Undergraduate students may appeal a final course grade.
The grade appeal process only applies to the appeal of a final course grade and not individual graded assignments.
Grades that were given as a result of alleged violations of the Academic Honor Code cannot be appealed under this process. Throughout the appeal process, the original assigned grade remains as the student’s official grade until the point where it may be modified as a result of this process.
The appeal process must be initiated by the student within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of class of the regular semester following the award of the grade. (Note: Summer and Expedited options are listed separately.)
An undergraduate student considering an appeal on a final course grade should understand that each faculty member has the academic freedom and responsibility to determine grades according to any method chosen by the faculty member that is professionally acceptable, communicated to everyone in the class, and applied to all students equally. A disagreement about what constitutes fair grading is not grounds for an appeal.
Examples that merit a grade appeal may include:
1. The instructor miscalculated the final grade in the course.
2. The instructor graded the student’s work differently than other similarly situated students in the class.
3. The instructor has not provided a reasonable explanation of how the student’s work was evaluated.
4. The instructor did not use the grading policies or procedures outlined in the syllabus/amended syllabus without reasonable cause.
An undergraduate student who wishes to appeal a final course grade should first attempt to resolve the matter by meeting with the instructor involved. This meeting may occur in person, over the phone, or by videoconferencing. The student must explain their position to the instructor and attempt to understand the justification for the grade assigned by the instructor. The purpose of the meeting is to reach a mutual understanding of the student’s situation and the instructor’s actions and to resolve differences in an informal and cooperative manner.
If a student fails to reach a satisfactory solution in consultation with the instructor, or if it is impractical to consult with the instructor, the student should seek the assistance of the Faculty Conciliator and meet with them within seven (7) calendar days of meeting with the instructor or within fifteen (15) calendar days after the first day of class of the semester following the award of the grade. The Faculty Conciliator’s role is to advise, guide, and document the student’s progress through the appeal process. The Faculty Conciliator attempts to facilitate an amicable solution to the matter and does not serve as an advocate for either the student or the instructor. If the Faculty Conciliator is unavailable during the summer months, the student should contact the Office of the Provost for assistance.
Within seven (7) calendar days of the initial meeting with the student, the Conciliator must arrange a meeting with the student, the instructor, and the chairperson of the department. The purpose of this meeting is to try to find an amicable solution. In the case of a grade appeal involving a department chairperson, the meeting will be with the student, the instructor (chairperson), and the Dean of the School/College responsible for the course or their designee. The student should bring materials supporting their position to this meeting to help explain or clarify their position and give the professor the opportunity to review and explain mark-ups on graded materials. If the student is still dissatisfied after this meeting, such student may then elect to file a formal appeal within seven (7) calendar days of the meeting.
To file a formal appeal, the student must submit a written appeal statement, including all information/documentation to be considered by the Conduct Hearing Board (CHB), to the Faculty Conciliator, who will forward it to the Office of Student Conduct. The Director of Student Conduct will consult with the Chairperson of the CHB. The written appeal must be specific, relevant, and concise, explaining precisely the student’s justification for the grade appeal. The burden of proof will be on the student, to the extent reasonable, to clearly document pertinent evidence for the grade appeal (i.e., a copy of the syllabus; copies of graded exams, quizzes, writing assignments; and other substantiating evidence). The student should also request copies of items used for evaluation that cannot be directly documented (e.g., a professor may keep copies of old exams).
The CHB has authority to screen out frivolous or unsubstantiated claims. The Chairperson will notify the Conciliator, the faculty member, the student, and the departmental chairperson (or Dean of the School/College responsible for the course or their designee), in writing, explaining why the committee found a student claim sufficient or insufficient and, in the event of a sufficient claim, of the date of the appeal hearing. If the claim is found insufficient, the student may appeal to the Campus Appeal Board (CAB). The decision of the CAB is final.
The CHB shall be scheduled to convene once an appeal is submitted to the Office of Student Conduct from a Faculty Conciliator. In a closed hearing, the student shall produce documents and other relevant evidence to substantiate his or her claims. The student may address only those issues the CHB found sufficient to move forward to this meeting. Claims the CHB has deemed frivolous or unsubstantiated may not be addressed. The instructor shall be given an opportunity to respond and discuss the concerns raised by the student. The CHB may ask questions of all parties and will deliberate after hearing the case. A quorum of three CHB members is required to render a decision. Every effort is made to ensure that at least one faculty member, one staff member, one student, and the CHB chairperson be in attendance. The Board shall issue its decision within seven (7) calendar days of the hearing.
Once the CHB reaches its decision, the following persons and offices will be notified in writing about the findings of the Board: the Office of the Provost, the dean of the school/college, the chairperson in the appropriate department, the faculty member, the Conciliator, and the student. If the Board finds the original course grade to be inappropriate, the Board will recommend that the faculty member recalculate the grade and the Office of the Provost will ask that appropriate changes be made in the Registrar’s Office within five (5) calendar days. Should the faculty member be unwilling or unable to do so, the Board will recalculate the grade and ask the Office of the Provost to make the necessary changes in the Registrar’s Office. The resulting grade is final and may not be further appealed.
The Faculty Conciliators work as “co-conciliators” who share the workload of student grade appeals equally. The co-conciliators should serve for staggered terms of two years each. If a Conciliator is unable or unwilling to fulfill their duties, the Office of the Provost will work with the Faculty Senate leadership to nominate another faculty member to complete the term of service. The Faculty Senate will forward its approved nominations to the SGA immediately following the January Senate meeting. Included in the list of nominees should be a letter of interest from each candidate, as well as a copy of their resume or curriculum vita. The Faculty Conciliator shall be an ex officio, nonvoting member of the CHB in final grade appeals deliberations. Conciliator terms will begin at the beginning of the Fall term and end at the end of the Summer II term. Students should contact the Office of the Provost to receive contact information for the Faculty Conciliators.
Campus Hearing Board (CHB)
The CHB is defined in the UNCP Student Handbook. CHB members are necessarily excluded from deliberations in which:
1. The board member is related to one of the two principals.
2. The board member is a departmental colleague of one of the principals.
3. The board member is currently enrolled in a course taught by one of the principals.
4. The board member is one of the two principals involved.
All questions of scheduling and satisfying deadlines shall be adjudicated by the Director of Student Conduct in consultation with the Office of the Provost.
All records of the Board’s deliberations shall be kept in a file maintained by the Office of Student Conduct in accordance with the University Records Retention and Disposition Schedule.
Nothing in this process should be construed as a violation of academic freedom expressed in The Code of The University of North Carolina.
Dr. Abigail Reiter, Term 2023-2024
Dr. Silvia Smith, Term 2023-2025