The Office of the Ombudsperson would like to submit a number of records and materials to the Administrative and Support Unit Review committee. While you have requested a copy of our mission statement, strategic plan, and a list of prioritized needs, we are sending you documents that offer these and more information. While our office is in the process of developing a unit strategic plan, in our 1999-2000 Annual Report we have carefully delineated how our mission and work supports and merges with the strategic plan of the university. (This format was utilized at the request of the Provost for inclusion in the university’s Annual Report of Institutional Progress.) Please note that we have also included our unit’s self-study which was completed based on the Price Waterhouse Coopers initial unit assessment in 1999. Page two of the self-study also lists ways in which our unit’s mission is consistent with the university’s strategic plan. We particularly feel that the Self-Study can show the committee rather dramatically how much the Ombuds Office has accomplished in a brief period with rather limited resources.
We hope the materials are helpful, and should the committee have further questions let them feel free to call us. The total packet to submit to the Committee includes the following: 1. Mission statement, 2. List of prioritized needs, 3. Self-study questions and responses (as of 1999 and with 2002 updates), 4. Office of the Ombudsperson Annual Report for 1999-2000, 5. Faculty Ombuds Reports for 2000-2001, 6. and 2001-2002, 7. Student/Staff Ombuds training updates for 1999-2001, 8. and 2001-2002, 9. Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) 2001 evaluation showing GSU’s progress on the Regents’ Conflict Resolution Initiative, 10. University and College Ombuds Association Standards of Practice, and 11. Ombuds brochure.
Thanks for your careful attention to our unit’s assessment.
Valerie Fennell Donna Douglass Williams
Faculty Ombuds Student and Staff Ombuds
Office of the Ombudsperson
Mission Statement The mission of the Office of the Ombudsperson is to facilitate cooperation, consensus, and harmony through education, negotiation, and mediation. The Office aims to ensure civil and equitable treatment for all students, faculty and staff by providing awareness of university policy and procedures and recommending appropriate institutional action or change. The goal of the Office is to develop and facilitate training programs that engender awareness and skill development in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, civility, teamwork and cultural sensitivity. In a neutral and impartial role, the Office strives to assist all members of the university community in problem solving and in the resolution of conflicts and complaints.
ASUA Committee Members:
As a result of the initial assessment of the Office of the Ombudsperson
in 1999 by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the Ombuds office completed a self-study based on the suggested program review guidelines provided by the committee. The Ombuds office’s initial responses are dated 1999 as indicated in the following self-study. We have also included updates dated September 2002 to illustrate the progress of the unit since the initial review and self-study. To assist the committee in reviewing the report, the questions are highlighted in yellow. The 1999 responses (which are italicized), as well as the September 2002 updated responses, are labeled accordingly.
Office of the Ombudsperson Staff APPENDIX
Program Review Guidelines for
Administrative and Support Units The following questions should be used as a guide in the formulation of the self-study. However, not all questions will be appropriate to all units. Please organize the self-study report according to the broad areas represented below.
I. Mission and Functional Responsibilities 1. What is the mission of the unit (and its sub-units, if applicable)? Is the mission consistent with the present missions and strategic plans of the division and the university? How is the mission communicated to unit staff and constituents?
1999 Response Mission Statement: The Office of the Ombudsperson aims to ensure civil and equitable treatment for all students, faculty and staff by providing awareness of university policy and procedures and recommending appropriate institutional action or change. Ultimately, the Office seeks to engender awareness and skill development in the areas of communication, conflict resolution and team building. In a neutral, impartial role, the Office strives to assist all members of the university community in problem solving and in the resolution of complaints. By coordinating programs that promote informal strategies alternative to adversarial processes, the Office facilitates cooperation, consensus, and harmony through education, negotiation, and mediation. The mission is consistent with the strategic plans of the division and the university, primarily in offering supportive services for a university community that seeks increasing diversity in students, faculty, and staff in a situation of rapid growth and change. These conditions usually create multiple misunderstandings and conflicts that the Ombuds Office can help with. Since our staff consists of two individuals, we are in regular consultation with one another and are currently establishing strategies for implementing the Office’s mission. September 2002 Update The mission of the Office of the Ombudsperson is to facilitate cooperation, consensus, and harmony through education, negotiation, and mediation. The Office aims to ensure civil and equitable treatment for all students, faculty and staff by providing awareness of university policy and procedures and recommending appropriate institutional action or change. The goal of the Office is to develop and facilitate training programs that engender awareness and skill development in the areas of communication, conflict resolution, civility, teamwork and cultural sensitivity. In a neutral and impartial role, the Office strives to assist all members of the university community in problem solving and in the resolution of conflicts and complaints.
