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Implementing an Ombudsperson Policy at USU. Office of the Provost Utah State University. The purpose of this presentation:. Introduce the ombudsperson policy Review a set of guidelines for your service as ombudsperson Responsibilities of an ombudsperson

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implementing an ombudsperson policy at usu

Implementing anOmbudsperson Policy at USU

Office of the Provost

Utah State University

the purpose of this presentation
The purpose of this presentation:
  • Introduce the ombudsperson policy
  • Review a set of guidelines for your service as ombudsperson
  • Responsibilities of an ombudsperson
  • Project where do we go from here
in the beginning
In the beginning . . . . .
  • Define ombudsperson.
  • Etymology: Swedish, literally, representative, from Old Norse umbothsmathr, from umboth commission + mathr man
  • 1: a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials
  • 2: one that investigates reported complaints (as from students or consumers), reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable settlements
and we continue
And we continue . . . . .
  • See Policy 405.6.5 (at WebCT site)
  • Expect familiarity with P/T process and Policy 405
  • Who will utilize ombudspersons?
    • Every College
    • Library
    • Extension
ombudsperson guidelines
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The ombudsperson is not part of the P/T committee – he/she does not have a vested interested in the outcome of the P/T meeting aside from the process. 
  • The ombudsperson will verify that due process has been followed at the meeting.
  • The ombudsperson does not vote during the decision process.
ombudsperson guidelines1
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The ombudsperson is required to have earned promotion with tenure, but does not have to be of rank equal to or greater than the candidate.
    • For example, a tenured Associate Professor can serve as an ombudsperson on committees for faculty seeking promotion from Associate to Full Professor.
  • The ombudsperson will serve primarily on college committees.
  • An ombudsperson may not serve on a department committee.
  • The ombudsperson may be asked to serve beyond his/her college but only in specific circumstances.
ombudsperson guidelines2
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The ombudsperson will be invited to the meeting in advance but does not have to review the file.
    • He/she is present to guide the implementation of process, as outlined in policy 405.
  • It is the responsibility of the promotion and tenure committee chair to contact the ombudsperson in advance to schedule his/her participation.
ombudsperson guidelines3
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The ombudsperson is not permanently assigned to a promotion and tenure committee. The ombudsperson will serve as much as his/her schedule will allow.
  • However, if a second meeting is required to complete the committee’s business, then it is preferable to have the same ombudsperson.
ombudsperson guidelines4
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The ombudsperson will sign the promotion and tenure committee’s letter indicating that due process was followed at the meeting.
  • If the ombudsperson cannot sign a statement indicating due process was followed at the meeting, then he/she will report in a memo irregularities to the department head or supervisor and the dean or other administrator.
ombudsperson guidelines5
Ombudsperson Guidelines
  • The Provost’s Office will annually solicit and train a group of ombudspersons. The Provost’s Office will maintain the list of university ombudspersons for use on promotion and tenure committees.
  • Whereas policy 405.6.5 does not indicate a term or limit to a term of service, the ombudsperson will be contacted each year to determine his/her willingness to serve.
  • A college may establish a term limit policy to optimize the rotation of service as ombudspersons.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • At the beginning of a meeting, the ombudsperson should ask if everyone has review the file; if not, dismiss the meeting. (The ombudsperson does not have to review the file.)
  • Ascertain that there is a current role statement, signed by the candidate, department head or supervisor and dean or unit administrator.
  • The ombudsperson is not to comment on the contents of the candidate\'s file.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson1
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • The ombudsperson is responsible for making sure that the rights of the candidate and the University are protected and that due process is followed.
  • Questions of a personal nature are inappropriate.
  • Assure that the interests of the candidate as well as the University are fairly represented.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson2
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • The ombudsperson may question any procedures that are out of the ordinary. In general, a typical procedure for the committee is:
  • (a) to meet first without the candidate to discuss procedure and any concerns,
  • (b) to ask the candidate in to make a statement about progress toward tenure and/or promotion and answer questions,
  • (c) to discuss without the candidate present what the evaluation will be for this annual review, and
  • (d) to ask the candidate to return for a summation to share that evaluation with her/him.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson3
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • The level of documentation required for ombudspersons may be no more than "I certify that due process was followed."
  • The primary duty of the ombudsperson is to listen and to take notes about any concerns.
  • Any irregularities are to be described in a memo. The ombudsperson will report any irregularities to the department head and the dean.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson4
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • Discussion should include the candidate\'s role statement and how he/she has been meeting role statement assignments during the past year.
  • The committee is to focus on the substance of the file.
  • The ombudsperson is to focus on process.
responsibilities of the ombudsperson5
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson
  • Use the Check List
    • A template of what to look/listen for
    • Record who, when, and where

Sign the annual letter as the ombudsperson with a statement such as:

“I certify due process was followed in this review meeting”

- or -

“I certify that the above meeting was held in accordance with University procedures”

project where we go from here
Project where we go from here
  • Overall, we look for an improved process
    • less unhappiness – candidate, committees, administration
  • Annually update and refine the process for soliciting and training qualified ombudsperson 
  • Track the service provided – frequency of service and nature of interaction / impact 
and in the end
And in the end,
  • Questions, answers, problems and solutions.
  • Contact information:
    • Larry Smith, Executive Senior Vice Provost

Room 142, Old Main Building

[email protected] telephone: 797-0718

  • Thank you for the opportunity.
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