Complaint & Grievance Procedures
A complaint is a concern presented by a student whereby the student can show disadvantage or unfair treatment as a result of the action or inaction of a TCSPP faculty or staff member in conjunction with school policy or customary practices. Complaints fall into two categories: formal and informal.
Informal complaints are verbal or written concerns directed to a department with which a student is dissatisfied, and the complaint is resolved within that department.
Formal complaints consist of a concern or formal charge of dissatisfaction with a service, facility, or process that requires clarification, investigation, and/or resolution. These complaints must be in writing and must clearly identify and directly involve the student raising the concern or charge. These complaints may not include the following:
- Comments or suggestions on the content or quality of services that do not arise from a specific act or incident and/or where a student cannot show disadvantage or unfair treatment;
- Comments about the general content or provision of a course or program;
- Allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behavior by students; and
- Matters of academic performance.
To submit a formal complaint, a student must write to a representative directly associated with the service, facility, or process being questioned. The individual who receives the complaint will work to resolve the complaint or forward the complaint to the appropriate department for resolution. The Campus Student Affairs Officer tracks formal complaints and reports activity to the Campus Dean on a semesterly basis.
A student is expected to follow the internal complaint procedures before complaining to an external agency. A student who utilized the internal procedure and who is not satisfied with the outcome may wish to raise the issue with the relevant state licensing agency under which the institution operates.
*The student is advised to find the state of residence. If the state of residence is not listed, the state in which the home campus is located should be selected.
An unresolved grievance may also be directed to the Western Association of Colleges and Schools, Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). WSCUC requires that a complainant attempt to resolve the underlying grievance with the institution prior to filing a complaint. The Commission’s complaint procedures are for the purpose of addressing significant non-compliance with the Standards of Accreditation and Commission policies. Thus, WSCUC will not interpose itself as an adjudicatory or grievance-resolving body in individual matters including admission, granting or transfer of academic credit, grades, fees, student financial aid, student discipline, or collective bargaining, faculty or staff appointments, promotion, tenure, contractual rights and obligations, and dismissals or similar matters. The Commission’s staff will investigate a complaint in order to determine whether it appears that a Commission Standard or Policy was violated and, if such is the case, it will take appropriate action within the range of options that are available to it under Commission Standards and Policies. The complaint form and process can be found under “Directory” at www.wascsenior.org. Inquiries may be directed to: Western Association of Colleges and Schools, Senior College and University Commission, 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, Phone: (510) 748-9001.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is committed to mutual respect and the effective resolution of student problems and complaints through an efficient and fair procedure. The institution seeks to maintain an environment that encourages students, faculty, staff, and administration to work together to understand and address concerns about fair treatment using informal resolution. When that is not possible, TCSPP is committed to a fair and reasonable resolution of issues through a formal grievance process as outlined below.
When Should a Student Grievance Be Pursued?
A student is expected to follow the grievance procedures before seeking an external remedy. This procedure may be used whenever a student believes that rights have been violated by a member of the school community, including when a student believes to have suffered adverse effects caused by decisions or actions that were made by employees or agents of the school, for example:
- Violation of a duly adopted school policy, excluding the outcome of a disciplinary decision or assignment of a letter grade for which the student is seeking an appeal (see Appeal of Disciplinary Decisions and Grade Appeal Process, respectively);
- Illegal discrimination under any federal, state, local law; or,
- Unethical conduct according to professional standards.
An action or decision is grievable only if it involves a misapplication or misinterpretation of school policy, regulation, or rule, or a violation of state or federal law. This procedure may not be used to challenge policies or procedures of general applicability, including the following:
- The substance of any duly adopted policy or procedure;
- The substance that forms the basis for student performance evaluation or grade for a course or practicum/internship or for independent academic work under the supervision of a school faculty member or in the formation of an Academic Development Plan; or
- A decision regarding a student’s academic status made by a duly designated administrative officer, or by the school committee charged with reviewing student evaluations/grades.
Who May Pursue a Grievance?
The Grievance Procedure may be used by a student who is currently enrolled at the school, or who was participating in a TCSPP-sponsored educational event at the time of the incident being grieved.
The person filing the grievance must be the alleged victim of unfair treatment. A grievance may not be filed on behalf of another person.
A grievance must be received no later than forty-five (45) calendar days after the student first became aware of the facts which gave rise to the grievance.
The formal resolution process must be initiated within sixty (60) days of the decision, action, or events giving rise to the grievance. This time limit may be extended by the Dean of Academic Affairs if the individual initiating the Grievance Procedure requests an extension within the 60-day period for good cause shown (e.g an active effort at informal resolution, death in the family, etc.).
Prior to invoking the formal resolution procedures described below, the student is strongly encouraged, but is not required, to make active efforts to resolve matters through professional and direct discussions with the person or persons directly involved. These efforts should take place as soon as the student first becomes aware of the act or condition that is the basis of the grievance. If unsure of how to proceed, a student may enlist the assistance of another member of the school community (advisor, Department Chair or designee, Campus Student Affairs Officer) to help identify proper courses of action and/or to mediate problems if necessary. A student has the right to end this informal process at any time and move to the formal stage of the grievance process as desired.
Informal resolution should be considered for all situations excluding sexual harassment or sexual violence. In cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence, mediation is not appropriate even on a voluntary basis.
