Fri, 31 Mar 2023
Student Grievance Complaints and Appeal Policy (Academic)
This policy reflects Metavision Institute’s commitment to students and the mechanisms for effectively resolving academic grievances and managing complaints and appeals submitted by current and prospective students.
This policy applies to academic grievances, complaints and appeals received from prospective and enrolled students. Metavision Institute’s dispute resolution and complaint management processes do not prevent a student’s right to pursue other legal remedies.
Academic complaint: a formal complaint from a student about an academic decision, action or process relating to Metavision Institute’s professionally accredited training courses.
Academic grievance: an informal concern or problem raised at an early stage by a student with the academic staff member involved.
Appeal: an appeal is a formal request from a student for review of an academic decision or action.
Formal complaint: complaints that have been formally lodged in writing with Metavision Institute, and are of a serious nature or have been unable to be resolved informally.
Procedural fairness: fair dealing in administrative decision making and processes which involves giving opportunities for complainants to make their case and for parties to the complaint to respond, and the provision of appeal processes.
The policy is underpinned by the following principles:
- Metavision Institute supports the timely, sensitive and respectful resolution of academic grievances, complaints and appeals.
- Metavision Institute provides a procedurally fair process for raising and addressing academic grievances, complaints and appeals.
- The principles of procedural fairness and natural justice underpin the implementation of this policy, which give the complainant and respondent:
- the right to be heard,
- the right to a professional response without bias or conflict of interest, and
- the right to decisions about complaints that are based on evidence.
- Academic grievances are responded to by academic teaching staff via a collegial process of discussion, with the aim of reaching satisfactory outcomes for students that address their concerns and maintain ongoing teaching and learning relationships.
- All parties to complaints will receive appropriate information, support and assistance in responding to and resolving the complaint. Parties have the right to be accompanied to any formal meetings by a support person if desired.
- Students who raise a grievance, complaint or appeal are not to be victimised, discriminated against, disadvantaged or subjected to reprisal in any form.
- All complaints and appeals under this policy are dealt with free of charge to students or prospective students.
Metavision Institute will accept complaints and appeals made by students as a collective group, if the complainants individually identify a specific complaint, and agree to be part of the collective complaint. The complaint will be managed and responded to jointly. Individual confidentiality may be affected when a collective complaint is submitted by a group of students.
1. Stages of complaint management
There are three stages for raising a grievance or making a complaint to seek resolution (refer to Appendix one for flow chart of the stages).
Stage one: Informal resolution of academic grievances
Students are encouraged and supported to raise any academic grievances with the academic teaching staff member concerned, guided by this policy. Concerns are often able to be resolved readily and quickly through collegial discussions between students and academic teaching staff. Students are encouraged to state their concerns about a decision or action, what they think needs to change and any action they are seeking.
However, if students are uncomfortable approaching the academic teaching staff member, or their grievance is of a serious nature, they are to seek support from another staff member to enable them to resolve their grievance, or progress to Stage two.
Stage two: Formal academic complaint and appeals management process
For academic complaints, or if Stage one did not bring about a resolution to the academic grievance, the next stage is a formal academic complaint. This stage is for serious matters that will be investigated by Metavision Institute, rather than a response to informal feedback and comments.
A formal academic complaint is to be submitted on the Formal Complaint and Appeals Lodgement Form to the Academic Director. The complaint is to include information on the nature of the complaint and supporting evidence. In complaints involving the Academic Director, a formal complaint is to be submitted to the Chair of Academic Board. Any parties to the complaint will be given written information on the nature of the complaint with five working days to respond.
The Academic Director (or the Chair of the Academic Board) is responsible for management of the academic complaint, or may assign the management and investigation of the complaint to a nominated delegate of similar seniority, which may be an external academic. The investigator may meet in person or by Zoom web conferencing with parties involved in the complaint.
All parties are kept informed of the progress of the complaint, the reasons for any decisions and any action to be implemented. Metavision Institute will respond in writing to the academic complaint with the decision within 15 working days.
A formal academic complaint can be withdrawn at any time, which will conclude the matter.
