Graduate School Academic Appeals Procedure

Contact Information:
Alessandra Gillen
Mitchell Hall 247
Office of the Dean of the Graduate School
3203 N Downer Ave.
Milwaukee, WI. 53211

Appeals of academic decisions proceed through a three-step procedure beginning with the faculty member or faculty/staff body responsible for making the initial decision and ending with the Dean of the Graduate School. Appeals of an academic decision (e.g., grades, outcome of master’s degree capstone requirement, outcome of doctoral preliminary exam) must follow this sequence:

Step One
Within 30 working days of the action that prompted the appeal, the student appeals to the faculty member or faculty/staff body responsible for making the initial decision. This appeal must be made in writing and should contain substantiating reasons for the appeal, a request for a specific remedy, and a rationale for the remedy sought. If the decision is negative and the student requests written notification, the faculty member or body must provide the student with a written statement of the reason for the adverse decision.

Step Two
If the Step 1 decision is not in the student’s favor, the student may, within 10 working days of receiving the decision, appeal to the committee designated by the graduate faculty of the student’s program to hear appeals. The appeal must be made in writing and should contain substantiating reasons for the appeal, a request for a specific remedy, and a rationale for the remedy sought. If a Step 2 committee member was involved in making the Step One decision, he or she must be replaced on the committee according to established program appeal procedures. If necessary, the dean of the school or college in which the program is located may appoint replacement committee members. If there is no committee established to hear a step 2 appeal, the school or college dean should appoint an ad hoc committee to handle the appeal. The student will receive written notification of the outcome of the Step 2 appeal.

Step Three
If the Step 2 decision is negative, the student may, within 10 working days of receiving the decision, appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. The appeal must be made in writing and should contain the reason for the appeal, substantial evidence in support of the appeal, and the solution sought. This may be done using the Step Three Academic Appeal Form. The appeal should be directed to the Dean’s office in Mitchell Hall Room 251.

The Associate Dean contacts the appropriate department or program and requests all pertinent documentation regarding the appeal. For this reason, departments and programs are urged to:
  • Notify students in writing about department or program appeal procedures and the scheduled meeting of the appeal body.
  • Maintain complete and legal minutes of the Step 2 appeal meeting (see section ii).
  • Inform the student in writing of the outcome of the appeal.
To ensure that students receive correspondence regarding appeals, and to avoid claims of non-receipt, it is recommended that all materials be sent to the student by certified mail, return receipt requested.

The Associate Dean reviews the documentation and forwards the appeal with a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Dean of the Graduate School is responsible for reviewing an academic appeal for procedural fairness and maintaining and protecting the rights of BOTH the graduate faculty AND GRADUATE STUDENTS. The Step 2 decision will be subject to reversal if the dean finds that:
  • The program or department did not follow proper procedures.
  • The student did not have a fair hearing.
  • There is evidence of unprofessional conduct on the part of the faculty that materially affected the academic decision.
Following the Graduate School investigation, the result of the Step 3 appeal will be conveyed in writing to both the student and the unit.