Since this procedure is an institutional process, not judicial, the presence of legal counsel, whether in person or virtual, is prohibited for any party of the grievance. This policy is not to be used in substitution for other appeal processes.
A. Initial Review
Step 1 The submission of the Grievance Intake Form and supporting documentation is used to invoke the formal resolution process. A student must submit all documentation to the Dean of Academic Affairs for the student’s home campus. The grievance filing must include a completed intake form and:
- Be in writing;
- State how the decision or action is unfair and harmful to the student and list the school policies or state or federal laws that have been violated, if known;
- Name the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed;
- State how the person(s) against whom the grievance is filed are responsible for the action or decision; and
- State the requested remedy.
Step 2 Upon receipt of the written grievance, the Dean of Academic Affairs will determine whether the matter is grievable in accordance with the criteria set forth in this policy. If the matter is deemed not grievable per school policy, it will be dismissed and a letter will be submitted to the student initiating the grievance stating the same. If the matter is deemed grievable per school policy, the Dean of Academic Affairs will appoint an ad hoc committee of two faculty members and one student to investigate the situation by gathering additional information from appropriate members of the campus community. The Dean of Academic Affairs will designate one of the faculty members as chairperson of the ad hoc committee. The chairperson will have the right to vote. At any time during the investigation of the grievance, the Dean of Academic Affairs and ad hoc committee may make further attempts to resolve the grievance informally.”
The ad hoc committee chair will send a copy of the grievance to the parties listed as having committed an alleged violation (“respondent”) within ten (10) business days of being appointed, giving the respondent(s) ten (10) business days to submit to the chair a written response to the allegations and any exhibits they wish to introduce as evidence. The chair will concurrently inform the student pursuing the grievance of the student’s right to, within ten (10) business days, submit to the chair copies of any exhibits the student wishes to introduce as evidence. The chair may extend the deadlines for submitting a response and for exchanging proposed exhibits upon a showing of good cause.
If the student who has brought the grievance has good cause to believe that a given member of the ad hoc committee is unable to be impartial, the student may request that the Dean of Academic Affairs disqualify that member. Such a disqualification shall be granted only upon the demonstration of sufficient reason. The decision to alter or preserve the composition of the ad hoc committee rests solely with the Dean of Academic Affairs and is final.
Step 3 In performing its functions, the ad hoc committee will have the right to call any witnesses and to require the introduction of any relevant data or information. The ad hoc committee will be the final judge of what testimony or data is relevant. While the presence of an attorney is prohibited, a student may have a faculty or staff member from the school community present during the hearing to provide advice and support. All deliberations of the ad hoc committee are confidential.
Step 4 Once all fact finding, questioning, and presentations are complete, the committee will deliberate to evaluate the merits of the grievance and make findings of fact. Such deliberations are restricted to members of the committee. The committee’s decision must be based solely on material presented in the grievance. A majority vote of the ad hoc committee is required to make an affirmative decision on the grievance.
Upon reaching a conclusion, the ad hoc committee will communicate its findings in writing to the student bringing the grievance, the respondent(s), the Dean of Academic Affairs, and to the appropriate institutional individual(s) who shall implement the actions, if any, recommended by the ad hoc committee within thirty (30) calendar days after the hearing.
B. Appeal Process
Within ten (10) business days of receipt of the committee’s decision, a student who is not satisfied with the decision of the committee may seek further review by submitting the written notice of appeal, together with the committee’s written decision, to the Vice President of Academic Affairs. Written notice of appeal must be signed and dated by the student and provide a brief statement of the grounds for appeal, which should contain a list of alleged errors in the decision or decision-making process and indicate what remedy is requested. Appeals received more than ten (10) business days after the committee’s decision was rendered will not be considered.
The action of the Vice President of Academic Affairs will be limited to a review of the basis for the committee’s decision. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will render a decision based on review of the grievance record and the written notice of appeal. There is no right to a hearing or oral presentation in appeals. The Vice President of Academic Affairs may delegate another administrator to act on his/her behalf.
Within fifteen (15) calendar days of receipt of the request for review, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will submit a decision in writing to the student and to the person alleged to have caused the grievance. The written disposition shall include the reasons for the decision, and it shall direct a remedy for the aggrieved student, if any. The decision on the appeal is final and will not be subject to further review.
The chair of the ad hoc committee will compile an official record of the proceeding that includes a copy of all correspondence with the parties, all evidence submitted to the committee, a summary of the committee’s decision, and anything else considered by the committee in reaching its determination. The chair of the committee will be responsible for ensuring that a written report is prepared that addresses and resolves all material factual issues in dispute, that states a conclusion as to whether the student was subjected to misapplication or misinterpretation of school policy or state or federal law, and if so recommends remedies as appropriate. The report and official record will be kept in the student’s record.
All grievance procedures and records are confidential in nature and will be treated accordingly. A copy of the grievance, any decision of the committee, and any decision of the Vice President of Academic Affairs will be retained for seven (7) full calendar years following the year in which the grievance is resolved.
