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Complaint Procedure

Formal Complaint Procedure

Virginia International University is committed to provide a positive educational experience for its students. VIU faculty and staff attempt to create, in all areas, an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. For this reason, VIU has established a procedure to address any school-related problems, concerns, or complaints to ensure that student concerns on academic and non-academic matters are constantly aware, addressed, resolved, improve and enhance the quality of services.

The life cycle of a complaint is made up of five stages, wherein the first stage encourages informal resolutions to address and resolve the student complaints as quickly as possible. In the event that matters are unresolved or do not result in a satisfactory outcome, the complaints can be escalated to the next stage. Certain complaints will receive immediate attention by the Department of Quality Assurance and a formal investigation will be launched, based on the urgency and sensitive nature of a given complaint.

Stage 1: Informal complaint

VIU team members maintain an open-door policy. Students may express concerns to any administrator. In order to resolve the problem at the earliest opportunity, all students are encouraged to address their complaints initially to VIU staff member involved or the other department responsible to oversee the immediate area causing the concerns. It is advisable for VIU staff members and department involved to briefly record the complaints in writing and share with other departments if the case and experience could benefit other departments. For example, academic concerns will be handled by the instructors directly. Students should first discuss the problem with the instructor and then with the Dean of the School, if necessary. If the problem is not resolved at that level, the student should then contact the Chief Academic Officer.

Stage 2: Referral to Appropriate Executive

In the event that a complaint may not be resolved at the departmental level, the complaint will be escalated to the next highest level. If the complaint is academic in nature, it would be escalated from the faculty to the dean, and eventually the Chief Academic Officer level. A complete list of possible escalation is below:

Department Receiving Complaint Executive Level Escalation
Academic Affairs Chief Academic Officer
Accounting Chief Financial Officer
Admissions Chief Administrative Officer
Alumni Relations Chief Student Experience Officer
Business & Property Management Chief Administrative Officer
Career Services Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
Financial Aid Chief Student Experience Officer
Human Resources Chief Administrative Officer
Information Technology Chief Administrative Officer
Inquiry & Communications Chief Administrative Officer
Institutional Effectiveness Dean, Graduate Studies
International Student Services Chief Administrative Officer
Library Chief Student Experience Officer
Marketing Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
Media & Public Relations Chief Strategic Engagement Officer
Quality Assurance & Compliance Dean, Graduate Studies
Registrar Chief Student Experience Officer
Scholarship Office Chief Administrative Officer
Student Affairs Chief Student Experience Officer
Writing, Media & Research Center Chief Student Experience Officer

Stage 3: Complaint to Institutional Effectiveness & Quality Assurance Department

Students have various options to file complaints and suggestions for academic and non-academic matters to Institutional Effectiveness & Quality Assurance Department. There are three options that students can choose to file the complaints and suggestions.

  1. Online: Individuals can complete the online suggestion form on the website or send an email to qa@viu.edu.
  2. On Campus: Suggestion boxes are placed in the lobby area by the front desk, along with suggestion cards for the Quality Assurance team.
  3. In Person: Students can walk in to discuss complaints with quality assurance department every day of the week.

Quality Assurance staff investigates the complaint, interviews the parties involved, find the related resources and provides the resolution. The complaint is logged and is forwarded to the related department to review, improve and enhance the quality of the education and services.

Stage 4: Referral to Office of the President

If the complaint or grievance may not be resolved at any of the previous three levels, a student is referred directly to the office of the President for resolution of their complaint. The President and his support staff take the time to listen to the student or staff member, hear the grievances, and also receives a full, written report on the background of the issue from Quality Assurance and tries to find a fair and agreeable resolution for all parties.

Stage 5: Formal Written Complaint

At any time throughout the complaint process, at the written request of the student for issues that are academic in nature, an ad-hoc Grievance Committee comprised of the Provost, one senior faculty member, the Dean of the School, and other invited staff or faculty. The Committee will convene to address concerns that remain unresolved. The ad-hoc Grievance Committee will convene within ten (10) working days of a written request from the student. The student will be notified of the committee’s decision within three working days of the meeting.

If after following the above stated procedure, the student feels that his or her concerns have not been resolved, he or she may address these concerns in writing to the following organizations:

State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)

James Monroe Building,

101 N. 14th Street,

Richmond, VA 23219

Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)

1350 Eye Street NW

Suite 560

Washington, DC 20005

For Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) Program Students Only:

Commission on English Language Accreditation (CEA)

1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 630

Alexandria, VA 22314 USA

CEA Complaint Procedures can be found at: https://www.viu.edu/docs/CEA_Filing_a_Complaint_Against_an_Accredited_Program.pdf

For GI Bill beneficiaries, Veterans Affairs (VA) students

The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA)

Beneficiary should contact the SAA office via email saa@dvs.virginia.gov

VIU ensures that a student will not be subjected to unfair action as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.