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University of California Santa Barbara

APPENDIX V: STUDENT APPEALS PROCEDURES

Procedures for Grade Appeal

  1. If after speaking to the faculty member in charge of the course and department chair, a student wishes to contest a grade on grounds specified in Divisional Regulation 25, the student must present a written appeal to an official designated by the Faculty Executive Committee, usually the Dean of Undergraduate Education (or equivalent) of the appropriate school(s) or college(s) offering the undergraduate course, or the Graduate Dean in the case of a graduate course (hereinafter, "the dean(s)"). This appeal must be submitted before the end of the term following the term in which the grade was assigned. Upon receipt of this appeal, the dean(s) shall promptly seek to resolve the issue by consulting the parties involved and the chair of the instructor's department. If the Chair was the instructor involved he/she shall not participate in these deliberations in any way except as one of the parties. In such cases, the dean shall proceed independently. If the dean was the instructor involved, he/she shall not participate in these deliberations except as one of the parties. In such cases, the immediate supervisor of the dean(s) shall recommend to the Faculty Executive Committee or Graduate Council an appropriate alternate for the dean.

    Where applicable the dean(s) may consult with the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council and also may request reports or results of investigations made by other cognizant agencies on campus that bear on the credibility of the student’s complaint. If the written grievance alleges discrimination, the dean(s) will forward that portion of the grievance containing the discrimination allegation to the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (or designee) and shall notify the student in writing of such action. The vice chancellor (or designee) shall communicate to the dean(s) any decision or determination related to the discrimination allegation including any appropriate remedies determined to address the discrimination. This shall be communicated in a timely manner. The vice chancellor (or designee) and the dean(s) shall confer with one another regarding any remedy that affects a grade before rendering their final decisions to the student complainant. It is understood that the vice chancellor has full authority to render the final decision regarding whether discrimination took place; the final decision over grades remains within the purview of the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council (or their respective designees).
  2. If the dean(s) resolve or otherwise make a determination on the grade appeal, the dean(s) shall provide a letter describing the resolution to the student(s), instructor(s), and chair(s) involved, with a copy to the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council.
  3. If these efforts are unavailing within 30 days following receipt of the student's initial written complaint by the dean(s), the student may within the next 15 days present a final written appeal to the Faculty Executive Committee(s) of the respective college(s) or the Graduate Council, a copy of which shall also be given to the dean(s). If a member of the Faculty Executive Committee or Graduate Council was the instructor involved, that person shall not participate in the case in any way except as one of the parties. As soon as is feasible, the dean(s) will prepare a report for the Faculty Executive Committee or Graduate Council providing the details of (i) the prior investigations, including information as to the allegations and the evidence produced by the student to establish the case; (ii) the instructor's response to the student's allegations; (iii) all other information the dean may have gathered in the course of the investigation that bears on the credibility of the student's complaint. Copies of the dean's report shall be sent to the instructor and the student, both of whom should submit written comments to the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council within 30 days of receipt of the dean's report. Having granted both parties a reasonable opportunity, the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council shall make a final determination within 60 days after the Committee/Council’s receipt of the complaint.
  4. If the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council or its designee decides that the grade (or units) assigned is (are) not reflective of the student's course performance, it shall authorize one of the actions stated below.

    The Committee/Council may act only as follows:

    1. authorize retroactive withdrawal from the course;
    2. authorize a change of contested grade;
    3. for courses offered in the College of Creative Studies, the Faculty Executive Committee will determine the number of units to be assigned.

    The Committee/Council will report its decision to the Registrar for recording.

  5. Should the dean's investigation tend to demonstrate a pattern of faculty misconduct extending beyond the particular case, the dean will inform the Faculty Executive Committee/Graduate Council which is then responsible for assuring that appropriate corrective actions are taken including but not limited to grade changes as specified in (D) above and referral of the case to other appropriate committees and agencies.

    (Am 6 Mar 97; Am 2 Nov 00; Am 21 Mar 19)

Procedures for Appeal of Academic Disqualification for Graduate Students

  1. Within 30 days after the date of the notice of academic disqualification, the graduate student may submit a formal written appeal to the Graduate Dean with a corresponding copy to the Chair of the relevant department(s). The student's appeal must cite an appropriate cause for consideration of the appeal and state specific and succinct reasons the student believes the decision should be overturned. The following are examples of "appropriate cause" for an appeal of academic disqualification;

    1. procedural error;
    2. judgments based upon non-academic criteria;
    3. specific mitigating circumstances contributing to performance; or
    4. substantial evidence of remedied performance or progress toward the degree.

    Disagreements over evaluation of academic quality will not be considered an appropriate basis for such appeals.

  2. Within 30 days of receipt of a student's appeal, the Graduate Dean will seek written input from the chair of the relevant department. Based upon the appeal and this information, the Dean may seek to meet with the student. If there is good reason to overturn the disqualification, the student will be allowed to continue on probation until such time as the student meets all standards of scholarship and thus will be returned to good academic standing.
  3. If the Graduate Dean still recommends academic disqualification after step B, the student has 14 days to submit a written request to Graduate Council that Council consider an appeal. The appeal can be based only on the existing record. All relevant information will be forwarded to the Graduate Council, and the Graduate Dean will inform the student that the appeal has been referred to Graduate Council for further review. Within 60 days of the referral from the Dean, Graduate Council will issue a written recommendation that either the Graduate Dean's decision be overturned or that the Dean's decision should stand. Taking Graduate Council's recommendation into consideration, the Graduate Dean will respond to the student in writing by certified mail within 7 days, upholding or overturning academic disqualification. In cases where academic disqualification is overturned, the Graduate Dean may reinstitute probationary status until such time as the student meets all standards of scholarship and can be returned to good academic standing.

Procedures for Appeal for Graduate Student Disputes with Graduate Committees

From time to time disagreements about decisions, deadlines, policies, procedures, and issues of academic judgment may arise between a student and member of a thesis or dissertation committee. As in all such disputes, involved parties should, in the spirit of collegiality, attempt to resolve these issues internally.

  1. A student should, therefore, first meet with the chair of the committee (usually her or his advisor) in an effort to resolve the dispute. If the student feels that she or he is unable to do this or if areas of disagreement still remain after this meeting, a written appeal describing the situation and requesting involvement should be addressed within 14 days to the department chair. If the chair is a member of the committee, appeal should be made to the Graduate Advisor, or if a conflict of interest is also present there, to the chair of the committee responsible for departmental graduate affairs.
  2. The department should act to resolve the issue, or declare it unresolvable, and inform the student in writing within 30 days.
  3. If the dispute cannot be resolved within the department, or if the student finds the department's resolution unacceptable, the student may appeal to the Graduate Division Dean, who will attempt further resolution. This appeal must be made in writing within 14 days of the department's decision.
  4. If the Graduate Division Dean is unable to resolve the dispute to the parties' satisfaction within 30 days, the graduate student has 14 days to submit a written appeal to Graduate Council. Graduate Council must inform the student of its decision within 30 days. In this area, decisions of the Graduate Council are final.