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Student Complaint Process for Graduate and Undergraduate Programs (Guideline)

Definition of Student Complaint:

A student complaint is a program-related problem or condition that a student believes to be unfair, inequitable, discriminatory, or a hindrance to the educational process. The student complaint guideline is not designed to address changes in policy and does not apply to grading practices or student misconduct. Students should follow the Chain of Communication outlined below to resolve complaints.

Students should refer to University policies for student misconduct, academic appeals, and Title IX/Equal Opportunity complaints (Policies 2:4 and 4:3). Students also have the option to submit complaints through the University reporting system Lighthouse .

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Chain of Communication

The following steps are followed when a student has course or program related concerns or issues needing input from the designated communication level. This process is also followed when support or approval for a program change or new idea is advanced to the next level of communication. If a student attempts to start at a higher level on the chain or skips a step, he/she/they will be referred to the appropriate individual. Advisors in Nursing Student Services can assist the student with this process.

 A visual depiction of the College of Nursing Chain of Communication as follows:

  • Faculty Member > Semester or Specialty Coordinator > Assistant Dean > Associate Dean for Academic Programs > Dean of the College of Nursing


A student who has a course-related concern should make an appointment with the course faculty member to discuss the concern and seek resolution. The faculty member will document the concern and the response.

A student who is dissatisfied with the faculty member’s decision may contact the semester or specialty coordinator. The coordinator may invite the faculty member to the meeting or arrange a separate time to meet with the faculty member before a response to the student is prepared. A student who is dissatisfied with the coordinator’s decision may schedule an appointment to meet with the Assistant Dean for the site.  

The Assistant Dean will listen to the student’s concern. The Assistant Dean may meet with the faculty member to learn more about the issue. A response to the student’s concern is made by the Assistant Dean. A student who remains dissatisfied with the decision of the Assistant Dean shall contact the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.  A concern that is not resolved at the faculty, semester coordinator or Assistant Dean level will be considered a formal complaint.

The Associate Dean meets with the student to hear the complaint. If the complaint appears to have no reasonable grounds, the Associate Dean shall inform the student. If, on the other hand, it appears to the Associate Dean that there may be some reasonable grounds for the student complaint, the Associate Dean shall invite the faculty member to discuss the complaint. A written response to the student’s complaint is prepared. All such complaints are filed with the Associate Dean for Academic Programs. A student who remains dissatisfied may schedule an appointment with the Dean of the College of Nursing. The Dean shall investigate and collect pertinent information and provide a written decision to the student. All such complaints and decisions will be filed by the Associate Dean for Academic Programs.

If a student is dissatisfied with the decision at any stage, he/she/they may contact the next individual in the Chain of Communication to set up an appointment to discuss the concern. Any individuals on the chain that the student has previously visited with will be consulted prior to the appointment and/or invited to participate in the conversation about the issue.

Formerly Policy # U3410
Reviewed by the Bylaws and Handbook and Executive 10/2020