18. Problems and Dispute Resolution

Some problems students face can be addressed outside of the Department. There are numerous campus organizations that can be of help.  Rights and responsibilities of graduate students are listed on the Graduate Division website: www.graddiv.ucsb.edu/rights-responsibilities.  Sometimes students experience real problems in their academic work or in academic appointments. Resolutions to these problems should first be sought within the department by utilizing the resources of the Faculty Graduate Advisor, the Graduate Program Assistant, the Student Service Manager, the Director of the Phelps Administrative Support Center, and the Chair of the Program.

The Graduate Division also stands willing to help mediate disputes that cannot be resolved at the departmental level. There are established formal stages of appeal that can be followed in cases where resolutions are otherwise not possible. Check the Graduate Division and the Academic Senate sites (senate.ucsb.edu/manual/appendices/).

18.1. Disputes with Dissertation Committee

From time to time disagreements about decisions, deadlines, policies, procedures, and issues of academic judgment may arise between a student and members of their dissertation committee. As in all such disputes, involved parties should, in the spirit of collegiality, attempt to resolve these issues internally.

  • A student should, therefore, first meet with the chair of the committee (usually her or his Advisor) in an effort to resolve the dispute. If the student feels that she or he is unable to do this or if areas of disagreement still remain after this meeting, a written appeal describing the situation and requesting involvement should be addressed within 14 days to the Department Chair. If the Chair is a member of the committee, appeal should be made to the Faculty Graduate Advisor, or, if a conflict of interest is also present there, to the department’s Graduate Committee as a whole.
  • The department will act to resolve the issue, or declare it irresolvable, and inform the student in writing within 30 days.
  • If the dispute cannot be resolved within the department, or if the student finds the department’s resolution unacceptable, the student may appeal to the Graduate Dean, who will attempt further resolution. This appeal must be made in writing within 14 days of the department’s decision.
  • If the Graduate Dean is unable to resolve the dispute to the parties’ satisfaction within 30 days, the graduate student has 14 days to submit a written appeal to the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council must inform the student of its decision within 30 days. In this area, decisions of the Graduate Council are final.