Disagreement Resolution Procedures

These procedures are intended to aid in the resolution of conflicts between graduate students and their supervisors (or supervisory committees). Students should always attempt to resolve such conflicts within the department before seeking outside assistance. Confidentiality will be ensured to the greatest extent possible.

If you find yourself in a conflict with your supervisor or supervisory committee, you should follow these steps, in this order. (In the event that you feel unable to discuss the issue with your supervisor or committee, go directly to step 3. If your supervisor is also the Graduate Program Director or Department Chair and you cannot resolve the problem with him/her, then you should skip the corresponding step.)

A departmental student ombudsperson will be appointed each year by the Linguistics graduate students, to assist, if necessary, in the process.

1.   Informal discussions with your supervisor. Discuss the matter with the supervisor — he/she may be unaware of the problem and will usually be happy to help find a satisfactory solution.

2.   Informal discussions with the supervisory committee. 

3.   Discussion with the Graduate Program Director.

4.   Discussion with the Department Chair. The chair should attempt to resolve the conflict, either by providing mediation or making alternative arrangements for the continued supervision of the student if the student is otherwise performing satisfactorily in the program. In the event that the solution involves a change of supervisor or supervisory committee membership, extension of deadlines, changes in topic, etc., will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

5.   Informal meeting with the Associate Dean (Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies) or the University Ombudsperson. Under these circumstances, an informal meeting outside the department is often all that is required for both sides to reach an agreement. If further steps are warranted, the Associate Dean or Ombudsperson will then advise you to that effect.