Ombud: 'listener' or 'neutral party'
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has established a two-person team of ombuds to be a resource for faculty seeking to resolve difficulties that interfere with their work. The ombuds serve as designated 'neutral' parties who provide all UNL faculty members access to confidential, informal, independent and impartial assistance in managing conflicts and solving work-related problems.
The ombud team provides an additional level of support to faculty members outside the formal grievance processes. In addition, the ombuds may sometimes alert university officials to systemic problems or general trends that merit further review or consideration for the good of the university community.
The ombuds are neither advocates for any individual or group nor do they represent university management. Rather, they are advocates for respectful dialogue, fair practices and mutual understanding within and across the institution.
The Ethical Principles That Govern Ombud Behavior
University of Nebraska-Lincoln faculty ombuds are members of the International Ombuds Association and adhere to professional standards of practice established by the IOA. These include principles and actions addressing confidentiality, impartiality, informality and independence.
Why Faculty Might Contact a Faculty Ombud
Faculty members may contact the faculty ombuds for a variety of reasons. For example, faculty may desire:
- Clarification of faculty rights, university policies or procedures
- Information about options and resources for addressing work-related issues
- Help in exploring an informal resolution to a work-related problem
- Assistance in communicating with other faculty or university administrators
How Faculty Ombuds Assist Faculty
- Clarifying university options and procedures
- Developing and evaluating options or courses of action and assisting faculty in knowing how to pursue an option
- Identifying dispute resolution alternatives for faculty who seek options and referring individuals to appropriate services
- Coaching faculty on how an issue or concern may be presented more effectively
- Looking into a problem informally with permission and, when appropriate, presenting recommendations to the faculty or others
- Facilitating conversations around disputes — either by going back and forth between parties and individually talking with them so that they have a better understanding of the dispute or by bringing the parties together in order to assist them in reaching their own settlement
- Recommending systems change to appropriate individuals