Student Advocacy Officer

Student Advocacy Service

The Student Advocacy Service is available to current Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of the University of Wollongong, including UOW Education Centres and satellite campuses.

The Student Advocacy Service provides free and confidential support for University of Wollongong students who seek guidance on grievances, appeals, disputes, mismanagement or misconduct by staff or students, during their studies at UOW.

The Student Advocacy Officer will act as a ‘sounding board’ for a student prior to the submission of an appeal or grievance, and where necessary will then assist the student to:

  • clarify the problem
  • document a chronological sequence of events which led to their current situation
  • review the steps that were taken by both the student and the University in an attempt to resolve the matter
  • identify which policies and procedures have been referred to and what stage the case is at
  • propose an appropriate course of action to have the case addressed.

This process ensures that students are more fairly represented. Providing relevant information during a review or investigation has led to outcomes that are more often in the student’s favour. The Advocacy Officer may also act as a liaison or support person for the student, particularly in cases where miscommunication or language barriers have become problematic. 

The Student Advocacy Officer may liaise with Academic, Administrative (Fees), and Student Support services (such as Student Central, Counselling Services, Disability Services, Student Support Advisors, Learning Development and PASS) to assist students in times of hardship.

If you are experiencing difficulty in meeting the requirements of your work due to extenuating circumstances, please consider the following steps:

  • Notify your lecturer / supervisor. Disclose only what you feel is relevant.
  • If appropriate, make an appointment with a Counsellor, Disability Liaison Officer, or Medical Professional and request the necessary documents that confirm your situation.
  • Documents may also include Police reports and Statutory Declarations.
  • Ensure that all official documents are translated into English by an appropriate agency, before submitting them.
  • Students who are eligible for assistance from the Disability Service also include carers of those with a disability.
  • Keep all correspondences with academics /staff that are related to the matter (emails, notes on conversations etc.).
  • Speak to the Student Support Advisor (SSA) from your faculty - they may be able to provide you with further assistance without the need for Advocacy.
  • Contact the Student Advocacy Officer if you need somebody to advocate for you.
Requesting assistance from the Student Advocacy Officer?

The most effective way of contacting the SAO is by email (preferable) or SMS. In an initial email, please include a summary of the circumstances for which you seek assistance, chronologically and in point form. This might include:

  • The nature of hardship
  • Who you have already contacted regarding the matter and the date that you received correspondence from academics, Student Services or any external agencies.
  • The dates and outcomes of any former related appeals and the cut off date for the next stage of your appeal.
  • A current copy of your academic transcript.

The student Advocacy Officers are:
Siobhan Christian and Rachel Cathcart


Phone: 61 2 4221 4203
SMS: 0429 810 195
Ground floor, Building 19 (Arts Building) 19.G033



Last reviewed: 19 September, 2017