Academic Grievances and Academic Appeals

Wheelock College of Education & Human Development Policy

Undergraduate Students

See University policy.

Graduate Students

In instances in which a student feels they have experienced unfair treatment or mistreatment of an academic nature (for example, concerns about grading, feedback, or dissertation advising) and wishes to seek redress, they should follow the steps outlined below under the heading Academic Grievances.

Should a student wish to appeal a decision by the Wheelock Academic Review Committee in regards to extension of time for degree completion and reinstatement, they should follow the procedures below under the heading Academic Appeals.

Academic Grievances

Step 1—Discussion with faculty member

  1. In the event that a student feels aggrieved, the first step is to contact the relevant faculty member and to schedule a meeting to attempt to resolve the matter. This should be done within two weeks after the grade was assigned or feedback provided. (All time limits are subject to revision upon the agreement of both parties.)
  2. In the event that the student feels the matter was not resolved to the student’s satisfaction at the conclusion of the meeting with the faculty member, the student may bring the matter to the attention of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. This must be done within one week of the meeting.

Step 2—Discussion with Associate Dean for Student Affairs/Grievance Committee

  1. If a student does not feel the issue was resolved, the student may request to proceed with the academic grievance process. In this case, the Associate Dean will ask the relevant parties to supply all pertinent written material and correspondence in the matter. In addition, the Associate Dean will ask two faculty members to serve as ad hoc members of the Grievance Committee.
  2. A hearing will be scheduled where the grievant, the faculty member, the two ad hoc members of the Grievance Committee, and the Associate Dean will meet to discuss the matter. One of the ad hoc faculty members shall chair the meeting. A student may bring an observer, but this person may not play an active role in the meeting.
  3. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Grievance Committee will meet and render a decision and notify all parties within three days of the meeting.

Academic Appeals

Students may contest decisions of either the Grievance Committee or the Wheelock Academic Review Committee.

Decisions may be contested by submitting a written request for appeal to the Dean of Wheelock no more than 14 days following receipt of a written decision notice. Written appeals should clearly explain the student’s reason for appealing the Committee’s decision.

Within 48 hours of receiving a written request for appeal, the Dean shall:

  1. Notify the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (ADSA) so they can assist both the Dean and student with procedural steps and timelines.
  2. Notify the Chair of the Committee; following this notification, the Chair will have 10 days to submit all relevant documentation to the Dean, as well as a written response to the student’s appeal.

Following receipt of the Committee Chair’s documentation and response letter, the Dean will have 72 hours to render a written decision (this follows grievance process protocol). Decisions may:

  1. Uphold the Committee’s decision. A Committee decision that is upheld by the Dean may be appealed to the University Provost.
  2. Overturn the Committee’s decision. Note: In overturned decisions, the Dean may not grant the student anything other than what they requested in their original petition.
  3. Request the Committee convene in order to consider a revised student petition, which must be submitted to the Committee Chair no more than 10 days following receipt of the Dean’s written decision. The Committee will then have 14 days to convene and deliver a written decision to the Dean and student. Should a student appeal a Committee decision based on a revised petition, the Dean will only have the option to uphold or overturn the Committee decision.

All appeals decisions made by the Dean should be sent to the student, Associate Dean for Student Affairs (ADSA), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (ADAA), and Committee Chair.

In the event that the Wheelock Dean must recuse themselves from a Committee appeal, the Dean may select an Associate Dean who does not have a conflict of interest to act as their designee. In this case, the Dean’s designee will follow the procedures outlined above.

For more information on the Wheelock Academic Review Committee, please contact the ADSA or the ADAA.