Are you navigating a challenge or experiencing conflict in your graduate education at UNC Charlotte? The graduate student Ombudsman is a resource that can provide help.
What is an ombudsman?
The Ombudsman for the Graduate School is a faculty member who helps graduate students and members of the Graduate School community navigate and manage conflict in a constructive way. The Ombuds is an advocate for fairness who listens to graduate students’ concerns and helps students achieve a greater understanding of the problem and possible solutions, and looks for information and resources applicable to the situation.
The Ombuds service is an informal, neutral, and, in most cases, confidential resource* for new and continuing graduate students to raise questions or concerns about any aspect of their graduate experiences. The Ombuds does not advocate for any individual point of view, and does not participate in any formal grievance process, but works to promote a fair process for all.
What concerns can you share with the Ombuds?
Students share concerns about conflicts or communication with major professors, conditions with graduate student appointments, and academic difficulties. Here are some examples of concerns shared with the Ombuds:
- Perceived irregularities with academic policies and practices
- Concerns about fairness of process
- Disrespectful or inappropriate behavior
- Interpersonal disputes or conflicts
- Stressful academic/assistantship conditions
- Financial distress
- Personal or family problems impacting academic progress
What help can the Ombuds provide?
The Ombuds can help graduate students in a variety of ways including:
- Listening to graduate student concerns
- Explaining policies and their application to specific cases
- Helping graduate students identify and consider options for resolving conflicts with colleagues and advisors at the University
- Strategizing about a conversation with a student-colleague or supervisor
- Referring graduate students to formal complaint or appeal procedures when warranted
- Referring graduate students to other resources available on campus.
When should I contact the Ombuds?
Students should contact the ombudsman as soon as a concern develops. Concerns can include almost any issue arising within the university setting, including personal and academic concerns. It’s easier to address concerns and resolve conflict successfully early on than later. Once a problem has entered a formal University process, it is more difficult for the Ombudsman to advise a student.
How do I contact the graduate student Ombudsman?
Discussions with the ombudsman are kept confidential, to the extent possible. Appointments can be arranged directly by contacting Dr. Bruce Taylor, 704-687-5347, graduate student Ombudsman.
Most complaints can be addressed within a policy or process. However, when there is no formal policy or process, complaints can be shared with the Ombudsman, who may be able to identify informal options for resolution.
*Confidentiality cannot be promised in matters relating to concerns of harm or threats to self or others or potential illegal activity.