September 23, 2011

To: Ronald A. Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty)

From: Douglas Flamming (Chair, SGAC)

Re: Report of the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee for AY 2011


The members of the SGAC during the 2010-2011 academic year were:

Douglas Flamming (Professor, HTS, Chair of SGAC)

Arnold Schneider (Professor, MGT)

Jeannette Yen (Professor, BIO)

Rick Neu (Executive Board Liaison)

Mihir Pathak (Graduate Student Representative)

Jacob Y. Tzegaegbe (Undergraduate Student Representative)


Also taking active part on the SGAC were substitute members (needed when a regular member could not participate).  The SGAC wishes to express special thanks for the service of these individuals:

Lawrence Bottomley (Professor, CHEM)

Al Ferri (Professor, ME)

Ken Knoespel (Professor, HTS)

Michael Kirka (Graduate Student)

Marlin Holmes (Undergraduate Student)

Merry Hunter Hipp (Undergraduate Student)


The SGAC Chair wishes to thank all of those who assisted in the work this year, including the School Chairs who ran School-level hearings and the faculty members in those units who served on the hearing committee.  Carole Moore, Reta Pikowsky, and John Stein rendered invaluable aid and counsel.


The number of grievance hearings this year was noticeably higher than in previous years – at both the School-level and the Institute level.  Whether this was an aberration or the start of a new trend, the SGAC remained busy with meetings and hearings.



There were nine School-level hearings this year, three of which were later appealed to the Institute level.  (By comparison, two years ago, there were two School-level hearings and zero Institute-level hearings; last year, there were three School –level hearings and zero Institute hearings.)


Undergraduate Student Hearings:

A.     School level

       Schools involved:  ISyE (2); ME (1); AE (1)

B.     Institute level

Schools involved:  ISyE (2)

C.     Results:  All original grades were upheld at both levels.



Graduate Student Hearings:

A.    School level

        Schools involved: MSE (4) MGT (1)

B.     Institute level

        Schools involved: MGT (1)

C.     Results: At the School level, all original grades were upheld; at the Institute level, one grade was changed (i.e., the student’s grade was upgraded by one letter).


The SGAC wants to recognize – and to thank – the following faculty members who served as “outside” committee members on School-level hearing committees.


Douglas Flamming (HTS; Chair SGAC)

Linda Green (BIO)

Laura Hollengreen (ARCH)

David Shook (ML)

Emilson Silva (ECON)




The SGAC met for an official meeting in both the fall and spring semesters.  All members were in attendance or had substitutes attend in their place.  Most of the SGAC business at these meetings revolved around the logistics of School-level and Institute-level hearings. 


The following issues are on the table and will be discussed further during this academic year:

1.      Student representation on School-level hearings.  Currently, two students sit on Institute-level hearings (one undergraduate, one graduate), but zero students sit on School-level hearings.  This imbalance in student representation does not seem reasonable to some members of the SGAC, but the issue has not yet been discussed in committee in any detail.

2.      Committee size.  School-level hearing committees consist of four voting faculty.  The number of voting members at the Institute level is five.  Again, this imbalance warrants discussion.  Consider that a student must win a simple majority of votes to have a grievance upheld.  At the School level, a student must receive a 3-to-1 vote (75 percent) to win; at the Institute level, a student must receive a 3-to-2 vote (66 percent) in order to win.

3.      Summer Term hearings.  Summer hearings are difficult, at both the School level and the Institute level, because both faculty and students are away from campus for research, internships, study abroad, etc.  We will discuss how to handle this situation.  That is, under what circumstances will the SGAC allow hearings during the summer, or require that they be delayed until the fall term.

4.      Post-graduation hearings.  One hearing during this academic year was heard after a student  had graduated and accepted a job (it was filed prior to that, but there were difficulties scheduling the hearings).  One hearing that is now pending at the School level is from a recent graduate, concerned that his/her GPA is undermining employment opportunities.  Should we allow this?  The SGAC will discuss the question.


The Committee for AY 2012 will consist of:


Arnold Schneider (Professor, MGT; Chair of SGAC)

Jeannette Yen (Professor, BIO)

Douglas Flamming (Professor, HTS)

Michael Kirka (Graduate Student representative)

Two undergraduates will share duties on the SGAC:

Merry Hunter Hipp

Amit Khanduri