Grainger College of Engineering
Ombudsperson Overview

 

Role

The Grainger College of Engineering Ombudsperson is authorized to confidentially receive complaints, concerns, or inquiries about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties, and/or broader systemic problems within the ombudsperson's defined jurisdiction and to listen, examine the issue and any relevant policies, offer options, facilitate resolutions, informally investigate or otherwise examine these issues independently and impartially [1]. The Ombudsperson shall maintain confidentiality except in cases where reporting is legally required, shall provide informal non-binding advice, shall maintain neutrality and impartiality, and is independent.  The Ombudsperson will not be exempt from Title IX reporting requirements.

Appointment and Activity Reporting

The Ombudsperson is appointed by the Dean for a 3 year term, renewable by the GCOE Executive Committee. Effectiveness of this role requires and will be understood to have direct access to the Dean of the College, so that critical issues can be brought to the Dean immediately.

The Ombudsperson will provide regular reports of activities and high-level metrics to the Executive Director of Human Resources. These metrics can include number of matters brought to the attention of the Office, the number of resolved cases, number of pending cases, and others, etc.

No confidential information will be shared.

Authority

The Ombudsperson does not have direct institutional authority to change rules, overturn decisions, or force issues to be addressed. Actions may be taken by the Dean on the advice of the Ombudsperson if deemed appropriate.

Jurisdiction

The Ombudsperson shall serve as a resource in issues pertaining to individuals in the College that are employed at the University. This includes faculty, staff, and post-doctoral researchers, but not graduate or undergraduate students who have other resources available.  

It is important that all employees feel comfortable using the services of the Ombudsperson, particularly members of the staff, non-tenure track faculty and academic professionals, and pre-tenure tenure-track faculty.

Requirements 

The Ombudsperson shall be a tenured full professor or emeritus professor from within the Grainger College of Engineering. Functions and skills, as well as suggested characteristics for an Ombudsperson, are suggested in Reference.

Other Information 

  • The Ombudsperson will be available for remote discussions via media such as Zoom, but if remote or virtual, then meetings will not be recorded for confidentiality reasons.
  • The Ombudsperson will be available to attend meetings either as an observer or as a neutral moderator as requested or appropriate.
  • It is not intended for the Ombudsperson to play a role in the promotion process for staff or the promotion and tenure process for faculty and academic professionals, but where an employee feels the process was unfair or otherwise biased, those concerns may be brought to the Ombudsperson for advice.

References:

[1]    https://www.ombudsassociation.org/assets/docs/Nuts-and-Bolts-for-Establishing-a-New-Ombudsman-Office.pdf  (Note: several blocks of text from the above document were derived directly from this reference.)