Concerns about Academic Performance and Professional Comportment
Concerns about a student’s academic integrity (cheating, plagiarism, fabrication) and/or professional comportment (interpersonal and professional competence, self-awareness and self-reflection, openness to feedback, problem solving skills) may be raised by any member of the learning community. Such concerns should be directed to the student’s Department Chair or designee, Dean of Academic Affairs, or the Campus Student Affairs Officer. Should a student want to make a report or another student have concerns about keeping a report anonymous, the student may seek consultation from the advisor or any of the school officials listed above. If the situation warrants anonymity, efforts will be taken to protect the reporting student; however, anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
Depending upon the nature of the concern, a student may be required to meet with the Department Chair or designee and/or advisor who may dismiss the situation, implement an Academic Development Plan, refer the matter to the Campus Student Affairs Officer for mediation, or send the case to the Student Affairs Committee for further investigation and consideration of disciplinary action.
Academic Development Plans
Academic Development Plans (ADPs) are used to assist a student in the successful completion of the program. A student placed on Academic Warning, Academic Probation, or otherwise brought to the attention of the program for academic or professional comportment difficulties may be placed on an Academic Development Plan as deemed necessary by the advisor, the Department Chair or designee, and/or the Student Affairs Committee in order to address academic and/or professional comportment concerns. Academic Development Plans do not constitute disciplinary action; as such, they do not affect academic standing and cannot be appealed.
In the creation of an Academic Development Plan, information may be solicited from any TCSPP employee, supervisor at practicum or internship site or other community partner agency, supervisor of school-required workplace activity, and/or any other party involved in the student’s education and training. In conversations with outside education and training partners, the school may inform supervisors about the student’s Academic Development Plan to assess the extent to which the concerns in question have affected the student’s performance at the site and to ensure continuity of training and education between the site and the school.
The development of an Academic Development Plan requires involvement of the student, the student’s advisor, and the Department Chair or designee, though others may be involved as deemed necessary and appropriate. The student is expected to actively participate in the development of the plan. Refusal to participate in creating and/or refusing to sign an Academic Development Plan may result in a referral to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of disciplinary action and does not absolve the student’s responsibility to meet the requirements of the plan.
Academic Development Plans must clearly identify the concern(s) in question and the steps necessary to resolve them within a specified timeframe. Additionally, the plan must identify who will oversee the plan and when and how feedback will be delivered to all parties involved. Finally, the plan must clarify the consequences if the terms of the Academic Development Plan are not fulfilled. Depending upon the situation, the school may require a student to take immediate steps to address identified concerns before an Academic Development Plan has been finalized. Based on the student’s progress in meeting the requirements set forth, Academic Development Plans may be modified, including adding additional or removing existing requirements. Such changes must be made in writing, either directly or as an appendix to the original Academic Development Plan, and require the signatures of all involved parties. A copy of the Academic Development Plan is kept in the student’s academic record.
Should a student on an ADP transfer into a new academic program, the ADP will accompany the student to the new department. As the ADP may contain program-specific requirements, the new academic program may opt to either discontinue the ADP or revise the ADP to account for program requirements and expectations. This revision will be managed by the new academic department in consultation with the appropriate representative of the old academic department, where practicable.
A student of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is expected to engage in behaviors demonstrating both academic integrity and professional comportment. In instances where a student is alleged to have engaged in behaviors inconsistent with academic integrity and professional comportment that may warrant disciplinary action, the student will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC). Such behaviors include, but are not limited to:
- Allegations of academic misconduct, such as cheating, plagiarism, and/or fabrication.
- Allegations of conduct demonstrating unsatisfactory professional comportment, such as evidence of behaviors that substantially interfere with the development of professional competence or professional relations, inadequate progress towards the development of clinical skills, failure to act in accordance with school rules and/or policies, unprofessional conduct, illegal conduct, and/or conduct contrary to the ethical standards held by the profession.
When a concern about a student may result in disciplinary action, the student deserves an impartial committee review.
Student Affairs Committee (SAC) Structure. SAC is a campus-based entity that may be divided into three committees, one hearing matters of professional comportment (SAC-PC), one hearing matters of academic integrity (SAC-AI), and one hearing matters of both professional comportment and academic integrity pertaining to students enrolled in the Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program (SAC-Clinical Psychology). Where some campuses may divide SAC into all three committees, others may divide into only one or two. A referral is managed by a committee assigned to the campus that matches the referred student’s home campus in the academic records system.
Where a campus has one SAC, that body hears all student academic integrity and professional comportment concerns.
Where a campus has a SAC-AI, it reviews matters involving academic misconduct. Where a campus has a SAC-PC, it reviews matters of professional comportment, whether occurring on- or off-campus (including cyberspace) and regardless of whether the matter is specifically tied to a school activity. If concerns are raised about both a student’s academic integrity and professional comportment, the referring party shall determine which committee will receive the case.
Where a campus hosts a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology program, academic integrity and professional comportment concerns for students enrolled in the Clinical Psychology program will be heard by SAC-Clinical Psychology, a committee populated primarily by faculty from the Clinical Psychology department.
Forthwith, the terms “SAC” and “committee” refer to all potential SAC iterations as detailed above.
SAC conducts formal disciplinary proceedings and is committed to ensuring that referred students receive fair treatment while maintaining the integrity of TSCPP’s mission, policies, and procedures. In the process of arriving at decisions, the committee maintains respect for individual and cultural differences.
