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Options for Student Complaints (Summary)

Current Procedures for Undergraduate & Graduate Students

  1. Speak directly to the person against whom you have a complaint. If not resolved:
  2. Speak to that person's Departmental Chairperson. If not resolved:
  3. Meet with the Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Student Services (TEP students) or the Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs (graduate students). If not resolved:
  4. File a written statement with the Dean of the College of Education.

If no resolution, go to the University Ombudsperson.

Alternatives to Current Procedures

College of Education Student Complaint Procedures (full)

The faculty and staff of the College of Education have every expectation that you will be successful and happy here; however, we also recognize that occasionally students may find themselves in a situation that requires assistance. The University of Iowa and the College of Education have clear policies designed to protect student rights. The policies can be found in a variety of locations including the University Catalog and the university's website. If you feel your rights have been violated:

  1. Learn more about your rights and responsibilities.

    You may obtain copies of relevant policies from a number of locations including:

  2. Seek information and support.

    Talking with someone often helps to lessen isolation and may help you to develop productive strategies and make decisions; however, it is necessary, in an ethical environment, that you take care to secure the confidence of the person with whom you are speaking. That may be a friend, family member, mentor, or counselor. The questions that might be helpful to ask could include:

    • What happened here and how do I feel about it?
    • Is what happened to me within the norms of my academic community? Are those healthy, ethical norms?
    • If I feel badly about what happened, what can I do about it? What are my options and what are the possible consequences of each?
  3. Explore your informal and formal options.

    Before pursuing resolution, document the incidents that have occurred. If possible, include dates, locations, context, and as much detail information as you can remember. Keep copies of all correspondence and document all contacts.

    Following are the steps in the College of Education's current written procedures:

    • If possible, talk to the person you have a complaint about directly or write a letter. Be prepared to clearly articulate your concerns and the resolution you are seeking.
    • If you are uncomfortable talking directly to the person you have a complaint about or cannot resolve the problem, talk to the departmental executive officer. If you don't know who this is, ask other students or ask a faculty member.
    • If the problem remains unresolved, talk to the appropriate Associate Dean. Undergraduates and master's level students in the teacher education program should contact the Associate Dean for Teacher Education and Student Services, N201 LC, 335-5591. Graduate students should contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Programs, N201 LC, 335-5261.
    • If there is still no resolution, file a written report with the Dean of the College of Education, N201 LC, 335-6111.

    If you are not satisfied with the actions of the Dean, you may seek assistance from one or more of the other sources that are always available to you:

    • If it seems there is no appropriate policy or office, contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson, 308 Jefferson Building, 335-3608. This office responds to problems from faculty, staff, and students, which appear unresolvable through existing procedures or systems.
    • Graduate students may contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College, 205 Gilmore Hall, 335-2144.
    • Undergraduate students may contact the Dean of Students, 135 IMU, 335-1162.
    • If the issue is a discrimination or harassment issue and you prefer not to talk to anyone in the college, you may contact the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) directly. That office will provide formal or informal support and guidance. If you should elect to file a formal complaint and initiate an investigation, this is where you do it.

    Confidentiality is often a concern when reporting a complaint. In many cases, complaints can be kept confidential according to your wishes; however, law and policy requirements – driven by concerns about campus safety – might override a request or desire to maintain confidentiality when speaking with academic or administrative officers. If maintaining confidentiality is a priority, please consult one of the confidential resources available at the University of Iowa.

    approved August 2001 (updated January 2022)