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Graduate Student Advisement

Excellence in graduate education and research requires respectful, productive, professional relationships between faculty advisors and graduate students. The College of Engineering promotes best practices for advisor/advisee relationships.  These steps include establishing clear expectations at the outset which should be reviewed periodically.  A set of advisement tools, developed through an initiative undertaken by the College of Engineering working group on graduate student diversity and inclusion, are available and continue to be supported by the COE Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education.

Advisement Services

Advising Tools

The purpose of these tools is to help faculty and graduate students in the College of Engineering make the advising relationship as productive and positive as possible. Many of the difficulties in the advisor-advisee relationship stem from unclear communication or a discrepancy in expectations. These tools are designed to help set clear expectations for both the advisor-advisee and assist with clear communication and goal-setting. The tools and/or their mode of use may be tailored to individual situations as desired. Use of the tools is strongly encouraged for all faculty and graduate students.

A. Individualized Development Plans

When to use: Every six months-one year
Goal: To assist with long-term planning and progress evaluation.
How to use: This document will ideally be used once or twice per year. Detailed instructions are provided with the document. In brief, the student and advisor both fill out the document separately detailing accomplishments since the last meeting, research goals for the upcoming timeframe, personal and professional goals, and feedback. This is one of the few clear opportunities for students to give feedback to the advisor, so faculty are strongly encouraged both to use these documents and to accept feedback from the students graciously. Both parties comment on each other’s documents and create a yearly plan together.

  1. How to use an Individualized Development Plans
  2. Download the Goals and Planning Worksheet
  3. Sample of Completed Goals and Planning Worksheet

B. Student-Advisor Expectation Scales

When to use: Advisor selection (if applicable) and new student onboarding
Goal: To set clear expectations between the advisor and advisee. This helps the relationship get off to a good start and helps the advisor and advisee determine if the student is a good fit for the research group.
How to use: Both parties should fill this document out separately. There are no right answers. The student and advisor can then discuss points on which they differ. This will help set mutually-agreeable expectations from day one.

C. Research Group Expectations

When to use: Advisor selection (if applicable) and new student onboarding
Goal: To outline policies and procedures in the lab/research group as well as the expectations that the advisor has for the student. This will also help students assess their potential fit with a research group.
How to use: Faculty are strongly encouraged to create such a document for their labs/research groups and to share it with new and prospective graduate students. They are free to modify the example document or write their own.

D. Weekly or Biweekly Individual Meeting Template

When to use: Weekly/biweekly individual meetings
Goal: To help both parties keep track of the student’s progress and assist with short-term goal setting and accountability for both the student and advisor.
How to use: The graduate student should fill out the template before the meeting. During the meeting, the student and advisor can modify the document as needed. We recommend either printing out these sheets and keeping them in a folder or creating a shared Google doc. This will allow both parties to keep track of progress.

E. Publication and Authorship Agreement

When to use: When multiple authors are collaborating on a research project and need to establish guidelines for authorship credit and publication responsibilities
Goal: To ensure clarity and fairness among all co-authors regarding their contributions to a research publication and the process of submitting, revising, and finalizing the manuscript.
How to use:  Co-authors involved in a research project are strongly encouraged to collaborate and complete this agreement. It is advisable to discuss and finalize the terms before commencing the research and throughout the publication process. A signed and dated copy should be kept by all co-authors as a reference. This agreement can be customized to suit the specific needs and expectations of the research team.

F. Bill of Rights

We are proud to introduce the College of Engineering Graduate Student Bill of Rights, a document that represents our commitment to fostering an environment of respect, equity, and excellence for all graduate students in our engineering programs. From promoting clear academic expectations, research integrity to supporting work-life balance and overall well-being, this Bill of Rights is designed to ensure that your graduate experience is as rewarding and productive as possible.

This document outlines the fundamental rights and expectations for every graduate student in our college. It serves as a cornerstone of our educational philosophy and a testament to our dedication to your success. We invite you to explore the College of Engineering Graduate Student Bill of Rights document here and familiarize yourself with your rights and responsibilities as a valued member of our engineering community.

Finally, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the College of Engineering leadership, faculty, staff, and graduate student leadership for their invaluable contributions to this initiative. Their commitment to graduate student well-being and success has been instrumental in shaping this Bill of Rights and fostering a supportive academic environment.

Department Advising

Advisors begin engaging students as prospective students, regularly interact with them throughout the admissions process & new student orientation and have frequent contact thereafter in the form of academic advisement and problem-solving support through their graduation.  Alongside a department’s faculty, department academic advisors are a graduate student’s first point of contact for questions and concerns around program procedures, contract questions, administrative steps toward degree completion, and can refer the student to either the College of Engineering Office of Graduate Education​ or University entities.


Biomedical Michele Schwander schwande@udel.edu 590 Ave1743, Rm 411


Chemical & Biomolecular Cinda Younce cyounce@udel.edu 238 Colburn Lab 302-831-0517
Biopharmaceutical Judi Smith jkpsmith@udel.edu 590 Ave 1743, Rm 664A 302-831-6742
Civil & Environmental Jacquee Lukawski jacquee@udel.edu 301-1 DuPont Hall 302-831-6570
Computer & Information Sciences Mesha Carey careyc@udel.edu 101F Smith Hall 302-831-4467
Bioinformatics Amelia Harrison aoh@udel.edu 590 Avenue 1743, Suite 147 302-831-6173
Electrical & Computer Gwen Looby glooby@udel.edu 140 Evans Hall 302-831-2406
Materials Science Kathy Forwood kforwood@udel.edu 201 DuPont Hall 302-831-7183
Mechanical Junadah Lindsey jlindsey@udel.edu 126 Spencer Lab 302-831-2423
COE Graduate Education

The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education in the College of Engineering develops and implements policies and programs to foster successful graduate student outcomes.  We offer a diverse engineering environment with specific emphasis on recruitment, retention, and training of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in engineering and computer science.