SAC Procedure. Referrals to SAC must occur in writing and be submitted electronically to the appropriate SAC Chair by the Department Chair or designee. The referral must include the specifics of the allegation(s) and any relevant documents in the possession of the referring party. In turn, the SAC Chair will notify the student of the referral by sending a letter to the student’s TCSPP email account. Included with the letter of notice shall be a copy of the referral from the academic department and any supporting documentation provided by the department. The notice letter shall specify who will be present at the SAC hearing and include the hearing date, time, and location. Any additional documents provided to the SAC Chair for consideration must be provided to the student prior to the hearing. The SAC Chair will include the student’s Department Chair, Associate Chair and advisor, the campus student affairs officer, Dean of Academic Affairs, and if relevant, the Director of Applied Professional Practice (APP) for the department on all communication with the student regarding the referral. The student has the right to respond in writing to the allegations set forth in the referral. The student’s written response and any supporting documentation should be sent to the SAC Chair no later than 24 hours prior to the time of the hearing. The SAC hearing will be held within thirty (30) business days of receipt of the referral. A student has the right to orally present during the hearing. Failure or refusal to respond to the allegations in writing or verbally at the time of the committee hearing will be deemed an admission of the factual matters contained in the referral documentation and leave the committee free to proceed as it considers appropriate. The referring academic department shall provide SAC with information in the form of testimony, documents, additional witnesses or other forms of support for the allegation(s) against the student or in support of the department’s position. SAC may solicit information and/or request an in-person appearance from any TCSPP employee, supervisor at the practicum or internship site or other community partner agency, supervisor of school-required workplace activity, and/or any other party involved in the student’s education and training. In conversations with outside education and training partners, the school may inform supervisors about the student’s appearance before SAC to assess the extent to which the concerns in question have affected the student’s performance at the site and to ensure continuity of training and education between the site and the school. These external parties and the committee itself have the right to question all individuals and examine other information presented.
A student on Leave of Absence who engaged in SAC-referable behavior that occurred prior to the leave but who was referred after the leave was granted will be referred to SAC upon return to active status.
A student with a qualified need who requires accommodations in order to participate in the hearing should submit a written request to the SAC Chair at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing. No part of a hearing conducted in-person or by telephone may be recorded or transcribed by any party. Hearing attendees are permitted to take personal notes that are not considered part of the official SAC record. Similarly, SAC deliberations may not be recorded or transcribed in any fashion.
A student may request postponement of a hearing, upon advance written request. Such request for postponement must include the grounds upon which the request is based, and the committee’s decision regarding the issuance of a postponement is final.
If the student accused of misconduct has reason to believe that a given member of the committee is unable to be impartial, the student may request that the SAC Chair disqualify that member from the hearing and/or the subsequent deliberation. Upon the demonstration of sufficient reason, only the SAC Chair may grant requests for disqualification from the hearing and/or deliberation, and the chair’s decision in such matters is final. If a member of the committee is a principal in the matter, the committee member will be disqualified automatically from the SAC deliberation, though the committee member may be allowed to participate in the hearing at the SAC Chair’s discretion.
Depending on the nature of the complaint, the complainant must be identified to the student. If a complainant refuses to permit his/her identity to be made known to the student, such a refusal may, but need not, serve as a basis for forfeiting the complaint process. A student concerned about anonymity should seek consultation from an advisor, Department Chair or designee, Dean of Academic Affairs, or the campus student affairs officer; however, anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
Because this procedure is an institutional process not a judicial process, the presence of legal counsel for anyone whether an in-person or virtual attendant, is prohibited at all hearings and deliberations. The student may elect to have one faculty or staff member from the TCSPP community, e.g. advisor or instructor, present during the hearing to provide advice and support.
SAC will take reasonable efforts to deliberate each case in a timely manner. Upon the completion of all fact finding, questioning, and presentations, the committee will deliberate. Such deliberations are restricted to members of the committee who have not been disqualified for any reason. If the committee concludes that the allegation(s) are substantiated, it will determine the outcome of the case. Outcomes may include dismissal of the case, requirement of an Academic Development Plan, or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school. The committee will notify the student of its disposition in writing with copies sent to the advisor, Department Chair or designee, the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Campus Student Affairs Officer, the Director of Applied Professional Practice, if relevant, and the student’s record. Dismissal will be effective immediately based upon committee notification. A dismissal decision will immediately impact an individual’s access to TCSPP grounds, the TCSPP email account, and other school systems.
Disciplinary process for TCSPP-sponsored Education Abroad Programs
The following process applies to resolve allegations that a student participating in an education abroad program sponsored by The Chicago School of Professional Psychology has violated the Student Code of Conduct or any policy or rule enforceable under the Code or the student’s international education rights and responsibilities agreement (including this policy):
As a first step, the Faculty Lead of the course in which the student is participating and/or a TCSPP representative will attempt to address any instances of disruption by meeting and speaking directly with student to resolve the violation. If the violation was minor and not of a serious nature and no further disruptions or conduct violations occur, the issue may be considered resolved. This procedure is reserved for first time violations of a non-serious nature. For multiple or more serious infractions of any provisions of the policies described above, the institution reserves the right to pursue a more rigorous course of discipline.