The mission is consistent with the university’s mission and strategic plan as follows:
Creation of a learning centered academic culture that provides for educational opportunities for qualified students (implication of fairness and equity and a learning environment that supports civility in campus relationships);
Support for curricula with intercultural and international perspectives;
Development of programs that facilitate lifelong learning and career development for students;
Goal to prepare students who are creative problem solvers, make ethical choices, develop leadership skills, and work well in teams;
Student exposure to multiple view points and free exchange of ideas, and an appreciation for diversity;
Retention of supportive staff and administrative services;
Goal to distribute information to new students via new student orientations (Incept presentations—Overview of Ombuds office and strategies for managing conflict and facilitating referrals);
Retention through more welcoming environment (Conflict Resolution course presentations in various freshman learning communities, e.g. Emerging Leaders, Honors program, Leadership Conclave; work with Student Advisement Center and Counseling Center (referrals, collaboration on problem solving and complaint resolution);
To maintain and increase collegial working relations between and among faculty, staff, administrators, and students;
Increase reliability and approachability in services to students (work of facilitating communication between students and offices providing direct services to students, e.g. Financial Aid, Registrar, Student Accounts, and acting as a problem solving and complaint resolution resource for students experiencing difficulties with these offices)
2. What are the functional responsibilities of the unit, and to whom does the unit report?
The Ombuds Office works to confidentially and informally resolve any problems and conflicts brought by any members of the university community. In doing this the Office works with other offices that have related functions such as the Affirmative Action Office, Faculty and Staff Assistance Services, and Legal Affairs. The Ombuds Office reports to the Office of the Provost and Academic Vice President.
September 2002 Update Functional Responsibilities:
Listens to complaints and concerns surrounding disputes and conflict and provide impartial and confidential consultation to students, faculty and staff who are Office visitors and callers;
Provides advice to visitors in interpreting institutional policies;
Facilitates referrals to university and/or external resources; facilitates meetings, mediates discussions, meets with all parties of a dispute to clarify and analyze problems, isolate issues and develop mutually satisfactory processes for resolution;
Consults with faculty, chairs, deans, supervisors, managers and administrators to develop cooperative strategies for complaint resolution;
Consults with complaint respondents and conducts informal fact finding with other involved parties to gain understanding of issues from all perspectives;
Designs and conducts training courses and programs in conflict resolution, effective communication, civility, teamwork, cultural sensitivity, diversity, sexual harassment, and other topics for members of the university community;
Acts as an organizational resource in formulating or modifying policies and/or procedures and raising issues that may surface as gaps between policy and university practice;
Provides advice and acts as resource for university and department committees and employee and student groups (e.g. Cultural Diversity, Faculty Affairs, Alternative Dispute Resolution, SGA, Staff Advisory Council, Crisis Plan)
Acts as university co-ADR Liaison, assists and supports ADR Committee, coordinates conflict resolution programs, and provides leadership for the university’s compliance with the Regents Initiative on Conflict Resolution;
10) Monitors institutional problems and trends and recommends methods and strategies to address such issues/situations to administrators, chairs and department heads, and other managers;
11) Provides ongoing education and communication about the Ombuds role to the university community via outreach activities, campus presentations, developing PR material, and administration of the Ombuds website;
12) Designs and facilitates a course on conflict resolution skills for students in freshman learning communities (GSU 1010), and students enrolled in GSU 1050.
3. How does the unit compare with similar units at peer institutions (Urban 13+) in terms of structure, responsibilities, size, and budget? Note: If additional institutions are used for comparison, what criteria were utilized to choose them?
1999 Response Only four of the Urban 13+ list used had ombuds offices. Portland State University has about 17,000 students and an ombuds office with a budget of about $115,000. There is one full time ombuds with one staff support person and 4 to 5 students part-time. Wayne State University, about 35,000 students, has one ombuds full time, a receptionist, and an administrative assistant (no students). The budget is $132,000. Both offices report to the Presidents of the schools. Georgia State University, about 23,000 students, has a budget of $99,050. There is one half time student and staff ombuds (other half, Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator) and one half time faculty ombuds (other half, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Geography Department). There are no office support personnel. The Office reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs rather than the President. Criteria were established by those who created the Urban 13+ list. Our source for that list was the Affirmative Action Office. (1999) September 2002 Update: Budget and Office Staffing Total non-personal services constituting travel and operating budget--$8700.00
Total salaries (three full time positions and one GRA position)--$152.687.00
Faculty Ombuds: currently three fourths time Ombuds; one fourth time teaching responsibilities
Student and Staff Ombuds: full time; serves as co-ADR liaison with responsibilities for coordinating implementation of the Regents’ Conflict Resolution Initiative
Administrative Coordinator: New staff position to Ombuds office, March 2001
[No further research done on comparisons to other Urban 13 institutions]
II. Goals and Objectives 1. What are the unit's goals and objectives? Are they consistent with the defined mission and functional responsibilities of the unit? What is the unit's method of developing goals/objectives and communicating them to unit staff and constituents?
