Memo 17: Undergraduate Student Grievance Policies
There are many situations not related to grades that may occur in the educational process. An undergraduate student enrolled in the School of Nursing who believes they have a grievance involving unfair treatment or injustice of substantial proportions involving academic affairs with the School of Nursing may initiate action to redress such grievance.
The staff of Student and Academic Services is available to assist students in resolving problems any time during the process. Attempts to resolve problems should begin with a discussion between the student and the instructor. Often, by clarifying communication, a problem may become manageable. However, if a student feels that progress is not being made, they should contact the chairperson of the department of which the instructor is a member. Usually making an appointment to discuss the situation is the best course of action.
Steps in the grievance procedure for undergraduate students are described below. Each step must be completed prior to going to the next step. The University Ombudsman may be consulted at any point in the procedure. This procedure is intended to expedite the handling of grievances that arise within the School of Nursing.
- Student-Instructor Discussion
Many problems can be resolved by an open discussion between the student and the faculty member. Thus, if a student has a grievance with a faculty member, the student needs to make an appointment with the faculty member and state that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss a grievance. Either the student or faculty member may request another faculty member to be present during the student-instructor discussion. The faculty member involved is responsible for preparing a summary of the points discussed and outcome of the meeting to be placed in the student’s file. A copy of this summary is also given to the student.
- Course Coordinator Meeting with Student and Faculty Member
If the student-instructor discussion does not resolve the issue, the student may contact the course coordinator to seek a solution. The course coordinator is responsible for keeping written documentation of the discussion with the student. A copy of the discussion should be given to the student and another copy placed into the student file. The course coordinator also needs to provide the instructor with a copy of the student/course coordinator discussion and initiate a discussion with the instructor. The course coordinator is responsible for preparing a written summary of the course coordinator/instructor discussion. A copy of this report should be given to the student; an additional copy should be placed into the student file. If the issue can be resolved at the course coordinator level the case is then closed. If the issue cannot be resolved to the student’s satisfaction, the student may file a written complaint with the department chairperson.
- Department Chairperson meeting with Student and Faculty Member
If more than one department is involved (an example may be an integrated course like NURS 401), the original should be sent to the department chairperson of the course coordinator. Copies of the complaint should be sent to the chairperson of each department involved and to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The chairperson of the course coordinator’s department will arrange a meeting with the student and the faculty member together in order to seek a resolution of the problem. Within two weeks of the date that the grievance is filed, the department chairperson will provide a written summary of the meeting including the decision and will send a copy of the decision to the Associate Dean, Office of Student and Academic Services. If other departments are involved, a copy of the decision should be sent to each chairperson involved. The student and involved faculty member also must receive a copy of the written summary.
- Meeting with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
If the problem has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the student within two weeks from the date the grievance was filed with the Departmental Chairperson, the matter may be referred to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will endeavor to determine the basis of the student’s continuing dissatisfaction and explore with the student alternatives for further action. The Associate Dean is responsible for writing a summary of the discussion and outcome of the meeting. The original summary goes into the student’s file and a copy is given to the student. Upon the request of the student, the Associate Dean will refer the matter to a Grievance Committee within the School of Nursing. The student shall present their grievance in writing to the Grievance Committee. For undergraduate students, the Dean will appoint two faculty members and two students to serve on the Grievance Committee within 10 days of receiving the written grievance from the student. If a member of the committee is involved with the student’s grievance, a substitute faculty member with no known bias in the matter will be appointed for the consideration of the grievance.
- Consideration of Matter by Grievance Committee
The Grievance Committee may review the written materials regarding the student’s grievance and make its decision based solely on the written material. Alternatively, the committee, the student, or the faculty member may request a hearing about the matter. The hearing should be held as soon as those involved may be assembled. A written summary of the hearing (the findings) and the committee’s recommendation are to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 48 hours of the hearing. The Associate Dean will advise the student, faculty member, and department chairperson(s) of the recommendations.
- Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, School of Nursing
Upon receiving a report of the findings and recommendations of the Grievance Committee, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs may decide to intervene or not. Within ten days, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will notify the student of this decision and send a copy of the notification to the Dean of the School of Nursing.
Revised March 2000