This policy provides a procedure for graduate students to make claims that their rights under University policy or under the law have been violated. This procedure is to be used to resolve grievances against decisions or action that were made by employees or agents of UNCG and that would adversely affect the student’s progress toward a graduate degree. The procedures set forth below may be used by persons who are enrolled as UNCG graduate students.

This policy is not meant to supersede policies of general applicability such as the Policy on Discriminatory Conduct which are to be resolved by a separate body. In addition, this policy is not meant to supplant such existing policies as the Student Code of Conduct, Academic Integrity Policy, Residency Reclassification, Research Misconduct, or the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

There are two types of appeals available through The Graduate School: 1) Appeal of grades, and 2) Appeal based on misapplication or misinterpretation of University policy, regulation, rule, or procedure or a violation of state or federal law.

A current student may appeal a grade within 90 calendar days of the date the grade was posted. The process of appeal must adhere to the following steps. An informal complaint is initiated by the student with the instructor assigning the grade. If the instructor endorses the change, the department/program head must also review the request. If approved, a Grade Change is initiated. If the informal appeal is not endorsed at the department/program level, the student may initiate a formal appeal. (See Appeals Procedure).
A retroactive Withdrawal may be requested in cases in which the student will be unable to complete the term and the deadline to drop without academic penalty has passed or when a grade of Incomplete has been assigned and the student is unable to complete the remaining requirements. Such withdrawals will only be considered when truly extenuating circumstances exist. The student is required to submit supporting documentation.

The process must adhere to the following steps:

  • The student should submit a written request for a retroactive Withdrawal to the course instructor, preferably within 90 days but no later than 6 months from the posting date of the final letter grade.
  • The instructor will review the request and determine whether or not to endorse the student’s request. If the instructor is no longer employed by UNCG or chooses not to endorse the request, the student can submit the request to the Department Head/Chair.
  • • An endorsed request for retroactive Withdrawal should be submitted to The Graduate School for review by the Vice Provost or the Vice Provost’s designee. If the request is not endorsed by both the Department and the Vice Provost, the student may initiate a formal appeal. (See Appeals Procedures)

Appeals of Misapplication or Misinterpretation of Policies or Procedures
An appeal of the application of a rule or regulation must be made by the student within 90 calendar days as determined by the date of the letter from The Graduate School informing the student of the decision in question.

This section applies when a student wants to appeal a final course grade that has been recorded by the Registrar on the student’s academic record. A currently enrolled student may appeal a grade within 90 calendar days of the date the grade was posted.

A grade appeal under this policy may be based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • The grade(s) was/were calculated in a manner inconsistent with University policy, the syllabus, or changes to the syllabus.
  • The grade(s) was/were erroneously calculated.
  • Grading/performance standards were arbitrary.
  • The instructor failed to assign or remove an Incomplete (“I”) or to initiate a grade change as agreed upon with the student.
  • The student (who may or may not be currently enrolled) is requesting a retroactive Withdrawal from a course due to truly extenuating circumstances as demonstrated in supporting documentation.

A grade appeal cannot be made in response to a grade penalty assessed as a result of a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy.

Appeals of Misapplication or Misinterpretation of Policies or Procedures
This section applies when a currently enrolled student wants to appeal a decision that he or she perceives to be a misapplication or misinterpretation of University policy, regulation, rule, or procedure, or a violation of state or federal law. The appeal must be filed within 90 calendar days from the date of the letter informing the student of the decision in question.

An appeal under this policy may be based on one or both of the following criteria:

  • The policy, regulation, rule, or procedure was applied in a manner inconsistent with University policy, the syllabus, or changes to the syllabus.
  • The policy, regulation, rule, or procedure was arbitrarily or unequally applied.
Before initiating a formal appeal, a student is encouraged to initiate discussions with the instructor or, in the case of an appeal of regulations, with a Graduate School official. A written appeal is not necessary in the informal stage. During the informal procedure, the student discusses the appeal with the instructor or Graduate School official. Such meetings often help students understand the practices of instructors and other Graduate officials and often lead to resolution of disputes with students. If the instructor endorses the change, the department/program head must also review the request. If approved, a Grade Change is initiated. In the case of an informal appeal of regulations, the Graduate School official will forward recommendations to the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School for a final decision.
If there is no resolution at the informal stage or the student wishes to pursue a formal appeal, the following processes must be followed:

Step 1 – Written Appeal to Department/Program or Graduate School.

