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FACULTY OMBUDSPERSON (003047-2014)

A.           Position Summary:  What is the Faculty Ombudsperson?  What is the
main purpose of this position?  Why does it exist?

  • The Faculty Ombudsperson acts as an independent and neutral agent in faculty disputes.
  • The Ombudsperson will confidentially listen to faculty concerns and will assist in an informal effort to resolve concerns and conflicts related to faculty rights and responsibilities. 
  • “Serving as a designated neutral party, the ombudsman is neither an advocate for any individual nor for any organization, but rather is an advocate for fairness, who acts as a source of information and referral, and aids in answering individual’s questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and critical situations. In considering any given instance or concern, the point of view of all parties that might be involved are taken into account. This office supplements, but does not replace, the University’s existing resources for formal conflict resolution.”  Source:  International Ombudsman Association (January 21, 2009)
  • Specifically, the faculty ombudsman:
    • listens to faculty concerns;
    • analyzes these concerns and explores with the faculty and administration options for resolving the concerns;
    • provides information to faculty about policies and services;
    • facilitates dialogue between faculty and University offices and administrators;
    • applies common sense conflict resolution and conciliation methods to assist with the informal resolution of faculty concerns prior to the filing of a grievance; and  
    • recommends changes in policy and/or work procedures
  • Any guidance, suggestions or recommendations offered by the Ombudsperson are designed to facilitate mutual understanding, identify possible common ground, and/or create possible solutions with a view toward avoiding the need for an informal or formal grievance, but they are not binding on any party.  

B.           Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: The ombudsperson should have the following skills, characteristics, and expertise:

  • Knowledge of University and University Senate policies, procedures and protocols and how they impact faculty as well as other stakeholders and the University community.
  • Superior communication skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with individuals at all levels of the University as well as with people of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Innovative problem-solving skills, including the ability to gather information, analyze it, and assist in developing appropriate options and actions.
  • Thorough understanding of conflict resolution strategies and practices.
  • Commitment to professionalism, collegiality and confidential handling of sensitive matters. 
  • Impeccable integrity, good faith and fair dealing.  
  • Must be open, objective, and must seek to understand issues from multiple perspectives.  The ombudsman should be innovative in developing options that are responsive to differing needs.
  • Must adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.
  • Should not be risk-averse and should understand that this position may, on occasion, need to probe, in a firm but respectful manner, administration and faculty positions in an effort to foster candid self-reflection and mutual understanding.
  • Some training and support may be available to candidates to ensure they have the requisite background and skills to do the job.

C.           Effort, Reporting and Accountability

  • Independent of the University’s formal administrative structure.
  • Reports directly to the Provost and to the Chair of the University Senate.
  • Submits an annual report to University community, including a written report (based on de-identified aggregate data) provided to President, Provost and Senate Leadership and an annual presentation to University Senate.
  • The inaugural faculty ombudsperson will work with the Provost’s Office and University Senate to establish a charter, mission statement and guiding principles for the office.
  • The ombudsperson is subject to coverage by the University’s indemnification policy.
  • The ombudsperson position is a .50 FTE position

D.           Appointment Process and Term of Appointment

The ombudsperson is appointed for a 2-year term upon the conclusion of the nomination and selection process described in the second paragraph below (the “Selection Process”).  This term may be renewed for an additional 2-year term, without the need to repeat the Selection Process, as long as the Senate Leadership recommends, and the President approves, the additional term.  Every four years, however, the position must be re-posted and the Selection Process repeated.  An incumbent will be eligible to be nominated in the Selection Process.  If the incumbent once again emerges from the Selection Process, he or she may be appointed to another 2-year term, subject to renewal for a subsequent 2-year term in the manner describe above.  In no event, however, may an incumbent serve for more than 12 consecutive years.

  • The ombudsperson will be selected from a short list of three (3) candidates recommended by the University Senate. Faculty wishing to nominate their colleagues should send these names to the appropriate Senate authority. The Senate leadership or nominating committee will create the list and forward this list to the Provost. The Provost will review the candidates and may, in the process, make reasonable requests for the candidates to provide supplemental information.  The Provost will then make a recommendation to the President. The President will select the ombudsperson from this list, taking the Provost’s recommendation into account (but not necessarily being bound by it).  The 2-year term will commence on the earliest practicable date following selection by the President. 

Purdue University is an EEO/AA employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.

1This code of ethics is available from the International Ombudsman Association at the following web address: http://www.ombudsassociation.org/sites/default/files/Code_Ethics_1-07.pdf

2Resolution of the Board of Trustees of the Trustees of Purdue University Clarifying and Reaffirming Policy on Indemnification (amended February 8, 2002) (http://www.purdue.edu/policies/business-finance/indemnification.html)