Excessive Teaching/Research Pressure

If you encounter problems during your graduate career, there are a number of people you can turn to for help, depending on the nature of the problem. To start, you can contact members of the Graduate Life Committee, Lynn Keithlin, or your peer advisors. If you have questions or concerns about whom to contact, see Lynn Keithlin (keithlin@cchem.berkeley.edu). If needed, the non-partisan University Ombudsman can help mediate conflicts and facilitate communication between you, your advisor and the department. Counseling Services are also available at the Tang Center. For specific situations that may occur, we have provided a listing of the formal department and university procedures for mediation below.

Excessive Teaching Loads

Teaching loads at Berkeley are agreed upon by union contract and are designed to be fair across different types of instruction. In case you are asked by the professor teaching your class to work more than the allotted time agreed to in your teaching contract, or if you find you have a personal conflict with the faculty member teaching the course, follow these guidelines for working out the problem:

  1. Start by talking with your course instructor to discuss your load. See if you can work out an alternative teaching schedule or duties.
  2. If the load continues to be a problem, contact the Student Affairs Manager in 419 Latimer. S/he will work with the director of instruction and your faculty instructor.
  3. If you still have problems with your teaching workload, contact the GSI union at berkeley@uaw2865.org or by phone at 510-549-3863. You can also read the details of the current GSI union contract with the university online at: http://www.uaw2865.org/contract.html.

Excessive Pressure to Perform Lab Work

While work loads at Berkeley are heavy, they should not be burdensome, cause depression, or otherwise affect your personal life. In cases where you are being asked to perform an excessive amount of lab work, the department has worked out the following procedure for resolving the pressure between you and your Principal Investigator.

  1. Start by talking to your advisor. The only way for them to know that you feel like you’ve been given too heavy of a load is to tell them. See if you can work out a more reasonable amount of work for your project.
  2. In case the excess work continues, or if you are uncomfortable speaking with your advisor, setup a meeting with Lynn Keithlin, Graduate Student Affairs Officer (keithlin@cchem.berkeley.edu). She will work with you and your advisor to resolve these issues.
  3. At any point, or if any previous resolution is inconclusive, the University Ombudsman can provide further assistance for mediating problems between you and your advisor. The Ombudsman is a strictly confidential, secure, third party designed and empowered by the University to act as an impartial judge for conflict resolution (510-642-5754).