2. To what extent have the present goals and objectives been achieved? What are the unit's notable accomplishments? How is achievement measured? Does measurement include feedback from the providers and recipients of the service/product?
1999 Response: Goals Goals of the Ombuds Office are:
1. Establish new joint offices with continuous support personnel and updated computer and telephone technology.
2. Assist in creating campus-wide alternative dispute resolution training and procedures and maintain processes of education and evaluation mandated by the Board of Regents Initiative on Conflict Resolution.
3. Establish on-going semester meetings with Affirmative Action Office and Legal Affairs to discuss common issues.
4. Keep Faculty Senate committees on Faculty Affairs and Cultural Diversity apprised of Ombuds activities and discuss our common issues.
5. Prepare and be ready to present on demand trainings in (a) team building and (b) cultural and gender sensitivity.
6. Help the university community be more aware of Ombuds Office services by talking to administrative personnel individually and by participating in panel presentations, creating and maintaining a newsletter each semester.
7. Update and improve reporting forms that ombuds office uses to characterize and count cases they’ve dealt with. 8. Update and improve evaluation forms used by persons who come for the Ombuds service, as well as the procedures for insuring confidentiality for their evaluations.
9. Ombuds development in skills in facilitation, mediation, and arbitration by attending conferences and other professional trainings.
10. Establish and create a library of resources in conflict resolution and research reports that can be utilized by those in the campus community.
11. Request an additional half time ombuds to make (a) one full time ombuds for staff and students, and (b) one full time administrative assistant to assume Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator functions, and (c) an additional one fourth time ombuds to make the Faculty ombuds into a 3/4's time position. 1999 Response (Achievement of Goals) A location for new joint offices is now being prepared for occupation. New up-dated computers purchased for the office have been reported by the Provost’s Office as misplaced. Telephone service has been maintained, but there is no current receptionist or waiting room for the staff and student ombuds; faculty ombuds utilizes services and has office location in the Anthropology and Geography Department.
The Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinator has implemented an assessment of the university’s ADR activities along with the ADR Committee and the Office of Institutional Research. Voluntary training workshops in mediation and communication skills have been organized and presented with additional ones planned.
The Office has met once with the Affirmative Action Office and Legal Affairs. The next meetings will be organized by the Legal Affairs Department. The Faculty and Staff/Student Ombuds meet with the Cultural Diversity Senate Committee. The faculty ombuds meets with the Faculty Affairs Senate Committee, while both meet with a subcommittee of this committee on Revising the Sexual Harassment policy. The Staff/Student Ombuds also meets with the Staff Advisory Council and works frequently with persons in the Dean of Students Offices. presentations for various departments of the university.
The ombudspersons have already done team building and cultural and gender sensitivity Both ombudspersons have been involved in panel presentations about the Ombuds Office. Both Ombuds have systematically talked with all Deans about the office and the Faculty Ombuds is currently talking with chairs of departments when time permits. Both ombudspersons are working on an up-coming newsletter on the Office to be mailed to all university personnel.
Work up-dating forms has only been briefly discussed. No research on the best ways to do it has been carried out.
Both Ombudspersons attended workshops at the annual meetings of the University and College Ombuds Association in June 1999. Both will attend the next UCOA gathering and have planned additional professional seminars.
The Office has a small collection of books, periodicals, and videos and training materials that are kept in the Staff/Student Ombuds office. But a library/conference room is much needed for the functioning of the new office. The Ombuds Office’s notable achievement is re-establishing itself after a few years of decline and discontent with the pioneering efforts of the first ombudspersons. Much misunderstanding among administrators about the function of the ombuds had to be overcome despite the Board of Regents mandate to institutionalize alternative dispute resolution. Ambivalence toward the Ombuds Office still exists and has to be transformed. At this point, the ombuds office is responding to ever increasing callers as word about the benefits of its function spread throughout the university. Persons from many differently ranked positions are now seeking assistance, including administrators seeking advice about the handling of their own local situations within their departments. Facilitating communication is probably the most sought after service along with information about policies and strategies for dealing with problems.
The Office measures achievement in numbers of cases dealt with, in activities around the university participated in, increasing awareness of the office’s function, in increasing numbers of cooperative relationships with other university departments and offices. The Office systematically sends out evaluation forms to callers who return them to the Provost’s Office for safe keeping. Periodically, copies of these are requested for the Ombuds office’s, as a result, information.
