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Student resources
Helpful Resources for NCU Students

Melanie Shaw, Ombuds person


Dr. Melanie Shaw, Ombuds person


Peter Bradley, Student & Faculty Ombuds

Dr. Peter Bradley, Student & Faculty Ombuds

Jessica Hensley, Associate Director, OMBUDS

Jessica Hensley, Associate Director, Ombuds

Meet Your Ombuds Team

In this issue of Higher Degrees, NCU Compliance Manager Corey Carpenter’s article “3 Steps for Effective Conflict Resolution” highlighted the role of faculty members and academic advisors as student advocates when a road block appears in a student’s progress. Because faculty members and academic advisors are the first point of contact at NCU, engagement with the Ombuds team (who are the final arbitrators) takes place via referral.

Our NCU Ombuds Team is led by Dr. Melanie Shaw. With over 15 years in education and serving in a variety of roles at NCU from student, to faculty member, to dissertation chair and committee member, Dr. Shaw relies on the unique perspectives gained in these roles as she leads a team of impartial third party arbiters who investigate student complaints, then determine strategies to resolve conflicts.

According to her, 99.99% of the issues the Ombuds office is asked to arbitrate are related to the dissertation. Dr. Shaw likens the dissertation process to a “perfect storm” of new and challenging practices that are unlike any the student has experienced before. Each case referred to her team is analyzed and reviewed. Once it has been determined there was no breach of process or policy, targeted strategies are reviewed to help the student get back on track.

Within months of being named Ombudsperson, Dr. Shaw realized that she was hearing the same issues with the dissertation process reiterated again and again.

In an effort to confront these matters en masse and before students reached a breaking point, all NCU students were invited to attend a webinar, “Ombuds Chat,” where best practices were carefully explained and frustrations addressed in a Q&A segment. The first webinar was in March, and she plans to repeat the presentation on a regular basis. Students will be notified via MY.NCU.edu of upcoming Ombuds Chat topics.

4 Statistics Apps that Could Help Save Your GPA

Written by Marissa Poulson

There are plenty of people who get math and it all just makes sense. For them, statistics is doable, maybe even fun. For those who are a little more mathematically challenged, statistics can be tough. Maybe it's the content, maybe it's the numbers, maybe you're a visual person and need to see a problem solved step-by-step multiple times. If you struggle with statistics, whatever the reason may be, and are looking for a little extra outside help, these statistics apps may be just what you need to complete your next assignment.

App4Stats - SPSS: Free

Rated on Google Play at just over four stars, this free app is designed to help researchers choose the right statistical test by explaining theories and providing simple guides to run the test. Reviewers appreciate the built-in SPSS calculator as well.

STA: Statistical Toolbox: Free

Designed to help users with statistics and probability theory, this app provides a distribution tool, allows you to run statistical tests (One way ANOVA, correlations tests, etc.), in addition to offering a descriptive tool. With four and a half stars on Google Play, reviewers found it "very useful," especially for a free app, and appreciated having statistics tables on the go.

Statistics Quick Reference Pro: $1.99

Developed by a statistics tutor, this app aims to provide detailed explanations of common statistic course topics while providing visual examples of problem solving. Rated 4.7 stars on Google Play, it covers descriptive statistics, probability, inferential statistics, and applied statistics. Some reviewers preferred the app to their statistics textbooks and agreed that it was helpful for statistics students.

R Instructor: $4.84

At $4.84, R Instructor is the most expensive of the four apps reviewed. It is rated four stars on Google Play and helps users by utilizing plain, non-technical language and includes over 30 videos. It includes descriptions of a long list of statistical tests, in addition to a feature that will help you figure out which statistical test you need to run in case you're not sure.

3 Steps for Effective Conflict Resolution

Written by Corey Carpenter

Is an issue getting you down? Follow these steps for effective resolution.

Education is something that transcends many other experiences in our life. However, during your educational journey it is possible to be confronted with road blocks that require effective problem solving. Here are three tips to help you navigate seamlessly through the complaint process if the time comes (and we hope it never does!).

1. Take a step back to understand why the problem exists.

Ask yourself what the actual root cause of the issue might be. If you know the “why” behind the problem, you'll have an easier time resolving it. Once identified, you should be able to clearly and succinctly articulate the facts and obstacles that the problem presents. Additionally, understanding what you have control over and what you don’t is important. This lets you focus on the facts and eliminates assumptions. Finally, understand exactly what resolution you are seeking. This is important as it helps in maintaining an end goal and prevents “right” fighting.

2. Next, contact your faculty member and advisor.

While this is the first level for resolution – and escalation may be needed – it is the most effective channel to utilize. Simply put, your faculty and advisors care about your success and will be your advocate in getting things back on track. They are truly the catalyst needed in finding the results you are seeking.

3. In the rare case your issue cannot be resolved at the first level, take it to the next level.

NCU has put in place additional channels to help assist in the resolution process. If you find yourself in this situation, here's what you can expect:

Education Level
Point of Contact

1st Level
Faculty Member and/or Academic Advisor

2nd Level
Academic Liaison and/or Associate Director of Student Services

3rd Level
Sr. Director of Student Services

4th Level
Ombudsperson

5th Level
Formal Grievance

Education Levels and Points of Contact

Remember, this process has been put in place to help ensure you're successful in reaching your academic goals. It aligns with NCU's mission and core values, and ensures that the appropriate institutional levels are involved in resolving matters in the most efficient manner. Moreover, it allows those closest to the problem the ability to provide you with the best student experience.