Conflict Resolution in Academe: Reflections of a University Ombudsman
The ability of any university to flourish is dependent on a myriad of factors including the ability of the institution to manage the interpersonal workplace dynamics of the faculty, staff, and students and to navigate the complex and often conflicting cultures of governance in academe. Many institutions have instituted ombudsman offices in order to provide a private, informal, and unbiased mechanism to address these concerns; to provide a university-wide overview of trends and issues faced by employees; and to demonstrate a commitment to quality work-life. My presentation will include an overview of the history of Ombuds practice at The Ohio State University including such factors as: forces that drove the initiation of ombudsman practice at OSU, how the office functioned and evolved across its history, perceived successes and ongoing challenges, and the current standards of Ombudsman practice at OSU. Comparisons will be made between the OSU Faculty Ombudsman’s function and those of other institutions in the CIC. Some reflections on current practice experiences and challenges will be presented in the context of recent research findings in academic ombudsman practice.