September 2002 Goals and Objectives 1) Meet with new department chairs regarding Ombuds function, services, and interventions
2) Revise and distribute new Ombuds promotional materials (brochures, bookmarks)
3) Lead effort to reappoint ADR Committee members and make recommendations for implementing programs pursuant to the Conflict Resolution Initiative
4) Encourage increased use of mediation and facilitation to resolve complaints at the lowest possible level and outside of formal processes
5) Development of institutional Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Policy which would strongly encourage and support the use of mediation and other alternative processes to resolve campus complaints, grievances, and appeals
6) Continue the Ombuds Lunch and Learn series to provide training and skill development to faculty, staff, and students in the areas of civility, conflict resolution, mediation and ADR processes, effective communication, temperament and learning/work styles, team building, and cultural sensitivity.
7) Continue to make progress on goals of the Regents Initiative on Conflict Resolution, with focus on the areas of making recommendations for institutional dispute resolution system design and evaluation
8) Provide mediation training to the members of the ADR Committee, Human Resource Advisory Council, and other students, faculty and staff on campus to create of pool of mediators (across divisions and colleges) to be available to mediate and facilitate campus disputes
9) Increase available training opportunities for conflict management to managers and supervisors particularly related to responding to complaints
10) Develop a newsletter with relevant information regarding conflict resolution methods, complaint resolution, and civility issues for the campus community
11) Encourage the development and implementation of a “Civility Initiative” on campus to promote civil and respectful interactions between and among all members of the campus community
12) Communicate available Ombuds services, interventions, training via brochure, Ombuds website, and outreach activities
13) Establish a collaboration with the University of Pretoria (along with the Office of Affirmative Action) to provide training, education and recommendations in the areas of diversity and conflict resolution methods and programs, including information on the establishing an institutional Ombudsperson
14) Exploring possible work with the Center for Teaching and Learning to collaborate on providing faculty training teaching and learning styles using the True Colors module
15) Develop an on line campus wide evaluation instrument (with options to return via e-mail or print and return a confidential hard copy) that would allow Ombuds visitors and others who had interacted with the office to provide feedback on experiences with Ombuds services and interventions
September 2002 Update (Progress on 1999 Goals and Objectives) New joint office space acquired in One Park Place in 2000.
Three new computers purchased for use by Ombuds staff
An additional telephone line and two additional telephones now in use by Ombuds office
An “all in one” copier, fax, printer equipment acquired (lease)
Administrative coordinator has joined Ombuds staff to provide administrative support
Successful completion of CNCR evaluation of campus conflict resolution initiatives pursuant to Board of Regents’ Initiative on Conflict Resolution (see attached)
Continued input on Cultural Diversity and Faculty Affairs Committees
Facilitation of workshops and trainings in conflict resolution, cultural sensitivity, civility, communication and teamwork via “lunch and learn” training presentations, GSU 1010 courses, graduate courses, staff development, and departmental retreats by Ombuds staff
All chairs provided information regarding Ombuds services via in person meetings
Ombuds case information and evaluation forms revised
New Ombuds Office brochure designed and distributed
Ombuds website re-designed and modified to provide information regarding Ombuds services, conflict resolution strategies, training opportunities, and links to university complaint and appeals policies, as well as to other resolution resources
Ombudspersons have attended training and conferences in connection with the University and College Ombuds Association, The Ombudsman Association, and the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Library of conflict resolution resources established (see attached)
September 2002 Update on Goals and Objectives [See annual reports, updates and unit accomplishments included as a separate attachment.]
3. Is the reward structure aligned with the unit’s goals and objectives?
Sufficient funds have been made available for professional development of the Ombudspersons. Both ombudspersons, however, feel they do not have enough time to do all the tasks that are assigned. Callers have priority and the case load is growing. The massive amount of work required to restore good public relations about campus has had to be done piece-meal as we could get to it. Reports and committee meetings attended are necessary but again take a great deal of time. This is why we’re suggested increases in the office’s staff and increases in the time involved in the functions of both the student/staff ombuds and the faculty ombuds (see item 11 under Goals of the Office). September 2002 Update
As a result of outreach activities, promotional and informational materials, training and education, and increased referrals, the Georgia State campus community has grown aware that the Ombuds office is re-staffed and again available for consultation, problem solving and training. The Ombuds caseload, as well as requests for training and education, has increased significantly since 1999, while the department budget has not. Moreover, while the Student and Staff Ombudsperson’s salary was adjusted after a position evaluation in 2001, her salary remains thirty eight percent (38%) below the national average of academic ombuds’ salaries based on The Ombudsman Association 2001 salary survey. The Faculty Ombuds’ salary is also below the overall national average.