Faculty Ombuds Frequently Asked Questions

To whom are the Faculty Ombuds Officer services available?
To all faculty in all academic areas and the Professional Librarians

Does the Faculty Ombuds Officer handle student or staff issues?
No, student issues are addressed through the online complaint process, staff issues are addressed by Human Resources.

What functions does the Faculty Ombuds Officer perform?

  • Listens to you
  • Answers your questions
  • Analyzes your situation
  • Explains policies and procedures
  • Provides information and advice
  • Explores possible solutions
  • Suggests appropriate referrals
  • Assists in pursuing a resolution
  • Informally mediates a dispute where appropriate
  • Apprises the administration of significant trends
  • Recommends changes in policies and procedures

When should a faculty member or professional librarian contact the Faculty Ombuds Officer?
When you:

  • Need to have a confidential discussion about a university related problem
  • Feel a policy or procedure has been unfairly applied to you
  • Need information about faculty rights and university policies and procedures need help in facilitating a resolution to a work-related problem
  • Want to know your options for solving a work-related problem
  • Prefer to resolve a dispute in an informal manner
  • Want to know what university resources are available to you.

What DOESN’T the Faculty Ombuds Officer do?

  • Advocate for you, i.e. assume a non-neutral role
  • Represent you in a grievance procedure
  • Address a non-university related problem or complaint
  • Intervene in a formal grievance procedure
  • Overturn decisions by university officials
  • Provide legal advice or legal representation

What authority does the Faculty Ombuds Officer have?
The faculty ombudsman has no form of authority. His job is to mediate and negotiate settlements as part of an informal resolution to an issue. He will also bring issues to the attention of the administration when practices or policies or other aspects of the WT culture appear to exacerbate tensions or create problems for the faculty.

Do you keep records?
No, the Faculty Ombuds Officer will only keep statistical data without names in any database.

What is informal, early stage mediation?
Informal mediation is a voluntary meeting of disputing parties in which they attempt to reach their own solution with the help of the Faculty Ombud Officer.
Some benefits of mediation include:

  • Parties choose their own solution; no arbitrator imposes a decision
  • You can work to seek common interests, rather than brining or defending against charges of wrongdoing or violations of WT policy.
  • You have flexibility to reach creative solutions that a grievance or other formal proceedings may not allow

Can faculty members or Professional Librarians be compelled to use the services of the Faculty Ombuds Officer?
No, the use of these services is strictly optional.

How should I communicate with the Faculty Ombuds Officer?
Appointments can be arranged by telephone or email, generally during business hours Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. when the Faculty Ombuds Officer is not teaching classes. Please do not include confidential information in an email.