Center for Teaching and Learning

Policies & Professionalism: Scenario 8

Your advisor invites you to work on compelling research project. While flattered, you decline once you learn that you’d have to work on the project in the evenings, off campus, alone with your advisor. Soon after, your advisor withdraws promised funding for conference travel, giving it instead to the student who accepted the project invitation. Is the advisor mad at you? Another student tells you to let it go. You would bring it to the chair, but a trusted faculty member says that the chair and your advisor are long-time colleagues. Should you pursue the matter? What if your advisor is on the TA selection committee, and you need a TAship?


TAs and RAs are students as well as employees and concerns can arise in either role. Sometimes concerns are not clearly defined or don’t seem to fit neatly within existing complaint mechanisms. The University Ombudsman is a resource for when concerns arise and you don’t know who to contact, or don’t know how to assess the situation, or you are hesitant to raise a concern and want to evaluate options. The Ombudsman is a resource for both academic and administrative concerns. A reliable and comprehensive source of information about university rules and policies, the Ombudsman can help you assess your experience and determine the appropriate resources and processes. The Ombudsman also offers interventions to address disputes informally, such as facilitation, conciliation, and mediation.