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Ombuds Office Services for Postdocs. Operating Principles Confidentiality: The Faculty Ombuds will not disclose the name of any individual who has visited.

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Presentation on theme: "Ombuds Office Services for Postdocs. Operating Principles Confidentiality: The Faculty Ombuds will not disclose the name of any individual who has visited."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ombuds Office Services for Postdocs

2 Operating Principles Confidentiality: The Faculty Ombuds will not disclose the name of any individual who has visited the office or issues that were discussed with anyone unless permission to do so has been given by the individual. The only exception to the promise of confidentiality is when the Ombuds has a reasonable concern about possible violence or physical harm. Neutrality: The Faculty Ombuds provides impartial and objective assessments of any concern brought to the office. As a neutral third-party, the Ombuds is an advocate for equity, fair process, and the fair administration of process, but does not take sides on behalf of any individual or cause. The office operations are consistent with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.

3 Operating Principles Informality: All conversations with the Faculty Ombuds are considered informal and off-the-record. The Ombuds maintains no records (other than statistical data) and does not participate in formal grievances or complaints. Use of the office is strictly voluntary. Independence : The Ombuds exercises autonomy regarding responsibilities. The Office is independent and is situated outside of the Universitys normal administrative structure to better ensure impartiality. The Ombuds neither compels other offices to take specific action nor receives compulsory orders from other offices about how to approach a particular issue. The Ombuds Office reports directly to the Provost of the University (faculty) and Vice-President for Research (postdocs).

4 How Can the Ombuds Help You? Listen to you in a nonjudgmental and objective way Answer your questions or refer you to someone who can Explain how University policies or procedures work Help you identify options to resolving a problem Help you evaluate your options and possible next steps Assist you in informally resolving a dispute or conflict by facilitating communication, coaching on conflict resolution, or mediating between willing parties Refer you to the appropriate office should you wish to file a formal complaint Look into perceived procedural irregularities in grievance proceedings Recommend changes to policies/procedures that appear outdated or problematic Inform University officials about significant trends and patterns of complaints or problems that appear to be systemic The Ombuds can:

5 How Can the Ombuds Help You? Take sides or serve as an advocate for any party Maintain official records Unilaterally change rules or policies Set aside a decision or supersede the authority of another University official Provide legal advice Provide psychological counseling or therapy Participate in any formal grievance process Conduct formal investigations Provide testimony in any court initiated proceeding The Ombuds cannot:

6 Identify issues and options Clarify desired outcomes Strategize – to whom and how can you best raise this issue or concern? Think through difficult situations (personally, professionally) in a confidential, neutral setting – with someone familiar with UT culture Facilitate understanding and resolution Pursue organizational development through systemic feedback Ombuds Process

7 Examples and Case Scenarios of Concerns Commonly Brought to the Ombuds Have a question or a complaint about an office, service, or decision at the University Need a mediator or help facilitating communication Perceived inequities in work or pay; treated unfairly Believe a University policy or practice is unfair or confusing Perceived unethical or inappropriate behavior Interpersonal conflicts and problems with workplace climate Concerns about career advancement & job satisfaction or security Advice on having a difficult conversation Problems of institutional non-responsiveness and red-tape Need an impartial and confidential sounding board Are not sure where else to turn for help

8 Consultations During Academic Year Total of 60 visitors from 10 colleges 2 Postdocs; 5 Lecturers/Specialists; 15 Assist Prof; 8 Assoc Prof; 19 Prof; 8 Dept Chairs/Directors; 3 deans 26 Female; 34 Male 12 requests for information only Faculty Ombuds continues to work 7-10 hrs/wk Most cases resolved without initiating grievance process Extraordinary cooperation from Deans, Vice Provost, Provost, Legal Affairs, and other Administrative Officials Collaborative project with Office of VP for Research: Postdoctoral Fellow Experience & Well-Being Survey

9 Generalizations and Recommendations Choose actions that best demonstrate fairness and respect, and, where appropriate, advocacy for rewards. …nonetheless, conflicts will arise (well-meaning bright people sometimes disagree), and most can be resolved amicably. Under the Honor Code, all members of the University community are responsible for treating other members of the community, as well as visitors to campus, fairly, honestly, and respectfully as each of us conducts his or her function at the University.

10 P OSTDOCTORAL F ELLOW E XPERIENCE & W ELL -B EING S URVEY I NDIVIDUAL F EEDBACK P ROFILE

11 Sample Individual Feedback Profiles of Flourishing, Languishing, and Depressed Postdoctoral Fellows Sample Individual Feedback Profiles of Flourishing, Languishing, and Depressed Postdoctoral Fellows Postdoctoral Experience & Well-Being Survey The University of Texas at Austin Positivity Ratio Flourishing: > 3.0 Languishing: 1.0 to < 3.0 Depressed: < 1.0 Sample Size: N=211 (40% response rate)

12 Study 1: The Building and Buffering Effects of Positive Emotions Study 1: The Building and Buffering Effects of Positive Emotions Postdoctoral Experience & Well-Being Survey The University of Texas at Austin Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

13 Resilience Lessens the Negative Impact of Perceived Stress on Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety Postdoctoral Experience & Well-Being Survey The University of Texas at Austin

14 Study 3: The Impact of Supervisor Support and Positive Emotions on Work Engagement Study 3: The Impact of Supervisor Support and Positive Emotions on Work Engagement Postdoctoral Experience & Well-Being Survey The University of Texas at Austin Note: *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001

15 How Do Postdocs Contact the Ombuds? Phone : Office: WMB Web: Note: An initial phone contact typically results in a same-day response and rapid arrangement of a mutually convenient time for a longer meeting or phone conversation with the Faculty Ombuds.


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