no resolution with the instructor, the student can choose to file a formal written appeal with the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School. The appeal must state succinctly, accurately, and completely the cause for the appeal. The student should include a syllabus, relevant course materials, and any correspondence (to and from the instructor) that supports the appeal. The Associate Dean will inform the faculty member of the appeal and may attempt to resolve the matter at that time. The Associate Dean reviews the materials and determines whether the appeal meets the criteria outlined under Criteria for Appeal. The Associate Dean will notify both the student and the instructor of the outcome as soon as possible but within a reasonable period of the submission of the complaint, explaining his/her decision to both instructor and student in person and/or in writing. Written records of all communications should be kept.
There are two possible outcomes:
(a) The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School rejects the appeal as not meeting the Criteria for Appeal.
(b) The Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School deems that the appeal is warranted and refers the grade appeal to the Graduate Academic Standing Committee for review and decision.
If the appeal is denied, the student can present his or her written appeal to the Dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies for a final decision on whether the appeal will proceed.
3) Appeals that meet the criteria will be forwarded to the Graduate Academic Standing Committee for review and decision. The student’s written appeal shall be forwarded to the instructor, who shall submit a statement explaining the reasons the grade was given and why a change is or is not appropriate. The instructor’s statement shall be furnished to the student prior to the hearing. The Committee may require of both the instructor and the student copies of all documents that it judges to be relevant to its deliberations.
The Committee shall invite both the student and the instructor to attend the hearing. The student and the instructor may be counseled, advised, and represented before the Committee by any Drew faculty member, administrator, or student who is not a member of the Committee and who agrees to serve. Using such representation is optional. With the approval of the Committee, either party may invite Drew faculty members, administrators, and/or students other than the principals to make either written or personal statements to the Committee, provided their relevance to the issue can be demonstrated in advance. After the hearing, the Committee, in executive session, shall determine its conclusions. The Committee’s decision shall be put in writing and copies forwarded to the student, the professor, and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School. If the Committee decides that a grade change should be made, it may request the Registrar to do so. Alternatively, the Committee may recommend that the instructor reevaluate the grade in light of considerations that the Committee sets forth. If the instructor objects to the Committee’s parameters, she or he can request that the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School appoint a faculty member of the Associate Dean’s choosing to review the student’s work and provide the revised grade to the Committee.
Grade appeal decisions of the Graduate Academic Standing Committee are final and not eligible for further appeal. All involved parties should keep the proceedings confidential at all times.
Timeline for Appeals:
An appeal of a fall semester grade can be initiated no later than January 31st following the semester in which the grade was awarded. An appeal of a spring semester grade can be initiated no later than June 30th following the semester in which the grade was awarded. An appeal of a summer term grade can be initiated no later than August 31st following the semester in which the grade was awarded. Graduating students must initiate a grade appeal within three weeks of graduation. Extraordinary exceptions to these time limits may be determined by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the Theological School. All complainants have the right to a maximum of one appeal related to a particular course grade.