Ombuds

Reporting to the President, the Ombuds promotes and supports a safe, respectful, and productive working, learning and living environment by serving as a confidential, neutral, informal, and independent resource for conflict/issue resolution. The Ombuds helps parties work collaboratively to resolve issues and maintain or restore relationships by analyzing complex issues and difficult situations, clarifying needs and interests, explaining policies and procedures, identifying response options and potential solutions, providing information and answering questions, making appropriate referrals, facilitating communication between individuals or within larger groups, mediating disputes, and by serving as a designated impartial process observer. The Ombuds provides individual conflict coaching, human relations, communication, and conflict management training, and provides consultation designed to help individuals or groups prevent or better manage their own disputes to enhance a University-wide culture of civility. The Ombuds compiles, analyzes, and reports statistical data annually, and makes systemic recommendations to the University on areas for policy, process, and climate improvement.

Responsibilities

Job Duty Function Provide a confidential, impartial, informal and independent mechanism to facilitate communication and assist any individual faculty member, staff member, administrator, student, or group with resolving problems that arise out of, or related to their roles
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Listening to concerns, analyzing complex problems, and identifying issues and interests;
• Demonstrating effective problem solving;
• Providing relevant University information, clarifying policies and procedures, and referring visitors to appropriate University resources;
• Counseling, advising, and coaching parties on constructive communication and response options;
• Engaging other parties as appropriate and arranging meetings of disputing parties to achieve resolution;
• Conducting mediations as needed to support problem resolution;
• Attending meetings to facilitate and support respectful communication among disputing parties;
• Serving as a designated neutral participant at meetings and making recommendations for process improvement;
• Maintaining an in-depth knowledge of University policy, procedures and processes that are prescribed for handling complaints and concerns.
Job Duty Function Preserve the confidentiality, impartiality, informality and independence essential to the successful conduct of the office by:
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Maintaining discretion in dealing with comments or inquiries from all sources, whether directly involved in a dispute or not;
• Maintaining confidentiality of each case consistent with established professional standards of practice, pertinent statutes, and University policies;
• Attending to issues of safety and seeking appropriate assistance when there is concern for imminent harm;
• Shredding temporary working notes upon discontinuation of services or at the conclusion of a case;
• Preserving anonymity in annual reporting;
• Destroying identifiable case records;
• Adhering to University policy and the professional standards and practices that preclude participation as a witness in formal proceedings, on or off campus, unless otherwise mandated by a court order;
• Remaining impartial as to the individuals involved in a dispute with the primary purpose of helping university faculty, staff, and students resolve problems affecting or involving them.
Job Duty Function Administer the Ombuds Office budget by:
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Ensuring the effective operation of the office by planning for and monitoring expenses;
• Managing the budget in accordance with University policies and procedures.
Job Duty Function Execute program services in accordance with the Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) to the greatest extent possible and as described in University policy by:
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Maintaining membership, contributing to the development of the Ombuds profession, and participating in IOA leadership activities, as opportunities are available;
• Participating in ongoing professional development, keeping abreast of issues, best practices, and research in the organizational Ombuds profession.
Job Duty Function Prepare an annual report of unit services and activities by:
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Compiling, analyzing and reporting on unit activities and services, including the number of cases received, types of problems addressed, and visitor affiliation;
• Identifying trends in areas needing institutional attention;
• Making recommendations for constructive changes that may affect University policy and procedures in an effort to promote clarity and fairness, based on observation and problem analyses;
• Conducting ongoing assessment of services to identify areas for continuous improvement;
• Submitting the annual report on or before September 30 of each year, according to University policy.
Job Duty Function Support the overall vision and goals of the University by:
Job Duties/Responsibilities • Participating in leadership activities;
• Facilitating meetings and retreats, as needed;
• Contributing to employee professional development, student learning, and outreach activities in areas of expertise.

Position Qualifications

Minimum Qualifications • Advanced degree or a Bachelor’s degree with extensive experience and progressive responsibility in applying related policies, rules, and regulations;
• Excellent communication, listening, and interpersonal skills;
• Demonstrated ability to facilitate problem solving;
• Demonstrated ability to handle confidential information and use discretion in sensitive matters;
• Demonstrated experience in mediation and conflict resolution processes;
• Respect of his or her colleagues for professionalism and integrity;
• Demonstrated leadership skills;
• Creativity, flexibility, and a positive outlook for problem solving;
• Willingness to learn and apply IOA standards of practice;
• Ability to travel.
Preferred Qualifications • Experience in an academic setting;
• Extensive training and experience in mediation, conflict resolution, and/or counseling;
• Familiarity with university policies, procedures and programs, especially those pertaining to grievances, faculty, staff, students, personnel and records;
• Certification in mediation and/or conflict resolution.
Physical Requirements & Working Conditions • Ability to communicate clearly and effectively;
• This position frequently involves working with intense emotions and angry or distressed persons;
• Ability to meet during non-standard business hours.