Academic Grievance

Michigan Technological University recognizes the need to assure that student grievances about faculty actions are evaluated fairly and equitably and, for this purpose, has established the procedures outlined below.

Student complaints that are related to academic integrity or alleged discrimination and/or harassment are not covered under this policy or procedure. In such cases, students are directed to the Scientific Misconduct Policy, the Academic Integrity Policy, or to the Office of Institutional Equity to proceed with their complaints. Likewise, complaints about University policy and procedure should be directed to the responsible office or unit.

Procedures

Preparing the Grievance

Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor or another trusted mentor to clarify the grievance, discuss appropriate approaches to the resolution of the issue, and ensure their understanding of the procedures outlined below.

Making the Grievance

The student should first present the grievance in an informal discussion with the faculty member involved. If the student does not feel that a satisfactory explanation or resolution has been reached, he or she may initiate review of the grievance by the faculty member’s supervisor, in the following order:

  1. The student should make an appointment with the supervisor for an informal discussion of the grievance. If the grievance cannot be resolved at that time, the student will be advised to prepare and file a written grievance.
  2. A written grievance will be submitted to the faculty member’s supervisor with attached documentation (e.g., syllabi, relevant assignments, relevant teacher responses to the assignments, grading criteria, papers, tests, quizzes, portfolios).

Resolving the Grievance

This is how a student grievance is addressed:

  1. The supervisor will review the complaint in a timely manner with the faculty member concerned. The supervisor may also seek review by appropriate faculty or a faculty committee within the department or School. If consultation with others is necessary, the supervisor must summarize each consultation in writing to the student, the faculty member concerned, and the consultant. The supervisor will wait a reasonable time for responses from these individuals before making a decision.
  2. The supervisor provides a written decision to the student with copies to the faculty member involved, the provost, and the vice president for student affairs.

Appealing the Decision

The student complainant may wish to appeal the decision of the faculty member’s supervisor. If so, the appeal must be made in writing to the dean of the College or School within five working days of the original decision. The scope of the appeal is limited to one of the following:

  1. The student has new information that was unavailable at the time the supervisor reviewed the case and that may significantly affect the evaluation of the grievance.
  2. The student may be able to demonstrate that the procedural guidelines established in this document were breached and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.

Faculty also have a right to appeal a decision rendered by their supervisor, in accordance with the Faculty Grievance Policy outlined in the Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Handbook, Appendix C.

The dean of the College or School will provide a written response to the student—with copies to the faculty member involved, the supervisor who made the initial decision, and the vice president for student affairs.

Ombuds office

Prior to filing a formal academic grievance, students may seek informal resolution of a University-related concern or dispute by contacting the University Ombuds Office. The ombuds officer will evaluate whether the concern or conflict can likely be resolved through informal mediation efforts. The ombuds officer provides confidential, impartial conflict resolution services to students, staff, and faculty members. Consultation with the ombuds officer will not preclude or impair other avenues of grievance investigation or adjudication available to students.