Complaints Involving Academics & Faculty Members

This page focuses on concerns and complaints about academic issues and faculty members. Links that may be helpful for other sorts of complaints are at the bottom of this page.

Roanoke College is committed to helping students bring problems or complaints to the attention of the institution for review and resolution. Since students are full and responsible members of the Roanoke College community, any complaint must be brought by a current or former student and not by any interested third party.

For complaints about faculty members, the following procedure ensures that both the student and faculty member are treated fairly and that the student's complaint can be addressed in the most efficient and direct manner. Students have the right to be free from subsequent unfair actions as a result of initiating a complaint.  All administrative officers, faculty members, and staff are expected to direct students to follow this procedure.

When a student has a concern or complaint involving treatment by a faculty member, the student should

  • start by discussing the matter with the faculty member involved. If the student is unsatisfied with the resolution or uncomfortable dealing directly with the faculty member, the student should
  • next discuss the matter with the department chair. If the student is unsatisfied with the resolution at this level or if the complaint is about the department chair, the student should
  • discuss the matter with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Administration, Dr. Gail Steehler, gsteehle@roanoke.edu

Whenever possible, we try to resolve student concerns informally, but students may file written, formal complaints about faculty with the Associate Dean. Formal complaints require the student to prepare, sign, and submit a formal written appeal (including background of the problem and supporting documentation when applicable) to the Associate Dean.

Students who are unsure how to proceed with any sort of concern or complaint are welcome to contact Associate Dean Steehler for advice. 

When a student files a formal written compliant, the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Administration follows steps outlined in the Faculty Handbook. The Associate Dean will provide the faculty member with a copy of the complaint and will investigate the matter. The Associate Dean will individually consult with the student, faculty member, and department chair or program director. The faculty member will be given adequate time and opportunity to provide the Associate Dean with a response to the student's complaints. The Associate Dean will rule on the issue in a timely fashion, and will provide a written copy of the decision to the student, faculty member, and chair or director. For a full statement of the policy for student complaints involving faculty members, see the Faculty Handbook Section 5.4.

Other types of complaints

The quickest resolution is achieved when concerns are directly first to the office most able to help.

  • Concerns about sexual misconduct are covered by Title IX. The student should speak with a Title IX Coordinator. See the Title IX at a Glance page for more information.
  • Concerns about accessibility accommodations or discrimination based upon disability are handled by the Office of Accessible Education.  
  • Appeals related to academic suspension, course drops, or other catalog policies are handled by the Registrar's Office.
  • Concerns about an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs should go directly to the Vice President & Dean of the College.
  • Concerns by one student about another student should go directly to the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Concerns about a non-faculty staff member should be discussed first with the staff member. If resolution is not reached, the student should go to the staff member's supervisor. If resolution is still not reached, the student should go to the Director of Human Resources.
  • Concerns about online courses should follow the steps for concerns about any other course. If a student exhausts all campus processes and still wishes to appeal further, complaints about online courses can be directed to NC-SARA, see https://nc-sara.org/student-complaints 
  • Concerns about any aspect of the college that have exhausted all campus process can be directed to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, SCHEV, see https://www.schev.edu/index/students-and-parents/resources/student-complaints
  • Roanoke College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Information about directing complaints to them can be found at https://sacscoc.org/app/uploads/2020/01/ComplaintPolicy-1.pdf