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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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The Office of Graduate Education, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Office of Graduate Education

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Graduate Center

Graduate Assistance

Welcome to the Graduate Center webpage, we are pleased that you have visited. The center provides personal service to graduate students with questions about matters of academic, social, personal, and professional growth at Rensselaer. The center personnel will meet with you personally or communicate electronically on a wide range of subjects that relate to or influence your graduate educational experience, not all of which may be of an academic nature alone. Rather, personal services also include confidential consultation that is characteristic of an ombuds office and is designed to help resolve concerns you may have about campus life or interpersonal conflicts. We can also refer you to other campus professionals that may be of service, or direct you to literature and bibliographic resources that may address a specific issue you want to learn more about.

Vision Statement


Mission Statement


Statement of Objectives


Graduate Ombudsman

The graduate student ombudsman, working within the Graduate Center, can help graduate students resolve issues that may arise within the university setting. The ombudsman offers an informal avenue for graduate students, where consultations are kept confidential and students may remain anonymous, except in cases of sexual harassment or assault, which must be reported to the Division of Human Resources.p>

If you believe that you need to speak with the ombudsman confidentially about a campus-related issue, contact Mr. Dennis Gornic, 276-6567, or visit him in the Office of Graduate Education, 1516 Peoples Ave. Mr. Gornic has sixteen years of experience in the Rensselaer Office of Graduate Education helping graduate students to reach their educational and personal goals and holds an MS degree in Academic Advising from Kansas State University and a BS in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He is an affiliate member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), where he received extensive ombuds training. Additionally, he .

The graduate student ombudsman will consult with students who wish to:

  • Clarify a policy, procedure, or process,
  • Improve interpersonal skills or a relationship with a colleague,
  • Identify and understand learning style and behavioral differences among colleagues,
  • Deal more effectively with a transition,
  • Help prepare for a difficult conversation,
  • Discuss a campus situation such as a health and safety concern,
  • Understand cultural differences among colleagues,
  • Discuss housing options,
  • Voice an opinion confidentially regarding incivility or disrespect,
  • Discuss harassment, discrimination, or mistreatment concerns,
  • Engage an impartial listener for an informal talk.

The graduate student ombudsman does not:

  • Maintain identifying records,
  • Identify and understand learning style and behavioral differences among colleagues
  • Represent individuals in formal procedures
  • Conduct or participate in formal investigations or processes
  • Provide psychological counseling
  • Offer legal advice
  • Testify or gather evidence for formal administrative processes
  • Advocate for individuals or departments
  • Establish, change, or set aside policies Serve as an office of record

*Other than in the case of sexual harassment or assault, which must be reported to the Division of Human Resources. Such reporting may result in limited disclosure of the student’s name.