Process for Addressing Course- and Faculty-Related Issues

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Students may have concerns during their educational experience about a particular course, clinical experience, and/or faculty teaching style. Any student enrolled in the School of Nursing who believes s/he is facing a situation involving unfair treatment or an injustice of substantial proportions involving a course has a right to address the situation. It is also important to recognize that faculty and administrators have rights in these situations as well. Dealing with issues and concerns is an important part of students’ professional development and will serve students in a variety of ways as they enter their professional career.

Generally there are two types of concerns or issues: those dealing with a specific course and those dealing with a faculty member or administrator in the School of Nursing. It is recognized, however, that in practice these issues can rarely be clearly separated. In general, dealing with the issues at the level closest to the problem is the most effective approach. The primary point of contact for addressing issues related to a course is the faculty member who teaches in the course or who is designated as course coordinator. The primary point of contact for addressing issues related to a faculty member is the faculty member.

On occasion students may enter the system where they are most comfortable. When students seek assistance from someone outside the process as outlined, either administration or faculty, the individual contacted should listen to the student(s) concerns, inform them of the appropriate mechanism for dealing with the concern, and identify with the student the appropriate person(s) to contact and process to follow.

Guiding principles

  • Issues should be addressed and resolved at the lowest level possible.
  • Concerns and issues need to be presented in a constructive manner and with objective data.
  • Faculty have a right to be informed by a student about issues that involve them.
  • Attempts will be made to help the student gain the support needed to handle the situation.
  • Course coordinators will be included in course-related issues.
  • Students may bring a support person with them as they discuss issues although the support person may not participate in the discussions and may not be a legal counsel.
  • While there are multiple potential entry points in the School of Nursing that a student may use to address a situation, the general flow chart which outlines the process for addressing course-related issues will be followed.
  • In situations where the student is unwilling to follow the required process, the faculty or staff member who is initially contacted will work with the student to identify the most appropriate person and level in the process to address the situation.

Process for Resolving Issues

When addressing course or faculty related issues, students should follow the recommended steps as depicted in Figure 1.

  1. Student issues or concerns related to a faculty member should first be discussed directly with the faculty member. If, following the discussion, the problem remains unresolved, the student should bring the issue to the Program Director who will involve the Division Chair or any other relevant parties.
  2. Student issues or concerns related to a course or clinical practice should first be discussed with the course or clinical faculty member. If, following the discussion, the problem remains unresolved, the Program Director and Division Chair should become involved. Preferably this would be accomplished in a meeting that includes the faculty member and other relevant parties.
  3. Unresolved faculty related issues should be directed to the Division Chairs who will contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Dean, or other school administrators as deemed appropriate.
  4. Unresolved course related issues should be directed to the Program Director who will contact the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the Dean , or other school administrators as deemed appropriate.

Figure 1: Process for Students to Address Course-related and Faculty-related Issues

Process for Students to Address Course- and Faculty-related Issues

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