If the Faculty Lead determines that further action must be taken, the Faculty Lead and/or TCSPP representative will provide the student written notice of the alleged violation and immediate required action resulting in the alleged violation, sent to the student’s TCSPP email account. The Faculty Lead may consult with TCSPP representatives, which may include legal counsel and International Services staff members, before imposing serious sanctions such as removal from the program. If the Faculty Lead determines that the health and safety of any program participant is at stake, the Faculty Lead reserves the right to immediately dismiss the student from the program, which may result in failure of the course and lost monies that will not be reimbursed to the student. A copy of this notice will be shared with the student’s Department Chair and the Vice President of Student Affairs. The notice will briefly describe the alleged conduct and the policy or rule in violation and will provide the student with the opportunity to respond to the alleged wrongdoing. This process is described in the next paragraph. In rare cases, action to prevent disruption or harm may be taken before the student has a chance to be heard, although that opportunity will be given to the student as soon as possible thereafter. The Vice President of Student Affairs will be notified of the action and will recommend as appropriate upon return that the alleged violation be submitted to the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) for review and further sanctioning.
A student may appeal the decision or file a complaint or grievance pursuant to TCSPP’s procedures as stated in this handbook.
A student participating in any sponsored or endorsed education abroad opportunity, e.g. sponsored work, internship, volunteer, service-learning, co-sponsored programs, exchanges, or outside programs are subject to the disciplinary process of the host university/partner that may supersede that of the institution. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology will be notified when a warning has been issued and/or when a student is in the process of being dismissed. In the case of outside or non-sponsored programs, TCSPP may not be able to intervene on behalf of the student.
Appeal of Decisions
A student has the right to appeal a decision by the Student Affairs Committee to the Dean of Academic Affairs of the home campus within ten (10) business days of being notified of the decision. This written appeal must include:
- A specific statement of the decision that the student wishes to appeal;
- The action the student wishes the Dean of Academic Affairs to take;
- All information that the student wishes the Dean of Academic Affairs to take into account in consideration of the appeal; and
- A statement of the student’s views as to how this information justifies the appeal.
The appeals process is not an opportunity for the student to have the case reconsidered merely because of dissatisfaction on the part of the student with the decision of committee. Rather, all appeals must be based on one or more of the following:
- New evidence
- Evidence of improper procedure
- New arguments that could not be provided at the time of the original hearing.
If in the opinion of the Dean of Academic Affairs the request for an appeal is clearly without merit or does not meet the requirements set forth above, the Dean of Academic Affairs will reject the appeal and the decision of the committee will stand as the final decision of the school.
If in the judgment of the Dean of Academic Affairs the appeal is properly constituted, the Dean of Academic Affairs will render a decision on the substance of the appeal within ten (10) business days and so notify the student in writing with a copy sent to the SAC chair, advisor, Department Chair or designee, Campus Student Affairs Officer, and the student’s record.
This policy is not to be used in substitution for the Grade Appeal Process, the Grievance Process, or the sanctioning and appeal procedures set forth in the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, where applicable.
Learning and working online means that communication often lacks the benefit of visual support of body language and tone of voice. This can easily lead to misunderstandings or unintentional offense. Reviewing what is written in an email or posted in a discussion forum will serve to better support a student’s successful online participation.
A student is advised to observe the below guidelines when participating in an online course or communicating virtually with others. Encouraging professional behavior is an institutional learning goal, and all students are expected to behave as professionals in all aspects of communication.
- Be respectful, professional, and careful about what is said and how it is said.
- Be aware of the image being projecting online. Use clear writing and good form.
- As message recipients cannot read nonverbal cues such as facial expressions or easily interpret the tone of written communication, words and manners of expression must clearly indicate the intended meaning. This is particularly important when using humor (e.g. sarcasm may not be apparent in words alone).
- Respect the time of others. Keep communication short, to the point, and on topic.
- With disagreeing, be polite and gracious.
- On message boards or in discussion forums, use the subject line appropriately, employing meaningful and succinct labels so that recipients may immediately grasp the topic being advanced.
- When someone else errs and/or does not follow proper protocol, consider whether it is necessary to provide correction. If correction is in order, be polite and, if discretion is advised, address the issue privately rather than in a public way.
- Avoid using ALL CAPS, especially when disagreeing. This is perceived as shouting and considered rude.
- Comply with all copyright laws.
- Be mindful of compatibility concerns. Be sure that files uploaded to online platforms can be viewed by others.
- Be aware of issues that might arise due to cultural and languages differences.
- Do not to violate the privacy of others. Do not send commercial advertisements or SPAM to other students, faculty members, or staff.
- Respect the chain of command when seeking assistance, raising questions, or sharing concerns.
Ethical, Legal, and Professional Conduct
Compliance with Institutional Policies and Procedures
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires the highest standards of professional and personal conduct from all students. Each student must abide by the policies and procedures of the school and comply with its standards. Failure to comply with the standards of conduct may result in the implementation of an Academic Development Plan (ADP) and/or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.
Criminal Background Check
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology requires all degree-seeking students to complete a Criminal Background Check (CBC). There are four main reasons for this requirement:
- Protection of Public Safety: Psychology professionals are entrusted with the health, safety, and welfare of those with whom they work, have access to confidential and sensitive information, and they operate in settings that require the exercise of ethical judgment and professional behavior. Thus, assuring the absence of serious criminal convictions in a student’s background is imperative to promote the highest level of safety.
- Compliance with Training & Community-Engaged Scholarship Partners: Applied learning experiences are essential elements of TCSPP degree programs. A student who cannot participate in such experiences due to serious criminal convictions may not be able to fulfill the requirements of the degree program. Therefore, it is in both the student’s and school’s interest to identify such restrictions upon entry.
