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Presentation on theme: "PROPOSAL FOR OMBUDS OFFICE Karen OMalley, Chair, ECFC."— Presentation transcript:


2 Om buds man The word Ombudsman (om - buds - man) comes from Scandinavia where the term was used during the 19th century to designate a public official who was appointed to investigate citizens complaints against governmental agencies

3 Proposal: To create an ombuds office to provide members of the School of Medicine community with voluntary, informal, neutral, confidential, third-party assistance in resolving work-related issues, concerns, or conflicts through education, persuasion, and mediation.

4 Background 2008 –"Advisory Committee on Women Faculty," formed at Chancellors request. Top recommendations from that committee were: "The establishment of an Office of Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity "The establishment of an Ombuds Office 2009 - Provost asks Susan Appleton to be University-wide Ombuds person S. Appleton requests separate SOM Ombuds Provost asks ECFC to play role 2009-2010 – ECFC subcommittee Extensive outside research at sister institutions as to best practices and outcomes Development of revised job description Unanimous support by ECFC for such an office 2010 - Susan Appleton and Jim Davis become Danforth-only ombuds 2010 – Dean Shapiro endorses ombuds office concept for the SOM 2011 – ECFC subcommittee explores possibility with Executive Faculty

5 Need: 10/13 sister institutions have an Ombuds office (Case, Pittsburgh, Wash U do not) ADFA has records of 21 cases in last 8 years she was directly involved in. Estimates 1 hr/wk FRC has had 2 formal cases in last 2 years, 2 informal cases Danforth campus Ombuds have had 14 cases in last 6 months

6 SOM Ombuds at Sister Institutions These 1 ombuds serve all constituents as most problems cross boundaries. 1 Harvard, NIH, Yale, MIT, Columbia, Duke, UNC, Stanford, Penn, Hopkins, Michigan, Wisconsin, Cornell Typical problems include promotion issues, professional misconduct, authorship, intellectual property, sexual harassment, whistle blower, favoritisms, compensation. Ombuds offices works closely with HR, GC and Chairs to surface and solve problems rapidly before a lawsuit is launched. All components have buy-in to this process, hence is viewed as win/win.

7 Example: Ombuds at Harvard SOM Office developed in response to request from SOM ECFC equivalent. Initiating cause was faculty/student sexual harassment case Ombuds hired via national search as was her successor; latter chosen from 120 applicants Serves 18,000 SOM, Dental School and PHS employees 650 cases/year 60% authorship issues Spends ~25% time on policy clarification (e.g. Faculty Rights Bylaws)

8 Suggested Appointment Full time Recruited via a national search 1 Successful candidates should have or must acquire training in conflict resolution, mediation, negotiation and/or employee relations. Successful candidates should be trained in Ombuds best practices as outlined by the International Ombudsman Association. Initial 3-year contract subject to review 2 at end of period; additional 5 year contracts subsequently. Physical office: off beaten track, sound proof, phone, computer, not cleaned by housekeeping, etc. 1 Search committee will be composed of Dean and 2 members of the SOMs Executive Faculty and 2 members of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council (ECFC). 2 Review committee will be similarly constituted.

9 Goals of Office To provide SOM professional staff with voluntary, informal, neutral, confidential, third-party assistance in resolving University and/or work- related issues, concerns, or conflicts, through mediation, persuasion, and education. Identify systemic problems relating to policies, procedures, SOM structures and/or culture that exacerbate, cause or elicit conflicts and problems. Policy clarification; enhancement of perceived fairness of SOM procedures Educational role (didactic, interactive, workshops, etc) to better inform and help SOM personnel manage conflict, negotiate, prevent authorship disputes, understand XYZ compensation plan, professionalism, sexual harassment, etc. To operate independently of the SOMs normal grievance procedures, and without formal decision-making authority. To identify new problems and address issues before they become more widespread or severe.

10 Operating Principles Confidential: The ombuds maintains confidential both the identity of individuals as well as the contents of conversations, unless given permission by individual client. Neutral: The ombuds advocates for unbiased and fair process, assessment, and outcome. Informal: The ombuds operates outside the formal problem- resolution and grievance procedures of the University. Independent: The ombuds is not part of the formal authority structure of the University. Informative: The ombuds will inform individuals of additional and/or relevant evidence, procedures, and prospective outcomes that might be anticipated during the course of resolving individual grievances.

11 Costs: Estimates from other Ombuds including Harvard and NIH indicate full time person trained in conflict resolution and mediation averages between $120- 150,000/year ~7k/yr department/program or could pro-rate depending upon size of department/program Additional costs relate to office needs, supplies and travel to attend appropriate meetings Provosts office is committed to provide some financial and ancillary support

12 Cost Effectiveness Early detection of problems/conflicts is less costly and time-consuming Decreased costs of lost time due to conflict issues (includes personnel as well as Division Chief/Chair time) Conflict resolution leads to increased retention Decreased costs of HR and GC personnel dealing with complaints Decreased litigation; most grievants want to solve problem in non-confrontational manner

13 Relationship to Current Hierarchy The Ombuds is independent but works closely with organizational entities such as Chairs, Human Resources and General Counsel to mediate conflict, clarify policy and educate personnel on ownership issues, authorship, etc. The Ombuds should report directly to the highest level of the organization (such as the Dean) in a manner independent of ordinary line and staff functions.

14 Accountability Difficult to assess (different stakeholders, issues and contexts; short-term vs long-term benefits are different;intangible benefits) Proposed Metrics include: Before and after climate survey Assessment of caseload/stakeholders De novo discovery of problems Documentation of policy clarification Annual reports, website materials, educational efforts

15 Proposal: To create an ombuds office to provide members of the School of Medicine community with voluntary, informal, neutral, confidential, third-party assistance in resolving work-related issues, concerns, or conflicts through education, persuasion, and mediation. To get AAC buy-in to advance proposal to EF To get EF buy-in to go forward with office 2011/2012

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