The Graduate Advocates for 2021-2022 are:

Naomi Nishimura,

Richard Trefler,

What the Graduate Advocate does

The Graduate Advocate is a faculty member who interacts with graduate students on matters of concern to them 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:

  • Your 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.
  • To discuss/mention things you want brought to the grad director's (or director's) attention, that you are uncomfortable discussing with them.

The Graduate Advocates are also an advocate 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 advocate, please email to discuss your situtation or to request an appoinment 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 Advocate 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 Advocate is not any sort of Ombudsperson. They have no special powers to make changes or impose their will on another faculty member. Usually, the advocate will listen to what you have to say and tell you what they think; if you wish, the advocate can approach another faculty member on your behalf.

The Graduate Advocate used to be called the Graduate Advisor; 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).