The Graduate Advocates for 2021-2022 are:

Naomi Nishimura, nishi@uwaterloo.ca

Richard Trefler, trefler@uwaterloo.ca

What the Graduate Advocate does

The Graduate Advocates are faculty members who interact with graduate students on matters of concern to the student that are directly related to their graduate program. Typically, these are matters that the student feels are inappropriate to discuss with their supervisor (and/or the Director of Graduate Studies).

Typical topics of discussion include:

  • Items you want brought to the grad director's (or director's) attention, that you are uncomfortable discussing with them.
  • Progress in the program.
  • A second opinion on advice, requests, or other comments that your supervisor made to you.
  • Changing supervisors.
  • Staying in the grad program vs. accepting a job offer.

The Graduate Advocates are also advocates for students who feel they are not being fairly treated. Note that these are only the most common topics of discussion; please feel free to discuss other topics too.

If you'd like to discuss an issue with the graduate advocates, please email to discuss your situation or to request an appointment if you prefer not to discuss this by email. As they may be teaching, at office hours, or in meetings, you are advised to set up an appointment.

The discussions you have with the Graduate Advocates are as private or public as you want them to be. By default, everything is "off the record" unless you desire otherwise. 
 

What the Graduate Advocate does NOT do

The Graduate Advocates are not any sort of Ombudsperson. They have no special powers to make changes or impose their will on another faculty member. Usually, the advocates will listen to what you have to say and tell you what they think; if you wish, the advocates can approach another faculty member on your behalf.

The Graduate Advocates used to be called the Graduate Advisors; we have changed the title to avoid confusion as this position has nothing to do with the following topics (unless you feel you have been unfairly treated in these areas):

  • Information about admission to the UW graduate program and/or general questions for students considering graduate school (contact the Graduate Coordinator).
  • Advice on course selection (talk to your supervisor).
  • Signing of anything (contact your supervisor or your Graduate Coordinator).
  • Granting extensions, etc. (contact your Graduate Coordinator).
  • TA assignments (contact your Graduate Coordinator).