Help and Support
Students looking for academic advice should approach any member of the faculty that they feel comfortable speaking with. For more general academic advice, speak to the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Students having difficulties forming a dissertation committee should speak with the DGS as soon as possible. The DGS can offer advice and act as a go-between to establish connections with faculty.
HELP WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ISSUES
Students needing help in resolving an administrative or payroll issues within Northwestern should speak to the Graduate Program Manager. They can connect with The Graduate School (TGS) and other university offices.
HELP WITH PRACTICAL ISSUES OF LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES
Need help with riding the Chicago Transit Authority, dealing with the cable company or the Social Security Administration? Speak to the Graduate Program Manager or talk with some of the older students.
HELP WITH UNDERSTANDING THE DEPARTMENT’S FUNDING RULES
The webpage on departmental funding explains the department’s rules and progress milestones for funding. Students with unusual or extenuating circumstances should talk with the Associate Chair.
HELP WITH IMMIGRATION ISSUES
The staff of the Office of International Student and Scholar Services ("The International Office") are best equipped to help. Please contact the Graduate Program Manager for documentation for an I-20 extension.
HELP WITH PERSONAL AND MEDICAL ISSUES
TGS has a webpage describing health and wellness services. These include:
- on-campus Student Health Services
- emergency and urgent care
- counseling and mental health services provided by Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
- medical care covered by student health insurance, and
- the process for requesting a medical leave of absence.
If the student feels comfortable with sharing any personal or medical issues that affect their studies, they can speak in confidence with the DGS or the Graduate Program Manager. (Note, however, the mandatory reporting requirement described under 'Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct" below.) They can offer advice and connect the student with resources within the university. They can also help the student navigate the process if the student feels that a medical leave of absence is necessary.
Students who witness a peer having personal or medical issues should reach out to the peer student or alternatively speak confidentially with the DGS or the Graduate Program Manager.
HELP NAVIGATING UNIVERSITY PROCESSES
The Office of the Ombudsperson is a confidential, neutral, informal and independent resource for navigating life at Northwestern. Services include facilitating communication, providing referrals and consulting on conflict resolution and University policies and procedures. The ombudsperson can provide information that relates to your situation, suggest options available to you, and mediate and facilitate "difficult conversations.” But they cannot give legal advice, conduct formal investigations, or change rules, policies or procedures.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Accommodations in lectures and in test taking for students with disabilities are determined solely and confidentially by the AccessibleNU office. They evaluate, and confidentially inform instructors about any accommodations that are necessary. Instructors cannot independently make accommodations or deny accommodations specified by AccessibleNU.
PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED AS A TEACHING ASSISTANT
When serving as a Teaching Assistant (TA), students should expect that faculty act as a mentor. Faculty are asked to monitor how TAs are doing in the discussion section(s) and other duties, and to provide constructive advice. However, TAs have a right to be treated with respect. Inevitable mistakes or errors should be discussed with the instructor and treated as a learning experience. If there is unresolved conflict with an instructor, contact the Associate Chair. For issues with a student in the class, contact the instructor of the course and/or the Director of Undergraduate Studies.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO OUR PROGRAM
Our program has evolved based on suggestions by students. For suggestions regarding changes in the curriculum, please speak with the DGS. For suggestions on improvements in support services, please speak to the Graduate Program Manager. Another option is to share concerns with the student representatives on the department’s Graduate Studies Committee, who can discuss the issue with the committee.
The university has policies dealing with academic integrity, plagiarism and the responsible conduct of research. TGS has a web page providing advice on avoiding academic integrity violations. The webpage also has information on reporting, procedures for review of alleged violations, and possible sanctions.
CONFLICTS WITH OTHER STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF
In many cases, the situation should be addressed directly with the other person, but there are options if the conflict is unresolved or if the victim is uncomfortable raising the issue.
Conflicts with Faculty
TGS has a policy statement and processes to deal with conflicts between students and faculty such as conflicts between students and their dissertation advisor and committee.
Conflicts with Other Students
Northwestern has a student code of conduct. The Office of Student Conduct deals with peer to peer conflict including incidents of hate or bias. Northwestern has a Behavioral Consultation Team available to provide advice if a student feels that their personal safety is at risk.
Departmental Help and Support
If the student feels comfortable talking with them, the DGS or the Graduate Program Manager are best equipped to initially address concerns and provide connections with the appropriate office on campus.
DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT OR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Northwestern is committed to fostering an environment in which everyone is safe, secure, and free from sexual misconduct, discrimination and discriminatory harassment.
Departmental Help and Support
If the student feels comfortable talking with them, the DGS or the Graduate Program Manager are best equipped to initially address concerns and provide connections with the appropriate office on campus. Note that currently most university personnel are required to report any sexual misconduct, discrimination or harassment of which they become aware during the scope of their work. This includes the DGS and the Graduate Program Manager, as well as faculty, staff and graduate students with teaching responsibilities. The Office of Equity outlines the options for confidential support concerning sexual misconduct.
University Reporting and Support
Northwestern encourages anyone who has been the target of, or who witnesses, sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment based on a protected category to report the incident to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance so that those impacted can be provided with information on available resources and options. The Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance outlines the options for confidential support concerning sexual misconduct.
The university has contracted with an independent third-party company, NAVEX Global Inc., to receive confidential reports of violation of illegal or unethical behavior while maintaining the reporter's anonymity and confidentiality. The reporting tool, called EthicsPoint, can be contacted by Internet or by calling 1-866-294-3545. Note that EthicsPoint is not an emergency service, and there may be a delay in responding. If there is an imminent threat, call 911. Read about how EthicsPoint operates and the services it provides.
Inappropriate Professional Conduct
The American Economic Association (AEA) has a code of professional conduct. If the victim believes that the AEA should become involved, the AEA has appointed an ombudsperson to deal with violations of this code of conduct.
CONNECT WITH OTHER STUDENTS
Students in the program are a great support group and can provide answers to questions and offer practical advice on the resources available at the university and in the community.