Problem resolution

Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart

Problem resolution

We hope your tenure as a postdoctoral fellow or research associate is intellectually rewarding, challenging and trouble-free. However, if you do find yourself in need of assistance for whatever reason, there are several resources available on this campus to assist you.

You may find yourself in need of assistance on issues ranging from 'workplace' problems, such as disputes with your mentor, personality conflicts with colleagues, or sexual harassment, to personal problems such as stress or depression. Regardless of the source or nature of the problem, there are places to turn for help.

If you have problems associated with the workplace, talk to your mentor or supervisor first. Generally, it is better to resolve problems informally and 'in-house' if at all possible. If you are not satisfied after speaking with your mentor or supervisor or if your problem involves your superior or mentor, your next step should be to consult with your department chair. If a satisfactory resolution is still not achieved, you can bring the matter to the attention of your dean's office.

At any time you may also seek assistance, information or referrals from the following offices:

Employee Assistance Office:
The Employee Assistance Office is a resource provided by the University of Wisconsin to assist postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, LTE/project employees, and their immediate family members or significant others who are finding it difficult to successfully cope with personal or work related issues and concerns. Their services promote emotional well-being as well as respectful and productive work environments. Contact with the Employee Assistance Office is always voluntary. Services provided are confidential (within limits as governed by Federal and State regulations) and free of charge.

Office for Equity and Diversity (OED):
The Office for Equity and Diversity is a unit within the Office of the Provost.  It promotes, integrates, and transfers equity and diversity principles to nurture human resources and advance the mission of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The office provides leadership and consultation to develop and implement equity and diversity strategies throughout the campus and coordinates campus compliance with affirmative action and equal opportunity requirements, referred to as AA/EEO compliance.

Postdoctoral scholars should contact the OED at 608-263-2378 if they have concerns regarding:

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Disability Accommodations
  • Discrimination/Harassment
  • Affirmative Action

A complete listing of their services is available at their web site.

Ombuds Office:
If you are having a problem in your work-place and need a fresh perspective or simply someone who will lend an ear, you have a safe, confidential place to turn.

The University Ombuds Office provides informal and impartial advice on ways of promoting understanding and communication and on how problems among members of the faculty, academic and classified staff, and graduate student employees might be resolved. The four staff members of the Ombuds Office are retired faculty or academic staff whose extensive knowledge of the UW campus enables them to offer suggestions for problem resolution, especially those not being adequately addressed through other channels. Please note that the Ombuds Office can help with work-place issues, not academic problems.

The office is located in room 225 of the Lowell Center, 610 Langdon Street.  You can contact staff by phone at 608-265-9992 or by email at Although they hope you will not have cause to request their services, they are there to help you, if you need them.

Medical School Ombuds:
For Medical School postdoctoral scholars only--The Medical School Ombudsperson serves as a neutral, independent, and confidential resource for postdoctoral scholars, faculty, staff, and students within the medical school community. The ombudsperson will provide you with a safe forum to voice concerns, organize thoughts, assess feelings, evaluate a situation, and decide on what is important and relevant to your dilemma. The phone number is 608-265-9666.

There are several University and community resources available to help you with any personal problems you are experiencing. The Employee Assistance Office (608-263-2987) may be able to assist you directly. If not, they may refer you to alternative resources.