The College of Education Grievance Committee (CGC) is established by the College’s Bylaws, as approved by the faculty in May 2016.  It is comprised annually of three elected tenure-track faculty; one elected member of the specialized faculty ranks; and two graduate students elected by enrolled graduate students.  Additionally, one undergraduate student is appointed each year as specified in the Student Code of Conduct, because student members serve when the grievant is a student with the same status.

Faculty, specialized faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to openly discuss perceived unfairness or situations that may be perceived as unfair and to resolve disagreements insofar as possible at the level where they occur (e.g., at the department level).  If these efforts at resolution are unsuccessful and one or more of the parties involved believes that an additional review is necessary, these grievance procedures offer a process for discovering the facts of the case and making recommendations toward resolution.

The CGC may receive complaints and queries by faculty, specialized faculty, staff, and students concerning actions and policies of the College, its officers, committees, or faculty. Determination of jurisdiction will be made by the CGC and handled as outlined below.

Student allegations of capricious grading or evaluation, or charges of academic dishonesty such as plagiarism or improper attribution or citation that cannot be resolved at the departmental level, will be heard by the CGC, with procedures following the Student Code Article 1 Part 4.

General principles and procedures

1. The Associate Dean for Academic Programs will be the first point of contact for submission of any written complaint. As the primary intake officer, the Associate Dean for Academic Programs will ensure that all potential grievances are handled according to these procedures and in an expeditious and timely manner.  In the event that the Associate Dean for Academic Programs has a potential conflict of interest with a grievance, the Associate Dean for Research will oversee the grievance process as outlined below for the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

2. All complaints must be in writing and (a) outline the details of the matter, (b) provide relevant supporting documentation, (c) outline the informal and departmental processes that have been exhausted, and (d) specify the requested remedy.

3. As outlined in the Bylaws, the Chair of the CGC will be the tenure-track faculty member who receives the highest number of votes. The Chair is responsible for assuring that a record of the CGC deliberations, investigation, hearings, and recommendation(s) is forwarded to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  If the Chair has a conflict of interest with a particular grievance, the tenure track faculty member with the next highest number of votes will serve as Chair.

Conflicts of interest, or potential conflicts of interest, shall be disclosed to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  Should a member of the CGC have a conflict of interest with a particular grievance under consideration, an elected alternate will serve in the adjudication of the particular grievance under consideration.

4. The CGC will determine whether it has jurisdiction over a complaint or whether the complaint is the subject of a different policy or process on campus and whether informal or departmental processes have been exhausted. If a matter should be redirected to an appropriate campus office, then the Associate Dean for Academic Programs should assist the grievant in consultation with the CGC Chair.

5. The CGC will suspend the investigation of a complaint upon request of the grievant.

6. The CGC will forward its findings and recommendation(s) for remedy (if any) to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, who will forward it to the Dean. The Dean (permanent, acting, or interim) of the College makes a final determination.

7. All deliberations of the CGC are strictly confidential.  Committee minutes and records are considered confidential and open to inspection only as required by law.  Retention of the committee’s records will be maintained in the Dean’s Office or Student Academic Affairs Office in accordance with campus and College record retention policies, depending on the nature of the grievance.

8. The CGC will report to the Dean and College Executive Committee (CEC) annually and at such other times, as it may deem appropriate.

9. Modifications to these procedures will be recommended by the CGC and adopted after review and approval by the CEC.

10. Grievances that are outside the scope of these procedures are addressed by the provisions of the University Statutes.

Grievance Procedures

These procedures apply to graduate students, as well as to former students who have graduated in the preceding five (5) years.  Graduate students enrolled in classes in the College or working as a graduate assistant within the College may file a complaint regardless of the program in which they are enrolled.

All documentation related to the grievance will be entered into and archived in the relevant campus system.

1. A student may initiate the grievance process by submitting a written statement of their grievance to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs as outlined in the General principles and procedures section of this document and the Student Code §1-403(b).

2. Within 5 business days, the student’s written statement will be transmitted to the Chair of the CGC.

3. Within 10 business days of receiving the written statement, the Chair will convene a meeting of the CGC to review the statement, and to determine if any conflict of interest exists with any committee members, whether informal or departmental processes have been exhausted, and whether the CGC has jurisdiction over the matter.

If it is determined that the CGC does not have jurisdiction, the CGC Chair will notify the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, who will inform the grievant and refer the student to the appropriate office or procedure to pursue resolution.

If CGC determines that they have jurisdiction, they will respond to the grievant outlining the process for investigation, determining what evidence is needed, and establishing a time to meet with the parties.  The primary parties involved shall receive a copy of the written statement.  To attempt to resolve the matter as quickly as possible, all hearings between the primary parties will take place between 5 and 10 business days when both are available.  If this is not possible, the CGC will provide a rationale and request a reasonable extension from the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

4. The CGC will follow the hearing procedures as outlined in the Student Code §1-403(c).

5. Within 4 business days of the hearing, the Chair of the CGC will report the committee’s recommendation(s) in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Within 5 business days of the hearing, the Associate Dean for Academic Programs will share the report with the Dean, who will make the final decision. The Associate Dean for Academic Programs will communicate in writing the CGC’s findings along with the Dean’s decision to the involved individuals.  The Dean’s decision is final.