Student Feedback and Grievances
The College of Engineering welcomes constructive comments and feedback to help us to improve the student experience. Your informal feedback helps us understand and address student concerns.
You can communicate feedback to us in many ways, such as:
- Have a conversation with staff or faculty, including department chairs
- Work with a student organization in your department or the college, such as the College of Engineering Student Advisory Council
- Send an email to leadership and staff in the Office of the Dean
The University of Washington and the College of Engineering have procedures in place to address most formal concerns and grievances, as listed below. If you would like to discuss any of these procedures, or if you have a concern that is not listed here, please contact Mike Engh in the College of Engineering.
- Grades or academic evaluation
- The UW's Change of Grade Policy helps students who believe that an instructor erred in the assignment of a grade or made a grade recording error or omission. Students should start this process by discussing the issue with the instructor before the end of the following academic quarter.
- Misconduct by other students
- The UW Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct provides an online reporting form for students to report alleged violations of the UW Student Conduct Code, including behavioral misconduct and academic misconduct such as plagiarism and cheating.
- Discriminatory or harassing behavior by a University employee
- The Resolution of Complaints Against University Employees policy helps students who have complaints about the behavior of University employees, including behavior that may violate the University’s nondiscrimination and non-retaliation policies.
- Graduate student employment
- The Student Employee Support Flowchart helps graduate students employed as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or other graduate student assistant to understand who can assist them with concerns or issues related to their appointments.
- Academic accommodations
- UW Disability Resources for Students (DRS) partners with students with disabilities to request accommodations that grant access to educational opportunities. Students can register with DRS to request academic accommodations.
The College of Engineering grievance process is available for students to address academic complaints or issues, including, but not limited to: academic policies, grading practices, fair treatment, etc.
- Students must initiate an informal request for conciliation or file a formal complaint within three months of the incident. Students are first encouraged to attempt, in good faith, to resolve any grievance with the member or members of the faculty or academic staff most directly concerned. All parties are urged to make a sincere effort to resolve the issue at this level.
The Office of the Ombudsman of the University of Washington has been established to assist in the protection of the rights of all members of the UW community. In order to facilitate early and informal resolution of grievances, the ombudsman will be available, at the request of any party concerned, to act as an impartial conciliator. The Office of the Ombudsman may be called upon to intervene at any stage of grievance procedures.
- If direct communications at Step 1 are not successful in resolving the issue, the student should contact the appropriate department chair about the issue. This step represents the effort of a third party to examine the situation with some degree of objectivity and attempt to resolve the issue in an informal way.
- If the issue cannot be resolved at the department level with the chair, the problem may be referred to the associate dean for academic affairs. If this attempt proves to be unsuccessful, the process should move on to Step 4.
Students should note that the associate dean may directly inform the dean of any complaints. The dean reserves the right to address the matter by administrative action, especially when the actions of a UW employee are involved. Administrative action can occur independently of any grievance procedures pursued by the student.
- The associate dean, at their own initiative, or upon petition by any of the parties involved, may appoint an ad hoc committee of faculty, staff, and/or students to hear and review the matter. This committee shall advise the associate dean, who shall then notify all relevant parties of their recommendation, including the outcome of the committee review and other grounds on which the recommendation was based. The associate dean's recommendation must be completed within 10 school days of the conclusion of the committee review.
- If all efforts at informal resolution of the problem prove to be unsuccessful, the next step involves filing a formal written grievance complaint. Review the information below for the separate processes for graduate and non-graduate (undergraduate, non-matriculated, etc.) students.
Formal process: Graduate students
Students are encouraged, but not required, to first attempt to resolve grievances with the faculty or staff member(s) most directly concerned.
A graduate student who is not able to resolve a grievance informally may request the Graduate School's assistance in an informal resolution. In such a case, the dean of the Graduate School shall designate an associate dean as the informal conciliator for the Graduate School. The associate dean may either facilitate conciliation directly or involve the ombudsman. If the associate dean attempts informal conciliation directly, they may not be involved in a subsequent formal complaint. If the student is dissatisfied with the informal conciliation, they may file a formal complaint with the dean of the Graduate School within 10 days of the conclusion of the attempted informal process. The grievance will be referred to the Academic Grievance Committee, and a hearing process will be initiated. Complete information can be found in Graduate School Memorandum #33.
Formal process: Non-graduate students
- A student who has not had their issue resolved through the informal process can open a formal grievance procedure by submitting a written complaint to the dean of the College of Engineering. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the dean of the College of Engineering (or their designee) shall refer the matter to an ad hoc committee, appointed by the dean, which shall consist of three tenured faculty members and two students. The chairperson of the committee shall be a faculty member appointed by the dean. It shall be the responsibility of the committee to provide the student a fair and impartial hearing regarding the filed grievance.
- The dean of the College of Engineering (or their designee) shall notify all persons directly involved and provide each with a copy of the written complaint. The chairperson shall establish a time and place of the hearing to be held within 15 school days after the receipt of the formal grievance by the dean.
- All parties may individually and personally present evidence and testimony necessary either to establish or to refute the alleged grievance. Only evidence presented at such a hearing shall be considered in determining the validity of the complaint.
- All hearings must be conducted in closed session; however, by mutual agreement of the student and the concerned faculty or staff, the hearing may be opened to the public to the extent mutually agreed.
- All documentation of the proceedings shall be kept on record. Such a summary shall be maintained for a period of five years in order to ensure adequate review, if requested.
- Within 10 school days after the adjournment of the hearing, the committee shall present to the dean (or their designee), with copies to all parties involved, a report of the committee, including findings of fact, conclusions, and recommendations. The committee shall reach its findings and recommendations by a majority vote. Dissenting opinions may be presented with the majority report, if desired.
- Within 10 school days after receipt of the committee report, the Dean (or their designee) shall issue a decision on the grievance. Such a decision and the reasons therefore, together with an enumeration of the actions to be taken, if any, shall be transmitted to all parties.
- The decision of the dean (or their designee) shall become final at the close of 21 days after issuance. The student who originally filed the grievance — and any individual filed against — may, before that time, file a written statement requesting reconsideration of the findings by the University Disciplinary Committee and stating grounds for the request. In the event that such a request is filed, the decision of the dean shall be stayed.