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SJMC Policy for Resolving Conflict

Part of your education is learning how to deal appropriately with conflict in the workplace.

Students must initiate a grade appeal within 10 business days following the final grade submission due date published by the Registrar. The appeal is initiated by first seeking a resolution with the instructor. Exception: For courses in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, the final grade appeal must be initiated 3 business days following the final grade submission due date published by the Registrar, or in the event that the final grade submission occurs prior to course completion, the timeline will begin with official College notification to the student.

Students may appeal a final grade for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Procedural or clerical error by the instructor that had a negative impact on the student’s grade
  2. The grading being arbitrary, capricious or outside accepted norms with resultant negative impact on the student’s grade. Possible examples: work is graded differently than stated in the rubric; final grades are calculated with a different method than stated on the syllabus, etc.
  3. The evaluation was of a different standard than that required of other students in the class, resulting in a negative impact on the student’s grade. Possible examples: some students were permitted to submit late work without penalty and others were not; extra credit opportunities were provided to some, but not all students, etc.

If the student believes that the grade received is based upon discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation, as defined and prohibited by Drake policy, the student should initiate the complaint process set forth in the related policy: Non-Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy (Non-Sex-Based), or Sexual Harassment Policy.

Students must provide sufficient evidence to support how their appeal meets one or more of the grounds for appeal, and the inability to provide this evidence may result in dismissal of the appeal. To be clear, students may not appeal the final grade on the grounds that they disagree with the professional judgment of the instructor as to the quality of the students’ performance or work or whether they met course standards.

It is expected that most, if not all, appeals will be resolved between the student and their instructor. If an agreement is not reached between the instructor and the student, the appeal may be escalated to the Associate Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to investigate the allegations and give an outcome. To escalate the matter, students must submit in writing their name, contact information, a description of the circumstances, and the current outcome. Email or hard copy correspondence will be accepted. If, after working with the Associate Dean, the student chooses to appeal the matter a third and final time, the student should contact the Dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, providing the same level of detail described above. Please note: If an agreement between the parties involved occurs at any step of the appeals process, the appeal has concluded and the grade may not be appealed again. A sample timeline is shared below, showing the maximum number of business days allowed for each step in the appeals process.

All officially documented issues will be forwarded to the provost’s office for data collection as reporting general trends, not as an avenue to change the outcome. If the conflict is with one of the final decision makers the student should refer to the University Policy and Procedure website.


Example (days are business days):

Steps in AppealStudent AppealInstructor ResponseStudent AppealAssoc. Dean ResponseStudent AppealDean's ResponseInstructor Appeal of Dean's DecisionDean's Response
Max Days 10 Days 5 Days 5 Days 5 Days 5 Days 5 Days 5 Days 5 Days