School Ombudspersons

The ombudsperson assists Pitt graduate students and postdocs 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 and postdocs to further resources on campus as appropriate.

See a list of ombudspersons by school below.

The roles of the ombudsperson:

  • Listen to graduate student/postdoc concerns.
  • Explain university and school policies.
  • Explain the grade appeal process.
  • Act as a neutral resource between graduate student/postdoc 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/postdocs on how to talk to faculty and staff.
  • Refer individuals to others as appropriate.
  • Act as an informal resource to graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff.
  • Keep information confidential except as required by law or university policy, which includes Title IX issues.  
  • Work with graduate students/postdocs from another school if a graduate student/postdoc wants to talk to an ombudsperson from a different school. In these situations, the graduate student/postdoc should realize that the ombudsperson will not be familiar with their school/program policies.

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.

Ombudspersons by School

Philippa Carter  Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  Philippa Carter
  Director of Diversity Initiatives and Academic Affairs
  Learn more about the Dietrich School Graduate Studies ombudsperson »

Paul Klein  Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
  Paul Klein 
  Clinical Associate Professor of Business Administration

Cathedral of Learning viewed from Heinz Chapel  Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
  Renee Kidney
  Assistant Director of Student Services
  Learn more about the GSPIA ombudsperson »

Cathedral of Learning viewed from Heinz Chapel  School of Computing and Information
  Wesley Lipschultz
  Director of Student Services

Alicia Maltony  School of Dental Medicine
  Alycia Maltony
  Student Services Administrator

Kathryn Ferguson  Kathryn Ferguson
  Student Services Administrator


Max Schuster  School of Education
  Max Schuster
  Assistant Professor of Practice
  Department of Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy
  Learn more about the School of Education ombudsperson »

Jessica Maguire  School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
  Jessica Maguire
  Executive Director of Student Affairs and Ombudsperson
  Learn more about the SHRS ombudsperson »

Meme Jeffries  School of Law
  Meme Jeffries
  Director of Financial Aid

Daniel Devor  School of Medicine
  Daniel C. Devor
  Professor, Department of Cell Biology
  Ombudsperson for PhDs and postdocs

Michelle Manni  Michelle Manni
  Research Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics


G. Sarah Napoe  G. Sarah Napoe
  Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences

Robert O'Doherty  Robert O’Doherty
  Associate Professor of Medicine


Laurel Roberts  Laurel Roberts
  Senior Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences


Learn more about the School of Medicine Ombuds Office

Jennifer Brunner  School of Nursing
  Jennifer Brunner
  Director of Advisement

Bailey Tobias  School of Pharmacy
  Bailey Tobias
  Director of Graduate Programs

  Michael DollingerSchool of Public Health
  Michael Dolinger
  Director of Student Services

Jessalynn Oliver  School of Social Work
  Jessalynn Oliver
  Admissions and Financial Aid Coordinator


Cheryl Paul  Swanson School of Engineering
  Cheryl Paul
  Director, Student Services