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Loyola University Chicago

College of Arts & Sciences

Academic Grievance Appeals Process

Consistent with the university’s academic grievance procedure, the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) has developed an academic grievance process that is consistent with the University’s academic grievance procedures.

The CAS protocol for academic grievances is designed to achieve clarity, uniformity, and fairness in the handling of all academic disputes involving individual student complaints regarding course grades as well as charges of academic misconduct.

Regarding complaints about course grades, the University’s academic grievance procedure states:

“Students should be aware that in cases in which a grade is disputed, the grade will be changed by the dean only if the grading:

  1. is found to be in significant violation of clearly established written college policies or
  2. is a result of improper procedures or
  3. is found to be capricious. Capricious grading is the assignment of a grade to a student which is based partially or entirely on criteria other than the student's performance in the course; based on standards different from those standards of grading applied to other students registered in the same course; or based on a substantial departure from the announced grading standards for the course.”

Every student may request the actuation of a formal academic grievance process in order to have a complaint or appeal reviewed in an impartial and thorough manner. In accordance with best educational practices and university policy, this process must be based on relevant information and afford both parties (student and instructor) with an equal voice in proceedings. The steps in the process are as follows:  

1. A sincere attempt should be made by the student to resolve the problem by discussion with the instructor. The student first discusses the grade or charge of academic misconduct with the instructor of the course. Every attempt is made by the instructor to answer fully the student’s concerns at this level. If the instructor decides that a change-of-grade is appropriate (e.g., due to instructor error), the instructor will submit a grade-change request via the student information system, which will be reviewed by the student’s academic dean’s office.

2. If that attempt fails, the student may submit a written request for an academic grievance hearing to the chairperson of the department within one month after the beginning of the following semester (excluding summer sessions). The student must specify the nature of the dispute and the attempts to resolve the matter, and must attach relevant information or documentation to support the claim of the academic grievance.

3. Every department has a set of guidelines for handling academic grievances. Customarily, departments have established an ad hoc or standing hearing committee of between three and five faculty members to review such cases, apart from the faculty member involved in the grievance and the department chairperson. The department chairperson may decline to forward the case to the grievance committee if the chairperson deems that the grievance is without reasonable grounds or lacking sufficient information or documentation to substantiate a claim of inaccurate, capricious, or unfair grading practices. In such instances, the department chairperson must justify, in writing, the reason for this decision and communicate the decision to the student and instructor as well as the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs. When a student is charged with academic misconduct (e.g., plagiarism, cheating, dishonest examination behavior, etc.), the chairperson may constitute the hearing committee to review the information, reports, and documentation of academic misconduct as well as to consider the imposition of additional sanctions beyond those assigned by the instructor.

4. If the chairperson determines that the information is sufficient to proceed with the case, the academic grievance goes before the department’s hearing committee within two weeks after the chairperson’s receipt of the student’s request for a hearing, if practicable.

5. The student and instructor are expected to present documentation and relevant information for the committee’s review and are invited to present such materials in person and in the presence of each other and the hearing committee. The student and instructor may request to appear separately before the committee. Through the office of the chairperson, the hearing committee may request additional materials from the student and faculty member at any time during the hearing process. Both the student and instructor involved may request assistance in presenting the case at the hearing by any member of the university community other than an attorney. The individual must inform the chairperson of the hearing committee of the names of representatives and any witnesses before the hearing date.

6. Relevant information and documentation will be presented during the committee hearing. Relevant information or documentation also may be submitted to the committee chairperson prior to the hearing, but all materials must be submitted and reviewed during the hearing. The hearing committee may address questions to any party or witness. Matters of hearing procedure will be determined by the chairperson of the hearing committee.

7. The committee renders a decision in the case and submits it to the department chairperson within two weeks of the grievance committee hearing.

8. Within two weeks of receiving the committee’s decision, the chairperson communicates the committee’s report (or synopsis thereof) in writing to the student and faculty member involved. E-mail is allowed. If the committee renders a decision in support of the student’s petition, the department submits a grade-change request, which will be reviewed by the student’s academic dean’s office.

9. Should the student wish to contest the department committee’s decision, the student submits, in writing, a request to the CAS Dean’s Office’s Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs within 30 days of notice of the hearing committee’s decision. The student’s current academic advisor will be notified of the request. The appeal must set forth reasons for the request and provide new information/documentation (gathered or discovered since the department hearing committee’s deliberations) indicating that the committee's decision inadequately addressed the complaint due to substantive or procedural error. Specifically, the grounds to appeal must include one or more of the following criteria:

10. Should the instructor wish to contest the department committee’s decision, the instructor submits, in writing, a request to the CAS Dean’s Office’s Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs within 30 days of notice of the hearing committee’s decision. The appeal must set forth reasons for the request and provide new information/documentation (gathered or discovered since the department hearing committee’s deliberations) indicating that the committee's decision was affected by substantive or procedural error. Specifically, the grounds to appeal must include one or more of the following criteria:

11. Within five working days of the receipt of the appeal, the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs informs the individual that the review of the case has been initiated in the CAS Dean’s Office.

12. Within two weeks of the receipt of the appeal, the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs contacts the department chairperson in order to request all pertinent case materials that were reviewed by the department hearing committee as well as the rationale for the committee’s decision.

13. Within 30 days, if practicable, of the receipt of the appeal, the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs convenes the CAS Dean’s Office’s Academic Grievance Appeals Committee to review the grievance decision and the student’s appeal and documentation.

14. The CAS Academic Grievance Appeals Committee may uphold or overturn the department committee’s decision. In either case, the decision is made after an exhaustive review of the relevant information, materials, documentation, and committee deliberations. The decision is communicated to the student, instructor, and department chairperson no later than 30 days following receipt of the appeal. In the case of a reversal of the department hearing committee’s ruling, a change of grade is effectuated in the student information system through the CAS Dean’s Office. In the case of an affirmation of the departmental hearing committee, the student may appeal the case further to the Dean of the College within 30 days of notice of the committee’s decision. Again, the appeal must set forth reasons for the request and provide new relevant information (gathered or discovered since the CAS Academic Grievance Appeals Committee’s deliberations) indicating that the committee’s decision inadequately addressed the complaint due to substantive or procedural error. Specifically, the grounds to appeal to the CAS Dean must include one or more of the following criteria:

15. Within five working days of a notice of appeal, the Assistant Dean for Student Academic Affairs submits to the Dean of the CAS all the materials pertaining to the case, including the reports of the department hearing committee and the CAS Academic Grievance Appeals Committee.

16. The Dean of the College may uphold or overturn the ruling of the CAS Grievance Appeals Committee. The Dean’s decision will be rendered within two weeks of receipt of student’s appeal. This decision is final and binding. In the case of the Dean’s overturning the decision of the CAS Academic Grievance Appeals Committee, a grade change is effectuated in the student information system through the CAS Dean’s Office.

 

Loyola

College of Arts and Sciences
Lake Shore Campus · 1032 W. Sheridan Rd., Sullivan Center 235, Chicago, IL 60660 · 773.508.3500
Water Tower Campus · 820 N. Michigan Ave., Lewis Towers 930, Chicago, IL 60611 · 312.915.6520
casloyola@luc.edu

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