Academic and Grade Appeal Process

Students may appeal academic decisions that they feel are unfair.  A student who believes she/he has been evaluated unfairly should first discuss the matter with the professor of the class.  If the issue is not resolved with the professor, the student may next appeal to the department chair.  The student has the right to continue the appeal in an orderly progression to the next supervisor, but it is best to resolve issues at the source.  A student's appeal should be presented in writing.  The student may select an advisor to aid her/him through the process.  For further information about the appeal process, please contact the Office of the Associate Provost, 703 Culkin Hall, 315.312.2232.

Grade appeal 

  1.  The instructor of record has the responsibility to assign/change the final grade for the course. The purpose of the appeal process is to ensure that college policies have been   followed and that the treatment of a student has been fair and consistent with guidelines established in the course syllabus.

  2.  The first step in the resolution of any dispute between a student and an instructor concerning an academic matter should be that the student meets with, or makes a determined effort to meet with, the instructor in order to discuss the problem.  Most often, the dispute can be resolved through such discussion between faculty and student; should it not lead to a satisfactory resolution, the student may further pursue an appeal process.

  3.  The following will describe the steps and deadlines for such an appeal process:

        A. The grade appeal process begins with a written appeal letter to the chair of the department offering the course. The written appeal must be submitted no later than the end of the sixth week of the following semester. Student is encouraged to seek a mentor, their advisor or any other member of the faculty and staff, to assist in the appeal process.

       B. Within a week of the receipt of the student’s written appeal, an acknowledgement will be sent to the student by the chair. The department chair will need time to look into the issue(s) raised by the student. The chair’s evaluation may involve review of course records, communications between the faculty and the student, or any other document offered by the student or the faculty member deemed pertinent to the case. The discovery process may also require face to face meetings, phone conversation, or email communications between the chair and the student.

      C. The student should expect a written response to the appeal within two weeks of submitting the appeal unless circumstances delay the conclusion of the case. If the appeal is denied, the written response by the chair must outline the reasons.

      D. If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the review from the department chair, he or she may then appeal to the appropriate academic dean. This is where the role of a mentor becomes most critical as the student’s appeal to the dean must appropriately offer responses to the written reasons of denial of the appeal by the department chair.  The process described in step 2 applies, except that the student will have two weeks to submit a written appeal to the dean. There would be the same set of expectations regarding acknowledgment of receipt of the appeal letter and deadlines to review and respond to the student by the dean.

      E. Written response from the dean concludes the grade appeal process.

      F. In the event that the faculty member who had assigned the final grade is not available to consider the student’s appeal, the chair of department responsible for offering the course shall assign a qualified faculty member to review the merits of the appeal in place of that original instructor. The faculty member assigned to review the case will have the authority to change the grade. This exception is only exercised in extraordinary cases where the faculty member, for example, is no longer working for SUNY Oswego and is not responding to the student’s appeal or to queries from the department chair or the dean as they review the case.