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Complaint or Grievance Procedure for Graduate Students in the School of Nursing

A graduate student enrolled in the School of Nursing who believes he/she has a grievance involving unfair treatment or an injustice of substantial proportions involving academic affairs with the School of Nursing may initiate action to redress such grievance. If the matter may involve discrimination, refer to the University of Washington Operations Manual, D 46.3.

Steps in the grievance procedure for graduate students are described below. Each step must be completed prior to going to the next step. The University Ombudsman may be consulted at any point in the procedure. This procedure is intended to expedite the handling of grievances that arise within the School of Nursing and is supplementary to Graduate School Memorandum No. 33.

  1. Student-Instructor Discussion
    Many problems can be resolved by an open discussion between the student and the faculty member. Thus if a student has a grievance with a faculty member, the student needs to make an appointment with the faculty member and state the purpose of the meeting is to discuss a grievance. Either the student or faculty member may request another faculty member to be present during the student-instructor discussion. The faculty member involved is responsible for preparing a summary of the points discussed and outcome of the meeting to be placed in the student's file. A copy of this summary is also given to the student.
  2. Department Chairperson meeting with Student and Faculty Member
    If student-instructor discussion does not resolve the issue, the student may file a written complaint with the department chairperson. If more than one department is involved, the original should be sent to the department chairperson most directly involved. Copies of the complaint should be sent to the chairperson of each department involved and to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

    The chairperson of the department most directly involved will arrange a meeting with the student and the faculty member together in order to seek a resolution of the problem. Within two weeks of the date that the grievance is filed, the department chairperson will provide a written summary of the meeting including the decision and will send a copy of the decision to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. If other departments are involved, a copy of the decision should be sent to each chairperson involved. The student and involved faculty member also must receive a copy of the written summary.
  3. Meeting with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    Within two weeks from the date the grievance was filed with the Departmental Chairperson, if the problem has not been resolved to the satisfaction of the student the matter may be referred to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

    The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will endeavor to determine the basis of the student's continuing dissatisfaction and explore with the student alternatives for further action. The Associate Dean is responsible for writing a summary of discussion and outcome of the meeting. The original summary goes into the student's file and a copy is given to the student.

    Upon the request of the student, the Associate Dean will refer the matter to a Grievance Committee within the School of Nursing. For graduate students in the MN, MS, DNP, or PhD degree programs, the faculty and student members of related curriculum coordinating committee will serve as the Grievance Committee. If a member of the committee is involved with the student's grievance, a substitute faculty member with no known bias in the matter will be appointed for the consideration of the grievance.
  4. Consideration of matter by Grievance Committee
    The Grievance Committee may review the written materials regarding the student's grievance and make its decision based solely on the written material. Alternatively, a hearing about the matter may be requested by the committee, the student, or the faculty member involved. The hearing should be held as soon as those involved may be assembled. A written summary of the hearing (the findings) and the committee's recommendation are to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within 48 hours of the hearing. The Associate Dean will advise the student, faculty member, and department chairperson(s) of the recommendations.
  5. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    Upon receiving a report of the findings and recommendations of the Grievance Committee, the Associate Dean may decide to intervene or not. Within ten days, the Associate Dean will notify the student of this decision and send a copy of the notification to the Dean of the School of Nursing and to the Dean of Graduate School.
  6. File formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School
    If after the Associate Dean within the School of Nursing has arrived at a decision for no further action within the School of Nursing, the student continues to believe further consideration is desirable, the student may file a formal complaint with the Dean of the Graduate School.

Revised September 2012
Student and Academic Services Memo No. 24