- Early Identification of Licensure or Certification Ineligibility: Similarly, serious criminal convictions may prevent graduates’ ability to attain a professional license or certification in their chosen field of study. Both the student and the school should quickly identify such limitations.
- Campus Safety: All members of the TCSPP community are entitled to work and study in a safe environment. Identification of violent backgrounds through CBCs reduces the possibility of criminal acts on or around campus.
A student will be provided the necessary information to complete the CBC in a timely manner through an outside vendor at the student’s own expense. For on-ground students, the last date to complete the CBC is the Add/Drop deadline of the second semester of enrollment. For online students, the last date to complete the CBC is the Add/Drop deadline of the third term of enrollment. A student who fails to meet this requirement may be administratively withdrawn from the institution.
The results of the CBC will generally be honored for the student’s entire length of study so long as the student does not have a break in enrollment for more than 365 days. However, the school reserves the right to require an additional CBC during the student’s course of study, on a discretionary basis. Additionally, if the student is convicted of criminal activity while enrolled, the student is responsible for informing the Vice President of Student Affairs. Criminal activity that is not reported by the student but becomes known by the institution may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
An offer of admission or permission to continue enrollment may be reversed if the CBC results are incompatible with eligibility to meet relevant degree, licensure, or certification requirements or if the results increase physical or reputational risks to the school, its inhabitants, and/or partner agencies and the people they serve. Designated school officials retain the right to refer questionable CBC findings to the student’s academic department for review, hearings, deliberation, and issuance of supportive or disciplinary actions per existing policy (e.g. participating in an Academic Development Plan). An active student who wishes to file an appeal or grievance for any actions taken as a result of the CBC report may do so under existing school policy.
For additional information about the school’s Criminal Background Check, click here.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology recognizes the importance of personal and professional competencies in addition to traditional academic skills. The institution embraces the model training policy statement adopted by the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) of the American Psychological Association (APA) and holds that:
Professional practitioners of psychology are expected to demonstrate competence within and across a number of different but interrelated dimensions. Programs that educate and train professional practitioners of psychology also strive to protect the public and profession. Therefore, faculty, training staff, supervisors, administrators, employees, and fellow students at The Chicago School have a duty and responsibility to evaluate the competence of students and trainees across multiple aspects of performance, development, and functioning.
It is important for students and trainees to understand and appreciate that academic competence is defined and evaluated comprehensively. Specifically, in addition to performance in coursework, seminars, scholarship, comprehensive examinations, and related program requirements, other aspects of professional development and functioning (e.g., cognitive, emotional, psychological, interpersonal, technical and ethical) will also be evaluated. Such comprehensive evaluation is necessary in order to appraise the entire range of academic performance, development and functioning of their student-trainees (Adapted from CCTC/APA, 2004).
As an apprentice of professional psychology, the student is holistically evaluated by all members of the learning community on standards of professional performance, development, and functioning that include, but are not limited to, interpersonal and professional competence (consistently establishing positive interpersonal relationships, demonstrating an active commitment to education and training, communicating professionally, demonstrating integrity, affirming individual and cultural differences); self-awareness and self-reflection (awareness of own various roles in diverse contexts, recognizing limitations and training/learning needs, awareness of own cultural values); openness to feedback; and proactive, engaged resolution of issues that may interfere with professional development or functioning. A student’s professional performance, functioning, and development may be evaluated both within and outside of the classroom, whether it occurs on- or off-campus (including cyberspace), and regardless of whether it is specifically tied to a school activity.
Concerns about a student’s professional comportment should be directed to the Department Chair. A student will be alerted to concerns about professional comportment (professional performance, functioning, and development) and receive advisement, mediation, and support as deemed necessary and appropriate. If there is a question that the student’s problems in the area of professional comportment cannot be resolved in a reasonable time period and/or rises to the level of potential disciplinary action, the matter will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee.
Statement of Academic Integrity
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology expects a student to function within an environment of trust relative to other students, faculty, staff, and administration. Moreover, the school expects all students to conduct themselves ethically, with personal honesty, and with professionalism. Academic dishonesty violates one of the most basic ethical principles in an academic community and will result in sanctions imposed under the school’s disciplinary system. All suspected incidents must be immediately referred to the Department Chair or designee who will then refer the matter to the Student Affairs Committee.
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:
Examples of cheating include, but are not limited to, copying another person’s work with or without permission, giving or receiving aid on a test, giving or receiving test materials prior to official distribution, collaborating on assignments or exams without instructor permission, submitting another’s work as one’s own (including purchased papers), taking credit for group work to which one did not contribute significantly or meet one’s obligations, and intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized materials, information or study aids in any academic exercise. This specifically includes allowing someone other than the enrolled student to participate in online discussion forums using the identity and authentication of the enrolled student, or to allow another person to complete and submit in electronic or paper format written assignments or other academic assessments or exercises on behalf of the enrolled student to represent the work as that of the enrolled student. A student may be expected to provide proof of identity prior to exams.
Plagiarism is intentionally or unintentionally representing words, ideas, or data from any source as one’s own original work. The use or reproduction of another’s work without appropriate attribution in the form of complete, accurate, and properly formatted citations constitutes plagiarism. Examples of plagiarism, include but are not limited to, copying the work of another verbatim without using quotation marks, revising the work of another by making only minor word changes without explanation, attribution, and citation, paraphrasing the work of another without the appropriate citation. A student is expected to produce original work in all papers, coursework, dissertation, and other academic projects (including case studies from internship or practicum sites) and to follow appropriate rules governing attribution that apply to the work product.
