Your Advocates

Graduate School can be challenging. Many people have roles to advocate for you in different capacities. Reach out to them with any questions!

Senior Graduate Students and Graduate Student Organizations/Groups

If you are unsure of where to turn, then other graduate students in your program can potentially be a good resource. They might know internal structures and if your program has a graduate student organization, then this is also a good community to learn the ins and outs of your program's structures. Talk with your lab-mates!

Graduate program's administrators

staff members can be your first stop with many questions. If you are unsure how to get paid, about any trainings and classes, or program requirements, then reach out to your graduate program contact or administrator.

Your Faculty Advisor

Your PI can advocate for you for awards, funding, and internally within your discipline (at conferences, for grants, etc...). Your faculty mentor can also be a resource for you as you prepare for your future career (sharing CV resources, reviewing faculty application documents, connecting you to colleagues who might be looking for a postdoc, and being a letter of reference for your next step).

Your Committee

Your Committee is typically assembled as Doctoral students take their preliminary exam and is comprised of 2-3 additional faculty members. Your committee serves to complement and balance your advisor. They can advocate for you in terms of research direction and your day to day experience in your research group. Committees can also help with career planning towards the end of your graduate studies.

Graduate program's faculty chair

faculty chairs are a great resource if you have any questions about navigating advisor relationships as well as providing resources for handling any conflicts with advisors. Faculty chairs typically oversee technical program benchmarks and program structures. They can be helpful with any concerns about discrimination or harassment within the classroom, although they will typically loop in the College/University Dean?s offices as well in these cases.

College/University Dean's Offices

Whether this is your College department or Central University Graduate School Office, both typically have staff and faculty (Associate Deans or Deans) who can help address your questions and point you to the correct resources/people.

University Ombudsperson

This person's job is to confidentially hear concerns and complaints. They will meet with you and listen to what is going on, and help you navigate any internal university policies and procedures. They are typically at a Dean level and their job is to provide options and help facilitate any difficult situations and discussions.

Your Office of Institutional Equity

The role of this office is to support you. If you have concerns about discrimination, sexual violence or sexual exploitation, relationship violence, or stalking then you can report these via your office of institutional equity.

Sometimes university naming structures vary, so look out for your other advocates with the following titles: Graduate Liaison, Graduate Program Director, Associate Dean of Academic College vs. the Graduate College, Department/School Chair or Director, Academic Services Team, Matriculation Specialist, Graduate Degree Management Specialist, Admissions Counselor, etc...