Student grievances can occur for a number of reasons—grade disputes, misperceptions about the culture of the class, or complaints about the instructor’s presentation style. You cannot eliminate all possibility of a disgruntled student, but you can diminish its likelihood by:

  • discussing course content, course expectations, classroom policies, and your teaching methods at the beginning of the semester;

  • working to maintain academic integrity— your own and that of your students;

  • creating an atmosphere of respect in your classroom;

  • including in the course syllabus the procedure for students to air complaints and a website address for the grievance policies employed by the appropriate college;

  • informing students of the appropriate steps they can take, should they have a complaint:

    • 1) if the complaint is grade-related, have students wait 24 hours after receiving a grade before contacting the instructor;

    • 2) resolve the issue with the instructor;

    • 3) if the matter is not resolved or discussion with the instructor is inappropriate, contact the supervising faculty member or department chair;

    • 4) if the issue remains unresolved, contact the dean’s office. If this informal approach does not resolve the issue, the student may file a formal complaint as specified by The University of Iowa Operations Manual; and

  • if you do receive a complaint or believe one is imminent, seek advice from your course supervisor (for TAs) or DEO (for instructors).