Student Complaints

Students with complaints are encouraged to meet with the person first in line who holds the potential to address their concern. Students are encouraged to meet with their instructor and/or course coordinator for more individual academic concerns and their curriculum representatives for academic issues of a general nature. Students are encouraged to meet with the coordinator of financial aid and student information with questions or concerns about schedules, transcripts, financial aid, or billing. Students are encouraged to meet with an associate director to explore other resources and referrals. Students with complaints about professional behavior expectations of faculty are encouraged to meet with the director.

Grievance and Appeal


UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing provides established channels for resolving academic grievances of students, which are not resolved through the usual channels, by providing a process for appeal. Students are encouraged to follow the chain of command and resolve the issue with the party involved before starting this process.


This is the official UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing Appeal Policy. The procedure provides a mechanism for solving grievances of an academic nature. Academic matters are those concerns that are related to the advancement process and the student attendance policy.

Appeal Committee

The chairperson of the Student Support Services Committee randomly selects three faculty members and two student members (who have not served on an appeal committee that semester) to serve on the Appeal Process Committee. One of the faculty members is elected by the committee as the chairperson. An additional, randomly selected student from the Curriculum Committee and an additional, randomly selected faculty representative from the Curriculum Committee will be notified by the chairperson of the Student Support Services Committee to attend the appeal meeting. One additional faculty member and one additional student member will serve as an alternate in the event of illness, etc. All members will have full participating and voting privileges when assigned to the Appeal Committee (for a total of seven voting members).

Appeal Committee Functions

  1. To review and hear all appeals not resolved by prior actions.
  2. To make decisions related to appeals presented.
  3. To report appropriate information to the relevant standing committees and an associate director.

Appeal hearing minutes are confidential. At the discretion of the director, implications for policy and procedure changes will be shared.

Utilization of the Appeal Process Procedure

  1. A student’s request to initiate the appeal process must be submitted in writing to the associate director of Admissions, Recruitment, and Student Support Services and received within seven business days of the academic event.
  2. An Appeal Committee meeting (of all participants) must be held within 14 business days of receipt of the request for an appeal process.
  3. Once the names have been randomly selected, a secretary will contact those individuals selected to determine their availability to attend the appeal process committee meeting. Should an individual not be able to attend, another name will be selected.
  4. The associate director of Admissions, Recruitment and Student Support Services will notify the appellant, respondent, and all committee members, in writing, of the date and time of the appeal meeting, at least three business days before the scheduled meeting.
  5. Both the appellant and the respondent have the right to have one nonparticipating observer attend the meeting. This will be noted in the letter addressed to the appellant and the respondent notifying them of the date and time of the appeal process committee meeting. The nonparticipating observer is not permitted to take any notes nor have any type of dialogue/communication with the appellant and/or respondent during the presentation. Should the nonparticipating observer fail to follow these rules, he/she may be asked to leave the room. In addition, the appellant’s nonparticipating observer will be present for only the appellant’s presentation and the respondent’s nonparticipating observer will be present for only the respondent’s presentation.
  6. Both the appellant and respondent will be brought into the room together with the committee members at the beginning of the Appeal Process Committee meeting and will be provided with an explanation of how the appeal process will proceed. The process is as follows: The appellant (student) presents his/her grievance. Thirty (30) minutes will be allocated to the appellant for his/her presentation. The respondent (clinical instructor or class instructor) then presents his/her case. Thirty (30) minutes will be allocated to the respondent for his/her presentation. Each party will remain within the School of Nursing building as the other party presents. After the appellant and respondent have both presented, the Appeal Committee will be permitted to call either or both parties back into the room individually to obtain clarifications and/or additional information. These sessions will be limited to 15 minutes each (15 for the appellant, and 15 for the respondent). The appellant and respondent may distribute materials to the Committee members relevant to the appeal process.
  7. All of the proceedings during the hearing will be confidential.
  8. There will be no type of tape recording or video recording of the appeal process by any of the members of the Committee, the appellant, the respondent, and the nonparticipating observers.
  9. Members of the Committee are permitted to take notes during the presentations. At the conclusion of the Appeal Process Committee meeting, the chairperson of the Appeal Process will collect all notes/handouts resulting from the appeal process. These items will be given to the associate director of Admissions, Recruitment and Student Support Services who will shred all materials immediately after the Appeal Process Committee meeting. 
  10.  After all issues have been heard, the members of the Committee will meet immediately for discussion and decision making. At the discretion of the chairperson of the Appeal Process, a separate meeting of the Appeal Process Committee may be reconvened to further discuss the issues presented in order to make a decision in a timely manner.
  11. Individuals may be called upon by the Appeal Process Committee to obtain clarification of statements made by either the appellant or respondent once the appeal process has concluded and the Committee is considering all aspects before making a decision.
  12. The decision of the Committee will be presented in writing to the parties involved, within five business days of the Appeal Process Committee meeting. This letter will be sent by the chairperson of the Appeal Committee.
  13. If the appellant requesting an appeal process has failed one course, continuation in the program is contingent on meeting all the requirements as outlined in the Curriculum Progression Policies.
  14. If the appellant requesting an appeal process has failed a second course, he/she is not permitted to continue in the program until the Appeal Process has been completed.
  15. A decision to continue in any enrolled college course will be made by the director.
  16. Decisions of the Appeal Process Committee will be final.
  17. If any time frames for filing appeals are not met, the matter will be considered resolved, based on the decision at the prior step.

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