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Updates to Staff Ombuds Program

January 18, 2024

As many are aware, Stacey Marshall, assistant HR director who has also served as ombuds coordinator for the Staff Ombuds Program has recently retired from ISU after 18 years of service. We are grateful to Stacey for her many years of dedicated service to our faculty and staff at ISU! With her retirement, HR and ISU leadership have been collaboratively evaluating the best options for the sustained continuation of the Staff Ombuds Program in her absence.

Based on feedback from ISU leadership, Staff Council, Leadership Council, and those serving in Staff Ombuds roles, there was a shared desire for this program to continue. Additionally, ISU leadership has continued to have conversations regarding the best long-term approaches for the ombuds function. While the Faculty Ombuds Program is managed under the direction of Faculty Senate, the Staff Ombuds Program has been coordinated through Stacey Marshall in human resources, with specific guards and controls in place to ensure the Staff Ombuds Program remained neutral, confidential, and independent of other HR processes. 

With University leadership transitioning over the coming year, we anticipate continued dialogue regarding the best model and framework for the ISU Ombuds programs and long-term planning. However, until those longer-term decisions are made, the Staff Ombuds Program will continue to be supported through HR. 

Karey Steed, assistant HR director for employee relations and organizational development will serve as the new point of contact and coordinator for the staff ombuds function. Because of Karey’s role in managing the HR employee relations function, HR is slightly modifying the structure of the staff ombuds coordinator duties to ensure that the informal, independent, neutral and confidential aspects of the Staff Ombuds Program are maintained. Though Karey will serve in a supportive function to the ISU staff who serve as staff ombuds, Karey’s role will be to facilitate the program logistics (website, promotional materials, professional development for ombuds).

Because of her role in HR, Karey will not meet with individuals as an ombuds, hear cases, or engage with the staff ombuds members regarding specifics of cases they are working on. Karey will remain accessible to the staff ombuds team in a supportive role, able to answer questions related to ISU policies and procedures should staff ombuds committee members reach out for guidance. The goal of this change in ombuds coordinator duties to more of a managerial one will help reinforce the boundaries between ombuds situations and HR processes and reporting.

With Karey’s role as ombuds coordinator solely focused on logistics, the Staff Ombuds Committee will continue to work collaboratively with one another (outside of HR) as needed to discuss specific situations or cases, and prepare annual reports based on data that will only be visible to Staff Ombuds Committee members. The HR team looks forward to continuing to engage with the ISU Leadership and Staff Councils moving forward as we collectively explore the best long-term structure for the ISU Ombuds Program. If you have any questions regarding this change, please contact HR hr@isu.edu, or Staff Council.

If you are a current ISU staff member and have an interest in serving as a staff ombuds, please contact kareysteed@isu.edu


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