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Online Learning | Grade Appeal Process and Academic Complaints

Grade Appeal Process

Responsibility for evaluating student performance and issuing grades rests primarily with course instructors. If a student feels they have been unfairly graded, s/he should follow the process below, saving emails to document that they have done so. (This process is the same for students in traditional face-to-face classes and those enrolled in hybrid or entirely online classes.)

  1. Discuss their grade(s) with the course instructor (either in person or via email or phone), as soon as possible after receiving the grade, generally within five days of receiving it.
  2. The instructor should be willing to listen, to provide explanation, and to be receptive to changing the grade if the students provides a convincing argument for doing so.
  3. If the student’s concerns remain unresolved, the student should discuss their concerns with the instructor’s immediate supervisor, usually the department chair. If the student has a complaint about the department chair, they should communicate with to the Dean of Faculty.

The student should bring materials relevant to their complaint (course syllabus, assignment handouts, the paper / text/ quiz in question) to show to the department chair. The chair, if s/he believes the student’s claim has merit, will discuss it with the instructor, who could change the grade.

  1. If the matter remains unresolved, the student should fill out the Academic Complaint Form, initiating the formal complaint process. After completing the form, the Office of Academic Affairs will contact the student to guide them through the process of submitting an appeal to Curriculum Review Committee (CRC).
  2. If the CRC determines that there are compelling reasons to change the grade, it will request the instructor do so, providing a written explanation for its request. Should the instructor decline, s/he will provide a written explanation to the CRC for their refusal.
  3. The CRC, after considering the instructor’s explanation and if concluding that it would be unjust to allow the original grade to stand, will direct the registrar to change the grade, notifying the instructor and the student of this action.

Academic Complaints

If a student has a complaint about the academic program (such as concerns with a faculty member’s teaching, mentoring, or course instruction), feels they have been treated unfairly, or has other concerns about a faculty member, he or she should follow the procedure below. (This process is the same for students in traditional face-to-face classes and those enrolled in hybrid or entirely online classes.)

  1. Discuss their concern with the professor (either in person or via email or phone) to see if they can resolve the situation.
  2. If the student feels their concerns have not been addressed, they should make an appointment with the chair of the department. If the faculty member they are concerned about is the department chair, they should call the Office of Academic Affairs (OAA) at (217.245.3010) to set up an appointment to meet with the Dean of Faculty.

When the student comes to the meeting, they should bring as much information about their complaint as possible (dates and times of incidents, emails, texts, etc.) to help document their concerns. The Chair will review these materials and discuss them to determine what the next steps should be. The Chair will then follow these steps.

  1. After this initial meeting, if the student remains concerned, they should initiate the formal complaint process by completing the Academic Complaint Form. The OAA will set up an appointment for the student to discuss the situation with the Dean of Faculty or Provost. 

The student should bring the same information they gathered in step 2 to the OAA meeting. The Dean or Provost will review the materials and discuss with the student what the next steps should be.

  1. If appropriate, the OAA will investigate the complaint, seeking information from the student, faculty and/ or staff members and others, as appropriate.
  2. The OAA will attempt to determine the accuracy of the complaint and what actions should be taken in response to it. These actions may vary widely, depending on the type of complaint and the findings of the investigation.

If the student’s complaint is about the Dean or someone in the Office of Academic Affairs, the student should contact the President’s Office (217.245.3001) to make an appointment. The complaint process would be similar to that described above.