The Ombudsperson assists graduate students with resolving conflicts and issues that arise in the course of their education and training that they believe have not or cannot be addressed within their academic department. The Ombudsperson can help mediate conflicts and provides information about institutional policies related to the student’s issues, including the University’s grievance procedures. The Ombudsperson directs students to further resources on campus as appropriate.

The Ombudsperson for graduate  students in the Dietrich School is Philippa Carter, who also serves as Director of Diversity Initiatives and Academic Affairs. Ms. Carter can be contacted at or 412-624-6096.

​The roles of the Ombudsperson:

  • Listen to graduate student concerns.
  • Explain university and school policies.
  • Explain the grade appeal process.
  • Act as a neutral resource between graduate student and a faculty member or an individual with whom the student is experiencing an academic conflict.
  • Facilitate communication between and among individuals.
  • Counsel faculty to minimize potential conflict.
  • Coach graduate students on how to talk to faculty and staff.
  • Refer individuals to others as appropriate.
  • Act as an informal resource to graduate students, faculty, and staff.
  • Keep information confidential except as required by law or university policy, which includes Title IX issues.  


The Ombudsperson does not:

  • Change grades.
  • Change policies.
  • Take sides, but rather tries to facilitate a mutual understanding between differing points of view.
  • Identify individuals without permission, except as required by law or university policy, which includes Title IX issues.  
  • Take part in formal grievance processes.


Learn more about university ombudspersons >

If a graduate student wishes to talk to an ombudsperson from a different school, they should feel free to reach out to them, realizing that the ombudsperson will not be familiar with the policies of the Dietrich School and their graduate program as such.