Student Grievance Resolution
The College approaches student grievance resolution, and devises student grievance resolution processes, according to the following guiding principles:
To view the Grievance Policy click here.
- the resolution of student grievances will be handled informally where possible;
- student grievances will be addressed as close as possible to the source of student dissatisfaction;
- grievances will be resolved expeditiously and with due regard for confidentiality;
- students should feel secure in the knowledge that they will not suffer any form of disadvantage as a result of making a complaint;
- student grievance processes will promote the principles of Christian conduct and students will be treated equitably;
- effective, reciprocal communication and feedback will underpin the relationship between students and the College;
- grievances will be regarded by staff as valuable input to the continuous improvement of programs, policies, procedures and services, and monitored and acted upon accordingly; and
- grievance procedures and the support available to students will be widely publicised to facilitate access to the grievance resolution process.
In the first instance a student may appeal to the lecturer concerned against the result given in any item of assessment when the student believes that some error in grading has been made or there are concerns about the grade awarded.
After this informal dialogue, if the student still believes there are grounds for appeal, the student may formally appeal to the Academic Committee of the College via the Registrar (Grievance Officer). The student will be given a written statement of the outcome of the appeals process including details of the reason for the outcome.
Where a student believes that the review procedures in the Member Institution have not been followed with regard to an appeal against a failed final grade, the student may appeal to the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity. This is the only ground on which an appeal can be made to the Academic Board. The Academic Board will deal with the appeal at its discretion and its decision will be final. The student will be given a written statement of the outcome of the appeals process including details of the reason for the outcome.
Further Procedures for Postgraduate Candidates
Appeals Procedure — Candidature
Appeals may be made by postgraduate students against decisions of the Postgraduate Studies Coursework Committee and the Research Committee which fall within the following academic and procedural areas, for which the Committees are responsible:
- Admission to candidature;
- Extension of candidature;
- Supervisory arrangements;
Outcome of thesis examinations requiring correction and/or revision but where a final result has not been determined by the Academic Board.
Appeals Procedures — Grades
Appeals against grades in course work are considered in the first instance by the Academic Committee of the College and then by the Postgraduate Studies Coursework Committee. Appeal from the decision of that Committee may be made to the Academic Board of the Sydney College of Divinity.
Appeals Procedures — Thesis Examination
Appeals may be made by postgraduate candidates against decisions of the Research Committee.
The non-academic grievance procedure applies to all currently enrolled students or persons seeking to enrol in SCD approved courses of study at SCD Member Institutions, regardless of the location of campus at which the grievance has arisen, the student’s place of residence or the mode in which they study. It provides a mechanism for addressing grievances on administrative matters such as institutional practices, financial issues or resources. For example, students who have been obliged by special circumstances to withdraw from study after a census date may disagree with decisions made in relation to their fees. Fairness demands that these and other concerns be responded to promptly and handled in a consistent and transparent manner. This document provides guidelines for students or persons seeking to enrol, wishing to raise a non-academic grievance.
Each step of the process is free of charge, with the exception of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The student remains enrolled whilst the complaints and appeals process is ongoing.
Students should discuss their grievance informally with the person concerned, or alternatively with the person’s superior. Staff within the College or SCD are available to advise or can assist if needed.
If the grievance is unable to be resolved directly, a grievance may be formally lodged within the College. However, if for any reason you feel uncomfortable about lodging that grievance within the Member Institution, you can opt to lodge the grievance direct with the SCD.
Support for Students
The College encourages students to seek advice on grievance mechanisms from the Student Council. Representatives of the Student Council may play an advocacy role from time to time. A student grievance will be resolved in a timely and effective manner.
Where students initiate meetings to resolve grievances informally with College staff, or are invited to attend meetings for this purpose, students may request the presence of an impartial person to attend with them, in addition or in preference to a representative of the Student Council. The role played by this person should be as a neutral witness to the discussion.
An overseas student may contact the Director General of Education if the student is concerned about the conduct of the college, who may suspend or cancel the registration of the provider of the course. The dispute resolution process described in the policy does not prevent an overseas student from exercising the student’s rights to other legal remedies.