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Complaint Process

Student and Community Complaint Procedure

Blackhawk Technical College (BTC) provides opportunities for students and members of the community to register complaints by filling out a Student and Community Complaint Form. The Student and Community Complaint Form provides an avenue to submit a concern regarding any area at BTC. The College will address and systematically process all student and community complaints in a timely manner.

Complaint Procedure – Informal Phase

Blackhawk Technical College recognizes that disputes may sometimes arise. Students and members of the community are encouraged to seek informal resolution of their complaints or concerns. 

  1. Informal complaints (concerns or expressions of dissatisfaction or disagreement) should be handled through direct communication (conversation, email, or letter) with the student or member of the community and the BTC staff or department/division involved.
  2. If the issue remains unresolved, the informal complaint should be directed to the appropriate department/division supervisor. Students and members of the community may also consult with the Executive Director of Student Services if they are unsure about where or how to address a complaint or concern. If a complaint remains unresolved, students or members of the community would initiate the formal phase of the complaint process.

Complaint Procedure – Formal Phase

If resolution is not satisfactory at the informal complaint level a formal complaint must be submitted if seeking resolution. Formal complaints must be made in writing and submitted via the online Student and Community Complaint FormFormal complaints must be filed within 30 college business days of the occurrence that prompted the complaint.

Examples of Complaints

Students who have complaints related to course grades, conduct of classes, or other course matters should address those complaints first with the instructor of the course as noted under Complaint Process – Informal Phase. If the student is not satisfied with the resolution, the student may then go to the appropriate program dean. If a resolution is not achieved with the appropriate program dean, a student may submit a formal complaint via the online Student and Community Complaint Form.

Student and Community Complaint Form

As noted under Complaint Process – Informal Phase, students and members of the community who have complaints related to BTC staff or services (Financial Aid, Registrar, Library, Academic Advising, etc.) should first address those complaints directly with the BTC staff. If they are not satisfied, the complaint can then be taken to the appropriate department/division supervisor as noted under Complaint Process – Informal Phase. If resolution is not achieved there, they may submit a formal complaint via the online Student and Community Complaint Form.

Student and Community Complaint Form

Procedure for Filing a Formal Complaint

1

Seek an Informal Complaint Resolution

The student or member of the community must seek an informal complaint resolution of the matter as noted above under Complaint Process – Informal Phase before moving to Step 2 below.

2

Complete the Online Form

Complete the online Student and Community Complaint Form. The formal complaint must specifically state the basis for the complaint (person or area to whom the complainant addresses) and the resolution that the complainant seeks. Formal complaints submitted via the Student and Community Complaint Form are directed to the Institutional Research and Effectiveness office. The office does not act as an advocate for any party to a complaint, but are facilitators to ensure a fair process. They will then refer the complaint to the appropriate BTC staff to acknowledge receipt of, review, and resolve.

3

Wait during Investigation

The complainant should expect a preliminary response from a BTC staff member within five (5) college business days. The appropriate BTC staff member will investigate the complaint to determine its validity, and will include the following:

  • Communication with the complainant.
  • Communication with the instructor or staff member against whom the complaint was lodged. In the case of a complaint regarding procedures, the meeting would be with the BTC staff member responsible for the particular program or service in question.
  • Communication with appropriate instructor, staff or students.
  • Could include meeting with complainant and instructor or staff member against whom complaint was filed. 
4

Receive Response

The BTC staff member, upon conclusion and investigating the nature of the complaint, will respond in writing to the complainant within ten (10) college business days. The response will include:

  •  A written description of the complaint, including all pertinent details.
  •  A statement regarding action taken.

Complaint Procedure – Appeal Phase 

Formal appeals must be made in writing and submitted via the online Student and Community Complaint Appeal Form

If the student or member of the community does not get a satisfactory resolution to his/her formal complaint, resolution may be sought by appealing to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or the Executive Director of Student Services by submitting a formal written request via the online Student and Community Complaint Appeal Form. The appeal must be received within ten (10) college business days after date of the mailed letter as outlined in Step 4 above.

