The Academic Affairs Faculty Ombudsman is an independent faculty member who provides strictly confidential , impartial, and informal conflict resolution and problem-solving services for Staff, Faculty, Students, and Postdoctoral fellows at the University of Utah. The Ombuds Office is a safe place to voice and clarify concerns, understand conflict situations, and find effective ways to respond.
What we do:
- Confidentially hear and discuss your concerns
- Identify options for resolving problems
- Help develop productive avenues of communication
- Serve as a neutral mediator, striving for fairness, equitable solutions and adherence to University policies
- Provide information about University policies and refer you to appropriate University services and programs
- Help navigate the Retention, Promotion, and/or Tenure process, or the appeals for grievances
Click the buttons below for more information.
What we don’t do:
- Make decisions findings of fact, or determine the “guilt” or “innocence” of those accused of wrongdoing
- Establish, change, or set aside policies or administrative decisions
- Offer legal advice
- Offer psychological counseling
When questions, confusions or conflicts arise in the navigation of your position at the University, the Faculty Ombudsman is here for you! Our guiding principle is that communication and negotiation are the best ways to address most professional challenges.
When should you come to us?
The University of Utah encourages informal resolution of problems and faculty are urged to discuss their concerns directly with the parties involved. If you have been unable to resolve a conflict on your own, the next step is to schedule an appointment with the Faculty Ombudsman. The Faculty Ombudsman will discuss your situation in strict confidence. Often, seeing things from a fresh perspective will be sufficient to resolve the conflict. The Faculty Ombudsman can also provide referrals to campus resources for concerns that may be alleviated by additional support services or that are best addressed by other University offices.
There are many situations in which you might want to make a confidential appointment, such as:
- When you need someone to listen to a concern
- When you are in an awkward situation that is bothering you
- When you are unsure of University policy or procedures
- When you feel negotiating through an intermediary would help resolve a conflict
- When you are worried about favoritism or afraid of retaliation
- when you think you have been treated unfairly
Issues we can help you address:
Any issue may be discussed with the Faculty Ombudsman, including concerns with a colleague, advisor, advisee, supervisor, instructor, or co-worker. Common issues are:
- Career Management: promotion; performance management; end of appointment; reorganization; uncollegial environment; overwork
- Work Relationships: conflict with colleague, manager, or advisor; difficult staff; inappropriate or disrespectful behavior; bullying
- Policies & Requirements: academic and employment guidelines; disciplinary process and rulings; grievance and complaint procedures; academic freedom
Issues we refer to other University offices:
Some concerns fall outside the Ombuds Office and are best handled by other University offices that specialize in particular kinds of conflict. We are legally required to report cases of violence and child abuse to campus law enforcement.
- Research Concerns: authorship; unethical behavior; research misconduct; conflict of interest; time commitment; compliance
- Illness, Disability: disability services; accommodation requests; disability plans, leave options
- Harassment, Discrimination, Violence: unwelcome, inappropriate behavior; inappropriate relationships; racial, ethnic, religious or gender discrimination; assault; threats
Principles & Values
Our Principles and Values
The Faculty Ombuds Office operates according to the guidelines established by the International Ombuds Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics including:
The Faculty Ombuds Office assists individuals in resolving conflicts at an informal level by providing a confidential forum where different options and opinions can be heard. We may refer individuals to formal grievance resources, yet we do not participate in any internal or external investigations. In keeping with our informal role, we do not: adjudicate cases; keep case records for the University or for individuals: asses wrongdoing or innocence: impose sanctions: make, change or override any rule, policy or administrative decision.
The Faculty Ombuds Office is an impartial participant in all conflicts and disputes. We do not take sides, but rather consider the rights and interests of all parties in a neutral manner, with the aim of achieving a fair outcome and encouraging everyone to act decently. We do not judge, discipline, or reward anyone.
The Faculty Ombuds office is an independent position, authorized to talk to all persons at the University to facilitate resolution of problems. The office functions independently and outside of existing departmental structure, but for administrative and budgetary, reports directly to the Associate Vice President for Faculty.
Information shared in conversations with the Faculty Ombudsman is strictly confidential. We will not identify you or discuss your concerns with anyone unless you give us permission to do so. The only exception to confidentiality is when we believe there is an imminent risk of serious harm to you or someone else. Communications made to the Faculty Ombudsman do not place the University on Legal Notice