Undergraduate students may appeal a grade or academic administrative decisions*. Academic administrative decisions may include denial of admission to a program, dismissal from a college or program, or other decisions affecting students’ academic standing and course of study. The University of Tulsa provides the following mechanism for students to appeal grades and academic decisions. Cases involving academic misconduct are governed only by each college’s policy on Academic Misconduct. Although timelines are provided below, all efforts should be made to resolve appeals in as expedient manner as possible.
- Resolve Informally: Students are encouraged to resolve differences or concerns in an informal manner with professors or academic leaders through direct contact and inquiry. If an informal request is not successful, students may pursue a formal appeal. Students should initiate informal resolution attempts promptly. Queries and/or conversations regarding academic concerns may result in the resolution of academic concerns; these are not considered formal appeals until initiation of the procedures outlined below.
- Formal Appeal: At each stage, the appeal must be made in accordance with the following rules:
- The student’s formal appeal or complaint must be made in writing as a Word or pdf document which may be attached to an email; it must be signed and dated. If the formal appeal is included in an email submitted from the students’ official university email address, no signature is necessary.
- The appeal must include the following information:
- an explanation of the academic decision or grade being appealed
- the rationale for considering the decision to be in error
- the specific remedy requested
- evidence or documentation of an inaccuracy (if available)
- The initial formal appeal by the student must be initiated within 30 calendar days of the decision. If the dispute concerns a final course grade, the appeal must be made within 30 calendar days of the date grades are posted or the date that grades are due for the semester in question, whichever occurs last.
- If the party petitioned does not honor the appeal, the refusal to do so must be explained in writing to the student.
- Response to Student: Every effort should be made to communicate decisions to the student, in writing, within 14 calendar days at each level of appeal.
- Further Stages of Appeal: If the student is unsatisfied with the explanation provided at the first level of complaint, he/she/they may appeal in writing in the designated order to the next level of academic or administrative supervision, which will differ depending on the source of the first decision. Further appeal by the student must be in writing and must include all supporting documentation. Further appeal must be presented within 14 calendar days of the date that the previous appeal decision response was communicated in writing. If the original appeal was made to an instructor, the student should then appeal to the head of the academic unit. If to the head of an academic unit, then the student should appeal to the Associate Dean of the appropriate college (the college in which the course is offered). If appealed to the Associate Dean, then the student may appeal to the Committee designated for this purpose (by submitting a request for this further appeal to the Associate Dean).
- Appeal Decision: If a student has appealed to the Associate Dean, the decision will in most instances be final. However, at his/her/their discretion in cases where a question of fact has arisen, the Associate Dean may refer the appeal to the collegiate Committee designated for this purpose. In cases where the Committee has been convened, the collegiate Committee will recommend a decision to the College Dean. The Dean will then issue a decision, and that decision will be final.
- Courses that exist outside a college: For courses that exist outside a college, the first step of a formal appeal begins with the instructor. If a student wishes to appeal an instructor’s decision, that appeal is considered by the unit head where the course resides. If a student wishes to appeal beyond the unit head, then the student may appeal to the Associate Dean of their home college (except in the case of study abroad courses which are appealed to the Provost’s Office). If a student has appealed to the Associate Dean, the decision will in most instances be final. However, at their discretion in cases where a question of fact has arisen, the Associate Dean may refer the appeal to the college Committee designated for this purpose. In cases where the Committee has been convened, the collegiate Committee will recommend a decision to the College Dean. The Dean will then issue a decision, and that decision will be final.
- Fundamental Fairness: If a student can make a case that the principle of fundamental fairness was violated in the appeal process itself, then the student has a right of final appeal to the Provost’s Office. Any such appeal must be presented, in writing, within 14 calendar days of the College-level decision. The Provost’s Office may either consider the appeal or decline to do so. Decisions regarding Provost’s Office review status will be communicated to the student, in writing, within 14 calendar days. In all such cases, a decision of the Provost or Provost’s designee is final. No further appeals are available.
*This process does not apply to the College of Law. JD, graduate or undergraduate students taking courses in the College of Law should consult the policies for the College of Law.
Approved by Deans’ Council November 20, 2019
Amended by Deans’ Council February 10, 2021