This statement summarizes the basic process within the English Department and clarifies the steps that students must take to file an appeal. All students filing a grade appeal should first read "Grading System-Grading Policies" in the LSU General Catalogue, especially the information about what is required in course syllabi. LSU’s regulations require a student to contact the teacher issuing the course grade before initiating a grade appeal to see if the matter may be resolved. If the student and teacher cannot resolve the matter, then the student initiates a formal appeal.
Within the department, each semester, the departmental Academic Staff will name an Appeals Committee of three to five faculty members to evaluate individual grade appeals. Each member of the committee will post office-hours during which students making appeals may make appointments. This list will be made available to the Advisors and to the students when they make their initial contact with the department.
Students should be made aware in writing from the first contact that grade appeals are usually considered on one of two grounds:
- The student feels that the quality of his or her work was higher than the instructor's final grade indicated.
- There was an irregularity in the conduct of the course, such as a sudden syllabus change.
Generally, disagreements about matters like missed appointments or late papers are not considered unless they are carefully documented. Students considering a formal appeal must save all papers and other relevant documents that will help the committee make a decision. However, in an effort to respond to student concerns, the department is always interested in listening to complaints about other kinds of problems with faculty and teaching practices, even if they are not formally linked to a grade appeal.
Only the final grade may be appealed -- individual assignments are only examined in the context of the final grade. Also, when charges of sexual harassment are part of the appeal, they must be immediately brought to the attention of LSU Human Resources Management, without exception and regardless of the student's preferences.
The Grade-Appeal Process:
Step 1: As required by the LSU General Catalogue, the appeal must be initiated within 30 calendar days after the first day of classes in the first regular semester following that in which the course was taken. The student must first schedule an official conference with the teacher to discuss the issues involved. Record the date and time of this meeting.
Step 2: If the differences between the faculty member and the student cannot be resolved through the conference and the student wishes to proceed with the grade appeal, he or she should make an appointment with a member of the Grade Appeals Committee. The student may get a list of names and contact information for the Grade Appeals Committee in Allen 260. The student should prepare a formal, written petition for a grade change, which must be filed with the Grade Appeals Committee within the first 45 calendar days of the first regular semester following that in which the course was taken. This petition may be up to two single-spaced pages of justification. The teacher will be given a copy of the petition and may respond.
Step 3: The Grade Appeals Committee will schedule a conference between the student and the faculty member, at which a member of the Grade Appeals Committee will serve as Mediator. Failure to attend this meeting may result in the dismissal of the student's grade appeal.
Step 4: If the issues cannot be resolved, the Mediator will give all pertinent information from both the student and the teacher to the Appeals Committee, which will then decide the grade appeal. The Mediator will not vote on the disposition of the case but may report to the Appeals Committee.
Step 5: The Appeals Committee's decision will be forwarded to the Chair of the English Department, who within 7 calendar days of receiving the report, will make a final decision on the case. The Chair will notify the student and the teacher of the final ruling by mail to the mailing address listed in the LSU Directory or indicated on the appeal petition. All materials submitted by the student for the grade appeal will be retained in case the appeal is carried on to a higher level since those materials will be requested by the college or the university.
Step 6: The student is entitled to continue the appeal beyond the department to the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. See the LSU General Catalogue for relevant information.