Formal Complaint Procedure
Fairfax University of America is committed to providing a positive educational experience for its students. Faculty and staff attempt to create, in all areas, an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. For this reason, the university 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 monitored, addressed, and resolved to improve the quality of services.
The life cycle of a complaint is made up of varying stages, wherein the first stage encourages resolutions to address and resolve the issue directly with the source/sources of the issue. The goal is to provide a clear and reasoned process that ensures that matters can be resolved as quickly as possible. If matters are unresolved with the individual(s) involved in the issue, it should be escalated to someone who oversees the individual(s).
Certain complaints will receive immediate attention by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and a formal investigation will be launched, based on the urgency and sensitive nature of a given complaint. This would include, but is not limited, issues of harassment or sexual misconduct, issues that demand immediate attention given then nature of the concern, or other activities and actions that are defined by policies already in existence at the university. In such instances, individuals should go directly to stage 3.
- Stage 1: Issue Resolution Process: University staff and faculty maintain an open-door policy, and students, staff, or faculty may express concerns to any administrator; however, in order to resolve the issue in an expeditious manner, they should be dealt with directly to the individual(s) who are directly involved. If the issue involves a department (as opposed to an individual), it should be brought to an appropriate person in that department for timely resolution. It is advisable that all complaints be documented in writing (for example, via an email or other reproducible format).
If the issue is unresolved with the individual(s) directly involved in the original situation, the issue should be raised to someone immediately above the original individual(s) (for example, a supervisor) in the department. As an example, if a student has a concern about something related to their course, they should consult their instructor directly. If the student is not satisfied with the result, they are permitted to discuss the issue with their Program Chair/Director. If the problem is not resolved at that level, the student should then contact the Executive Dean.
- Stage 2: Referral to Appropriate Executive: If a complaint cannot 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 Executive Dean. A complete list of possible escalation is below:
|Department Receiving Complaint||Executive Level Escalation|
|Academic Affairs||Executive Dean of Academic Programs and Administration|
|Accounting||Chief Financial Officer|
|Admissions||Chief Administrative Officer|
|Alumni Relations||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Business & Property Management||Chief Administrative Officer|
|Career Services||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Financial Aid||Chief Financial Officer|
|Human Resources||Chief Administrative Officer|
|Information Technology||Chief Administrative Officer|
|Inquiry & Communications||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Institutional Effectiveness||Director, Institutional Effectiveness|
|International Student Services||Executive Dean of Academic Programs and Administration|
|Library||Executive Dean of Academic Programs and Administration|
|Marketing||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Media & Public Relations||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Quality Assurance & Compliance||Director, Institutional Effectiveness|
|Registrar||Executive Dean of Academic Programs and Administration|
|Scholarship Office||Chief Financial Officer|
|Student Affairs||Chief Student Experience Officer|
|Writing, Media & Research Center||Executive Dean of Academic Programs and Administration|
- Stage 3: Resolution with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness: Students have various options to file complaints and suggestions for academic and non-academic matters to Office of Institutional Effectiveness. For expeditious investigations to be conducted, it is preferable that all complaints/issues be submitted in a manner that allows investigators to know who submitted the complaint/issue. The Office will actively work to maintain the confidentiality of any individual involved in and/or submitting a complaint. If, however, the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, this is also possible. By remaining anonymous, the submitter should understand that such submissions could result in a more limited resolution and follow-up on the resolution would be unlikely given the nature of anonymous submissions.
- Online Submission: Individuals can submit their request via email to email@example.com.
- Anonymous Online Submission: Individuals can submit their request via the online submission form: https://www.fxua.edu/our-university/about-fxua/institutional-effectiveness/suggestion-form/. Unless the submitter provides their name, email, phone number, or other identifiers, the submission will be anonymous.
- Anonymous on Campus Submission: Suggestion boxes are placed throughout campus and are checked periodically. Individuals can place formal written submissions in one of the boxes.
- In-Person Submissions: Individuals can visit the Office of Institutional Effectiveness throughout the week to meet with an individual to discuss their issue.
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness staff investigate the complaint, interview the involved parties, find any related resources, and provide the resolution. The complaint/issue is logged and resolutions are devised and discussed with relevant departments.
- Stage 4: Referral to Office of the President: If the complaint or grievance may not be resolved at any of the previous stages, a referral may be made directly to the Office of the President for resolution. The President and their support staff take the time to listen, hear any grievances, receive any previous written reports or evidence on the background of the issue from the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, and attempt to render a fair and agreeable resolution that is in the best interest of the university and the involved parties.
- Stage 5: Institutional Grievance Panel: At any time throughout the complaint process, at the written request of the individual, the Institutional Grievance Panel policy can be requested. As is noted in the policy, an Institutional Grievance Panel is generally used as a last resort, and should not be the first attempt at resolving the issue unless under very dire circumstances.
- Stage 6: Referral to an Outside Organization: If after following the above stated procedure, the individual feels that their concerns have not been resolved, they 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
Washington, DC 20005
For Intensive English as a Second Language (ESL) Program:
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.fxua.edu/docs/CEA_Filing_a_Complaint_Against_an_Accredited_Program.pdf
For GI Bill,Veterans Affairs (VA) students:The Virginia State Approving Agency (SAA), is the approving authority of education and training programs for Virginia. Our office investigates complaints of GI Bill beneficiaries. While most complaints should initially follow the school grievance policy, if the situation cannot be resolved at the school, the beneficiary should contact our office via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FXUA ensures that a student will not be subjected to unfair action as a result of initiating a complaint proceeding.