Problem-Solving and Conflict Resolution

The Graduate School has designated the Graduate and Professional Students' Advocates as peer advocates for USC graduate students. The Graduate and Professional Students' Advocates can provide individual help to students who have problems and conflicts with faculty, program administration or academic evaluations.

Please note: Certain issues, such as sexual harassment and violations of academic integrity, do not fall under the jurisdiction of The Graduate School and must be handled by the appropriate USC individual or office. Examples include: Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention and Services, The USC Office of Equity and Diversity, Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards

Graduate students can bring problems to the attention of the Graduate and Professional Students' Advocates with the assurance that confidentiality will be maintained. The method of conflict resolution will vary according to the needs of the student and the complexities of the concern.

Typically, the Graduate and Professional Studentsí Advocate-Student Relations leads the student through a four-step process, which is also described in the Graduate Assistant Handbook.

  1. The student schedules a meeting to discuss the problem with either the faculty or staff in question, or the student’s supervising faculty or staff.
  2.  If the problem is not resolved, the student schedules a meeting with the chair of the department or program.
  3.  If the problem is still not resolved, the student schedules a meeting with the dean of the school in which the program or department is located.
  4.  If the problem remains unresolved, the student brings the problem to the attention of The Graduate School, which may resolve the issue via informal mediation with the concerned parties.

In the event that an academic dispute results in the dismissal of a graduate student from his or her academic unit, and mediation is unsuccessful, The Graduate School will work with the student through a formal appeal of the academic evaluation. For more information, see the Disputed Academic Evaluation Procedures section of SCampus, the USC student handbook.

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