Presentation on theme: "Implementing an Ombudsperson Policy at USU Office of the Provost Utah State University."— Presentation transcript:
Implementing an Ombudsperson Policy at USU Office of the Provost Utah State University
The purpose of this presentation: Introduce the ombudsperson policy Review a set of guidelines for your service as ombudsperson Responsibilities of an ombudsperson Project where do we go from here
In the beginning..... Define ombudsperson. Etymology: Swedish, literally, representative, from Old Norse umbothsmathr, from umboth commission + mathr man 1 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials 2 : one that investigates reported complaints (as from students or consumers), reports findings, and helps to achieve equitable settlements
And we continue..... See Policy ( at WebCT site ) Expect familiarity with P/T process and Policy 405 Who will utilize ombudspersons? Every College Library Extension
Ombudsperson Guidelines The ombudsperson is not part of the P/T committee – he/she does not have a vested interested in the outcome of the P/T meeting aside from the process. The ombudsperson will verify that due process has been followed at the meeting. The ombudsperson does not vote during the decision process.
Ombudsperson Guidelines The ombudsperson is required to have earned promotion with tenure, but does not have to be of rank equal to or greater than the candidate. For example, a tenured Associate Professor can serve as an ombudsperson on committees for faculty seeking promotion from Associate to Full Professor. The ombudsperson will serve primarily on college committees. An ombudsperson may not serve on a department committee. The ombudsperson may be asked to serve beyond his/her college but only in specific circumstances.
Ombudsperson Guidelines The ombudsperson will be invited to the meeting in advance but does not have to review the file. He/she is present to guide the implementation of process, as outlined in policy 405. It is the responsibility of the promotion and tenure committee chair to contact the ombudsperson in advance to schedule his/her participation.
Ombudsperson Guidelines The ombudsperson is not permanently assigned to a promotion and tenure committee. The ombudsperson will serve as much as his/her schedule will allow. However, if a second meeting is required to complete the committee’s business, then it is preferable to have the same ombudsperson.
The ombudsperson will sign the promotion and tenure committee’s letter indicating that due process was followed at the meeting. If the ombudsperson cannot sign a statement indicating due process was followed at the meeting, then he/she will report in a memo irregularities to the department head or supervisor and the dean or other administrator. Ombudsperson Guidelines
The Provost’s Office will annually solicit and train a group of ombudspersons. The Provost’s Office will maintain the list of university ombudspersons for use on promotion and tenure committees. Whereas policy does not indicate a term or limit to a term of service, the ombudsperson will be contacted each year to determine his/her willingness to serve. A college may establish a term limit policy to optimize the rotation of service as ombudspersons.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson At the beginning of a meeting, the ombudsperson should ask if everyone has review the file; if not, dismiss the meeting. (The ombudsperson does not have to review the file.) Ascertain that there is a current role statement, signed by the candidate, department head or supervisor and dean or unit administrator. The ombudsperson is not to comment on the contents of the candidate's file.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson The ombudsperson is responsible for making sure that the rights of the candidate and the University are protected and that due process is followed. Questions of a personal nature are inappropriate. Assure that the interests of the candidate as well as the University are fairly represented.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson The ombudsperson may question any procedures that are out of the ordinary. In general, a typical procedure for the committee is: (a) to meet first without the candidate to discuss procedure and any concerns, (b) to ask the candidate in to make a statement about progress toward tenure and/or promotion and answer questions, (c) to discuss without the candidate present what the evaluation will be for this annual review, and (d) to ask the candidate to return for a summation to share that evaluation with her/him.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson The level of documentation required for ombudspersons may be no more than "I certify that due process was followed." The primary duty of the ombudsperson is to listen and to take notes about any concerns. Any irregularities are to be described in a memo. The ombudsperson will report any irregularities to the department head and the dean.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson Discussion should include the candidate's role statement and how he/she has been meeting role statement assignments during the past year. The committee is to focus on the substance of the file. The ombudsperson is to focus on process.
Responsibilities of the Ombudsperson Use the Check List A template of what to look/listen for Record who, when, and where Sign the annual letter as the ombudsperson with a statement such as: “I certify due process was followed in this review meeting” - or - “I certify that the above meeting was held in accordance with University procedures”
Project where we go from here Overall, we look for an improved process less unhappiness – candidate, committees, administration Annually update and refine the process for soliciting and training qualified ombudsperson Track the service provided – frequency of service and nature of interaction / impact
And in the end, Questions, answers, problems and solutions. Contact information: Larry Smith, Executive Senior Vice Provost Room 142, Old Main Building telephone: Thank you for the opportunity.