Academic Grievances – Domestic Students | Christian Heritage College
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Student AdministrationAcademic Grievances – Domestic Students

Academic Grievances – Domestic Students

Policy Group(s): Group B: Academic – 1: Students (Ref: C3/0105.1-0420)
Related Policy:
Academic Integrity
Non-Academic Grievances – Domestic Students
Re-crediting of ‘HELP’ Balance and Review of Decisions
Staff Grievances
Review of Academic Progress
Review of Enrolment
Commencement Date: January 2005
Review Date:
December 2016
March 2020
Scheduled Review Date: August 2025
Policy Statement
Supporting Procedures and Guidelines
Further Information

Intent:

In accordance with its foundation on Christian principles, Christian Heritage College (CHC) is concerned to maintain the highest levels of student confidence in the quality and integrity of its courses and academic practices.

CHC seeks to avoid academic decisions that disadvantage students through unambiguous policy, staff training and professional development and moderation of critical academic decisions such as unit exit results. CHC encourages the informal resolution of disputes regarding academic decisions but recognises that there are instances where formal resolution is appropriate.

Scope:

This policy applies to all domestic students who are undertaking a course of study at CHC.

Objectives:

  1. To provide clear guidelines for processing academic grievances for domestic students.
  2. To give effect to Christian principles of dispute resolution.
  3. To maintain compliance with relevant legislation, regulations, guidelines or codes.

Policy Provisions:

  1. General
    • Academic grievances are grievances that relate to academic matters such as student progress (including assessment outcomes, Review of Academic Progress and Review of Enrolment Process), assessment, curriculum and awards in a course of study.
    • The grounds for academic grievances are:
      • Error in relation to an academic decision that is sufficient to cause disadvantage to a student.
      • Injustice in relation to an academic decision that is sufficient to cause disadvantage to a student.
      • Failure of CHC to adhere to policy in respect of an academic decision that is sufficient to cause disadvantage to a student.
    • All students are entitled to access the procedures set out in this policy regardless of the CHC campus at which they are enrolled, their place of residence or the mode of delivery of a unit of study.
    • CHC will generally not respond to anonymous grievances; however, all complaints, either formal or informal, about the abuse of children or young people must be reported to the President, even when these complaints are made anonymously.
    • CHC will not victimise or discriminate against any student who engages in this process.
    • Students may be accompanied by a third party at any stage during the process provided that the third party is not a lawyer.
    • CHC Student Services is available to assist students to understand this policy and to engage in this process.
    • All communication between students and CHC staff members as referenced in this policy is to occur via their CHC email accounts.
    • CHC will retain confidential records relating to academic grievances for a period of five years and allow parties to the grievance supervised access to these records.
    • A student’s enrolment will be maintained throughout the internal review process.
    • The process for addressing complaints relating to academic matters consists of five Each stage is free of charge.
    • CHC will provide explanation in writing for decisions and actions taken at each stage of the procedure if so, requested by a student.
    • Extensions to the timeframes described in this policy as applying to the stages of the process may be mutually agreed by the parties to a particular stage of the process.
    • The procedures set out in this policy do not replace or modify procedures or any other responsibilities which may arise under other higher education provider policies or under statute or any other law.

 

