Carnegie Mellon University

The ABCs of CMU


The college/academic advisor is often compared to a high school guidance counselor for the academic and personal support that they offer to students. Academic advisors are professional staff and faculty members who are a primary source of support for first-year students. Advisors can help students determine where their strengths and interests align, develop suitable educational plans, schedule courses, and evaluate progress towards established goals. If you have an academic related question and don’t know where to get started, talk to your academic advisor.

Community Advisor & Resident Assistant (RA & CA)

These undergraduate leaders will live on your residential floor and/or in your residential building to assist you throughout the year. Community Advisors and Resident Assistants can help you navigate through both the Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh communities and answer any questions that you may have along the way. They will also plan programs to encourage interaction among residential students and aid in connecting residents to numerous on-campus resources and services.

College Liaison

Each academic area has a senior Student Affairs staff member who works with their department as a College Liaison. College Liaisons work with students who live off-campus to address a wide range of student concerns. If you have a general concern, the College Liaison can serve as a main point of contact. If you live in university housing, please contact your Housefellow.


On a college campus, the Dean is a person who provides leadership over a specific academic area or administrative office. Carnegie Mellon is fortunate to have exceptional leaders at the helm of its colleges, schools and international programs. Learn more about our CMU Deans and other university leadership.

Housefellow (HF)

Housefellows are members of Student Affairs who are responsible for specific residential houses/communities. Each staff member works with a team of student staff members consisting of a Community Advisor and Resident Assistants to enhance the lives of their residents. Housefellows can assist with personal, academic or professional support and serve as a general resource for their residents.

Head Orientation Counselor (OC)

There are seven undergraduate students dedicated to planning the programs and events that will make your Orientation experience unforgettable. They are determined to make your transition to college life an exceptional experience!

Orientation Counselor (OC)

The OC staff is here to introduce you to the CMU community and to Pittsburgh. OCs are friendly, reliable and as eclectic as your first-year class. Feel free to approach them with any questions you may have. They will be your guides to campus life during Orientation week and will serve as invaluable resources after Orientation ends.

Orientation Leader (OL)

Each HOC has their team of returning Orientation Leaders who are chosen to take on a leadership role and additional responsibilities during Orientation. These veteran OLs arrive before the rest of the OC staff to assist the HOCs in preparing for Orientation


The university President provides leadership for all of Carnegie Mellon. The President is responsible for strategic planning across the institution and sets priorities for our world-class institution and education. Learn more about Carnegie Mellon’s Strategic Plan 2025 and our current university president, Dr. Farnam Jahanian.


The Provost is the university’s chief academic officer who advances our mission for excellence in teaching, research and the intellectual growth of our community. The Provost provides leadership for each of the academic Deans, has broad responsibility for academic focused strategic planning, ensures the quality of the student body and maintains educational excellence. In addition, the Provost provides oversight for recruiting, hiring and promotion of more than 1,500 faculty and academic administrators.