Submit Appeal

Upon conclusion and investigating the nature of the complaint, the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Executive Director of Student Services will respond in writing (by way of mailed letter) to the complainant within ten (10) college business days after the date the appeal was received. The response will include a written description of the complaint, including all pertinent details, and a statement regarding action taken. 

If a satisfactory resolution has not been reached with the Vice President of Academic Affairs or Executive Director of Student Services, the student or member of the community may appeal to the Complaint Committee by submitting a formal written request via the online via the online Student and Community Complaint Appeal Form within ten (10) college business days after receipt of the decision notification (the date of the mailed letter). 

Submit Appeal

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness shall send a copy of the complaint and related documentation to the Academic or Non-Academic Complaint Committee. The committees will not be standing committees but will be formed by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness when an appeal arises.

  • Academic Complaint Committee — The committee consists of two (2) instructors, two (2) students, and one (1) staff member for a total of five (5) members. The Academic Complaint Committee will review the complaint and related documentation of receiving said material and upon conclusion and investigating the nature of the complaint, will respond in writing (by way of mailed letter) to the complainant within ten (10) college business days after the date the appeal was received. The response will include a written description of the complaint, including all pertinent details, and a statement regarding action taken. 
  • Non-Academic Complaint Committee — The committee consists of one (1) instructor, one (1) student, and three (3) staff members for a total of five (5) members. The Non-Academic Complaint Committee will review the complaint and related documentation of receiving said material and upon conclusion and investigating the nature of the complaint, will respond in writing (by way of mailed letter) to the complainant within ten (10) college business days after the date the appeal was received. The response will include a written description of the complaint, including all pertinent details, and a statement regarding action taken. 

If the complaint is still unable to be resolved in a manner acceptable to all parties, the student or member of the community may appeal to the President by submitting a formal written request via the online Student and Community Complaint Appeal Form within ten (10) college business days after receipt of the decision notification (the date of the mailed letter). The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will forward the complaint and related documentation to the President.

If a satisfactory resolution has not been reached with the Complaint Committee, the student or member of the community may appeal to the President by submitting a formal written request via the online Student and Community Complaint Appeal Form within ten (10) college business days after receipt of the decision notification (the date of the mailed letter).

Submit Appeal

Once the President receives the formal complaint, he/she has five (5) college business days to reply in writing (by way of mailed letter) a preliminary response to the complainant. The President, upon conclusion and investigating the nature of the complaint, will respond in writing (by way of mailed letter) to the complainant within ten (10) college business days after the date the preliminary response was received (the date of the mailed letter).

The response will include a written description of the complaint, including all pertinent details and a statement regarding action taken. Once the President makes a decision on the appeal, that decision is final. No further appeal is heard.

Records

To comply with federal regulations, BTC will maintain a record of formal complaints and their resolution, including those complaints reported to external agencies. The record will be housed within the Institutional Research and Effectiveness office and made available to the Higher Learning Commission peer reviewers for their review.  Complaint records may also be subject to public disclosure laws and will be kept according to the state records retention laws.

Complaints to Third Parties Procedure

In the unlikely event that an issue cannot be resolved internally, students and the members of the community may file a complaint with the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and/or the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). These agencies should be contacted only after the student or member of the community has utilized the established informal and formal complaint process.

Wisconsin Technical Colleges System
Attn: Student Complaint Resolution
4622 University Avenue
PO Box 7874
Madison, WI 53707-7874
Link to form: Student Complaint Form

The Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
Link to submit a complaint: Inquiry Form

Distance Learning Students

Blackhawk Technical College participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). As a member of SARA, any current or former student of a distance education program offered by Blackhawk Technical College may file a complaint with Wisconsin’s Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB) for Blackhawk Technical College distance education activity conducted across state lines under specific and limited circumstances. View the DLAB's Student Complaint Process for more information on the types of complaints handled by DLAB, steps to be taken before filing a complaint with DLAB, and the process to file a complaint with the DLAB. 

 
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