The Montana Western grade appeal process is designed to determine if an error in the calculation or recording of a grade has occurred and does not address student allegations of prejudicial or discriminatory actions by a professor. For such claims, see Section F below for a description of the policy and procedure.
Only final grades may be appealed and the burden of proof of a grading error rests with the student. Grades may not be appealed due to their impact on financial aid, athletic eligibility, or other extraneous factors.
The steps for the Montana Western grade appeal procedure are described below.
1. As the first step, students must attempt to resolve any error by meeting informally with the professor. In most cases, this will result in resolution of the situation. Before meeting, with the professor, students should refer to the course syllabus provided the first day of class to review the criteria and methods for determining grades. Students should then speak with the professor to review the final grade and determine if there was an error. Should this process not succeed in rectifying the situation, the student may proceed to Step 2.
2. A student wishing to continue the grade appeal process will next meet with the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students will review the student’s concern to help the student determine if grounds for an appeal exist and, if warranted, to help frame the student’s appeal in a professional and meaningful way. The student must bring to this meeting: A) the course syllabus, B) copies of the graded material, C) attendance verification if available. After this meeting, the student may elect to end the appeal or proceed to Step 3.
3. In the third step, the student attempts to resolve the matter by sending a signed, dated appeal letter outlining his/her concerns to the instructor of the course, who shall have ten (10) working days to respond in writing with a decision. The written appeal letter from the student must be submitted within one calendar year of the date the grade was issued.
4. If the appeal is not resolved after Step 3, and the student deems further action is necessary, the student will direct the appeal to the Dean of Students within five (5) working days of receiving the instructor’s written response. The Dean will communicate to the student who the members of the University Court are and how the court is selected. The student can request a member of University Court not be a part of the appeal. The Dean will have the appeal reviewed by the University Court and a final decision will be rendered by the University Court within twenty (20) working days of receipt of the appeal. At their discretion, the University Court has the right to review the written materials and conduct interviews with all involved parties. The University Court’s decision is final unless the student or the professor believes that procedural irregularities have occurred during the appeal.
5. If the student believes that procedural irregularities have occurred during the appeal and would like to appeal those, he/she must do so in writing to the Provost within ten (10) working days. The Provost shall have twenty (20) working days to render a written decision.
The final step on campus is a written appeal to the Chancellor (which may be filed by either party) to review any allegations of procedural irregularities during steps 1-4. The Chancellor may interview each person involved in the process and request additional written material if needed. The Chancellor shall have twenty (20) working days to render a written decision concerning allegations of procedural irregularities.
If an allegation of procedural irregularities is not resolved on campus, the student has the right to take an appeal to The University of Montana President, the Commissioner of Higher Education, and finally the Montana University System Board of Regents.