about Texas A&M University-Central Texas
Compact with Texans
Brief Description of Services Offered
Texas A&M University-Central Texas' commitment to providing excellence in higher education for the citizens of Texas is clearly expressed in its mission statement. A&M Central Texas' allegiance to its primary customer, the student, manifests itself in the vigor with which TAMUCT faculty and staff strive each day to operate in fidelity to its institutional purpose. The mission statement and goals may be referenced in the university's strategic plan (Strategic Plan: 2011- 2015).
Statement of TAMUCT's customer service principles, goals, objectives, and standards for wait times, complaint handling, and other related university functions.
In order to ensure that the TAMUCT of reality matches the TAMUCT described in its planning documents, a comprehensive system of assessment is in place. This system includes quantitative as well as qualitative methodologies. The results of all University departmental/programmatic assessments are available to the public either in hard copy on campus or via TAMUCT's web site.
One way TAMUCT assesses and indeed perpetuates its effectiveness is by providing students with the means to express concerns and complaints about their experience at the University. This provision is university-wide via: Academic Affairs, Enrollment and Information Management, Student Affairs, Finance and Administration, Advancement and External Relations, TAMUCT, and the Office of the President.
TAMUCT's overriding customer service goal is to create a culture of excellence for its students. This goal is reflected in, among other things, how the university deals with student concerns and complaints. Expediting complaint resolution in a timely manner is a high priority for TAMUCT. The timeliness and effectiveness with which complaints are addressed is considered a measure of institutional effectiveness and it figures prominently in the performance evaluations of all TAMUCT employees.
(Standards for wait times are addressed in the next section. How complaints are handled is also addressed in the next section.)
The process within which customers receive information and file complaints.
Prior to filing a formal grievance, students are encouraged to resolve the concern directly with the individuals involved. Students will find that most situations can be effectively addressed in this manner. The right of a student to a prompt and equitable resolution of the complaint so filed shall not be impaired by the student's pursuit of other remedies, such as filing of a complaint with the responsible federal department or agency. The Student Grievance and Complaint Procedure is posted to the university website at: http://www.ct.tamus.edu/departments/student-affairs/grievance.php.
Students with concerns about a class or their academic experience in general are encouraged to visit with the appropriate faculty member. In the absence of satisfaction during this interaction, students may opt to take their concern up the administrative hierarchy, progressing to the department chair, the school director, and then, if need be, to the Provost/Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs (VPASA). If issues or complaints that come to the school director have by-passed the department chair and/or the faculty involved, the school director will refer the case to the department chair, where it may be addressed or it may then be referred to the individual faculty member(s). TAMUCT's philosophy is that most issues can and should be handled by those directly involved. There is a written grievance procedure in each academic department that is typically followed before a concern or complaint is referred to the director of the school. If resolution cannot be achieved at the department or school level, it is then referred to the Provost and VPASA.
The time elapsed between the student's request for a meeting with a faculty member and the meeting depends on the calendar of the student and the faculty member. Typically, meetings of this nature are held within no more than five working days after the meeting request. This timeframe generally holds true for meetings requested with the department chair, the school director, and the Provost/VPASA. Responses may be transmitted orally or in writing, depending on the situation.
International Education: Questions about enrollment, the university, and required processes are responded to immediately. Responses rarely take longer than two days.
Evaluation and translation of international credentials are accomplished in two days and they are forwarded to the appropriate admissions office—undergraduate and graduate. In the case of graduate admission, all applicants, after being screened in the graduate office, are referred to the appropriate department head for a recommendation on admission status.
Library: Complaints usually pertain to disputes regarding book fines or the return of library materials. These complaints are addressed immediately, usually by the Circulation staff. If the complaint cannot be resolved by the Circulation staff, the student is offered an appointment with the Director of the Library. If the student is still dissatisfied after meeting with the Director, he/she may meet with the Provost/Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Typically, a student who wishes to meet with the Director or the Provost may do so within no more than two to three working days of submission of the request. Responses may be transmitted orally or in writing, depending on the situation.
The Library conducts a series of user surveys routinely through the academic year. The results of these surveys are used in continuous improvement of Library services and customer support.
Enrollment and Information Management
Enrollment Management/Recruiting and Outreach: After a recruiting effort, prospect cards receive responses within an average of two weeks depending on the student's classification. Names and addresses of prospective students are given to appropriate department chairs who are encouraged to send materials to prospective students based on intended majors. The recruiting and outreach office follows up with a designated communication plan to all prospective students throughout the academic year.
Enrollment Management/Undergraduate Admissions: Applications are screened and those with completed documentation are contacted electronically within two weeks. For those applicants who are eligible for admission, but are lacking some documentation, a student file is created and the student is notified of the missing documentation. This is done within two weeks after initial contact. Applicants who do not meet entrance requirements are sent a letter of denial.
Applicants who are denied admission and choose to appeal the denial can do so by directing appeal requests to the Registrar. The Registrar may then take the appeal to the Admissions Appeal Committee to make the final decision.
Enrollment Management/Registrar: There are multiple processes for dealing with complaints and issues within the office of the registrar; some are very situation specific. Generally, any question or complaint is handled immediately by qualified personnel who have clearance to resolve the issue. If additional input is needed before the issue can be addressed, i.e. Provost/VPASA or college/departmental collaboration, it may be the next day before satisfaction can be achieved.
Graduate Admissions, Studies and Research: Questions, clarifications and complaints are handled immediately. Resolution typically takes no longer than two days.
