2017-2018 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

Grade Grievance Policy

Lesley is committed to delivering quality academic services, including fair grading to all students. We recognize that day-to-day problems affecting students in their classes will normally be resolved between the students and the instructor. Such matters shall not be deemed grievances.

The Grade Grievance Policy provides students with a mechanism to appeal grades which they believe constitute an unfair or incorrect application of the grading policy as outlined by the faculty member in his/her syllabus, or are the result of a perceived lack of requested reasonable accommodation for a documented disability.

This grievance procedure will be instituted only after the student has made attempts to resolve the issue through informal discussion with the faculty member, but still believes the grading outcome to be unacceptable. In the event that the student has made every reasonable effort to contact the faculty member for an informal discussion of the grade, either in person or on the telephone, but has been unable to do so, then the student may proceed to Level I.

All records related to this policy will be maintained in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or the College of Art and Design Dean's Office for a period of seven (7) years following the resolution of the grievance. The case records of the committee remain confidential under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, commonly known as the Buckley Amendment.

Level I – Filing of Written Complaint Within thirty (30) calendar days of the beginning of the semester following the one in which the student received the disputed final grade, the student shall present a written complaint to the division director who supervises the course instructor, and to the course instructor. The written complaint must include the title of the course, the dates of the course, the grade received, the reasons why the student believes the grade is incorrect, and the outcome the student seeks.

The student should attach with the complaint any course-related materials that support the complaint.

Level II – Third Party Facilitation Upon receipt of a formal written complaint grieving a grade, the division director or department chair will ascertain that an informal meeting between the student and faculty member has taken place, or that reasonable efforts by the student to discuss the issue formally with the faculty member have been unsuccessful. When this requirement has been met, the division director will convene a meeting with the student and the instructor as quickly as possible, but no later than fourteen (14) calendar days, excluding University vacation days, after receiving the complaint. If the instructor or student is unavailable to meet on campus, then the meeting will take place via telephone conference. The student may be accompanied at this meeting with the faculty advisor or another faculty member of the student's choice who will serve in a non-participatory role.

During this meeting, the role of the division director or department chair is to act as a facilitator who may make recommendations, but does not render a decision. As a facilitator, the division director or department chair will review the written complaint and supporting documents and will work with the student and the instructor in an effort to resolve the dispute. If the basis of the grade grievance is that requested reasonable accommodation was not made for the student with a documented disability, the Coordinator of Disability Services for the college or a representative from the Center for Academic Achievement, as appropriate, will also participate in this meeting. Within seven (7) days from the conclusion of this meeting the division director/department chair or Academic Dean will reconfirm in writing to the student and faculty member the outcome of the Level II meeting. If a satisfactory resolution has not been reached at this level, then the student may initiate Level III of the process.

Note: The division director or department chair who supervises the faculty member serves as facilitator.

Level III – Grade Grievance Committee The College of Arts and Sciences maintain the Grade Grievance Committee for issues that deal with grade grievances.  The College of Art and Design maintains the Academic Review Committee.

If a student seeks to continue the grievance process after Level II, then within seven (7) calendar days after receiving the written confirmation of the outcome of the Level II meeting, excluding University vacation days, s/he shall request in writing that the division director notify the Academic Dean.

The student's written request should also include a brief description of the complaint and of the Level I outcome and the Level II outcome. The division director or department chair forwards the student's letter and any materials relevant to the appeal to the Associate Dean within one week. A Grade Grievance Committee is formed by three people from the respective College. In conjunction with the division director or department chair (non-related case), the Academic Dean appoints a faculty member. One person (faculty/administrator with faculty rank) will be appointed by the student. The third person will be a division director or department chair (non-related case). If the basis for the dispute is that a requested reasonable accommodation was not made for a student with a documented disability, then the Coordinator of Disability Services or a representative from the Center for Academic Achievement, as appropriate, will serve on the committee in a non-voting capacity.

The Associate Dean will promptly send the written complaint and supporting documents to the Grade Grievance Committee for distribution. The committee will review the submitted materials, take any other investigatory action it deems appropriate, and render a recommendation by majority vote. The Grade Grievance Committee will make every effort to complete its work within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the initiation of Level III, and no later than the end of the semester following the one in which the grade was received. Along with its recommendations, the committee will produce a written report setting forth its investigatory process, its reasoning, and the facts upon which it based its recommendation. The recommendation(s) and summary will be sent to the student and the faculty member. During the review process the student and faculty member agree to a mutually satisfactory resolution of the grievance and the process concludes.

Level IV – Appeal to Dean The student and/or faculty member may appeal the recommendations of the committee to the Dean within seven (7) days of receipt of the committee's decision. The request for this additional review shall be in writing and should include the reasons why the student or faculty member believes the committee erred in its recommendations.

The Dean will review the materials submitted to the committee, the committee's recommendations, and its written summary. Within fourteen (14) calendar days, the Dean will inform the student and faculty member in writing of his/her decision, with copies to the committee. In the event that the Dean makes a final decision that is different from the committee's recommendations, then s/he will inform the committee in writing of the reasons for his/her decision. If, subsequent to the final decision, a student or faculty member wishes to include a written statement for the file, s/he may do so. The Dean's decision is final and binding within Lesley University.

The case records of the Grade Grievance Committee remain confidential under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, commonly known as the Buckley Amendment.