  1. Stages of the Process
    • The stages of the process for addressing grievances relating to academic matters are:
      • Self-Reflection and Analysis of Feedback.
      • Informal Process.
      • Formal Internal Process – Step 1 and Step 2.
      • External Process.
    • The complaint may be settled at any of these stages, or progress to the next stage in the event that a student is not satisfied with the outcome of a previous stage.
  2. Stage 1: Self-Reflection and Analysis of Feedback
    • A student who is concerned about an academic decision is encouraged to first engage in self-reflection on the academic decision and consider:
      • Information provided in advance of the decision (e.g. assessment guidelines).
      • Feedback or reasons provided for the decision.
      • Whether, in consideration of the facts, genuine grounds for disagreeing with the decision can be identified (see Provision 1.2).
    • If, following self-reflection and analysis of feedback, a student considers there to be grounds for an academic grievance, they have 20 working days from the receipt of the original decision to provide written notification to the academic staff member responsible for the decision that they wish to discuss their concerns.
  3. Stage 2: Informal Process
    • Upon receiving written notification from a student, the staff member has 10 working days in which to contact the student to schedule a mutually convenient time during which both parties can discuss their points of view and attempt to resolve the matter.
    • Following the meeting between the staff member and the student, the staff member has 10 working days in which to provide the student with a written record of the meeting, including a record of discussion and the outcome of the discussion.
    • The staff member is to report the informal process to the School Administration Officer for tabling at the next Board of Studies meeting for the purpose of entering onto the School’s Academic Grievance Register.
    • If the student is not satisfied with the outcome of the discussion, they may proceed to the Formal Internal Process.
  4. Stage 3: Formal Internal Process – Step 1
    • Students who engage in the Informal Process and who then wish to proceed to the Formal Internal Process must submit an application in writing to the Secretary, Learning and Teaching Committee within 10 working days of receiving notification of the outcome of the Informal Process.
    • The application is to state clearly the specific grounds upon which the request for a review of the outcome of the Informal Process is based and include all necessary supporting information and documentation.
    • The Secretary will inform the staff member concerned of the receipt of the application.
    • Upon receipt of an application, the Secretary has 10 working days in which to make arrangements for a meeting of the Academic Grievance Panel at which the application will be considered.
    • The role of the Academic Grievance Panel is to investigate the original grievance in relation to the academic matter concerned, the grounds for the grievance as identified by the student (including the supporting information and documentation as provided) and the decisions made by the staff member in relation to the grievance.
    • The student and the staff member concerned will be invited to make such written and/or oral submissions to the Academic Grievance Panel as they consider appropriate.
    • Following the meeting of the Academic Grievance Panel, the Chair has 10 working days in which to provide written communication regarding the decision of the Panel to the student and the staff member.
    • If the student or the staff member is not satisfied with the decision of the Academic Grievance Panel, they may proceed to Step 2 of the Formal Internal Process.
  5. Stage 3: Formal Internal Process – Step 2
    • Students and staff who engage in Step 1 of the Formal Internal Process and who then wish to proceed to Step 2 of the Formal Internal Process must submit a written application to the Secretary, Academic Board within 10 working days of receiving the outcome of Step 1 of the Formal Internal Process.
    • The application is to state clearly the specific grounds upon which the request for a review of the decision is based and include all necessary supporting information and documentation.
    • The Secretary will inform the student and staff member concerned (as applicable) of the receipt of the application.
    • Upon receipt of an application, the Secretary of Academic Board has 10 working days in which to make arrangements for a meeting of the Academic Grievance Review Panel at which the application will be considered.
    • The role of the Academic Grievance Review Panel is to review the decision of the Academic Grievance Panel. This will include consideration of the application of this policy and of the processes followed, but it will not investigate the original grievance and will not hear evidence that was not provided to the Academic Grievance Panel under Step 1 of the Formal Internal Process.
    • The student and the staff member concerned will be invited to make such written and/or oral submissions to the Academic Grievance Review Panel as they consider appropriate.
    • Following the meeting of the Academic Grievance Review Panel, the Chair has 10 working days in which to provide written communication regarding the decision of the Panel to the student and the staff member.
    • If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Academic Grievance Review Panel, they may proceed to External Process.
    • If the staff member is not satisfied with the decision of the Academic Grievance Review Panel, they may refer to CHC Policy: Staff Grievances.
  6. Stage 4: External Process
    • Students who engage in Step 2 of the Formal Internal Process and who then wish to proceed to the External Process must submit a written application to the CHC President within 10 working days of receiving the outcome of Step 2 of the Formal Internal Process.
    • CHC has arranged for an external reviewer to be appointed by Independent Higher Education Australia (IHEA). The cost, if any, for utilising the external grievance appeals process will be borne by CHC.
    • Upon receipt of a written request for an external review, the CHC President (or their delegate) has 10 working days in which to write to the Executive Officer of IHEA, detailing the complaint, the process applied thus far, the decision to be reviewed and the grounds claimed by the student for an external review of the decision.
    • CHC must provide contact details for IHEA to the complainant.
    • The Executive Officer of IHEA will appoint an external reviewer within 10 working days of receiving the application. The IHEA-appointed reviewer must have appropriate experience in the area of the grievance and be acceptable to both the complainant and CHC.
    • The IHEA-appointed reviewer must review the application and make a determination within 20 working days of receiving the application.
    • The IHEA-appointed reviewer must advise the CHC President, the complainant and IHEA within 10 working days of the determination, providing in writing the reasons and rationale for any decisions and/or actions to be taken.
    • CHC will ensure that the decisions of the IHEA-appointed reviewer are implemented within a reasonable timeframe commensurate with the nature of any change required by CHC to its processes and/or policies.
    • IHEA will retain all documentation pertaining to the grievance for a period of five years.
    • Where the grievance cannot be resolved by these means, the student will be advised of the appropriate legal body from which they can seek further assistance or advice.
  7. Further Avenues of Appeal
    • This policy does not negate the right of any student to take action under Australia’s consumer protection laws in the case of financial dispute, or to pursue other legal remedies.
    • If a student is concerned about the actions of CHC they have the right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision. CHC will inform the student of the closest tribunal to their location and the approximate cost of lodging a submission.
  1. Staff Training
    • Training concerning this policy is provided to CHC staff through scheduled staff meetings
    • New staff receive training through staff induction processes.
    • Training for the Academic Grievance Panel and the Academic Grievance Review Panel members will be provided at the time of their appointment by, respectively, the Chairs of the Learning and Teaching Committee and of Academic Board.

