Webb appointed faculty ombudsperson

August 4, 2014  

Ralph Webb, professor of communication, will become faculty ombudsperson effective Aug. 18.

In this newly created position, Webb will act as an independent and neutral agent in disputes that involve faculty members. He will listen confidentially to faculty members' concerns and will assist in informal efforts to address them, and he will facilitate dialogue between faculty and University offices and administrators.

The position of faculty ombudsperson is a half-time appointment.

"I'm very pleased that the faculty ombudsperson will provide Purdue's valued faculty members with objective, third-party arbitration when they might need it most," says President Mitch Daniels.

"As a faculty member with nearly 50 years of service to Purdue, Dr. Webb is exceptionally qualified to provide these services with the utmost conscientiousness and care."

As faculty ombudsperson, Webb also will provide faculty members with information about policies and services, and he will recommend appropriate changes as necessary to policy and/or work procedures.

Webb's guidance, suggestions or recommendations as ombudsperson will be designed to encourage mutual understanding, identify possible common ground, and create potential solutions with the intent of avoiding the need for an informal or formal grievance.

Webb's role as ombudsperson will be independent from the University's formal administrative structure. The ombudsperson will report directly to the provost and the University Senate's chair.

The selection process for the position required the Senate to recommend a short list of three candidates; the Senate then forwarded that list to the provost, who reviewed the candidates' qualifications and made a recommendation to the president. Daniels then appointed Webb.

David Williams, professor of medical illustration in the College of Veterinary Medicine and 2013-14 chair of the University Senate, praised the selection of Webb, who he says is especially qualified for the position.

"I have known Professor Webb for many years -- and have served on a number of grievance panels with him -- and he has never failed to impress me with his very deliberate and thoughtful approach to these matters," Williams says.

"I am very pleased that President Daniels has appointed Professor Webb as Purdue's first ombudsperson. Professor Webb will be outstanding, and those faculty who need his advice and counsel, and the University, will find him to be an excellent source for conflict resolution."

Webb will serve a two-year term as ombudsperson. The term may be renewed for an additional two-year term as long as the Senate leadership recommends and the president approves the additional term.

Writer: Amanda Hamon Kunz, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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