Any party may appeal an outcome of an academic complaint, and request an internal review in writing to the Chair of the Academic Board on the Academic Complaint and Appeals Form. The appeal will be conducted by a senior academic not involved in the original decision and could be referred to the Chair of the Academic Board, or an independent, external academic, and will usually be conducted and the outcome reported to the appellant within 30 working days. This may include meeting in person or by Zoom web conferencing with each party involved in the appeal.
Appeal of grade
An appeal of assignment marks and/or grades is to be submitted to the Academic Director on the Review of Assessment Grade Form.
The Academic Director will arrange for a second marker to assess the assignment which is the subject of the appeal. The second marker’s grading of the assignment will be taken to be the final result. The student will be notified of the appeal of grade outcome within 10 working days (refer to Section 2 in Appendix one for a flow chart of the process).
Stage three: External review
Any party to the complaint can request an external review of an academic complaint outcome. This request must be made in writing to the Chair of the Academic Board within 10 working days of notification of the complaint or appeal decision. Metavision Institute will arrange for the review to be carried out by an independent, external academic reviewer who is appointed by the Institute with the consent of the appellant and approved by the Academic Board. An external academic reviewer is usually expected to return a report to Metavision Institute within 30 working days of being commissioned to undertake the review.
2. Resolution of academic complaints and appeals
Depending upon the nature, severity and implications of academic complaints or appeals, the outcomes may include:
- Providing more information on the reasons for a decision, i.e. explaining Metavision Institute’s rules and policies,
- Providing an apology,
- Correcting a mistake by altering an academic decision made by an academic teaching staff member,
- Reviewing a Metavision Institute policy,
- Providing professional development for an academic teaching staff member to avoid a future recurrence of the problem,
- Taking disciplinary action in relation to an academic teaching staff member, when the upheld complaint or appeal involves serious misconduct,
- Another action, and/or
- No action due to lack of evidence, the minor nature of the academic complaint or lack of substance.
The complainant or appellant will be informed of the outcome in writing, including the reasons for the decision and any action taken, and further avenues for appeal where they exist and where the complainant or appellant could benefit.
3. Support and referral pathways
Metavision Institute makes available information on how to access counselling and support services available for students in the Student Handbook and the Student Welfare and Disability Policy.
At any stage of the complaint management process, a student, prospective student or other party to the complaint is permitted to bring a support person or advocate (for example, Student Care and Welfare Services) to meetings.
While Metavision Institute aims to resolve complaints internally wherever possible and appropriate to do so, complainants and appellants may seek the assistance of an external authority if they choose to do so.
4. Confidentiality and record management
All members of Metavision Institute’s community are to respect the confidentiality of the academic complaint management process.
Metavision Institute will keep confidential records of academic complaints, including complaint proceedings, decisions and outcomes, and appeals. The complaint management process and outcome will be stored securely in the student’s records and the Student Register. Complainants and appellants will receive formal responses in writing.
5. Participation in enrolled units
Students who submit formal academic complaints and appeals will continue to participate in their enrolled units as usual. The only circumstances in which a student would not continue to participate in enrolled units is if their health or safety is potentially at serious risk, or if they pose a health or safety risk to other students or staff members.
The Academic Board has responsibility for oversight of the implementation of this policy, and will review the incidence and nature of academic grievances, complaints and appeals to identify systemic problems that need to be addressed, and use complaints information to continuously improve Metavision Institute’s policies and operations.
The Academic Director is responsible for providing training on this policy to new academic teaching staff in the Induction, and providing information to new students on how to raise academic grievances and submit formal complaints and appeals at Orientation.
The Academic Director is responsible for managing academic grievances, complaints and appeals within the framework of this policy.
The Academic Director will report to the Academic Board on the implementation of this policy and complaints management, to inform continuous improvement of Metavision Institute’s policies and practices.
Academic teaching staff members have a responsibility to model professional behaviour and encourage open communication with students. Academic teaching staff members act in good faith to assist students to resolve their academic grievances respectfully and informally. Staff are to maintain confidentiality about formal complaints and appeals, and only discuss such complaints and appeals when there is a legitimate reason.
Academic teaching staff and students are responsible for complying with this policy, and other Metavision Institute policies that promote the respectful and equitable treatment of others.
- Student Handbook
- Academic Complaints and Appeals Lodgement Form
- Review of Assessment Grade Form