Who Can Help?
I have an issue or concern. Who can I talk to?
Graduate school can present a number of challenges. In order to help you overcome these challenges, the BIMS program and our institution have many faculty and staff who are happy to help you when you are facing problems or have a concern that you would like to share.
Resources within BIMS
Your Thesis Mentor/PI is one of your primary resources for help during graduate school, and they will continue be a resource for you once you complete your degree and advance in your career. Your thesis mentor will be best situated to help you navigate the scientific challenges you face during your thesis project as well as help you as you plan your next steps in your career following graduation. We have adopted the first year BIMS Compact and IDP processes as ways to structure communication with your mentor about expectations, challenges, and goals, which can serve as a foundation for this mentoring relationship throughout your graduate training and beyond.
Your Director of Graduate Studies can help with many topics related to your PhD program. These include questions about your curriculum, your degree requirements, etc. as well as helping you navigate selection of your thesis advisory committee. They can also often help when you encounter conflict with your mentor or other issues. Please build a strong relationship with your DGS as they will be a terrific resource throughout your time in the graduate program.
Your BIMS Administrator is also a terrific resource for questions about your academics, as well as other important administrative aspects of your time here. They are the individuals that ensure that you receive your financial support and that help you to not miss deadlines. Again, it is very advantageous to develop a great relationship with your BIMS Administrator early, as they are an essential contributor to your success in the program and a fantastic resource for information on a variety of topics.
Your Associate and Assistant Deans. Janet Cross and Adrian Halme are always available to talk with you about whatever is on your mind. They can help with a variety of challenges that you may face or help connect you with other resources when necessary. Both have elected to take on these leadership roles because they have a passion for graduate training and want to ensure that every BIMS student has the best possible experience in the program. They are also continually striving to improve the BIMS program and would welcome your perspectives on where opportunities exist.
The members of your Thesis Advisory Committee are your advocates. While it can be tempting to avoid holding committee meetings when things are not going well, this is exactly the time to assemble this group. Getting an outside perspective on your work can be extremely valuable for you (and your mentor) throughout your graduate studies. Whether you interact with them as a group or one-on-one, it is advantageous to keep them informed about your progress and to draw on their expertise and support early and often.
Other faculty can also serve as valuable resources for support. Your research adviser is only one important mentor for you during your graduate school experience. It is difficult for one person to mentor you in all dimensions. Developing relationships with other faculty (as well as staff and peers) is important to establishing your mentoring network. Please be vigilant for other members of the BIMS community with whom you “click” and work to build relationships with others. These connections will be a very important support system when challenges arise.
If you need help with Health and Wellness UVA’s Student Health and Counseling and Psychological Services provide a variety of services and opportunities. In addition, please explore resources and opportunities available from the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and/or the Mary D. Ainsworth Psychological Clinic
When you are ready to explore careers and prepare for your future, there are many offerings available through the University’s PhD Plus program. This program is housed in the Office of the Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs which also provide support for trainees in a number of areas. Please explore their offerings here:
If you have encountered or observed perceived bias-motivated conduct or harassment, please refer to the resources available through the Office of the Dean of Students. The faculty and staff in the BIMS program are also happy to help you navigate the process of reporting these incidents. We are all mandatory reporters who can provide support and help you through the process. Please read more about policies and procedures surrounding bias-motivated conduct and harassment on their website.
If you have encountered or observed an incident, please use the UVA Just Report It system to notify the appropriate contacts at ODOS.
If you have an issue that you would like to discuss with a neutral party not affiliated with your PhD program or BIMS, please feel free to reach out to the University Ombuds. The University Ombuds is an independent, confidential resource. You can read more about the role of the Ombuds and/or make on appointment on the website.