FAQ’s about the Ombuds Office
What should I expect if I meet with the Faculty Ombuds?
On your first visit, I will generally ask to set aside 45 minutes for our first meeting. I will first give a very brief overview of the purpose of the Ombuds and the four Standards of Practice and answer any questions you have about the position. Next, I will ask you to voluntarily give me some basic information about yourself that I can use to keep track of patterns and trends. You are free to decline sharing this information if you wish.
Thereafter, I strive to create a welcoming and safe environment in which you feel comfortable sharing your concerns and asking questions. My primary goal is for you to feel heard, understood, and helped at the conclusion of our meeting, whether or not your problem has been solved. I aim to offer you the resources and information that will be most helpful for you in pursuing your chosen course of action. In addition, you are welcome to return or follow up with me as needed until your problem has been resolved to the extent possible.
What kinds of things can we discuss?
The Faculty Ombuds can discuss any question or concern that affects your work as a faculty member. Some common issues that arise include:
- Workplace bullying, incivility, and interpersonal conflict
- Reappointment, promotion, and tenure proceedings at the Department, College, and University levels
- Conditions and processes for teaching (e.g., re-appointment of temporary part-time faculty) and non-teaching (e.g., appointment of program coordinators) appointment decisions
- Policies and procedures for resource allocation (e.g., travel money, graduate assistants)
- Questions about filing grievances at the College or University levels
Is what I tell you confidential?
Yes. Even my direct reports do not have access to the identity of those who meet with me or to any identifiable information we discuss. Whether or not you have met with me and anything we might discuss will be held in confidence unless you give me specific permission to share it.
There are three important situations in which Faculty Ombuds cannot keep information confidential:
- When I believe there is an imminent risk of serious harm to an individual
- When I suspect maltreatment of a child or endangered adult
- When compelled by court order
Can the Faculty Ombuds help me file a grievance?
The Faculty Ombuds can help you:
- Decide whether filing a grievance is the right decision for you (e.g., discuss pros/cons/alternatives)
- Understand what elements are necessary to include, should you choose to file a grievance
- Locate the appropriate forms and policies and answer questions as you prepare your initial grievance
- Read what you write and offer feedback as a neutral observer
The ombuds cannot:
- Help you make a stronger argument
- Make any guarantees about what will happen in a grievance process
- Participate in a formal process at any stage, such as by being a witness or formal mediator
- Advocate on your behalf or offer guidance once you have initiated a formal grievance
Ms. Michelle Jones