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​Guidelines for Undergraduate Engineering Student Grievances

There may be occasions when an undergraduate engineering student has a grievance with a faculty member. An example might be a disagreement about the grading of homework or an exam.

Course instructors are responsible for establishing grading criteria and for fairly evaluating students' academic performance. Students are responsible for meeting academic standards established by course instructors.

There may be occasions when a student would like to request that a grade on an assignment or an exam be reevaluated by the instructor who assigned the grade. Listed below is an appeal procedure which allows for the review of allegedly unfair grading. It is not intended as a review of the instructor's evaluation of the student's academic performance. Disagreement or dissatisfaction with an instructor’s professional evaluation of coursework is not the basis for a grade appeal.

Unfair grading occurs when a student's work is graded by a different standard than was applied to equivalent students in the course. Different grading criteria may be expected of graduate students enrolled in 400-level courses, and those differing grading standards should be announced or stated in the course syllabus. Unfair grading may also exist if it is demonstrated that the instructor assigned a grade using standards that were substantially different from those previously announced or stated in the course syllabus.

Normally, the best way to proceed informally is to follow the steps below:

  1. Individual Instructors
    Make an earnest attempt to resolve the situation with the instructor. It may be best to set up an appointment to meet with the instructor outside of class time. Prepare a logical justification as to why your work should be reevaluated.
  2. Department Chair
    If the instructor was unwilling to discuss the situation with you, or the instructor refused to consider your arguments after you met with him/her and you still believe your situation merits consideration from a higher authority, the next step is to meet with the chair of the department that offers the course. Serious complaints alleging breaches of a faculty member's responsibilities should be brought directly to the department chair.
  3. School of Engineering & Applied Science Ombudsperson
    If you have met with both the instructor and the department chair, and you feel your situation still needs attention, your next step is to make an appointment to meet with Professor Hiro Mukai, the Ombudsperson for the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

    The Ombudsperson is a full-time faculty member designated to consider student grievances from a neutral prospective and is responsible to both the faculty of the School as represented by the Faculty Assembly and to the student body of the School as represented by the Engineering Student Council. The Ombudsperson will attempt to help resolve the issue.

    If your grievance involves a faculty member from another School, your Ombudsperson will advise the Ombudsperson for that school of the complaint. In the process of addressing a grievance, the Ombudsperson will make a brief written record of the grievance, including the names of the parties, the nature of the accusation, the responsive explanation of the faculty member, and the resolution of the case.

    In processing any type of grievance, the Ombudsperson will strive to protect, to the greatest extent possible, the confidentiality of the complaint, but complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in every instance. The Ombudsperson may be contacted at any time during the grievance resolution process for advice, direction, referrals to other sources of information or help, and mediation.

Depending upon the situation, the Ombudsperson may recommend contacting the Grievance Committee.

Engineering Ombudsperson

Hiro Mukai
Professor & Associate Department Chair
mukai@wustl.edu
314-935-6064