Dawn Elliott
Associate Dean
Coordinates collection vision of departments and dean to support all COE graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and programs.
Jacqueline Washington
Senior Assistant Dean
Implements professional and career development opportunities and prepares a diverse community of graduate students for leadership roles in industry, government and academia.
Louise Bank
Senior Academic Advisor
Advises and implements best practices in recruitment, enrollment and retention.
Lisa Katzmire
Academic Program Coordinator
Point of contact for all incoming and outgoing news and student support services.
COE Communication Pipeline

The organizational communication pipeline was developed by the College of Engineering to help navigate contacts, roles and responsibilities within the University for graduate student educational needs.

Who Does What?

Contracts and Funding (examples below):

  • General questions about your contract
  • Contract renewal
  • Graduate payroll deductions inquiries
Department Academic Advisor

Course requirements (examples below):

  • What if a required course has not been offered for the last two years?
  • Course substitutions for course requirements
  • Questions surrounding waitlist procedures
  • PhD qualifying exam process
Department Academic Advisor / Graduate Director
  • Research related questions
  • Funding source
  • Technical electives
  • Leave of Absence
Faculty Advisor.  Don’t know who your faculty advisor is?  Check UDSIS.

Questions, concerns or grievance with faculty advisor (examples below):

  • Reporting paid vacation time violations
  • Follow-up questions about the process for changing advisors
  • Raising issues of conflict of interest
  • Reporting sexual assault and harassment violations
  • Workplace conditions (number of hours worked, quality of research equipment, etc.)
Chair / Associate Dean of Graduate and Post Graduate Education
Dean’s approval of thesis/dissertation Lisa Katzmire
Graduate College Council (GCC) Council Members
Graduate Student Government (GSG) Senators, Committees, Officers


Conflict Resolution Intake Form

The Conflict Resolution Intake Form ensures fair, consistent, and efficient conflict resolution in academic settings, benefiting the well-being and professional growth of our graduate students when conflicts with faculty advisors occur. The Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education (OPGE) in the College of Engineering oversees this process, promoting fairness and a positive academic environment. Your information is handled confidentially and used solely for processing your complaint and improving the academic environment. We are committed to addressing all conflicts with care and professionalism, fostering a supportive and inclusive space. We appreciate your input to enhance our college’s environment. Thank you for your trust in us.

The purpose and objectives for using the Conflict Resolution Intake Form is multifaceted:


  1. Promote Equity and Inclusivity: An inclusive conflict resolution process to ensure that graduate students, post-doc scholars and faculty have access to a fair and supportive mechanism for addressing conflicts. It acknowledges that conflicts can affect anyone and aims to provide equal opportunities for resolution, regardless of one’s role in the college.
  2. Address Diverse Perspectives: By making the process available to all stakeholders, acknowledge that conflicts can arise from a variety of perspectives and circumstances. This inclusivity helps in gathering a comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand and facilitates a well-rounded resolution.
  3. Foster a Positive Academic Environment: Access to a structured and fair process, can enhance overall well-being and academic success.
  4. Strengthen Community Trust: An inclusive approach demonstrating commitment to transparency and accountability. Build trust among students, scholars, and faculty that their concerns will be taken seriously and handled appropriately.

What is the responsibility of the OGPE in the College of Engineering when conflict arise?


  1. Centralized Best Practice Approach: Utilize “best practices” from industry and other schools, inform academic policies, student support services, and conflict resolution strategies to aid in conflict resolution process.
  2. Neutrality and Objectivity: Ensure an objective and unbiased handling of conflict resolution matters, maintaining trust among stakeholders.
  3. Consistency and Accountability: Centralized oversight within COE in maintaining consistency in how conflicts are addressed across different departments within the college and insure accountability in the process.
  4. Campus Resource Allocation: effectively allocate campus resources for conflict resolution, such as counseling, or expert assistance, based on knowledge of available resources and the specific needs of individuals involved.

How can OGPE work with departments within COE?


  1. Clear Policies and Guidelines: Collaborate with college departments to establish clear policies and guidelines for conflict resolution. These guidelines should be fair, transparent, and align with university policies and the values of the college.
  2. Training and Awareness: Organize workshops, training sessions, or share information to ensure that everyone in the college, including faculty and staff, is aware of the conflict resolution process and their roles within it.
  3. Regular Review and Feedback: Seek input from all stakeholders via periodic reviews and feedback collection using the annual climate survey to identify areas of improvement.
  4. Cultural Sensitivity: Recognize the diversity of perspectives within the college and ensure that the conflict resolution process is culturally sensitive and adaptive to different needs.

Conflict Resolution Intake Form


Graduate College

Established in 2019, the University of Delaware Graduate College is an expression of the will of the faculty and administration at the University to dedicate itself to the needs and aspirations of our graduate students and postdocs. We will advocate for our graduate students’ and postdocs’ success and well-being in all parts of their lives on and off campus.

Graduate College Team Members

Academic Regulations for Graduate Students

Graduate Catalog