Complaint Policy for Students
To file a student complaint, please refer to the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy 3.2.10 Student Complaints in the UHD Student Handbook:
3.2.10 Student Complaints
All students have a right to register complaints or concerns regarding their experience at the University of Houston-Downtown and to receive a timely response from the appropriate university official. UHD has established policies to address the following complaints: grade appeals, sexual harassment reports, or concerns about disabilities. The following steps establish the process to be followed by all parties for complaints in areas in which no other specific policies exist.
- The student should attempt to resolve the issue at the office that is the source of the complaint by speaking with a supervisor or department head. At that time, the supervisor should indicate to the student whether the issue is academic or non-academic, and the appropriate policy and personnel to address the issue. If the process for a particular complaint is not addressed in an existing policy, all parties should proceed according to the following steps.
- If in the opinion of the student step #1 does not result in a satisfactory resolution, the student may opt to submit a written complaint by filling out the appropriate grievance form, available online and in hard copy format from the Office of the Dean of Students. An administrator or staff member can submit a grievance form on behalf of a student; however, the student must consent to the administrator doing so on his or her behalf.
- A staff member will then direct the information to the Dean of Students who shall determine an appropriate course of action, including referring the manner to the appropriate office.
- As noted on the form, students can expect to be contacted within 24 hours regarding their concern by the Office of the Dean of Students or designated office.
- The university will maintain a record of complaints for a minimum of five years in the Office of Student Affairs and in accordance with city, state and/or national records maintenance standards.
Complaint Policy for Staff
Regular and effective communication between supervisors and employees reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings and conflict. The University expects and encourages supervisors and employees to communicate openly and regularly so that the interests of the employees and the University are best served. However, when a disagreement with management on an adverse employment action arises, employees are provided a prompt, orderly and fair response to their grievances. To support this commitment, the University has grievances processes, which are outlined in institutional policy. PS 02.B.01 Staff Grievance Policy and PS 10.A.02 Faculty Grievance Policy.
Retaliation against an employee for utilizing the University's grievance process violates University policy and will result in appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Any employee who believes that s/he has been retaliated against or treated unfairly for utilizing the grievance process should contact the Employee Relations Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complaint Policy for Faculty
The Faculty Ombuds is a faculty member who acts as a neutral agent on behalf of other faculty members who have questions about academic rights, responsibilities, and the working environment. This service is offered by UHD to support faculty members in their professional lives. Faculty members may consult the Faculty Ombuds concerning interpretations and applications of university policy, as well as matters of interpersonal conflict with administrative personnel, colleagues, or other members of the university community.
The Faculty Ombuds is selected by the Faculty Senate in consultation with the Provost and appointed by the President. The full details of the charge of the Faculty Ombuds and the university procedures for the faculty member holding that office can be found in PS 10.A.18.
A major reason for the creation of this office is to offer avenues for some issues to be clarified or settled before they grow into a formal grievance (e.g., questions on promotion, tenure, and annual evaluations). However, the Faculty Ombuds, though not participating in the formal grievance process, can also act as resource for faculty members involved in a grievance.
Faculty should consult the Campus Relations Officer, not the Faculty Ombuds, regarding issues of sexual harassment or discrimination.
Faculty Ombuds' Service
The current UHD Faculty Ombuds is Dr. William Gilbert, Emeritus Associate Professor of English. Dr. Gilbert came to this role in October 2010, after service to UHD since 1976, including nine years as department chair. He is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and has participated in professional training sessions offered by that organization.
The Code of Ethics for the IOA states that someone in an ombuds role should offer visitors to the office assurance that they will be listened to confidentially and dealt with impartially. The Faculty Ombuds will work to offer alternatives to a faculty member who is uncertain how to proceed when confronted with a difficult professional situation. It is also part of the Ombuds' duty to report to the Faculty Senate and the University Administration matters of general concern or trends that threaten UHD as a supportive, professional workplace. All such reports keep sources confidential to the extent permitted by law.
Contact the Faculty Ombuds
Faculty members may consult the Faculty Ombuds by calling 832.236.1648 and leaving a message. Also, Dr. Gilbert is available to speak with departments, committees, or other faculty groups on matters of UHD policy and the service of the Faculty Ombuds.
Complaint Policy for District PartnersThe Urban Education Program at the University of Houston-Downtown encourages all partners in our Center for Professional Development (CPDT) to discuss any concerns and complaints regarding any aspect of our program through informal conferences with their program staff. Concerns should be expressed as soon as possible to allow early resolution at the lowest possible administrative level.If an informal conference regarding a complaint fails to reach the outcome requested, a formal complaint should be submitted to the CPDT Director. Written complaints may be submitted by hand-delivery, email, fax, or U.S. Mail. A response from the CPDT Director and/or the Urban Education Leadership Team will be communicated no later than 2 weeks after receipt of the complaint.
In the event that the issue is not resolved, the complaint should be sent to TEA.
Regarding All Complaints
If you feel your issue has not been resolved by UHD, please contact the Texas Education Agency (TEA): http://tea.texas.gov/About_TEA/Contact_Us/Complaints/, click "Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs)orTexas Education Agency1701Congress AvenueAustin, Texas, 78701(512) 463-9734