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Faculty Policy Series #42

Course Grade Appeal
(Excluding The Law School And Medical School)

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It is the right and responsibility of the faculty to determine student grades at Hofstra University. An instructor’s right to determine a final grade assigned in his or her class shall be abrogated only if it is demonstrated (through the procedure below) that the final course grade was not based on the student’s academic performance in the course.

Each School and College at Hofstra shall adopt procedures consistent with the policy for appeals of final course grades given within that unit. Within these procedures a student shall appeal in writing first to the instructor (unless the instructor is no longer in residence or is otherwise unreachable). If this appeal does not resolve the issue, the student may then appeal to the Chair of the Department. The student shall be required to submit a written statement to the Chair detailing an argument for a change of final grade. The chair shall attempt to mediate a resolution, but can not change a grade.  If no satisfactory resolution is achieved, the student has a right to continue the appeal process by making a formal written appeal to the Dean of the unit involved. The Dean will review the issues and merits of the case. The Dean may choose to dismiss the case if there is no material basis for the appeal, to mediate a resolution or to empanel an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee according to the timeline as appropriate

The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee shall be composed of three to five tenured faculty. The student must submit a written statement to the committee detailing an argument for a change of grade. The committee shall have the authority to investigate the matter fully and request material from the student and the instructor. The committee, however, proceeds from the presumption that the course grade was justified; the burden of proof shall lie with the student. If the committee members find that the grade was not based on academic performance, they may determine a new grade and submit a change of grade through the Dean's office.

Both a faculty member and a student have the right to request a review by the Provost of the decision by the Dean (in the event that an ad hoc committee is not convened) or by the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee.  In such instances, the Provost shall begin with the presumption that the Dean’s or theAd Hoc Appeals Committee’s determination is correct. The Provost determines if the proper procedure was followed. If he or she determines that there is cause for reconsideration, the Provost shall convene (or reconvene) the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee for further consideration of the matter. In all cases the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee’s decision shall be forwarded to the student who made the appeal, the instructor involved, and the Dean and Provost.

To ensure a fair and expeditious processing of appeals, the following deadlines should guide the entire appeals process.

  • Students must contact their instructor with a formal appeal in writing about their final grade no later than three (3) weeks into the subsequent fall or spring semester following the issuance of the grade.
  • The instructor must then reply in writing within two (2) weeks.
  •  If the student wishes to appeal to the Chair, he or she must submit a formal appeal within two (2) weeks of receiving the instructor’s reply. If the student does not get a response from the instructor within two (2) weeks, the student may proceed directly to the Chair, also within a two (2) week period.
  • The Chair will have two (2) weeks to mediate a resolution.
  • If the student wishes to appeal further, he or she must submit an appeal in writing to the Dean within two (2) weeks of hearing from the Chair.
  • The Dean shall have three (3) weeks to dismiss, begin a mediation or empanel an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee and investigate the appeal.
  • By the end of the semester in which the appeal process began, the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee should notify the student, instructor, Chair, Dean, and Provost of its decision.
  • The student and instructor then have two (2) weeks to ask for a review by the Provost.

This timetable should be uniform across all units of the University, (other than the Law School and the Medical School). All deadlines should hold except for unforeseeable circumstances or emergencies. If such circumstances arise, the Dean or Provost may adjust dates accordingly.


FPS #42
(rev. 2012)

See Individual School/College Policies