Student Complaint - Academic

Office of Origin: Academic Services
Date Adopted: 10-24-08
Date Reviewed: 09-26-2016
Last Date Modified & Approved: 09-27-2016

Lake Michigan College strives to resolve all student complaints in a fair and expedient manner. This policy and procedure pertains to complaints that involve instruction or academic matters. An academic complaint is any non-civil rights* related complaint generated by an individual student concerning the work-related activities of a faculty member (e.g., grade dispute). Academic complaints may include, but are not limited to, issues regarding evaluations of academic work (e.g., examinations, quizzes, papers, final course grades, etc.), and/or failure of a faculty member to follow College policies and/or procedures as they relate to instruction or academic matters. Students who have complaints that involve issues that are general in nature and are not related to instruction or academic matters, such as complaints about non-teaching college staff, the parking lot, snow removal, bathroom maintenance, facility issues, etc., should refer to the Student Complaint – General Policy and Procedure.

Step 1:
Students having concerns or complaints about an academic matter should first submit her or his complaint in writing to the appropriate faculty member in an effort to resolve the issue(s). If the faculty member does not respond within seven (7) calendar days, move on to Step 2. 

Step 2:
If, after discussion with the appropriate faculty member, the dispute is not resolved, or if the faculty member does not respond to the written complaint within seven (7) calendar days, the student may appeal in writing to the appropriate department chair or program director within ten (10) business days of notification of the faculty member's decision. The written complaint must specifically address the date and time of the alleged conflict or action, the date and time of the student meeting with the faculty member, a summary of the complaint along with any relevant documentation and specific resolution the student is seeking. The department chair or program director will meet with the persons involved, attempt to resolve the issue, and then render a decision within five (5) business days. The decision will be communicated to the student in writing with a copy to the faculty member.

Step 3:
If the dispute is not resolved in Step 2 in a manner acceptable to the student, the student may appeal the decision in writing to the appropriate academic dean within ten (10) business days of notification of the department chair’s or program director’s decision. The written complaint must include the written complaint submitted to the department chair or program director, the department chair’s or program director’s written decision, and any additional supporting documents, the dean will meet with the persons involved in an attempt to resolve the issue and then render a decision within five (5) business days, which will be communicated in writing. The decision will be communicated to the student in writing with a copy to the faculty member. The decision of the Dean is final and cannot be appealed.

Grade Appeal Decision Guidelines:
When appealing a grade, the student is responsible for providing factual information and documentation in writing to support the grade modification he/she is seeking. If appealed beyond step 1 of the student complaint process herein, the department chair or program director and Dean shall carefully consider whether or not the grade and the decisions leading up to it (a) were within the scope of the authority of the individual making the decision, (b) were made in accordance with established policies and procedures, and (c) were neither arbitrary, capricious, nor in bad faith. 

If a student appeals her/his final grade for a course, the formal appeal is to be submitted within the semester or term immediately following the one in which the course grade was received. All other complaint(s) must be submitted within ten (10) business days of the date of the complained of action.

*Civil Rights Issues:
This policy and procedure does not apply to issues related to sexual harassment, civil rights, Title IX, and disability concerns. Complaints or concerns related to civil rights issues should be discussed with the Executive Director of Human Resources and Diversity at 269-927-8102. 

Out-of-state Students Taking Distance Learning Courses:
LMC distance education students wishing to file a formal complaint must first seek resolution through LMC’s Student Complaint Policies and Procedures. LMC participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) through the state of Michigan. If a student's complaint cannot be resolved internally at LMC, the student may file a complaint with the state of Michigan – Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department (http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-61343_35395_35396---,00.html).

Accreditation:
Lake Michigan College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds several
program accreditations. To learn more about LMC’s accreditations, please visit www.lakemichigancollege.edu/home/discover-lmc/about-lake-michigan-college/accreditation

Sharing Disclosure:
All complaints submitted in writing, signed by a student, and addressed to or submitted to an academic officer will remain on file for a minimum of ten years and may be shared with agencies that accredit the College or its programs unless the student expressly prohibits the College from doing so.

Student Consumer Information:
In accordance with the Higher Education Reauthorization Act, prospective students, enrolled students, and employees may access student consumer information at www.lakemichigancollege.edu/home/discover-lmc/about-lake-michigan-college/studentconsumer-information

Responsibility: Vice President of Academic Services
References: Questions regarding this policy and procedure should be directed to the Office of
Academic Services.