The most frequently asked questions about the Office of the University Faculty Ombuds are:
The faculty ombuds is available to all members of the University with faculty and post-doctoral appointments. The term “faculty member” includes all tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenured track faculty (including visiting faculty). Individuals with graduate student titles such as assistant instructors and teaching assistants should contact Student Ombuds Services.
The faculty ombuds will keep confidential the fact of your visit and the information you share unless you give permission to reveal specific issues with specific persons for the purpose of resolving the conflict. However, there are legal exceptions and University policies that occasionally require the ombuds to break confidentiality. These primarily entail a serious risk of imminent harm to yourself, others, or a perceived threat to the University. Under the guidelines of the University, the faculty ombuds is designated a mandatory reporter for Title IX purposes and will need to breach confidentiality on Title IX concerns brought up during a visit. The ombuds will inform you if your case is likely to require a breach of confidentiality. With that being said, rarely does the ombuds need to break the confidentiality of a faculty member.
Yes. The ombuds can help you better understand processes and potential outcomes before you decide whether to file a complaint. The ombuds can also help identify alternatives to formal grievance procedures and direct you to the appropriate procedures and office, should you wish to file a formal complaint.
The scope of the faculty ombuds’ concern extends to all aspects of University life, both academic and nonacademic, which affect faculty and post-docs.
You might want to contact the ombuds when you:
- Need an impartial and confidential sounding board
- Believe you have been treated unfairly
- Have been unsuccessful in resolving a problem
- Want to report a problem, but you want to get a sense of possible outcomes first
- Are not sure how to interpret a University policy or procedure
- Are not sure which University policy applies to your situation
- Believe a University policy or practice is unfair or confusing
- Have been through a formal grievance in which it appears procedural errors were made
- Need a mediator or help facilitating communication
- Have a question or a complaint about an office, service, or decision at the University
- Are not sure where else to turn for help
No. Although the current ombuds is a psychotherapist, she does not practice psychotherapy in this role. Psychotherapy is available for faculty on campus by contacting the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).