Resolution of Grievances and Appeals Process

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Resolution of Certificate Program Student Grievances

(Adapted from the UW-Madison SMPH Health Profession Programs Student Grievances Policy and Program Grievance Procedure)

Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program students have the right to request a grievance hearing in the event that the student feels he or she was graded or evaluated unfairly. This document further provides the formal procedures for objective, consistent review and adjudication of such grievances if they cannot be resolved through preliminary informal measures.

A grievance is defined as a complaint made by a student alleging that the student received a grade or academic evaluation that was arbitrary, capricious, or discriminatory – i.e., unfairly based on race, gender, religion, personal animus, or any other factor(s) other than objective assessment of the student’s academic performance and/or the student’s compliance with his or her Program’s Professional Behavior Code.

The Grievance Board is the committee of UW-Madison SMPH faculty and staff that provides formal review and adjudication of Grievances when informal resolution measures are unsuccessful.

  1. SMPH students have the right to fair and equitable treatment with respect to grading and evaluation, and may dispute a grade that they feel was awarded unfairly.
  2. Students are expected to make reasonable efforts to resolve Grievances informally and directly, but if those efforts fail, any student may file a request for a Grievance hearing.
  3. The student and Program will follow the SMPH Health Profession Program Grievance Procedure (see below) for formal resolution of any Grievance.

Grievance Procedure

Informal Resolution

  1. Students should first attempt to resolve a Grievance informally with the Certificate Program or instructional faculty or staff member directly involved in the matter within thirty (30) days of receiving the disputed grade.
  2. If the student feels the Grievance was insufficiently addressed, or, due to the nature of the grievance, is uncomfortable interacting directly with the faculty or staff member involved, the student should contact the person responsible for the course, g., the course director or clerkship/clinical director/administrator, for resolution according to individual course grading policies on grade disputes.
  3. If the course-level review process does not resolve the Grievance, the student may request a review by the Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program Director.
  4. The student’s request for review must be in an email or written letter and include the reasons the student believes the grade or evaluation was unfair.
  5. The Program Director will attempt to resolve the Grievance through informal mediation with the parties involved within ten (10) business days of receiving the student’s written request for review.
  6. Following this review, the person responsible for the course makes the final decision.
  7. The course director will inform the student of the final decision by telephone and/or email within 24 hours of the decision, to be followed within five (5) business days by a written letter.
  8. If the Grievance has still not been resolved to the student’s satisfaction, he or she may request a formal Grievance hearing as outlined below.

