Ask a Dean



How can I get funding to present a conference talk? How do I apply for parental leave? Who can I talk to about a confidential issue in my graduate field? How do I handle a difficult relationship in my field? 

Use the "Ask a Dean" program to get timely answers to your questions.

Questions and responses that may be of interest to the graduate community will be published anonymously on the Graduate School website and in the Graduate School Announcements. 

Questions Submitted to the "Ask a Dean" Program in 2016-2017

Fellowships and Funding:

  • Is there anyone who can help me with the Soros fellowship application? Read response
  • Can I extend my health insurance through October? Read response
  • Can I extend my insurance until my GRA appointment ends? Read response
  • Can you advice me of a fellowship I can combine with my upcoming postdoc appointment? Read response
  • Can I extend my health insurance until October 1? Read response
  • Can I be funded by a TAship and a fellowship at the same time during the summer? Read the response
  • Do graduate students have to pay tax on our health insurance? Read the response
  • Can I receive an  assistantship for my fifth year from a department other than my own department?Read the response
  • Why do doctoral fields differ in the years of funding offered to students at the time of admission? Read the response
  • Why are there differences in funding? Read the response
  • Where can I find funding for my second year as a masters student? Read response

Student Experience:

  • Can we label major allergens in foods campus-wide? Read response
  • Are students required to view "Not Anymore"? Read response
  • Can you explain why Kimball Hall only has shower facilities for men? Read response
  • Does Cornell have a weekly events emailer? Read response
  • Is there one place I can go to find out about upcoming seminars? Read response
  • Has the Graduate School ever considered setting up theater/improv style workshops for graduate students? Read response
  • Is there any data to suggest there would be large numbers of students who would participate in the smoking cessation program? Read response
  • Will the Exercise Facility Reimbursement be reinstated? Read response
  • What is Cornell's rationale for discriminatory pricing policies for parking? Read response
  • Will graduate students on assistantships get the same benefits as employees? Read response
  • Can you comment on policies regarding romantic/sexual relationships between students and faculty? Read response
  • Can you tell me if you found my gym bag at Pie with the Deans? Read response
  • Is it normal and/or allowed to have cameras in my lab? Read response
  • How can I effectively reach staff for participation in a research study? Read response
  • Are graduate and professional faculty eligible for GPSA Faculty Awards? Read response
  • Why is one of the buildings on campus locked early? Read response
  • Could the proposed changes to the ACA affect graduate student health insurance at Cornell? Read the response
  • Why is the Pie with Deans event for first year students only? Read the response
  • How can I help my spouse acclimate to Cornell? Read response
  • Do you have any more pie recipes? Read response
  • Why are there different deadlines for health and dental insurance? Read the response

Policies and Requirements:

  • Can I ask a professor outside Cornell to be on my exam committee? Read response
  • Should I only show the the published paper in the dissertation papers only option? Read response
  • How do I register when I enter the research phase of my graduate study? Read response 
  • How do I register for the fall semester given that I will be finalizing my dissertation? Read response
  • Why can't I add a first year professor to my special committee? Read response
  • I am in an interdisciplinary field and have several questions. Can you help? Read response
  • How do I switch fields? Read response
  • Can I list a second advisor on studentcenter for my special committee? Read response


  • How can I discuss justice usefully? Read response
  • Is it a policy of Ask a Dean to report letters to supervisors and DGSs without first responding to the grad? Read response
  • Are graduate students who are expected to work overtime renumerated? Read response
  • Can an instructor withhold credit from a student who does not adhere to business casual dress? Read response
  • Are all dissertations published automatically with or without embargo? Read response
  • Can you help me find a TA who can take over my course this fall? Read response
  • How can I find out about the tenure status of one of my minor subject special committee members? Read response
  • How can I provide feedback about the advising I received? Read response
  • How many years will it take to complete my PhD? Read response
  • Do I need Cornell's permission to use a graduate student's work in a publication? Read response
  • How can graduate students be certain that our deans are actually serving our interests? Read response
  • When will Cornell stand up for free speach and free inquiry? Read response
  • Are students from rural communities underrepresented at Cornell? Read response
  • I wonder if you could share current dean salaries? Read response
  • Can you help me with the automatic enrollment for the research course? Read response

Union Representation:

  • Are there any updates on the unionization vote that took place last spring? Read response
  • If we vote for a union, where will the money come from to pay for the extra benefits? Read response
  • Several questions about the student union design? Read response
  • Is the union allowed to use my name and/or image without my permission? Read response
  • Is the distribution of voters equitable across CGSU's negotiating committees? Read response
  • How did the union representative know where I live? Read response
  • How can the election determine the will of graduate students if eligible students can't vote? Read response
  • Why have the Graduate School's emails become verbose and redundent? Read response
  • If I vote against union representation, will my wishes be recognized? Read response
  • Am I eligible to vote in the upcoming election since I receive a partial stipend? Read response
  • Which email address is correct for the arbitrator? Read response
  • Several concerns about health and safety. Read response
  • Will the GPSA still be able to represent me if Cornell unionizes? Read response
  • Thank you and comment (3/16/17) Read response
  • Thank you and who did you pick for the Final Four? Read response
  • How many of the signatures on the recent CGSU petition represent eligible voters? Read response
  • Is there a reason why the upcoming union election will NOT be held electronically? Read response
  • How important is it to vote? Read response
  • Will Cornell contest the election if the union wins? Read response
  • Are in absentia and fellowship students included in the bargaining unit? Read response
  • How will voting work for students who are working off-campus or at a satellite campus? Read response
  • Thank you #1 (3/13/17) Read response
  • Thank you #2 (3/13/17) Read response
  • Does not voting affect the process the same as voting against? Read response
  • Is there an absentee voting procedure available for the election? Read response
  • Will the Cornell administration respond to questions from pro-union graduate students? Read response
  • Is it legal to un-unionize? Read response
  • Can you offer your perspective on unionization in the modern workforce and how you understand CGSU in this context? Read response
  • Can you tell me about how the dues payment process would work? Read response
  • Comment #1 about Ask a Dean (3/6/17) Read response
  • Comment #2 about Ask a Dean (3/6/17) Read response
  • Comment #3 about Ask a Dean (3/6/17) Read response
  • Should I be concerned about CGSU and their non-Cornell affiliated representatives? Read response
  • What would happen if a graduate student union decided to strike? Read response
  • If there is an election at Cornell, how will it be conducted? Read response
  • Do authorization cards ever expire or are they valid indefinitely? Read response
  • Is there a way to stop unwanted visits from union representatives? Read response
  • How do I remove my name from the At What Cost listserv? Read the response
  • How can I find out more about the Union-Management meeting? Read response
  • Will the union subpoena my information in the spring, if so, how do I opt out? Read response
  • Why are your communications about the union always so biased? Read response
  • Given Columbia's recent election in favor of union representation, what are the differences between Columbia and Cornell? Read response