Help with Faculty & Grades

How to best communicate with faculty and what to do if you feel you are being treated unfairly

Emailing Tips & Templates

How a topic or conflict is introduced often has a major impact on how it is resolved. It is very important to be respectful when asking faculty for help. This applies to extensions, explanations, pre-approval of absences, etc.

Faculty are also great sources of advice and knowledge. You may want to reach out to faculty for career advice, to know when a specific course will be offered, to ask for a recommendation, or just to further discuss a topic from class. They are a wealth of knowledge!

When emailing remember to:

  • Use a clear subject line.
  • Send from your email.
  • Use standard punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar.
  • Make sure you do your part in resolving the issue.
  • Be aware of the tone of your writing, the wrong tone can send a bad message.
Please feel free to copy and paste these email templates.

Dear [Professor’s Name],

Hi, I am a student in your [insert class name and time]. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it to your regularly scheduled office hours. Would you be able to set up a meeting with me to discuss [Insert topic here]? It should take [insert estimated amount of time].

My availability is [insert availability here].

Thank you for your consideration.



Dear [Professor’s Name],

Hi, I am a student in your [insert class name and time]. Unfortunately, I am unable to make it into class [list when]. I am currently feeling unwell. I have reviewed the syllabus and am wondering if there are any in class course materials I am missing and how I can best work with you to stay on track?



Dear [Professor’s Name],

Hi, I am a student in your [insert class name and time]. I am confused about [Insert topic of confusion and details]. Would you be able to provide clarification? If it is easier to set up a time to meet please let me know. Thank you for your help!



Dear [Proffesor’s Name],

Hi, I am a student in your [insert class name and time]. I was wondering if I could take [list assignment/test] early? I need to attend [insert schedule conflict]. I would be happy to complete additional work to make up for the schedule adjustment.



Present Quarter Dispute

The first step is always to work directly with the faculty member. We advise all students to speak directly to faculty as a first step in expressing and resolving concerns to overcome barriers. We also understand that there comes a time when it makes sense to escalate your concerns.

If you have already attempted to work directly with the faculty member and/or are not comfortable reaching out to the faculty member, the next best step is to work with the Chair of the Department the faculty member is associated with.

If the Chair of the Department does not provide you with the support you seek, the next step is to connect with the Dean of the College the course is associated with. For example if the Finance  and Marketing Chair is unable to assist you, contact the Dean of the College of Professional Programs.

Generally speaking, when it comes to academic matters, working directly with faculty, then Department Chairs, and then the Dean of the College the course reports to is the stepped approach to navigate most academic issues. If you need further assistance or advice please Contact Student Affairs.

Final Grade Dispute

The purpose of the Grade Appeal Policy is to provide students with a safeguard against receiving an unfair final grade, while respecting the academic responsibility of the instructor. Every student has a right to receive a grade assigned upon a fair and unprejudiced evaluation based on a method that is neither arbitrary nor capricious. Instructors have the right to assign a grade based on any method that is professionally acceptable, submitted in writing to all students, and applied equally.

Arbitrariness: The grade awarded represents such a substantial departure from accepted academic norms as to demonstrate that the instructor did not actually exercise professional judgment.

Prejudice: The grade awarded was based on unequal application of grading standards or by applying grading criteria to one student or some students in a manner that treats them differently.

The student must submit a written request for a meeting and a brief description of the issue to the instructor no later than 10 working days after the start of the next regular academic term after receiving the grade. The deadlines for spring and summer terms are counted from the beginning of the fall term. (If the instructor is no longer at the university or is on leave, the chair of the department or designee will act in place of the instructor).

If the student’s concern remains unresolved after the discussion with the instructor the student may submit a “Notice of Intent to File a Grade Appeal” form (available online) including a brief statement of the problem to the chair of the department within five working days of speaking with the instructor.

The chair or designee shall review the student’s request, discuss the situation with the instructor whenever possible, and attempt to resolve the matter. The chair or designee shall provide a written explanation of his/her findings to the student and instructor within five working days of receiving the form.

If the student is not satisfied with the written explanation, the student may submit an “Official Grade Appeal” form (available online) within five working days to the chair or designee requesting a hearing with a Grade Appeals Board.

The grade appeal is heard by a grade appeals board which shall be convened no later than 20 working days after submission of the official grade appeal. (The date may be extended if mutually agreed upon by both parties.)

— For complete and official wording please visit Grade Appeal Policy.