Academic Complaints Policy
Clare College endeavours to provide the best educational experience possible for its students, and welcomes comments and suggestions for improvement. The College takes very seriously its duty to provide fair and objective procedures for examining and resolving complaints. Academic complaints are rare, and this document aims to offer guidance on the various types of complaint and the actions students should take.
Most difficulties can be resolved informally. Very often, the best approach is to contact the person directly. If you feel that would be inappropriate, or if the problem continues, then your DoS may well be able to help you, especially if your complaint concerns a supervisor.
If you do not wish to consult your Director of Studies (DoS), the next step is to go and talk to your Tutor, whose role is to support you pastorally. Your Tutor is in a different academic subject from you, and so you can talk openly and in confidence about any academic matters that are troubling you, including supervisors and DoSs who are in the College. Your Tutor may be able to resolve the problem, but if not, will advise you what steps to take next.
If you do not want to talk to your Tutor, you can consult any of the other Tutors, the Dean or the Senior Tutor. Full information, including their contact details, is available at http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/The-Tutors/
Clare College also has a Harassment Tutor, whom you may consult either with or without telling your personal Tutor first.
For further information, see http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/Harassment-Policy/
Because Clare encourages feedback, the tutorial office distributes electronically an annual questionnaire to undergraduates. This enables you to make comments on all your supervisors, your DoSs, and the facilities offered by the College. Although several Clare staff and fellows have access to this questionnaire, it includes a box that is seen only by the Senior Tutor. You may use that to make any type of complaint, including academic ones. The Senior Tutor will not pass on any information without your explicit permission.
If you disagree with your DoS or your Tutor about your work, you may find it helpful to read this: http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/Fitness-to-Study/
Types of academic complaint
The University and the Colleges are responsible for different aspects of student education.
For any complaints to do with University teaching, including lectures and practical classes, see http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/academic/comp_app/index.html. Departments and faculties have their own complaints procedures, so you should also look on the relevant website. Colleges are not responsible for teaching postgraduates, but the Graduate Tutors will advise any student making an academic complaint.
Undergraduates who wish to complain about their DoS should consult their Tutor and/or the Senior Tutor. Undergraduates who wish to complain about a supervisor should consult their DoS in the first instance, and then their Tutor.
If you have a technical complaint about the conduct of an examination held in College (eg noise, errors), you should immediately tell the Tutorial office, and then consult your Tutor and/or the Senior Tutor.
If you have a technical complaint about the conduct of an examination held in a University examination hall (eg noise, errors), your best course of action is to tell your Tutor and/or the Senior Tutor, who may file a complaint on your behalf. If you wish to make a complaint yourself, you should address it to the Registrary, but send it to Reporting&Compliance@admin.cam.ac.uk. In both cases, this must be done within three working days of the examination.
If you would like to complain about the content or the procedure followed in the marking of an examination, you should tell your Tutor and/or the Senior Tutor, who may file a complaint on your behalf. If you wish to make a complaint yourself, you should address it to the Registrary, but send it to Reporting&Compliance@admin.cam.ac.uk This must be done within a month of the class list being finalised.
If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an examination complaint, you should apply (either yourself or through your Tutor) to the Registrary for the matter to be considered by an Examinations Review Committee. This must be done within three months of the class list being finalised.
Taking College academic complaints further
In the very unlikely situation that you have not been able to resolve an academic complaint against the College, you may ask for the case to be reviewed by the College Council. You will be invited to attend the meeting; you may bring with you your Tutor and anybody else you would like to advise you.
The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA)
The OIA is a national independent body that reviews student complaints. Going to the OIA is an extremely serious and time-consuming step to take, and you should only do so if you have explored all other avenues thoroughly. Information about the OIA can be found on http://www.oihe.org.uk/