UHCL Faculty Ombudsperson
A faculty ombudsperson is the individual who provides confidential, impartial, informal, and independent assistance to faculty who are experiencing conflicts or who have complaints and need assistance navigating conflict resolution and accessing information. This person serves as a university change agent in collecting and analyzing data, calling attention to patterns of practices, mediating, and coaching faculty.
The faculty ombudsperson has no institutional authority to change policies, procedures or rules, overturn decisions, or force issues to be addressed. However, they should be perceived as a confidential resource for faculty at UHCL when coping with or questioning workplace conflicts.
The faculty ombudsperson adheres to the standards of practice as defined by the International Ombudsman Association. As a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA), the Faculty Ombudsperson will adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice (Independence, Impartiality, Informality, and Confidentiality) of the organization.
Inaugural UHCL Faculty Ombudsperson
Dr. Lisa Jones, Professor in the College of Education
Learn more about Dr. Jones
You can reach Dr. Jones in the role of faculty ombudsperson in Office 14 of the Center for Faculty Development (Bayou Building 1604.14).
Dr. Jones will host open door office hours Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and faculty will be able to schedule meetings Monday through Thursday.
What the Ombudsperson Does
The ombudsperson strives to promote fairness and cultivate a positive work environment by offering a number of mechanisms for early conflict resolution and problem-solving, including:
- Listening to faculty concerns and complaints regarding workplace and employment issues.
- Providing information and assistance in accessing and interpreting university policies and procedures.
- Making referrals to appropriate university resources.
- Helping faculty analyze complaints by identifying issues and outlining available options.
- Coaching faculty in addressing and managing conflict.
- Facilitating communication and mediating conflict between disputing parties.
- Reviewing and analyzing trends in concerns and complaints.
- Making recommendations to the president and provost regarding changes to university policies and procedures that may eliminate or reduce recurring workplace problems, enhance the effectiveness of university resources, or increase the quality of work life for university employees.
What the Faculty Ombudsperson Does Not Do
Because of the informal, neutral, and confidential nature of ombuds services, the faculty ombudsperson does not:
- Represent faculty in any formal hearings, processes, or procedures.
- Engage in administrative decisions.
- Determine the merits of a faculty member's complaint.
- Conduct formal investigations.
- Provide legal representation or advice.
- Provide psychological counseling.
The ombudsperson does not address allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct. Any allegations of unlawful discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct must be filed with the UHCL Title IX office.
Faculty Ombudsperson Assessment and Evaluation
The faculty ombudsperson will conduct an annual self-assessment, and the provost and Faculty Senate Executive Committee will facilitate an annual program review in collaboration with the faculty ombudsperson. It will be incumbent on the faculty ombudsperson to demonstrate how the role is fulfilling its mission. An annual report will be made publicly available to UHCL faculty providing general information and statistics void of any identifiable information. The annual report may include, but is not limited to, such information as:
- The number of faculty assisted, and complaints addressed.
- Complainant demographics (e.g., gender, constituent group, college, etc.).
- Categorization of presented problems.
- Issues and observations.
- Trends, concerns, and recommendations.
Where Is the Faculty Ombudsperson's Office Located?
The faculty ombudsperson will be formally located within the Division of Academic Affairs with regard to organizational structure. Direct support (e.g., allocation of course releases, budget, and resources) for this position will be the responsibility of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs & Provost. This means that the faculty ombudsperson will have direct access to the provost when needed while being afforded autonomy and independence to do their work confidentially.