Grading Policies and Appeals
Grades of Incomplete
Students are expected to complete the work in each course by the deadlines established by the instructor; the final deadline for work cannot exceed the end of the final examination period for that term. However, a grade of incomplete may be awarded at the discretion of the instructor, if requested by the student, under the following conditions: 1) at least three-quarters of the required work for the course has been completed, 2) unforeseen circumstances beyond the student’s control (usually restricted to illness or family emergency) preclude completion of the remaining work for the course by the semester deadline, 3) the student is not on strict academic probation. Note that poor planning or having a lot of work to complete at the end of the term are not, in fairness to other students, considered circumstances beyond a student’s control. Faculty and students with questions about whether the conditions for an incomplete are met should consult with the Director of Academic Programs.
If the conditions for an incomplete are met, a course completion agreement form specifying the work yet to be completed must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the end of the final examination period. Both the student and the instructor are expected to sign the form. For a fall semester course, students have until the first class day of the spring semester to complete an incomplete; for a spring semester course, students have until July 1 to complete an incomplete. Students may not petition to extend the college deadline for the completion of an Incomplete, except with the approval of the course instructor and the Dean of Students. Medical reasons or family emergencies are typically the only conditions under which an extension will be granted. If the student and the professor have set a deadline for completion of the work that is earlier than the official college deadline, the faculty member may approve an extension of that deadline up to the official deadline for that term.
Students who have multiple incompletes for a term will be reviewed by the Academic Standing Committee and are subject to the college's satisfactory academic progress rules. Students who plan to request more than one incomplete for a term are advised to consult with the Director of Academic Programs, who convenes the Academic Standing Committee. As in all matters, it is also wise for students to discuss their circumstances with their faculty advisor.
After a final grade has been submitted, a student may not be required nor allowed to turn in extra work, to redo previous work, or to otherwise make adjustments to his or her work in order to improve the final grade. The only circumstances under which a faculty member may change a final grade once it has been submitted are as follows:
1. The professor has made a calculation error; OR
2. Work previously considered missing is located by the professor, and it is clear the student turned the work in on time.
Students who believe that they have been subjected to arbitrary or discriminatory academic evaluation by a faculty member are guaranteed the right to appeal. Arbitrary or discriminatory academic evaluation involves any or all of the following:
A. Grading on a basis clearly irrelevant to the student’s mastery of the course.
B. Grading on a basis which has not been consistently applied to all students taking the same course concurrently.
C. Grading on a basis which is not consistent with prior practices or announced policies in that course during the semester.
D. Grading that does not take into consideration or honor accommodations granted from the Associate Dean of Students, who coordinates services for students with disabilities, following the date such notification was received by the professor.
In questions of alleged improper academic evaluation, students must follow this procedure to appeal:
1. Consult with the individual faculty member. If, after this step, the student still claims arbitrary or discriminatory evaluation, the student moves to Step 2. If the concern is that the faculty member did not take into consideration or honor accommodations granted by the Associate Dean of Students, the student should consult with that Dean.
2. Visit the Director of Academic Programs, who will confer with the student, hear the student’s position, describe the appeals process and help the student to assess his or her options. The student should provide the Director with a written statement giving relevant facts and the reason for the appeal. If the student decides to appeal the grade further, he or she next contacts the Associate Dean of the Faculty.
3. The Associate Dean of the Faculty makes a final determination about the appeal grounds. If the Associate Dean finds no grounds for appeal, the grade stands.
4. If the Associate Dean of the Faculty finds that the student’s grade was subject to arbitrary or discriminatory evaluation, the final grade is determined by the chair of the relevant department. If it was the chair whose evaluation is being appealed, the grade is determined by a proximate tenured faculty member chosen by the Provost, ideally from the same department but if necessary from a closely related department. The final grade may go up or down, or may remain the same after review by the chair. This decision by the chair or a proximate faculty member is final.
Appeals of Curricular Committee Decisions
The faculty maintains four curricular committees to provide the first level of consideration for particular academic matters at the college. Those four committees are: Individually Designed Interdepartmental Majors, Academic Standing, Study Away Review, and General Education Requirements. The process for appealing one of these committee's decisions is as follows:
1. A written appeal is submitted to the Director of Academic Programs.
2. After ensuring that the appeal includes all of the relevant facts pertinent to the decision and articulates a rational for appealing, the director will send the appeal to the Provost.
3. If the Provost does not evaluate the appeal as having a procedural basis, the appeal will be denied and the curricular committee's decision shall be upheld.
4. If the Provost evaluates the appeal as having a procedural basis, then the appeal will be returned to the original Curricular Committee for review.