Applications for admission are evaluated by the Graduate Office. The Graduate Office typically evaluates admission packets within seven working days of receipt. When graduate applicants who meet the admission criteria submit to the School complete applications, all test scores, and official transcripts, their files are forwarded to the appropriate department heads/advisors for their recommendation on admission to the specific degree program.
Students are mailed a letter with specific information on their admission status. If the admission is conditional admission, a detailed description of the leveling work that will be necessary for full admission is included. Students admitted provisionally (undergraduates within 12 hrs. of graduation) are so notified by letter with any qualifiers specifically noted. Post-baccalaureate students receive specific notification about their status and any qualifying conditions. Applicants who do not meet the standards for admission are notified by letter.
Student Disability Support Office: Requests for assistance for academic or physical accommodations are regularly handled in no more than two weeks following receipt of appropriate documentation. After a student request, letters are sent to the appropriate faculty member requesting accommodations for the specific student according to their documented needs. Students are encouraged to make personal appointments with their professors to discuss processes if needed. An informal complaint should begin with the Director of Student Services. The entire process may take two to three weeks depending on the schedules of those involved.
Assessment: Institutional Research and Effectiveness conducts ongoing, year-round customer satisfaction surveys. The results of these surveys are used for continuous improvement. The various academic departments actively seek student satisfaction information via a variety of survey instruments. Academic departments conduct satisfaction surveys generally on either an annual or biannual basis.
Financial Aid Appeals: A student wishing to appeal a decision by the Office of Financial Aid regarding the denial of financial aid may do so by submitting a written appeal request to the Director of Financial Aid. The director then considers the request in light of university policy, federal regulations, and student circumstances and renders a decision within five working days of submission of the appeal request.
Should the student not agree with the decision of the director, he/she may submit a request, in writing, to have his/her case heard by the Financial Aid Appeals Committee. The student receives notification of the Appeals Committee's decision within ten (10) working days of submission of the appeals request. Finally, a student may appeal the Committee's decision by submitting a request for appeal to the Director of Financial Assistance. The Associate Vice President for Student Life Studies will notify the student of his/her decision within five working days. The Associate Vice President for Student Life Studies' decisions are considered final. At each point in the process, students are notified of decisions in writing.
There are several routes by which students can voice concerns or informal complaints, and/or appeal administrative decisions in the Division of Student Affairs. These routes include the administration of a variety of assessments division-wide, the availability of various administrative appeals processes, and the practice of an open-door policy by all division administrators.
Director for Student Affairs and other Division Administrators: Division leadership takes student concerns and complaints very seriously. They respond, on average, within one to two working days of concerns or complaints regarding their respective administrative units. Students are informed of their right to take their concern or complaint further up the administrative hierarchy if they so wish. Student complaints are carefully tracked as a means of assessing unit effectiveness. Students are notified of decisions/follow-up either orally or in writing, depending on the situation. More general formal complaints are dealt with by the Director of Student Affairs. Complaints that do not fall under a particular committee's jurisdiction and/or procedures outlined in the Student Handbook are forwarded to the appropriate academic or administrative office for review and response. Every effort is made to make initial contact with a complainant within ten (10) working days. Responses will include a university contact responsible for reviewing the complaint and, in cases when an immediate solution is not possible, the process and timeline for complaint review and resolution.
Assessment and Evaluation: Student Affairs is actively engaged in a system of departmental/divisional assessment that yields significant insight into the concerns and wishes of the student body. Student Affairs assesses the effectiveness of all of its departments on a rotating basis. Surveys run the gamut from the typical customer satisfaction survey to the National Survey of Student Engagement; various student needs surveys, and a Campus Life Survey.
Finance and Administration
Students with concerns or complaints about the campus facilities, Business Office, Campus Police, or Vending Operations are encouraged to visit with the appropriate administrator in the division of Finance and Administration. In the absence of satisfaction during this interaction, students may opt to take their concern through the administrative hierarchy, progressing to the appropriate administrative level, then, if need be, to the Vice President for Finance and Administration.
The time elapsed between the request for a meeting with an administrator and the meeting is typically within no more than two to three working days after the meeting request. This timeframe generally holds true for meetings requested with the Vice President for Finance and Administration. Responses may be transmitted orally or in writing, depending on the situation.
Parking Fine Appeals: All parking appeals must be submitted in writing, following an established procedure. The Parking Appeals Committee is chaired by a representative from Student Affairs and is comprised of one student, one staff, and one faculty member. A member of the University Police serves as ex-officio. Usually, no more than five to seven working days elapse between the request for an appeal and notification of the Appeals Committee's decision. Students are notified of the Committee's decision in writing.
Advancement and External Relations
Students with concerns or complaints regarding departments within Advancement and External Relations are encouraged to communicate with the appropriate administrator. As in the case of the other university divisions, students have the option of progressing up the administrative hierarchy in the event they are dissatisfied with the service received at a lower level. Requests for meetings with administrators are generally honored within five working days.
Office of the President
The Office of the President is usually the final step in the complaint registration process. When students bring complaints to the attention of the president before having expressed those complaints at a lower administrative level, it is generally the policy of the Office of President to refer those students to the individual or office responsible for dealing with the issues about which the student is complaining.
Sometimes the president deems it appropriate to respond to the complaint personally. In those cases, the Office of President notifies the appropriate university official of the details of the complaint, his response to the complaint, and any other response that may need to be made by that official or his/her designee.
It is the responsibility of TAMUCT's Customer Service Representative to ensure that all student concerns and complaints are dealt with in a timely and effective manner. The Customer Service Representative also serves as a conduit through which concerns and complaints are quickly routed to the appropriate university official.