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Section 7 Chain of communication

Many situations arise in which you will want to seek advice. The issue may be informational, to resolve a conflict, or dealing with a situation with which you have no experience.

Admittedly, it seems natural to first turn to your fellow graduate students, but more times than not this is a source of misinformation or at least information biased by their small window of experience. A definitive source of information about the policies of the graduate program is the Graduate Program Committee (GPC). But there are also many other sources of information, somewhat influenced by the circumstances. We consider a few.

Subsection 7.1 General Questions

If you are a first or second-year student, natural choices of people from whom to seek advice are your first-year advisor, the advisor to graduate students, the GPC and the department chair.

For students who have advanced to candidacy, your first-year advisor and advisor to graduate students is generally replaced by (members of) your advancement/thesis committee.

Subsection 7.2 Issues with your advisor

If you find yourself at odds with your primary thesis advisor, you should first consult your secondary advisor or other member of your advancement/thesis committee to get their read on the situation. Having heard your side of things, they will probably chat with your advisor and get their perspective on the matter at hand, and then get back to you to help resolve the issue.

In the event that informal means do not resolve your issue to your satisfaction, there are more formal procedures for resolving issues which gradually escalate. Please refer to the section devoted to Grievances.

Subsection 7.3 How to handle a possible honor-code violation

One of the last things anyone who is teaching wants to encounter is a suspected honor code violation. Review the statement of the academic honor principle, and see the section above for details on how to handle the situation.