Carelessness, or failure to properly follow appropriate rules governing source attribution (for example, those contained in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association), can be construed to be plagiarism when multiple mistakes in formatting citations are made in the same paper. Further, a single example of failing to use quotation marks appropriately may be considered plagiarism.
Fabrication is intentionally inventing information, data, or citations in any academic or clinical exercise. Examples of fabrication include, but are not limited to, falsifying research or other findings, citing sources not actually used in writing a research paper, submitting work done in previous classes as if it were new and original work, resubmitting work for retake courses, and changing, altering, or being an accessory to the changing and/or altering of any officially recorded grade.
If a student is unsure if his or her conduct may represent a form of academic dishonesty, he or she should seek out consultation from a course instructor or an academic advisor.
Student Code of Conduct
A student is required to behave in a manner that is suitable for professional study and practice. Violation of this standard includes, but is not limited to, conduct that contravenes the General Principles and Standards set forth in the Ethics Code promulgated by the American Psychological Association. Additionally, academic departments may require compliance with other discipline-specific ethical codes (e.g. the American Counseling Association’s Ethical Code for Counselors, the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Guidelines for Responsible Conduct for Behavior Analysts, the National Association of School Psychologists’ Principles for Professional Ethics, and the Specialty Guidelines for Forensic Psychologists, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Code of Ethics). A student should consult with the academic departments for clarification of all applicable ethical codes to which they are accountable.
Additionally, a student is prohibited from engaging in conduct that is detrimental to the school, poses a threat to the welfare of the school’s employees or students, is prohibited by school policies, or is illegal. In extreme circumstances, TCSPP administrators may ban individuals believed to pose a significant risk to others from school events and/or programs; such a ban would restrict the individual’s ability to enter school property for an indefinite amount of time until the matter can be thoroughly investigated and a final disposition can be rendered. A student may be restricted from campus or disciplined for improper or illegal conduct whether it occurs on- or off-campus (including cyberspace), and regardless of whether the conduct is specifically tied to a school activity.
While it is impossible to list all types of misconduct, the following illustrates the types of activities that will subject a student to disciplinary action:
- Violations of any policy, procedure, or regulation of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
- Acts of dishonesty, including but not limited to, knowingly or recklessly furnishing false information to the school, forgery, and alteration or misuse of school documents, records, or identification and any materials submitted to employers (e.g. application, CV/résumé, cover letter, portfolio)
- Disorderly, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression, including inappropriate conduct in online environments such as abusive language toward or about faculty, classmates, staff members, and administration
- Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, other TCSPP activities, or the freedom of expression of others
- Conduct that threatens or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of any person, including threats of violence toward others and any action that unreasonably interferes with the psychological well-being of another
- Unauthorized use, possession, or storage of any guns, weapons, or other unreasonably dangerous instruments
- Unauthorized entry into or use of the school’s facilities or services
- Theft or conversion of property or services belonging to TCSPP, members of the school community, or others
- Intentional or reckless destruction, damage, abuse, or misuse of school property or the property of others
- Illegal or unauthorized possession, use, sale, or distribution of narcotics, drugs, or other controlled substances defined as such by local, state, or federal law
- Violation of TCSPP’s published technology and computer use guidelines
- Failure to comply with directions of TCSPP officials acting in the performance of their duties including, but not limited to, a requirement to provide unprivileged testimony at a disciplinary hearing or failure to comply with provisions of academic warning or an academic development plan and
- Violations of federal, state,or local laws, or any other conduct not included above, which unreasonably or unlawfully interferes with the operations of TCSPP, or which renders a person unfit or unsuitable for practice within the psychology profession
A student may be held independently accountable to both external authorities and to TCSPP for acts that constitute violation of law and/or school policies, regulations, or procedures. Disciplinary action will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed, reduced, or are in process.
Suspension or Revocation of a Professional License or Certification
A student who has ever voluntarily surrendered or had a professional license or certification suspended, or revoked for any reason must disclose this information at the time of application to the institution. A regularly-enrolled student who has a license or certification suspended or revoked or who surrenders a license or certification must disclose this information to the Department Chair within ten (10) business days of the event occurring. In such circumstances, the case will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of calling a formal hearing and deliberation. Likewise, a student who at any time fails to disclose such information will be referred to the Student Affairs Committee for consideration of disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the school.
Use of Computing Resources
The Department of Information Technology (IT) provides access to the school network for students, faculty, and staff. The network consists of an institution-wide backbone network, wireless network, and many shared computers in addition to personal desktop computers. It provides communication as well as academic and administrative functions.
Members of TCSPP community have certain rights regarding the school’s network and its services.
- Intellectual Freedom: The school is a free and open forum for the expression of ideas; the school’s network is the same. Opinions may neither be represented as, nor construed as, the views of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.
- Improper Contact: While the school cannot control unwanted or unsolicited contact, network users who receive threatening or other improper communications should bring them to the attention of the Director of Information Technology. All electronic communications are treated in a similar fashion as are voiced or written communications. If the threatening or other inappropriate message was sent by another student, staff or faculty, the Department Chair or Administrative Manager should be notified in addition to the Director of IT.
