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Who To Talk To

If you're facing some issue in your graduate experience, it's not always clear who can help. Here are some ideas:

If your situation doesn't obviously fall into one of the above categories, you have some options.

The Galois Group Officers

These are fellow math grad students who have been elected or appointed to represent you and your interests. If there's some general issue in the department (e.g. a maintenance problem in MSB, a dearth of geometry courses) or something you'd like advice on, it's appropriate to reach out to the president, vice president, or relevant representative.

When an officer approaches staff or faculty over some matter, it's much more likely to be understood as a collective issue as opposed to a personal problem.

The current list of officers can be found here.


If you know someone who you trust with your problem and feel comfortable around, it's okay to go to them for help. Even if they're not your adviser or in one of the following positions.

Departmental Relations Committee (DRC)

This committee was formed in 2020 with a specific mandate to promote strong, healthy relations between the various components of the department. Especially between faculty and graduate students. Its members specifically sought out a position where they'd be empowered to address issues. You can contact the committee as a whole by emailing Again, you can also ask an officer to reach out on your behalf.

The current members are listed on the Committee Lists page, which requires you to log into the department website. (It uses the same credentials as your math email account.)

Other Appointments

Certain faculty are specifically appointed to handle departmental and graduate matters. These individuals have also generally sought out an official responsibility to support your well-being. Even if they can't resolve your issue, they'll know who to talk to.

You can find a list of current appointments on the department's about page. The Department Chair has a broad mandate to handle department matters, the Vice Chair for Graduate Matters is a good resource regardless of which program you're in. The applied math program also has a Chair of the Graduate Group in Applied Mathematics. Contact whichever you're most comfortable talking to, or else ask one of your officers to contact them if you're uncomfortable doing it yourself.

Your Adviser

Many advisers see themselves as generally responsible for the success of their students. If you have an adviser that you're comfortable talking to about non-research matters, they can be a huge resource. This is especially true for matters which are more personal. e.g. you're suffering from burn out, are considering taking time away from the program.

The Union

Our jobs as TAs, AIs and readers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, negotiated by UAW 2865. This governs the terms of our contracts, including compensation, work load, and which types of work we can be asked to do. You do not have to be a member of the union to be protected by these provisions

If you are curious about your rights, here's the contract's full text. You can also find a summary here.

If you are having issues with your workload as a TA or Reader, it is appropriate to bring this up to whoever you're working for. Especially if they're a postdoc, KAP, or new faculty, it's possible they don't realize how much they're asking. This is appropriate even if it's not breaking the union contract. (Most 50% TAships in the department require significantly less than 20 hrs/ week.)

Perhaps talking it out doesn't work, is too uncomfortable, or maybe the issue doesn't involve a specific faculty member. (e.g. child care support, access to gender-inclusive restrooms.) You can contact the union. They will be able to support and represent you through the grievance process, which can include anything from informal conversations to formal meetings with UCD's Labor Relations department.

whototalkto.txt · Last modified: 2020/06/25 11:13 by brown