Formal Resolution

  1. Any student wishing to request a Grievance hearing must do so in an email or written letter to their Program Director. The request must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of receiving written notification of the final decision by the course director as outlined above. Petitions received after this time will not be considered.  For clarity, a student receiving written grade/evaluation notification on a Tuesday has until midnight on the following Tuesday to submit their petition.
  2. Requests for Grievance hearings must outline the student’s basis of the Grievance, the person(s) against whom the Grievance is filed (“Respondent(s)”), the informal resolution efforts made thus far, and the remedy or correction requested.
  3. The Program Director will review the student’s written statement for timeliness and completeness and to determine whether grounds for reconsideration have been reasonably established. If grounds for reconsideration have not been established, the final decision of the course director will be upheld. If grounds for reconsideration have been established, the Program Director will notify the student and Respondent(s) and provide the Respondent(s) with a copy of the student’s request for a hearing.
  4. The Grievance Board shall be convened for a hearing within four (4) weeks of the student’s request, at a time that is mutually agreeable to the Grievance Board members and both parties. A quorum of at least two-thirds (2/3) voting Grievance Board members must be able to attend the hearing in person.
  5. The Grievance Board shall be comprised of the following members:
    • Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    • Associate Dean for Medical Student Education and Services
    • Associate Dean for Public Health
    • Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education
    • Director Continuing Professional Development
    • Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Director
    • Genetic Counseling Program Director
    • Master of Public Health Associate Program Director
    • Physician Assistant Program Director
    • Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program Director
    • Administrative Director of Academic Affairs
  6. The Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs shall serve as Chair of the Grievance Board and does not vote unless the Grievance Board is tied. The Chair cannot overrule a majority decision of the Grievance Board.
  7. At least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing, both parties will provide the Chair of the Grievance Board with any additional documentation to be presented at the hearing. Each party may have one support person at the hearing whose name and relationship to the party must be identified in writing to the Chair at this time.
  8. At least five (5) business days prior to the Grievance hearing, the chair will provide the parties and the Grievance Board members with the following:
    1. The names of the parties
    2. The nature of the issues to be heard and any relevant policies
    3. The date, time, and place of the hearing
    4. The names of each party’s support person, if any
  9. To protect the confidentiality of the parties, the Grievance hearing shall be closed to the public unless otherwise agreed in writing by both parties. The student, Respondent(s) and any support people may attend the entire Grievance hearing other than the Grievance Board’s deliberations.
  10. The parties may confer with their respective support person, but the support person may not address the Grievance Board, question witnesses, or otherwise participate in the hearing.
  11. The chair must recognize individuals before they speak. Once recognized, a party may speak without interruption, though the chair may announce and enforce time limits on each party to present its case.
  12. The Grievance hearing will proceed as follows:
    1. Introduction of student, Respondent(s) and Grievance Board members;
    2. Chair assigns one person to take minutes, describes the nature of the issues at hand, including relevant policy, and reviews the hearing procedures, including time restraints, if any;
    3. The student makes their statement relevant to the Grievance and answers questions from the Grievance Board and Respondent(s);
    4. The Respondent(s) makes their statement relevant to the Grievance and answers questions from the Grievance Board and student;
    5. Each party may refute any statement by the other party and make a closing statement;
    6. Chair excuses parties and support people; and
    7. The Grievance Board deliberates in closed session.
  13. Determinations of the Grievance Board are based on a “preponderance of the evidence” standard where the student bears the burden of proof. Specifically, the student must demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the grade or evaluation was based upon factor(s) other than objective assessment of the student’s academic performance and/or the student’s compliance with the Program’s Professional Behavior Code. The Grievance Board should strive to reach consensus on a workable solution with a final determination made by simple majority as a last course of action.
  14. If the Grievance Board finds that the student’s Grievance has merit and that redress is possible, it will direct the Program Director to implement an appropriate remedy. If the Grievance Board finds that the Grievance is without merit, it will so inform the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the decision of the course director will stand final.
  15. The Program Director will notify the student of the Grievance Board’s decision by telephone and/or email within 24 hours of the Grievance hearing, to be followed within five (5) business days by a written letter.
  16. Details discussed during the Grievance hearing and the outcome are private and will only be disclosed as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g. Written documentation of the final decision will be summarized in minutes for the meeting and will include:
  • Brief Summary of Events (student’s position and Respondent(s) position
  • Brief description of Process
  • Findings of the Grievance Board
  • Recommendations of the Grievance Board

Minutes will be reviewed for accuracy by the chair within one week of the hearing and maintained confidentially by the Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program, with a copy in the student’s secure record.

Appeals Process

(Adapted from the UW-Madison SMPH Health Profession Programs Student Appeals Policy and Program Level Appeals Procedure)

Students in the Graduate/Professional/Capstone Certificate in Global Health Program have the right to appeal their dismissal from the Program at the UW-Madison SMPH for failure to meet academic standards or for professional/academic/nonacademic misconduct.

The Appeals Review Committee is an ad hoc committee of at least four (4) faculty or staff members of the Program, including the Program Director. The Review Committee is charged with reviewing the appeal of any student dismissed from that Program who has petitioned for appeal, and with determining whether the student shall be reinstated.

  1. Students who are dismissed from a Program have the right to appeal that decision for review at the Program level by the Review Committee.
  2. The student and Review Committee will follow the “SMPH Health Profession Program Appeals Procedure.”

Students who are denied reinstatement after a Program level appeal may file an SMPH level appeal in accordance with the procedure set forth in the “Health Profession (non-MD) Student Appeals Hearing Committee: Structure, Function and Operation.”