The student must submit a written appeal to the department/program head or graduate school official. The formal letter must identify the basis of the appeal and must state in detail the applicable criteria for the appeal and why the student believes that the grade should be changed or how the policy, regulation, rule, or procedure was misapplied or misinterpreted.

The department/program head or graduate school official reviews the written appeal and uses normal administrative methods to learn of the facts and make a decision regarding it. Within a reasonable time, normally no longer than fifteen (15) calendar days, the department/program head or graduate school official sends a written response to the student, with a copy to the instructor or appropriate Graduate School officials. The Step 1 response shall include a recommendation of whether or not the instructor should re-evaluate the student’s work in the course(s) or the application of the regulation against the student should be re-evaluated.

In the case of a grade appeal, the department/program head cannot change the student’s grade without the instructor’s agreement. The instructor will determine if a grade change is warranted, and if so will submit a grade change.

The granting of exceptions to Graduate School regulations must receive the approval of the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School. Therefore, after approval of the exception by the department/program, the appeal must be sent to the Vice Provost for final decision.

If the student is not satisfied with the outcome at Step 1, the student may proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 – Written Appeal to The Graduate Studies Committee:

The final date to initiate the Step 2 appeal is fifteen (15) calendar days after the student receives a response under Step 1. Failure to observe this time frame will result in a waiver of the right to proceed to Step 2.

Under Step 2, the student sends a copy of the formal appeal request and the decision of the instructor/Graduate School official from Step 1 to the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School. If the student attempts to raise a new basis for an appeal after the original appeal at Step 2, he/she must present a new appeal under Step 1.

If the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School determines that the formal appeal request does not qualify under the appeals criteria contained in this policy, the appeal will be dismissed subject only to the authority of the Chancellor. If the appeal meets the criteria, the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School will transmit the appeals materials to the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee and will send a copy of it to the Dean of the Student’s academic unit as notification of a pending appeal.

After conferring with the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee, the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School will notify the student, the instructor, and any witnesses who will be needed, of the time and place of the hearing. Each party shall be notified at least fifteen (15) calendar days in advance of the scheduled date of the hearing.

Conduct of the Hearing
The Chair of the Student Affairs Subcommittee of the Graduate Studies Committee has responsibility for ensuring that the proceedings are conducted in an orderly and fair manner. The Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School may be present during the hearing but will not take part in the questioning of witnesses or deliberations. The Vice Provost may, however, provide a brief impartial overview of the appeal at the beginning of the hearing. The Vice Provost’s statement shall be limited to a summary of the facts and issues present in the appeal and shall not include any opinions regarding the appeal.

All evidence including personal testimony will be heard by the Committee in the presence of the student, the instructor, and/or the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School or his or her designee. Since the hearing is a normal part of the educational process and not a legal proceeding, neither the student nor the University shall have an attorney present. Following the presentations, the Subcommittee members will have an opportunity to ask questions of the presenters and witnesses. The student, the instructor, and/or appropriate representatives will have reasonable time, as determined by the Subcommittee Chair, to question witnesses and respond to evidence.

At the completion of the questioning all presenters, witnesses, and the Vice Provost, will leave the room and deliberation by the Subcommittee will begin.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the Chair of the Student Affairs Subcommittee of the Graduate Studies Committee will prepare a report describing the facts of the appeal as determined by the Committee after hearing the evidence and the Committee’s recommendations for the action which should be taken. The Chair of the Subcommittee will send the report within fifteen (15) calendar days, to the Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School.

Final Decision
The Vice Provost and Dean of The Graduate School has responsibility under this policy to make the final University decision in Graduate School appeals, subject only to the authority of the Chancellor. The Vice Provost’s decision will be communicated to the student and the instructor/Graduate School official within a reasonable time, normally no more than fifteen (15) calendar days, after receipt of the report from the Committee.