A team of faculty ombuds, ideally including team members from different schools, would both offer choice to faculty seeking ombuds services, increasing the likelihood that a faculty member seeking ombuds services would have someone outside their department or school, and allow for mutual support and consultation between members of the ombuds team. Having more than one ombuds would also facilitate management of potential conflicts of interest. Each faculty ombuds will receive a membership in the International Ombuds Association, and will be expected to engage with the resources they provide. In addition, they may attend one college-funded conference or training offered by the organization. Collectively, the faculty ombuds team will receive 12 credits of reassigned time for their administrative work, which could be divided amongst 2-4 faculty members.
A Faculty Ombuds serves as a confidential*, approachable, impartial/neutral listener and resource for faculty members, helping to mediate conflicts, provide feedback, suggest referrals to other resources as needed, and foster respectful, inclusive, and ethical behavior and fair process. A Faculty Ombuds listens to the concerns of faculty, facilitates constructive dialogue, and assists in evaluating available options. Responsibilities include:
- offering confidential* assistance to Ithaca College faculty of all ranks and positions with informally resolving conflict or other concerns, and issues related to employment, tenure and/or promotion process (including appeals or potential appeals);
- offering guidance to chairs, deans, the Provost, and evaluative bodies associated with the tenure and/or promotion process in addressing individual and collective faculty concerns;
- maintaining a deidentified log of faculty requests and records of de-identified information; and
- providing, as a team, an annual report to the Provost, President and Faculty Council, or other parties as appropriate, regarding all concerns that faculty have (i.e., reports are limited to trends, no identifying information or confidential information is relayed in the reports) and soliciting additional information to address structural concerns if patterns are found and recommendations need to be made institutionally.
- One member of the team should attend Faculty Council Meetings ex-officio.
A Faculty Ombuds offers informal services and does not replace formal processes available to the Ithaca College community. In the event that conflict, concern, or issue should arise for faculty members of Ithaca College, the first and most important consideration is that those involved should attempt to communicate and resolve the problem on their own and/or at each successive supervisory level up to the Provost. Should the faculty find that they are not able to resolve the issue on their own, a Faculty Ombuds is available for consultation and can assist with a potential mediation. Any mediation notes should be destroyed immediately following the mediation.
*All communication to a Faculty Ombuds regarding issues brought to a Faculty Ombuds are “off the record” and confidential unless the information shared falls within a requirement where a Faculty Ombuds is a mandatory reporter under law or policy (e.g., Clery Act, or unlawful discrimination and/or harassment).