Appeals Procedure

  1. Any student wishing to appeal a dismissal decision must submit a petition for appeal within seven (7) calendar days of receiving written notification of dismissal from the Program Director. Written notification of dismissal may be provided by the Program Director either by hand or by certified letter. Petitions for appeal must be submitted via email, by hand, or by certified letter. Petitions submitted after 7 days will not be considered. For clarity, a student receiving written dismissal notification on a Tuesday has until midnight on the following Tuesday to submit their petition.
  2. Petitions for appeal must outline the student’s basis for appeal, including a statement of the specific reason(s) for disagreement with the dismissal or explanation of the extenuating circumstances that interfered with the student’s academic performance and/or professionalism/nonacademic conduct.
  3. The student’s status shall remain that of dismissed throughout the appeals process, and they shall have no active standing in SMPH during the appeal process.
  4. The Review Committee shall be comprised of members selected by the Program.
  5. The student’s in-person attendance at the appeal hearing is mandatory. The Program Director will endeavor to schedule the hearing within four (4) weeks of the student’s request for an appeal and at a time that is mutually agreeable to the student and all Review Committee members.
  6. A quorum of at least two-thirds (2/3) voting Review Committee members must be able to attend the appeal hearing in person.
  7. At least three (3) full business days before the appeal hearing, the student must submit a written statement, maximum three (3) pages (excluding relevant appendices) to the Program Director, describing the basis of the appeal, steps taken to alleviate the circumstances that led to dismissal, and a proposed plan for improvement along with any supporting documentation or evidence.
  8. The student may be accompanied by one support person during the appeal hearing. This person and his or her relationship to the student must be identified in the written statement.
  9. The Program Director will provide the Review Committee members with copies of the student’s notification of dismissal, a summary of the basis of the dismissal, the student’s petition for appeal, and any materials provided by the student at least one full business day before the hearing. The Review Committee members shall have access to the student’s relevant records before the hearing.
  10. The student’s support person may speak to the student during the appeal hearing to provide support and consultation, but not address the Review Committee.
  11. Only voting and ex officio members of the Review Committee and the student and his or her support person may be present during the appeal hearing.
  12. The Program Director shall act as Chairperson of the Review Committee. The appeal hearing will proceed as follows:
    1. Introduction of the student and committee members
    2. Chairperson assigns one person to take minutes and describes the basis of the dismissal, including applicable policy
    3. The student has a reasonable amount of time (15 minutes) to make a statement to the Review Committee and present supporting evidence
    4. The Review Committee has the opportunity to ask the student relevant questions
    5. The student may make a final statement and is then dismissed
    6. The Review Committee deliberates in closed session
  13. Appeals determinations are made by simple majority vote of the Review Committee. The Program Director does not vote except in instances when the Review Committee is otherwise tied on whether to grant the appeal. The Program Director cannot overrule a majority decision of the Review Committee.
  14. If the appeal is granted, the Review Committee will establish the student’s obligations for reinstatement in the Program.
  15. The Program Director will notify the student of the Review Committee’s decision by telephone and/or email within 24 hours of the appeal hearing, to be followed within five (5) business days by a written letter. The Program Director shall also notify the student’s faculty advisor and the Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or their designee.
  16. Details discussed during the appeal hearing and the outcome are private and will only be disclosed as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) 20 U.S.C. s. 1232g. Written documentation of the Review Committee’s decision will be summarized in minutes for the meeting and will include:
  • Brief summary of events
  • Brief description of the process
  • Findings of the review committee
  • Decision of the review committee

Minutes will be reviewed for accuracy by the chair within one week of the hearing and maintained confidentially by the Health Professional Program, with a copy in the student’s secure record.

  1. If the Review Committee denies the appeal for reinstatement, the student may file an appeal in accordance with the process set forth in the “University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) Health Professional (non-MD) Student Appeals Hearing Committee: Structure, Function and Operation.”

Updated August 10, 2017

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