academic complaints

We understand that the current situation with COVID-19 and the changes this has caused in your teaching, assignments and exams is not ideal. We also know that some students are not happy with these changes and how teaching/assignments and exams are being delivered and would like to make a formal complaint.

Here we set out the steps you should take and the things you should think about if you are thinking of making an academic complaint.

Have you spoken to your School?

The ultimate goal in addressing issues should be to ensure any changes your school has made are not detrimental to you and you still receive the course you signed up to, as far as possible in the here and now.

Where you feel this is not the case, you should talk to your school at an appropriate level; this could be your Module Lead, Course Director or Head of School, starting with Module Lead and escalating if needed. There could be an issue that your school has not thought of so it could be helpful for them to be made aware, in order for them to make appropriate changes.

You can make contact directly with your school and the people listed above or you could use your course rep or faculty convener, or raise the issue with either the Undergraduate or Postgraduate Education Officers, as appropriate to your level of study, although it is worth noting that they are unlikely to be able to deal with your case on an individual level, but will be able to raise common themes with the University. If you don’t know who your course rep is, contact coursereps@uea.ac.uk and they’ll be able to tell you.

 
Formal academic complaints.

To submit a formal academic complaint you will need to complete this form and email to your HUB or PGR office along with any evidence you wish to submit.

Once received your complaint will be processed. If it’s thought that it can be dealt with informally an informal remedy will be offered to you. You do not have to agree to this and can request for your complaint to be heard formally.

Formal complaints are heard by a Faculty Appeals and Complains Panel (FACP) who will consider your complaint form and evidence. You’ll be informed of the date your complaint will be considered. The FACP will also request a response from your School to the issues you have raised. You should be informed within 10 working days of the outcome of your complaint.

UEA is not processing formal academic complaints related to COVID-19 until the end of your course, therefore you should wait before submitting. This will also allow you to assess the full impact COVID-19 has had on your degree once you have received your results.

Full details on the academic complaint process can be found here.

 
How have you been impacted?

Whether formal or informal, any complaint you make should show tangible impact. It’s not as simple as saying “I haven’t had X lectures face to face in a lecture theatre therefore I want some tuition fee back”.

Whilst constrained by the UK wide lockdown, UEA still needs to deliver the teaching, academic support and assessments you signed up to, albeit from a distance and UEA believes it has done this and appropriately mitigated where this is not possible.

Therefore, if you think that UEA hasn’t done this in your case, you need to show both how they’ve not and how this impacts upon you and, where possible, evidence this.

 
Possible outcomes.

Outcomes to academic complaints will vary depending on your particular situation so it is difficult to provide general advice in this area.

However, if you are able to demonstrate that your learning has been detrimentally impacted because of something UEA has or hasn’t done and which it can be reasonably assumed they should have within their control, you should receive an appropriate outcome.

Be careful going into making a formal complaint with the expectation that financial compensation is a likely outcome. The only way this would be possible would be to show that you have not received the education UEA advertised and that this was due to something within their control, and for UEA to accept this is the case.

Where something impacts the delivery outside of the University's control like COVID-19, it would be considered reasonable for UEA to alter the delivery of your education as long as it still meets advertised learning outcomes, in an appropriate way.

 
If you have any more questions and would like to discuss your particular situation with an advisor, get in touch via our online contact form here.
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