Student Complaints & Appeals
Lewis University is committed to a policy of fair treatment of its students in their relationships with fellow students, faculty, staff and administrators. Students are encouraged to seek an informal resolution of a dispute directly with the faculty or individual(s) involved when possible. Dealing with concerns in the most direct and honest fashion should always be the first step toward resolution. Many problems are resolved when one makes an appointment with a faculty or staff member and communicates their concerns.
For matters where a resolution is not feasible, a student may make a formal appeal or complaint. Please be assured that no adverse action will be taken against a student who files a formal appeal or complaint.
There are three categories for formal appeals/complaints: Grade Appeal, Academic appeal other than a grade, and Student Complaints.
For purposes of the student complaint process, a student is someone who is currently enrolled full or part-time or who has recently been enrolled in the institution (within the last two years). A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction concerning a University employee, department, service, or process, or a University administrative action, that requires clarification, investigation and/or resolution.
- A complaint may be verbal or in writing, preferably using the Student Complaint Form
- It is important to report complaints promptly and to include a short and concise statement of all the relevant facts and the action or remedy you are requesting so that an investigation can be completed and a resolution achieved.
- Complaints must be filed within 15 business days from the date of the action or occurrence which is the subject of the complaint.
- The Office of the Provost will assign a tracking number to the complaint and acknowledge its receipt using the contact information you have provided on the complaint form.
- The Office of the Provost reviews each complaint to determine if it is one upon which action should be taken. If the complaint is properly the subject of the academic or financial appeals processes, or is a question of academic discretion, the complaint may be dismissed without further action.
- The Office of the Provost refers complaints requiring further action to the appropriate academic or administrative official (typically, a Dean or Director, or another appropriate administrator whom they have designated) for investigation and resolution.
- Within 10 business days after receiving a complaint, the Office of the Provost will advise the student in writing either (a) that it has referred the complaint to an administrator for investigation and resolution, and to whom the complaint was referred, or (b) that it has dismissed the complaint and the reason for the dismissal.
- An administrator to whom a complaint has been referred has 20 business days from the day of the referral to investigate and address the complaint. During the investigation and resolution process the administrator will communicate directly with the student who has filed the complaint. At the conclusion of the investigation and resolution the administrator will notify the student and the Office of the Provost in writing of the results of the investigation and resolution of the complaint.
- The Office of the Provost may extend the investigation period beyond 20 business days by notifying, in writing, the student who filed the complaint, using the contact information provided on the complaint form.
- A complaint may be dismissed without further action if the student fails to cooperate in the investigation.
NOTE: Dr. Kurt Schackmuth, the Vice President for Student Life and Chief Mission Officer, serves as University Ombudsman and provides a neutral space for students and others to express concerns or ask questions about institutional policies and practices. Dr. Schackmuth serves as an impartial representative of Lewis University with regard to the student complaint process.
Should a student wish to file their complaint with a regulatory agency, the contact information is listed below. Please note that these offices will require that a student first seek resolution directly with the institution by following the defined complaint or grievance policy.
The State of Illinois – Illinois Board of Higher Education http://complaints.ibhe.org
The Higher Learning Commission - www.hlcommission.org/HLC-Institutions/complaints.html
Lewis University-Albuquerque Students
New Mexico Higher Education Department (MNHED/PPSD)
2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4
Santa Fe, NM 87505-2100
Phone: (505) 476-8400
Fax: (505) 476-8454
Online/Distance Education Complaint Resolution
Students enrolled in Online/Distance Education are encouraged to contact their college dean’s office to seek advice.
College of Aviation, Science and Technology - /academics/coast
College of Business - /academics/cob
College of Education and Social Sciences - /academics/coess/
College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communications - /academics/cohfac/
College of Nursing and Health Sciences - /academics/nursing/
School of Graduate, Professional & Continuing Education - /academics/sgpce/
If the issue cannot be resolved through the dean’s office, information regarding the complaint processes for your state of residence can be found below.
CLICK TO SELECT YOUR STATE OF RESIDENCE:
Grade Appeal Process
- If a student wishes to appeal a final grade for a course, the student must, prior to the third week of the subsequent fall or spring semester, contact the instructor of the course to express concern. The instructor of the course will review with the student how the final grade was determined.
- If the student is not satisfied with the explanation, the student may submit a letter of appeal with a rationale for a change of grade to the program director/department chair of the program where the course is offered or to the dean’s office if the instructor is the department chair. The program director/department chair or dean’s designee will communicate with the instructor to review the student’s letter of appeal and to ascertain how the grade was determined. The program director/department chair or dean’s designee will then meet with the student to inform the student of the program director/department chair or dean’s designee’s determination on the appeal.
- If the student is still not satisfied with the result of the grade appeal and wants to appeal to the dean, the student must submit a letter of appeal to the dean of the college. The letter of appeal must contain a summary of the meetings with the instructor, the program director/department chair or dean’s designee, and it must include any evidence supporting the claim for a grade change.
- The dean will review the material and render the final decision. The dean will communicate the decision in writing to the student and to the instructor of the course. The dean’s determination is final.
- Appeals must move with reasonable speed through the review process. The full process from when the student first contacts the instructor should take no longer than four weeks. Anecdotal notes will be made and signed by all participants in all phases of review of the grade.
*Students in programs with a lockstep sequence and/or who must maintain a specified GPA may need to accelerate the grade appeal process. Please consult your college guidelines for specifics.
University Policies and Procedures for Appealing Other Academic Matters
All appeals regarding academic matters other than grade appeal and academic dismissal are handled according to the following guidelines:
- If a student wishes to appeal an academic decision, a written letter of appeal must be sent to the appropriate academic dean.
- The dean will review the situation and render a decision. The dean will communicate the decision in writing to the student.
- If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the academic dean, the student may petition the Provost. Documentation submitted with the written petition must include the original letter of appeal and the decision of the academic dean.
The Provost will establish an ad hoc committee composed of:
- one faculty member appointed by the appropriate academic dean;
- one representative from the Office of Student Services;
- one faculty member chosen by the student.
- The ad hoc committee will hear the appeal and make a recommendation to the Provost, who makes the final decision. The Provost will communicate the decision in writing to the student.
UNIVERSITY PROCESS FOR COMPLAINTS FROM OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
Non-employee stakeholders (e.g. parents, community members, alumni) may submit complaints to the University using the student complaint online form. The process for responding to these complaints is the same as the one used for student complaints (discussed above).
Code of Federal Regulations
Federal regulations require institutions of higher education to make public contact information for filing complaints. The above information is intended to provide both institutional and external contact information to current and prospective students
668.43 Institutional Information
(b) The institution must make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution’s accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its State approval or licensing entity any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student’s complaint.