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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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