OMG UPDATE: Question? Answer.

Updated on Sunday, January 12


QUESTION: I'm a graduate student struggling to find support in my program with an issue that came up. Who is a neutral party, that can help me make decisions as I move forward? Or what options to I have? Who can I speak to for advice?


  1. One option is the Chair of the Department. A second option is the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies for your department (also a faculty member).

  2. The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies for your faculty is also a good option. Their job is to be the voice of graduate studies so they should be a neutral party .I've had issues in my program and went to go talk to mine. It was really helpful and I'm glad I did it. Here's the link to their contact information.

  3. Also check if your department/school has a graduate advocate. This is a professor who is assigned to be a go-to person for graduate students to talk to if they don't feel comfortable raising issues directly with their supervisor.

  4. Consider contacting a member of your Graduate Students Associate.

    If the problem is legal, in terms of ownership of patents and the like consider talking to Daryl Schnurr, he's an adjunct professor, but a full-time lawyer. He teaches engineering and contract law.

    I know he once helped a graduate student who's professor was forcing him to sign over patents in order to graduate. I cannot speak to the cost of his services, but he will likely return your email if another prof is engaged in legal impropriety.

  5. I know an unfortunate amount of graduate students who had to switch profs. It happens way more often than anyone would like to think.