Complaint Policy

Policy for Complaint Against the Program

Students are urged first to bring concerns/complaints to the party(s) involved (e.g. faculty member, facilitator, supervisor, classmate etc.).  If concerns/complaints cannot be addressed in this manner, students are encouraged to seek guidance and resolution first through their academic advisor, then the program director, and the Dean of the College if resolution failed at previous levels.  All formal complaints must be made in writing and must be signed, dated, and submitted within the time period designated in the Graduate Catalog or written communication with the student.  Students are advised to append any documentation supporting the appeal. Complaints and/or suggestions are recognized as an opportunity for improvement and should be expressed with this end in mind.

Complaints Against the Program that Fall Outside Due Process

The faculty and staff of the Graduate Speech-Language Pathology Program strive to demonstrate a high level of ethical values and professionalism in all its activities.  In some cases, a situation may generate complaint for which no formal grievance process exists.  The complaint should be written, signed, include details about the complaint and documented evidence and mailed to:

Program Director, Graduate Program in Speech-Language Pathology
Sacred Heart University
5151 Park Avenue
Fairfield, CT 06825 

Please include contact information so the Program Director can reach you in order to resolve the complaint.

The following outlines the process for handling a complaint against the Program:

  1. When possible, the Program Director will discuss the complaint directly with the party involved within 14 business days.  The expectation is that the complaint can be satisfactorily resolved by this discussion.  The Program Director will provide a written description of the resolution to the person complaining.

  2. If dissatisfied with the outcome of the discussion with the Program Director, or if the complaint is against the Program Director, the complainant may submit a written complaint to the Dean, College of Health Professions.  The Program Director will provide the Dean with a written summary of previous discussions where applicable. The Dean will discuss the matter with the Program Director and complainant separately and may schedule a joint appointment or conference call with the Program Director and complainant in attempt to reach a solution.  The Dean will provide the complainant and the Program Director with a written letter outlining the solution reached through this step.

  3. If the complainant remains dissatisfied after step two, the last line of complaint is to the Provost, who serves as the chief academic officer of Sacred Heart University.

  4. Any letters or documentation associated with the complaint from the complainant, the Program Director, Dean, or Provost will be kept in a folder marked “Complaints against the Speech-Language Pathology Program kept in the program’s files for a period of five years.

Complaints Against the Program Regarding its Compliance with Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Policies and Procedures

A complaint about any accredited program or program in candidacy status may be submitted by any individual(s).

Criteria for Complaints: Complaints about programs must meet all of the following criteria:

a. be against an accredited graduate education program or program in candidacy status in audiology or speech-language pathology;

b. relate to the Standards for Accreditation of Entry-Level Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology [PDF], including the relationship of the complaint to the accreditation standards;

c. be clearly described, including the specific nature of the charge and the data to support the charge;

d. be within the timelines specified below: 

  • if the complaint is being filed by a graduate or former student, or a former faculty or staff member, the complaint must be filed within one year of separation* from the program, even if the conduct occurred more than 4 years prior to the date of filing the complaint;

  • if the complaint is being filed by a current student or faculty member, the complaint must be filed as soon as possible, but no longer than 4 years after the date the conduct occurred;

  • if the complaint is being filed by other complainants, the conduct must have occurred at least in part within 4 years prior to the date the complaint is filed. 

*Note: For graduates, former students, or former faculty or staff filing a complaint, the date of separation should be the date on which the individual was no longer considered a student in or employee of the graduate program (i.e., graduation, resignation, official notice of withdrawal or termination), and after any institutional grievance or other review processes have been concluded.

Complaints also must meet the following submission requirements:

a. include verification, if the complaint is from a student or faculty/instructional staff member, that the complainant exhausted all pertinent institutional grievance and review mechanisms before submitting a complaint to the CAA;

b. include the complainant’s name, address, and telephone contact information and the complainant’s relationship to the program in order for the Accreditation Office staff to verify the source of the information;

c. be signed and submitted in writing via U.S. mail, overnight courier, or hand delivery—not via e-mail or as a facsimile—to:

Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard, #310
Rockville, MD 20850

The complainant’s burden of proof is a preponderance, or greater weight, of the evidence. These procedures do not prevent the CAA from considering a complaint against an accredited or candidate program if the program is involved in litigation or other actions by a third party.

Public Comments or Complaints Against the Program Regarding Regional NECHE Accreditation

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) is the regional accrediting body for colleges and universities in New England. NECHE receives both public comments and complaints. Public Comments consist of observations about the quality of the University and its programs based on an individual’s experience. Comments must be substantive but need not include evidence and may be written or emailed. Complaints must be written, signed, and meet NECHE’s criteria for complaints. NECHE’s complaint criteria, procedures for filing complaints, and links may be found here:   

Public Comments or Complaints Against the Program Regarding Connecticut Office of Higher Education Accreditation

The Connecticut Office of Higher Education is responsible for quality review of independent colleges located in Connecticut. If you believe that the University or Graduate Speech-Language Pathology Program has not fulfilled its promises, you may file a complaint with the Office of Higher Education:

Office of Higher Education
450 Columbus Blvd, Ste 510
Hartford, CT 06103-1841