Skip to main content

Academic grievances and complaints

Examples of academic grievances and complaints include, but are not limited to, grade disputes, disputes/concerns with faculty/instructor, course concerns.

In compliance with Title IX regulations, the College of Engineering has a grievance procedure to handle student complaints. Students should follow these steps until a resolution is achieved:

  1. Attempt to resolve the grievance directly with the individual involved.
  2. If that approach seems unsatisfactory, and the grievance involves a teaching assistant (TA), consult the professor in charge of the course.
  3. If necessary, discuss the grievance with the appropriate department chair.
  4. The next level involves the academic dean. Students should contact Kathy Prem in 2640 Engineering Hall or at
  5. All students have the right to appeal to the dean of the college, Ian Robertson,, if they feel their case has not been justly handled by another dean.

Only a few grievances are really serious and difficult to resolve. In these instances, the dean seeks a solution that, as best as can be determined, is appropriate, just, legal and in the best interests of all concerned.

Authority Limits on Grades

There are areas in which the dean does not have authority to override an instructor, such as determination of a student’s grade. However, it has happened that the department chair has intervened, for example, by having a grade determined by committee rather than by the course instructor.

It has also occurred, by agreement between deans, department chairs and faculty, that a misgraded course was dropped from the student’s record and credit given for the controversial course by having the student pass the next higher course.

  • Course or exam grade disputes
  • Required class or examination attendance at other than regularly scheduled (timetable) times
  • Changes in course content contrary to catalog description or division approval
  • Difficulty in obtaining space in a critical course
  • Personality conflicts between student and instructor
  • Difficulty obtaining an appointment with instructor
  • Unwillingness of instructor to estimate a grade before the course drop deadline date
  • Teaching above the level of the class, which includes the assumption of an unlisted course prerequisite
  • Intelligibility of instructors, especially those for whom English is a second language
  • Excessive instructor class absences
  • Rescheduled final exams by majority approval or apparent unanimity, to possible disadvantage of the minority
  • Academic discrimination based on sex, religion or political views

Student-related reporting

Report incidents at UW-Madison including hate, bias, sexual assault, hazing, students you are concerned about and other types of incidents using the Dean of Students Office reporting tools.