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Developing a Good Practice Guide for Student Complaints - John Dickinson
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Developing a Good Practice Guide for Student Complaints - John Dickinson

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  • 1. Dealing with Complaints from ResearchStudentsJohn DickinsonComplaints Co-ordinator, Lancaster University
  • 2. • Imbalance of power• Lone Scholar• Less structure• External pressure• Externality• Blurring of complaints and appeals• Employment• Intellectual Property RightsCharacteristics of PGR
  • 3. • Bespoke or common?• Addressing the power imbalance• Extenuating circumstances• Supervision• Mediation• Collaborative awardsProcesses for PGR complaints
  • 4. • Contracts• Employment• Progress review• Record keeping• Ethics• Intellectual Property• Examination processRisk management
  • 5. Student A is on a DClin Psychology, as part of the applicationprocess students get a job with the NHS. The student failsan academic element of taught programme including onreassessment. Student is failed from programme and thendismissed by NHS. Student seeks employment tribunal andis refused on grounds that decision was taken by theuniversity and not the employer.Case study 1
  • 6. Student B is an overseas students studying with financialsupport from their home state. Student, whilestudying, becomes clinically depressed and seeks asuspension of studies. Home state refuses to recognisesuspension as legitimate and insists the student continue.Case Study 2
  • 7. Student C is in the 4th year of an RCUK sponsored PhD. Theyhave the doctoral defence and fail. Student accusessupervisors of pressuring submission in order to meetcompletion date as they are seeking additional fundingfrom the Research Council. Supervisors deny this andcounterclaim that student is simply weak.Case study 3
  • 8. Student D is enrolled in a Doctoral Training Centre throughUniversity X. As part of the programme they take a coursethrough DTC partner University Y. During that course thestudent is subject to harassing behaviour from a UniversityY member of staff. Student launches complaint againstUniversity X as their registering university.Case study 4
  • 9. Student E is a doctoral candidate who early after registeringenters into a relationship with a popular member of thedepartment not involved in supervision. Two years laterthey split acrimoniously. Prior to submission Student Elaunches a complaint based on claim that work in thedepartment has become untenable as everyone has sidedwith the member of staff. Supervisors accept that thestudent is not liked, but deny that this has resulted inacademic disadvantage.Case study 5
  • 10. Discussionj.dickinson@lancaster.ac.uk