Procedure to Handle Student Complaints
If a student has a complaint about courses, grades, deficiencies, or decisions made by faculty members, advisors, department chairs, directors, etc., they should use the procedure outlined below. In addition, each faculty and/or staff member involved in the process should make written documentation as each step is implemented.
- The student should first discuss the matter with the person involved and attempt to resolve the complaint through informal discussion.
- If there is no resolution, the student should discuss the matter with that person's supervisor or immediate superior in the department or office, who should attempt to mediate a resolution.
- If there is no resolution as the result of these discussions, the student should write to the appropriate department chair or director specifying the nature of the concern, with a copy of the letter to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- Within a reasonable period of time, depending on the time urgency, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs will contact the department chair or director, in writing, if a response has not been made.
- Only in exceptional cases, and as a last resort, should the student be advised to write directly to the Dean.
- If the student is unable to obtain a resolution through these procedures, he or she may request the Student Grievance Office (SGO) to attempt informal mediation of the problem.
Procedures for Dealing with Breaches of Academic Integrity
The faculty member may choose to resolve a problem of academic dishonesty informally with the student. The procedures outlined below should apply when informal procedures are inappropriate, insufficient, or unacceptable to either party.
As evidence of the seriousness with which J.B. Speed School of Engineering regards these matters, an Academic Integrity Review Committee should be established to assist in dealing with violators. This Committee would serve to protect the student's right to a fair and impartial hearing. To ensure its effectiveness, the faculty should view it as the primary channel through which serious problems can be resolved.
- The Academic Integrity Review Committee shall be a standing committee of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
- The Committee shall be comprised of three students selected by the Speed School Student Council; three faculty members, representing three different departments of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering and nominated by the Committee on Committees and elected by the faculty; and the Dean of the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, or his or her representative. The Committee shall select its own chairperson.
1. A faculty member who uncovers a problem of cheating or plagiarism should:
- Confront the student or students involved in a timely fashion. If the faculty member makes a good faith effort to locate the student, and is unable to do so, he or she may proceed to (second bullet point) below.
- Within five school days of the original confrontation (or good faith attempt to confront), prepare a written statement that specifies the charges.
- Send a copy of the written statement to the Chairperson of the Review Committee and to the Dean.
2. The student shall either admit or deny the charge of academic dishonesty by submitting a written statement, within five school days of the original confrontation, to the Chairperson of the Academic Integrity Review Committee, as well as the Dean. If the student does not meet this deadline, the actions outlined in item #3 will be followed.
3. If the student admits the charge, the following actions should occur:
- The faculty member may impose appropriate academic penalty.
- A faculty member who wishes to pursue administrative penalties shall forward a statement of the charges, proposed administrative penalties, the student's admission of guilt, and a statement of the academic penalties imposed (if any) to the Dean and to the Chairperson of the Academic Integrity Review Committee.
- The Dean shall review the documents and issue a decision, within 15 school days, regarding whether any administrative sanctions shall be imposed on the student by the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, and whether any University-wide sanctions will be recommended to the Provost. The Dean shall notify the student, the faculty member and the Department Chair of this decision. The Dean shall forward any recommended University-wide sanctions to the Provost, with a copy to the Academic Integrity Review Committee.
4. Should the student deny the charge, the following actions should occur:
- The written statements made by both parties will be made available to both parties and to the Academic Integrity Review Committee prior to any oral testimony. Any refutations may be made in writing or orally at the hearing.
- Upon receipt of written statements from both parties, the Academic Integrity Review Committee Chairperson will be responsible for notifying all involved parties in the following manner:
- The Academic Integrity Review Committee will be convened within 20 school days of receipt of written statements from the parties involved.
- Notice of convening of the Review Committee shall be either hand delivered to the student or sent by Registered U.S. Postal Service to the address listed with the Registrar's Office and to the faculty member as well as the Dean via interoffice mail. The Review Committee Chairperson shall be responsible for delivery of such notices at least 10 school days prior to the hearing date. The notice shall state the time, date and place of the hearing and contain a copy of the original statements of the allegations.
- The Academic Integrity Review Committee shall hear such cases as come before it in a timely fashion (as previously stated, 20 school days maximum) and allow the student to speak on his or her behalf and to present evidence and witnesses. Further, the burden of proof rests with the person making the charge. Only in the event of a guilty verdict, may the student's record be consulted by the Committee to determine any past offenses and assist in determining an appropriate penalty.
5. The Academic Integrity Review Committee is given the responsibility of recommending the penalties for the violator, and such penalties shall be commensurate with both the nature and the seriousness of the case in question. Proposed penalties shall be described as either:
- Academic penalties. These are penalties associated with the class in question, such as resubmission of alternate assignment, F on the assignment, F for the course, etc.
- Administrative penalties. These are penalties to be imposed by the Dean or Provost. Penalties may include suspension or expulsion from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering or the University of Louisville.
Typically, for the first offense of cheating or plagiarism, failure in the course will be recommended; of course, the instructor retains his or her right to assign the grade. However, the instructor may not reserve the right to impose a harsher penalty than decided upon by the Committee. Any subsequent offense may result in suspension or dismissal from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, with the Dean's concurrence. All such actions taken by the Committee shall be entered in the student's file.
The Committee may adopt additional principles or procedures as seem appropriate. Such changes, however, should be presented to the faculty for approval.
If properly notified students fail to appear before the Committee, the hearing will be held in the student's absence and final decision rendered.
If a properly notified faculty member fails to appear, the charges will be dropped.
- Any student who believes the processing or final disposition of a charge of academic dishonesty was unfair may initiate a grievance under the Academic Grievance Procedure.
The J.B. Speed School of Engineering follows the procedures for academic grievance as published in "The Redbook," Chapter Six, Article Eight. Any student considering filing such a grievance should consult with personnel in the Academic Services Office for advice and information.