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The ISU Faculty Ombudsperson: An Overview

The ISU faculty ombudsperson is an impartial concerned party whose primary role is to help faculty members resolve problems involving or affecting them. This individual is neither an advocate for the faculty nor an agent for the university. Rather, the ombudsperson is an advocate for fair practices and fosters integrity and timeliness in the administration of campus policies and practices that affect the faculty. The goal of the Faculty Ombuds Office is to help faculty solve problems early, informally, and at the lowest levels to prevent the need to pursue more daunting formal grievance procedures.

If early and informal ombuds assistance is unsuccessful, information and counseling on formal grievance/appeals processes may be offered. The ombudsperson also may assist faculty if exhausting all formal institutional grievance procedures does not lead to a satisfying solution. However, the ombudsperson cannot and will not become actively involved during formal grievances or legal actions.

Non-participation in formal and/or legal grievance procedures is important since ombuds work is intended to be kept confidential. Participating in formal grievance procedures would violate this intention by acknowledging conversations with individuals about issues that were promised to be kept confidential. Also, formal grievance procedures, by definition, are adversarial. The ombudsperson's role is to remain impartial. Providing information that might assist one party - to the detriment of another - violates this aspect of the mission of the office.

Because of its unique, informal, problem-solving function, contacting the Faculty Ombuds Office about a concern does NOT constitute legal "notice" to the institution that the problem exists. Anyone wishing to "put the institution on notice" must contact an administrator or invoke formal grievance procedures.

Any faculty member or administrator of the ISU community can bring a concern to the faculty ombudsperson, so long as it relates to the role and experience of ISU faculty. The ombudsperson also may recommend policy changes to alleviate chronic problem areas.
Last Modified: 05/19/11 at 11:42:42 AM