University Ombuds - 21924BR
The University Ombuds will provide the leadership and overall direction for the Ombuds Office. This position acts as a neutral, independent, informal and confidential resource for University faculty, staff, students and administrators who are seeking assistance to resolve questions and concerns affecting their relations with peers or the institution. The Ombuds is not an advocate but is a designated neutral who remains unaligned and impartial with respect to any given instance or concern, taking into consideration all points of view and legitimate needs and interests of all parties to a conflict or dispute. This position does advocate for fundamental fairness and seeks to promote an educational and working climate wherein individuals are treated equitably with dignity and respect.
The roles and functions of the University Ombuds may include, but are not limited to, providing neutral facilitation or other services across groups; assisting faculty and staff who have questions, concerns, and complaints; helping individuals clarify their interests and goals; providing information about University policies, procedures, and resources; engaging in informal information gathering to better understand all perspectives on an issue; help individuals work though pros, cons and possible alternative courses of action, making appropriate referrals and coaching for healthier conflict resolution; alerting University officials on areas of process and climate improvement; and promoting a safe, respectful, ethical and productive campus community in line with the University’s values and policies. This position provides appropriate coaching, conflict, facilitation and referral services.
The Office of the Ombuds operates independently of the usual administrative authorities. In accordance with University Senate Rules and Regulations, 6.2.2, the University Ombuds has access to all administrative officials of the University and, in accordance with law, to all University records, including those of faculty members. The Ombuds does not have authority to take disciplinary action, reverse decisions, or circumvent existing University rules and procedures. The Ombuds supplements but does not replace other means that may exist for redress of grievances. All proceedings in individual cases are to be held confidential by the Ombuds unless otherwise authorized by the complainant. For further information about the role of the Ombuds, see the "Standards of Practice" section of the International Ombuds Association website: http://www.ombudsassociation.org/standards.html.
The Office of the University Ombuds is located organizationally in the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor. The position reports to the Provost and liases with the VP for DEIB on a day-to-day basis while operating independently of all institutional reporting responsibilities. The University Ombuds is independent of existing administrative structures and submits periodic written summaries (annually and quarterly) to identify opportunities for enhancement to the campus community.
- Develop and implement a neutral, independent, informal, and confidential Ombuds program for faculty, staff and students.
- Serve as the initial and sometimes sole contact for visitors seeking assistance from the Office of the Ombuds. Serve in an independent capacity to avoid conflicts of interest and any appearances of being compromised.
- Seek to resolve concerns and disputes informally. Where issues cannot be resolved informally, help the visitor to understand and access existing options for formal dispute resolution.
- Develop and update processes, practices, web content, surveys, trainings and presentations.
- Adhere to the International Ombuds Association's Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.
- Actively participates in professional development and trainings.
- Formulates, manages, and oversees the overall goals, programs, budget, and direction of the office.
- Provides impartial, confidential consultation services to members of the University community experiencing interpersonal and/or system-related conflicts.
- Establishes and maintains effective working relationships at all levels of the University and collaborates with other offices and campus organizations to improve the campus climate.
- Conducts outreach to provide educational information to the University community about the role and principles of the Ombuds Office as well as supervises advertising and marketing of the Ombuds Office.
- Assess visitors' situations or needs and either prepare visitors for an appointment or triage the visitors to a more appropriate resource. Independently work with individuals to present a range of options to resolve conflict.
- Help individuals to clarify their interests, needs and goals.
- Understand, identify, and explain relevant University policies and procedures.
- Provide conflict coaching, human relations, communication, and conflict management training and consultation designed to help individuals or groups achieve healthier conflict management.
- Recognize issues that pose potential legal liability and triage those matters to the appropriate resource.
- Advocate for a fair, impartial conflict management system and support changes to achieve these goals.
- Directs and maintains the University Ombuds Office, including serving as the initial point of contact for university community members seeking assistance with dispute resolution.
- Assist faculty and staff in dispute resolution through informal means, including consultation and facilitating dialogue and coordination of mediations.
- Engage in informal information gathering in order to better understand an issue from all perspectives.
- Help individuals to weigh the pros and cons of alternative courses of action.
- With visitor's permission, facilitate communication between individuals, promote intergroup dialogue, conduct shuttle diplomacy, and serve as a designated impartial process observer.
- Facilitate conflict resolution informally and where appropriate if all parties agree to informal facilitated dialogues or refer visitors to internal or external mediation, as needed.
- Embrace diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and be able to work with individuals from a broad variety of identities, cultures, and experiences.
- Support and collaborate on campus-wide efforts of creating a culture of belonging that encourages, celebrates, and supports individuals.
Analysis and Reporting (20%)
- Keep records regarding cases and workload.
- Coordinates caseload and assigns cases to the Associate Ombuds. Delegates projects to and supervises and evaluates the work of the graduate assistant and other Ombuds staff.
- Analyze complex conflict issues and concerns brought to the Ombuds Office and provide upward feedback to the University or department regarding activities, trends, and campus systemic issues.
- Compile, analyze, and report statistical data annually, and collaborate with the Office of the Provost, the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and other senior campus leaders to make systemic recommendations to the University on areas of process and climate improvement.
- Maintains and analyzes statistical data regarding services and contacts of the University Ombuds Office and submits an electronic annual report that is posted on the Ombuds Office website.
Other Duties as Assigned (5%)
- Bachelor's degree and 5 years related experience OR Master's degree and 3 years of related experience.
- Minimum three years' experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities of the position (for example: conflict coaching, mediation, organizational development, organizational changes and/or policy development and implementation).
- Previous work experience that required excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively in a culturally sensitive manner with individuals from diverse backgrounds, as evidenced by application materials.
- Demonstrated experience and/or education in diversity, inclusion, cultural competency and intersectionality.
- Master's, Ph.D., J.D., or advanced certificate in mediation, conflict or dispute resolution, organizational psychology, higher education, counseling, or related fields, and five years of relevant professional experience or training.
- Experience as an organizational ombuds in higher education.
- Certification as a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OPÒ).
- Completion of ombuds training programs and workshops.
- Previous work experience that required problem-solving skills, including the ability to gather information, analyze situations, and assist individuals in developing appropriate options.
- Previous work experience that required obtaining and maintaining the trust and confidence of constituents at all organizational levels.
- Previous work experience that required remaining impartial when meeting with individuals dealing with sensitive, complex, and confidential circumstances.
- A thorough understanding of the nature of conflict and methods for resolution, as demonstrated by relevant coursework, previous experience and letter of application.
Additional Candidate Instructions
- A cover letter addressing how required qualifications are met
- 3 Professional References
Application review will begin May 23, 2022 and will remain open until a qualified pool has been identified.