Welcome from the Faculty Ombudsperson
Michelle Jones is a Pedagogical Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics. She has over 23 years of experience in higher education, which includes both teaching and administrative responsibilities. She has experienced WKU from a variety of different perspectives including student, faculty member, Assistant Dean of University College, Interim Director of the Office of Diversity Programs (currently ISEC), Chair of University Senate, and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Council for the WKU Alumni Association.
Professor Jones works primarily with underprepared students and has a knack for reaching these students where they are. She thoroughly enjoys helping students realize their full potential and achieving success in their mathematics courses. She also has a reputation of being a strong advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion for faculty, staff, and students. She has received Faculty Awards in Teaching, Student Advisement, and Public Service and is a former SGA Professor of the Year.
"I am employed and appointed to this position by the Provost. For administrative purposes, I report to the Provost; however, the Provost does not control or interfere with how I fulfill my responsibilities or have access to information that is confidentially shared with me."
What is the role of a faculty ombudsperson?
The role of the faculty ombuds is to provide free support and guidance for faculty regarding workplace questions, concerns, or disputes while upholding the values of respect, integrity, diversity and freedom from bias or harassment. This includes:
- Confidentially discussing a range of issues, including alleged actions, omissions, improprieties, and/or broader systemic problems
- Listening to concerns, clarifying issues, and proposing a range of options for resolution
- Providing information about University policies, procedures, practices, and resources
- Helping faculty identify the best course of action in their specific situation
The ombuds officers involvement and guidance in any given case is tailored to the dynamics of the situation and the needs of the faculty.
A second important role of the faculty ombuds officer is to report general trends throughout the organization without disclosing confidential communications. This includes:
- Providing feedback to the University administration when trends, patterns, policies, or procedures of the University generate concerns or conflicts
- Recommending changes to policies, procedures, and systems when appropriate
- Serving as an information, communication, or consultant to the broader University community when appropriate
What can a faculty member expect if they meet with Ombuds Officer?
The faculty ombuds officer will strive to do the following:
- Confidentially hear and impartially discuss your concerns.
- Help you locate and understand relevant University, College, and Departmental policies and procedures
- Help you identify and evaluate options for resolving your workplace concerns
- Help you locate information or obtain answers to questions that you might feel uncomfortable asking for yourself
- Encourage collegial relationships and effective interpersonal problem-solving
- Facilitate conversations between you and others if all parties agree it may be beneficial
- Refer you to appropriate University resources, services, or programs
- Empower you to pursue your professional potential
- Monitor trends across the university and advocate for systemic change when needed
What the faculty ombuds does not do:
- Provide psychological counseling services
- Offer legal advice
- Establish, change, or enforce policies or procedures
- Make decisions or findings of fact, determine “fault,” or participate in grievance proceedings
- Serve in an advocacy vote for faculty
Ms. Michelle Jones