 

  1. Recording of a Grievance
    • The School Administration Officer will keep records of grievances that occur under the Informal Process stage.
    • The Secretary, Learning and Teaching Committee will keep records of grievances that occur under the Formal Internal Process – Step 1 stage.
    • The Secretary, Academic Board will keep records of grievance that occur under the Formal Internal Process – Step 2 stage.
    • The Office of the President will keep records of grievances that occur at the External Process stage.
    • Records of grievances are to consist of:
      • Name of the student.
      • Name of the staff member.
      • Unit code and title to which the grievance applies.
      • Grounds of the grievance (as per Provision 1.2).
      • Written applications submitted by parties to the grievance (as applicable).
      • Documentation provided by parties to the grievance (as applicable).
      • Dates of and attendees at any meetings held in association with the grievance, as appropriate to the stage of the grievance.
      • Salient points of discussion.
      • Outcomes of the meetings and reasons for the decisions reached.
      • Notification to parties of the grievance (as applicable) of the outcome of the process.
  1. Academic Grievance Files
    • Upon completion of each stage of the process, the relevant CHC staff member will transfer the record of the grievance to the Academic Registrar.
  2. Storing of Files
    • Records of academic grievances and their outcomes will be strictly confidential and kept in a separate file (not kept on the student or staff file) and stored in the office of the Academic Registrar.
    • Records of academic grievances will be kept for a period of five years.
  3. Access to Files
    • Access to files pertaining to academic grievances is available to parties to a grievance upon written application to the Academic Registrar.
    • Parties to an academic grievance will be provided with supervised access to the files within a reasonable period of providing the Academic Registrar with written notification of such a request.
    • During this supervised access, parties to a grievance may read and make notes regarding the contents of the file but may not copy, record or remove items from the file.
  4. Reporting of Academic Grievances
    • Summary data on the type, number and outcome of academic grievances will be reported in the Academic Board Annual Report.

RELEVANT COMMONWEALTH/STATE LEGISLATION

HESA 2003

HEP Guidelines

Higher Education Standards Framework (2015)

 

WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY?

All CHC students and staff.

 

DEFINITIONS

 

Dean

The head of the school administering a course, includes the Executive Director, Millis Institute.

The Department

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment of the Commonwealth government.

Grievance

A grievance is any formal statement of concern about an academic decision or a breach of CHC academic policy sufficient to cause disadvantage to the student that is reported to a staff member at CHC that requires a response from CHC. It is not a part of the regular feedback that is provided to CHC by its stakeholders as part of CHC’s commitment to continuous improvement but is a formal complaint requesting action or some form of formal response.

School

The academic organisational units of CHC; includes the Millis Institute.

ACRONYMS

CHC

Christian Heritage College.

HESA

The Higher Education Support Act 2003.

HEP Guidelines

The Higher Education Provider Guidelines.

HESF (2015)

The Higher Education Standards Framework 2015.

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

Implementation:                           Director of Quality and Standards

Compliance:                                     Director of Quality and Standards

Monitoring & Evaluations:       Director of Quality and Standards

Development/Review:                Director of Quality and Standards

Approval Authority:                    Council

Interpretation & Advice:           Director of Quality and Standards

 

APPROVAL – section maintained by the Director of Quality and Standards
Reference No.ApprovedDateCommittee/BoardResolution No./ Minute Ref.
C3/0105.1Yes05/05/2004Council11

 

 

REVISION HISTORY – section maintained by the Director of Quality and Standards
Revision Reference No.Approved / RescindedDateCommittee/BoardResolution No./ Minute Ref.
0407Approved16/04/2007Council16
0907Approved24/09/2007Council16
1107Approved15/11/2007CouncilFlying Minute
0313Approved26/03/2013CouncilFlying Minute
0115Approved28/01/2015CouncilFlying Minute
1216Approved08/12/2016Academic Board4.1
0820Approved31/08/2020Council8.1

 

 

ADDITIONAL CHANGES – Section maintained by the Director of Quality and Standards
Nature of changeChange of title
Former titleGrievance Policy and Procedures for Domestic Students – Academic Grievances
Revised titleAcademic Grievances – Domestic Students
Approved13/08/2020