Smith College School for Social Work BannerWeb
Mission Statement
Structure & Organization of the Program
Academic Standards
Field Work & Community Practice Project
Research Project & Post-Residency Advising
Academic & Field Work Performance Standing Committee
Appeals & Grievance Procedures
Leave of Absence, Withdrawal, Probation & Dismissal
Financial Matters
Student Records
Campus Life & Responsibilities
Campus Life & Responsibilities
Master's Program Handbook

500 - Appeals & Grievance Procedures

Any decision by the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee can be appealed to the dean, whose decision shall be final. The following procedures regarding academic and field work appeals shall govern.

501.1 – Academic Performance: Procedures for Grievance

A student may grieve a grade either on the basis of perceived failure to follow the school's stated grading policies as outlined in this handbook or on the basis of an evaluative judgment. A student must clarify on which basis a grievance is being pursued.

501.1A – Academic Work: Procedures for Grievance Based on Perceived Failure to Follow the School's Grading Policies


A student who receives a failing grade or a marginal pass and who believes that the school's stated grading policies have not been followed may petition to the dean for a review of the grade.


If the dean's review reveals that the school's grading policies have been followed, the student shall be so notified.


If the dean's review reveals that the school's grading policieis have not been followed, the dean, in consultation with the appropriate sequence chair, will grant to the student a remedy which may include an opportunity for re-examination, submission of another paper, repetition of the specific course requirement or the possibility of re-taking the course.


Should, however, the investigation reveal that the circumstances were ambiguous in regard to the school's stated grading policies, the dean will then convene the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee, which will review the case and make a recommendation to the dean.

501.1B – Academic Work: Procedures for Grievance on Basis of Evaluative Judgment in Course Grading


Normally the responsibility for evaluating and grading a student's work rests solely with the instructor. Only in the rare event that professional responsibility has been neglected or abused should the judgment of another person or persons be substituted for that of the instructor.


If, however, a student believes he or she has evidence that an instructor has neglected or abused his or her professional responsibility in the assignment of a course grade, the student may express dissatisfaction with the instructor's handling of the grade in the manner detailed below.

  1. The student must first discuss the concern with the instructor to clarify the reasons for the grade or to see if some agreement over the grade can be arrived at informally.
  2. If no clarification or agreement is possible, the student may then express dissatisfaction to the appropriate sequence chair. A student who wishes to grieve a Term 1 grade must report this decision to the sequence chair by the end of the first week of Term 2. For grievances related to second semester grades, the student must report this decision to the sequence chair no later than one week after notification of the grade. The chair will discuss the matter with both student and instructor and try to achieve a resolution. If a resolution is not achieved, the chair or the student may elect to submit a written appeal of the grade to the dean.
  3. If the grade is appealed to the dean, the dean upon review may elect to make a decision, but if she or he believes a more thorough review is necessary, the dean may refer the case to the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee. The committee shall make a recommendation for final disposition based on its finding to the dean.
  4. Either the dean or the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee will make its recommendations by the end of the third week in September. If an opportunity to re-do an assignment is offered, both the student and instructor grading the assignment will be expected to act in a timely fashion. A written record of the grievance and the final outcome will be retained in the student's record in accordance with school retention policy.

501.2 – Appeal from Review of Field Work Performance

The student, any member of the Academic and Field Work Performance Standing Committee, and any other participant in the Review who believes the Committee did not follow its procedures as delineated in 500.3A may appeal to the Dean in writing within seven days after the date of the written notice of the Committee’s decision to the student is issued by the Associate Dean. The Dean’s decision shall be final.


501.3 – Informal Procedures for all Concerns and Complaints


The procedures outlined below are to be followed for issues that arise within the school for which formal redress is not being considered. They govern issues that need to be addressed as part of our ongoing community and educational life together.


The procedures outline where to go first and include what forum or redress is available if the first efforts are considered insufficiently resolved by any directly involved party.

IssueWhere to Go
Classroom issues
  1. Instructor
  2. Chair
  3. Associate dean
  4. Dean
Community issues Associate dean
Residential issuesDean
Field work (summer)
  1. Associate director/director of field
  2. Associate dean
  3. Dean
Field work (winter)
  1. Supervisor
  2. Field adviser
  3. Associate director/director of field Work
  4. Associate dean
  5. Dean
Community practice project
  1. Community practice project supervisor
  2. Community practice project adviser
  3. Community practice project coordinator
  4. Associate dean
  5. Dean
  1. Thesis adviser
  2. Thesis coordinator
  3. Chair of research
  4. Associate dean
  5. Dean



Updated 5/17/13