If a student believes a course grade was improperly or unfairly assigned, the College has a grade mediation procedure to help resolve the matter. The evaluation of a student's academic performance is the sole responsibility of the person appointed to teach or supervise the course. A student who questions the validity of a faculty member's final evaluation of his or her academic work should confer with that faculty member within the first six weeks of the next full academic semester (i.e., discussion of Fall or Winter grades must begin within the first six weeks of Spring semester, and Spring grades within the first six weeks of Fall semester). If the matter cannot be resolved between the faculty member and the student, the student should seek the appropriate department or division chair or academic advisor to act as a mediator between the student and faculty member. However, the faculty member assigned to teach the course retains the final responsibility for assigning the course grade. After the final outcome, if the student and/or mediator feels that the faculty member in question has been unprofessional in resolving the matter, they should send a letter to the Vice President for Academic Affairs to be placed in the file of the faculty member and considered by the Faculty Evaluation Committee as part of the regular evaluation process.
If the student writes a letter to the Vice President for Academic Affairs to be placed in the file of the faculty member, a copy of the letter will be given by the VPAA to the faculty member and to the mediator, so that they may be informed of the comments. Either or both the faculty member and the person who served as mediator may write letters for the file as well.
The mediator will prepare a brief summary of the interaction with the student and its outcome and will give a copy of the summary to the student, the faculty member, and the Vice President for Academic Affairs. He or she will also retain a file copy. The file copy and the Vice President's summary will be retained through the subsequent evaluation period of the faculty member, in case it would need to be referred to for any reason.
If the faculty member whose grade is questioned is no longer employed by the College or is otherwise unavailable because of sabbatical leave or some other reason:
- The student meets with the department chair of the faculty member's department (or, if the faculty member involved is the department chair, then the student meets with the division chair).
- The department chair and the student's academic advisor help the student prepare a petition for review by a special committee appointed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs in consultation with Curriculum Council; the committee shall consist of one member from the faculty member's department or a closely aligned discipline, one faculty member from the division, and one faculty member from outside the division.
- This special committee will review all available material and speak with people who may have insight into the situation and will come to some resolution that may include—but is not limited to—changing the grade(s) in question to Pass.
- The timelines for beginning the grade mediation procedure are the same whether or not the faculty member continues at the College.
- The decision of the special committee is final.