Note: The first step towards resolution in any grievance or grade appeal is for the student to attempt to meet or contact the faculty member or instructor to resolve informally. This has to be done before considering further steps.

Any student in a SOIS course wishing to appeal a grade, or having a grievance, who have not succeeded to address the matter in step one, should contact the chair of the SGAC (The Student Grievance and Appeals Committee) for step two. The chair will then share the complaint with the SGAC committee. This can be done in person or by sending an email

The process then proceeds as follows: The immediate focus is to activate the appropriate process(es).

  1. Discrimination. Discriminatory behavior is prohibited by UWM’s Discriminatory Conduct Policy (see and inconsistent with the SOIS Statement on Diversity. As such, SOIS takes all charges and complaints of discrimination very seriously. If any individual alleges an act of discrimination, the SGAC will report the matter to the Executive Committee and refer the matter to the EDS office (Office of Equity and Diversity Services). The SGAC will also notify the Doctoral Program Committee if the instructor is a doctoral student. The individual will also be encouraged to contact EDS directly. EDS will investigate whether discrimination took place and will, when appropriate, work with the department on implementing interim measures to prevent further incidents.
  2. Accommodations. If a student has received a VISA (Verified Individual Services and Accommodations) from the Accessibility Resource Center (ARC), the student should provide a physical or electronic copy of the VISA to the instructor. It is expected that the instructor will send the student an email acknowledgment stipulating how this accommodation request will be met. Such an email response will promote mutual understanding and clarify the details of the accommodation. If a student complains that the VISA accommodation has not been met, an SGAC member will reach out to ARC and the instructor and attempt to rectify the situation. If the instructor is unwilling to comply with accommodation, the matter will be treated as a behavioral issue (see below).
  3. Behavioral Issues. Based on the University Code of Conduct (see the following steps will be taken when a complaint is made regarding an instructor’s behavior (including teaching conduct and course management issues): The SGAC will inform the SOIS Executive Committee (EC) of the complaint. The SGAC will also notify the Doctoral Program Committee if the instructor is a doctoral student. Depending on the nature of the complaint, the EC will determine whether (i) the issue can be discussed and resolved with the instructor, or (ii) the issue requires a formal investigation. In the event of a formal investigation, the EC will determine the scope of the investigation and collaborate with the Dean in effecting the process. This may include putting safeguards in place to prevent further issues from arising during the investigation. Any resolution reached by the EC (regardless of the nature of the complaint) shall be noted in the department’s personnel “working file.” If a situation appears to warrant discipline, the EC or the Dean may refer the matter to the Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee (FRRC).

Grade Appeal Procedure
Approved Oct 2021 – Effective Spring 2022 Semester

The instructor of record for a course has responsibility for evaluating student work in the class and assigning grades. Instructors and teaching assistants (TAs) also may interact with students in the classroom or out-of-class communication. On certain occasions, students may experience actions on the part of an instructor or TA assigned to the course that cause the student to consider filing a grade appeal. Below are the steps for the formal appeal process.

STEP 1: Informal Resolution

Within 30 working days of the action that prompted the appeal, the student must first seek informal resolution by discussing the objection with the instructor including a written statement for their appeal. Many such situations arise as the result of misunderstanding or incomplete information, and the majority of situations in which students consider taking formal action are resolved informally.

If the situation involves a teaching assistant, the student first should discuss the situation with the TA including a written statement for their appeal. If the situation is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student should discuss the matter with the supervising instructor for the course. Efforts to reach an informal resolution should be initiated as soon as possible in light of the Step 2 deadlines set forth below.

STEP 2: Formal Appeal to SGAC (Student Grievance and Appeals Committee)

If the situation cannot be resolved informally, the student may initiate a formal appeal. To do so, the student must, within ten (10) business days from the date that they receive the Step 1 decision, file a written statement of appeal with the chair of the SGAC ( ) or his/her designee. The statement should:

(i) include the written statement submitted in Step 1
(ii) identify actions that will resolve the problem, and
(iii) provide a rationale for the solution.

If in Step 2 a SGAC member was involved in making the Step 1 decision, he/she must be replaced on the SGAC by an alternate.

In response to this statement, the SGAC Chair or designee will meet jointly or individually with the student and the instructor (including both the TA and the supervising instructor, if applicable) in an effort to resolve the problem. The meetings may be in person, by telephone, or any other appropriate interactive medium, such as Zoom or Teams. After gathering and considering all information it deems relevant, the SGAC will produce a report recommending a course of action. The report will be given to both the student and the instructor(s), and a copy will be retained in the School’s files.

STEP 3: Formal Appeal to the Associate Dean (for undergraduate students) or the Dean of the Graduate School (for graduate students)

If the proposed resolution set forth in Step 2 is not acceptable to the student, or if no resolution has been proposed, then the student may continue to Step 3 through the following procedure: The student may appeal, within ten (10) working days of receiving a copy of the report from the SGAC.

For undergraduate students, the student should refer the appeal to SOIS’s Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will review all documents utilized during the previous steps, as well as any other materials the Associate Dean deems relevant and appropriate. The Associate Dean will independently consider this information, afford the student and the instructor(s) an opportunity to present their cases, and decide on a course of action. Following evaluation at this level, the decision of the Associate Dean of SOIS is final.

For graduate students, the student should refer the appeal to the Dean of the Graduate School. For detailed information, please check the Graduate School’s outlined Academic Appeals Procedure:

Please note, failure by the student to meet any of the prescribed deadlines for an appeal to the next step terminates the appeal procedure.