Teachers may get all the glory, but you could argue that administrators are the heart and soul of higher education. They're the ones dealing with the day-to-day struggles of managing a college or university and keeping the whole operation running as smoothly as possible. The faces of the institution, school administrators are no strangers to complaint management. Every day, they field any number of complaints from the student body and work to resolve these issues and create a more harmonious campus life.
What do they hear about most? Here are three of the most common complaints higher education administrators field on a regular basis:
1. Grades and Assessments
There's really no way around it: Students are going to complain about their grades. Things can get a little heated at the college level, though. Given the ever-increasing cost of tuition and the ramifications of a passing or failing grade, tempers can run pretty high when there's a disagreement about the grade a student's received. A 2012 study by the U.K.'s Office of Independent Adjudicator found 70 percent of all U.K. student complaints regarded grades or assessments.
"Don't jump to conclusions - consider whether a particular complaint holds real merit."
While school administrators of course want to give their professors the benefit of the doubt, they should hear out these kinds of complaints with an open mind. Don't jump to conclusions - consider whether a particular complaint holds real merit or is simply a last-ditch effort to bump up a student's GPA.
Like tuition, housing costs continue to be a thorn in the side of students everywhere. It's no wonder administrators hear a lot of complaints regarding the condition of dorms and other housing facilities. While in the past they may have fielded concerns regarding noisy neighbors or lackluster cafeteria food, there's a new persona non grata for today's students: bad internet. Whether the Wi-Fi is spotty or the Ethernet service is prone to outages, a poor internet connection can cause major headaches for college students.
When these issues crop up, administrators need to be able to respond quickly and do what they can to get internet connectivity back in place as soon as possible.
As the ultimate arbiters of academic performance, it's only natural that professors will cultivate some animosity with certain students. At times, however, these issues go beyond grades and delve into matters far more insidious. Students may accuse faculty members of harassment and discrimination. According to a 2015 report from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, nearly half of all complaints it received claimed some form of discrimination based on students' disabilities.
These matters are delicate, to say the least, and administrators need to tread lightly when trying to parse through such accusations. Depending on the nature of the complaint, law enforcement may need to get involved, and in most cases, school administrators will want to notify the university's legal counsel immediately. Furthermore, under Title IX, all faculty members are required to report any instance of sexual misconduct or harassment to the university's Title IX coordinator.
Above all else, administrators should take any accusation against a faculty member seriously and do their due diligence to follow university protocols and relevant regulations like Title IX and determine the veracity of the complaint.
Keep a Sharp Lookout From the Ivory Tower
If any of these three types of complaints slip through the cracks, school administrators will, needless to say, be in some pretty hot water. Complaint management software helps administrators stay up to date with any concern that has been submitted by a student. With this solution, they can ensure they are following up on any complaint in a timely fashion and addressing issues before they become larger problems.