What Services Do Ombudspersons Provide?
Private, Confidential Consultation
Parties can safely express their issues, and their feelings about these issues, to the ombudsperson who will listen actively, facilitate reflective thinking, clarify facts and assumptions, and assist the faculty member in exploring options for resolving their concerns and determining an action plan to achieve an acceptable outcome.
The ombudsperson may gather information on behalf of a faculty member, with or without keeping the person’s identity anonymous, through face-to-face meetings, email or phone contact; may serve as liaison between faculty, and between faculty and administrators, directly involved in a dispute, assisting them in exploring issues, understanding various perspectives, and developing a mutually acceptable outcome.
The ombudsperson may facilitate an informal process that assists parties to resolve their concerns in a mutually acceptable way. When mediation is undertaken, an Agreement to Mediate form is signed before the parties begin to discuss their concerns. In the next stage of the process, information is shared and issues are discussed. Options are then developed and evaluated before decisions are made about how things can best be worked out for the future. A mediated agreement may be signed which outlines plans for the future, and a follow-up meeting is often scheduled to assess how the plan is working and to modify the agreement if desired. Currently, the UTC Ombudsperson is a Rule 31 Mediator in Tennessee.