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November 2021 Message from Dean Mayo

Dear Members of The Graduate School (TGS) Community,
November is a time of gratitude and reflection as the Fall Quarter starts to wind down and our thoughts turn to spending time with family and friends. Thank you for remaining diligent in your academic pursuits while looking out for the safety and well-being of yourselves and your colleagues. I hope the upcoming holidays are a time of peace and relaxation.
One of the groups within TGS for which I am particularly thankful is our Student Servicesteam, which includes Kate Veraldi, Kristine Emrich, and Bianca West. This team does an exceptional job supporting a framework for academic success by administering TGS academic policies and procedures. They field hundreds of inquiries each week and work closely with graduate students, program staff, and faculty members.
Student Services also administers several internal fellowships and grants, with the goal of supporting graduate students’ research, scholarly and creative endeavors, and professional development. They serve as a central, trusted source of information and help students at every step in their graduate career, navigating the path from matriculation to degree conferral. This work often occurs behind the scenes in concert with program faculty and staff to ensure successful degree completion. Please email the Student Services team at for assistance with the following topics:

  • Quarterly registration, including late registration requests, course overloads, course drops, and course withdrawals
  • Leaves of absence and parental accommodations
  • Taking classes at other universities via the Big Ten Academic Alliance traveling scholar and Chicago Metropolitan Exchange programs
  • Program transfers, readmissions, and withdrawing from a program
  • Satisfactory academic progress, including probation, milestone and degree deadlines
  • Appealing program dismissal decisions
  • Academic integrity
  • Ad hoc degrees, combined degrees, dual degrees, and certificate programs
  • Graduation, including degree requirements, filing for graduation, graduation deadlines, dissertation review and delivery, dissertation embargos, diplomas, and certificates of completion

I also am pleased to help welcome Sarah Klaper to Northwestern in her role as ombudsperson. Sarah is a confidential, neutral, informal, independent resource and a safe place for all members of the Northwestern community to discuss University-related issues or manage conflicts. Establishing this role has been a priority for our TGS community, and I hope you will reach out to Sarah for support. Communication with the Office of the Ombudsperson does not constitute “official notice” to the University. The types of concerns you can bring to Sarah include academic issues, faculty/student disputes, disciplinary matters, housing concerns, workplace issues, discrimination, incivility, privacy issues, retaliation, unethical behavior, and any other University-related concern. You can learn more by visiting the new Office of the Ombudsperson website.
Thank you for advancing the learning, discovery, creativity, and teaching of Northwestern. Our graduate community is the engine that makes our University hum. I am grateful for each of you and celebrate your accomplishments and contributions. Please know my door is always open.
Kelly E. Mayo
Walter and Jennie Bayne Professor of Molecular Biosciences
Dean of The Graduate School and
Associate Provost for Graduate Education

Dean's Monthly Recognition

In continuing the monthly tradition, I would like to recognize an individual or group who represents excellence in supporting the graduate and postdoctoral experience at Northwestern.

This month, I am pleased to recognize our Graduate Program Assistants as a whole. In addition to the directors of graduate studies, our Student Services team works closely with graduate program assistants and coordinators in each program to address inquiries, resolve issues, and support our TGS community. The Graduate School could not be successful without the diligence and facilitation of this dedicated group of individuals. Graduate program assistants and coordinators serve an integral role and often are a first point of contact for students. They work unwaveringly to make sure students remain on the path to successful degree completion. Thank you to this group for their devotion to our students and commitment to being a resource for our community.

Categories: From the Dean