Department of Chemistry

Procedures for Resolving Student Concerns

There may come a time when a student in your laboratory section has a complaint against you, another TA, or the program. This complaint may or may not be valid; however, all such complaints must be treated in the same manner and with due care. It is very difficult for some students to raise concerns, while others are able to voice their concerns easily and often.

All instructors must deal with student complaints/concerns. It is common to have wonderful student evaluations from 90% of the class and awful evaluations from the other 10%. No instructor can meet the specific needs of all of their students, nor do personalities always fit together nicely. Dealing with student concerns is part of the instructor's job and needs to be taken as seriously as the formal teaching duties.

  • Treat all complaints/concerns seriously and with understanding. If the student's concern is valid, admit this, and take appropriate action. If the concern is not valid, gently let the student know this, but tell them that they can always discuss it with the Laboratory Supervisor.
  • If the concern involves violations of the student's rights, such as harassment or obvious improper treatment, immediately refer the student to the Laboratory Supervisor or the Program Director.
  • The normal process for hearing student complaints would be Teaching Assistant, then Laboratory Supervisor, then Program Director, and finally the departmental Undergraduate Advisor. The student may elect to speak with one of these individuals before speaking to the TA, since many students fear grade retaliation.
  • If a student brings a complaint to you about another TA, it is your responsibility to bring this complaint to the Program Director.
  • Students have the right to lodge a formal, written complaint against any faculty or staff member.