- Privacy: Generally, data files and messages traversing the school’s network are private. However, a user’s privacy is superseded, for example, by the school’s requirement to maintain the network’s integrity and the rights of all network users. Should the security of the network be in danger, or for other good reason, user files and messages may be examined under the direction of the Information Technology management team. As owner of the network and computers in question, the school reserves the right to examine, log, capture, archive, inspect and preserve any messages transmitted over the network in all cases, as well as any data files stored on school-owned computers, should circumstances warrant such actions. All members of the community must recognize that electronic communications are by no means secure and that during the course of ordinary management of computing and networking services, network administrators may inadvertently view user files or messages.
Network users are expected to comply with the responsibilities delineated below. A student who violates a network responsibility risks suspension of network access. Depending on the seriousness of the violation, the student could be referred to the Student Affairs Committee. Acts that violate federal, state, or local laws will result in referral to the appropriate legal authority as well as subject the user to institutional discipline.
The following illustrates the types of responsibilities that a student is expected to uphold with regard to network use:
- A student is responsible for the use of their own personal network ID (“user ID”) and password. The student may not give anyone else access to the personal user IDs or computer accounts, which includes allowing anyone else access to log in and post, retrieve, download, upload, or copy any content from any TCSPP password-protected domain including, but not limited to, the school’s learning management system. A student is prohibited from using a user ID or a TCSPP computer account other than the account assigned. A student may not try to obtain a password for another user’s user ID or computer account in any way. The user ID remains the property of the institution.
- A student may not misrepresent themselves or their data on the network.
- A student is responsible for the security of passwords. This includes changing passwords on a regular basis and making sure no one else knows them.
- A student must not use TCSPP’s network resources to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to remote computers.
- A student must not deliberately perform an act that will impair the operation of computers, terminals, peripherals, or the network.
- A student must not run, install, or give to another a program that could result in the eventual damage to a file or computer system and/or the reproduction of itself on any of the institution’s computer systems.
- A student must not attempt to circumvent data protection schemes or exploit security loopholes.
- A student must abide by the terms of all software licensing agreements and copyright laws. The student may not make copies of, or make available on the network, copyrighted material, unless permitted by a license.
- A student must not be wasteful of computing resources or unfairly monopolize resources to the exclusion of other users.
- A student must not attempt to monitor another user’s data communications, nor may any student read, copy, change, or delete another user’s files or software, without permission of the owner.
- A student who withdraws, is dismissed, or otherwise leaves the institution may not use TCSPP facilities, accounts, access codes, network privileges, or information for which they are not authorized in their new circumstances.
- A student must maintain appropriate technology requirements for the academic program.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology may offer software to a student at no cost. While software may be provided at zero cost, it is not free. TCSPP pays for the appropriate licensing in order to provide this software. As such, if a student chooses to install and use such software, the student is responsible for maintaining the integrity of the license by not sharing it or any activation/license key with anyone. By installing the software and the license key provided by TCSPP, the student is agreeing to this responsibility. If the student does not protect the provided key, TCSPP’s licensing of the software will be at risk for everyone. Violations may make a student ineligible for future software installations provided by TCSPP.
Computing and networking resources are provided to support the mission of the school. These resources may not be used for commercial purposes. All Chicago School computing and networking facilities are provided for use by faculty, staff, and students solely for relevant academic, research, or administrative use.
The Director on the Information Technology should be notified about violations of computer regulations and policies, as well as about potential loopholes in the security of any computer system or network at TCSPP. Depending on the nature of any violations, the Director may notify the student’s Department Chair or designee and/or the Campus Student Affairs Officer.
A grade may be appealed only when the grading criteria stated in the syllabus and/or the Academic Catalog have not been followed. A change to a final grade may be approved by a faculty member, Department Chair, or faculty committee appointed by a Department Chair.
When a student desires to appeal a final grade, the following procedure must be used:
- The student should speak with the faculty member and attempt an informal resolution.
- If no resolution is achieved, the student must complete the Grade Appeal Request Form and submit it to the Department Chair or designee by the Add/Drop deadline of the next term. The Department Chair or designee will consult with the instructor and the student to attempt an informal resolution.
- If the appeal is not resolved informally, the Department Chair will consult with the Dean of Academic Affairs to appoint a faculty member or committee of faculty from the same program to formally review the concern and make a final decision on the appeal.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology Intellectual Property Policy (“IP Policy”) clarifies the rules that govern the ownership rights of intellectual property created by its employees and independent contractors.
It is the policy at The Chicago School that any intellectual property created by a “covered person” within the course and scope of employment or engagement by TCSPP, or during a time period while required or expected to be performing services as an employee or independent contractor of TCSPP, will be owned by TCSPP unless it constitutes Scholarly Work. (A “covered person” consists of all individuals who receive compensation from TCSPP, including student employees, student researchers, employees, and independent contractors.) Generally speaking, TCSPP will also own the research data and results created by a covered person.
“Scholarly work” means scholarly or educational publications, artworks, musical compositions and literary works related to the author’s academic or professional field regardless of the medium of expression (and need not have been created for a specific course), exclusive of any research data or results reflected therein, and includes but is not limited to works authored by students, professionals, faculty and non-faculty researchers.
Each student subject to the IP Policy will be required to sign a written document agreeing to abide by all of the terms of the IP Policy.