What are Ombuds and What Do They Do?
This information is specific to the College of Science ombuds program.
The ombuds system has been implemented in all departments across the Eberly College of Science. The system provides familiar departmental contacts that individuals can seek and talk to. As a result this system has proven to be very successful in providing help in addressing sensitive departmental issues.
Two ombuds are appointed in each department. These people have proven to be approachable and trustworthy. The head of ECoS human resources has conducted a training session to review basic guidelines with these individuals.
Anyone in the college can choose to meet with any of the College of Science ombuds. In some cases an individual may feel more comfortable with someone who knows the climate within their department or unit, and in other cases they may wish to consult someone outside their area.
The function of the ombuds is to provide a safe and informal environment for individuals to discuss problems and issues outside of formal channels. Any issue may be brought to the attention of the ombuds. The ombuds can help develop strategies, clarify interests and goals, and identify other resources at the university that may be available to assist in certain situations. It is also important to note that speaking to the ombuds does not constitute notice to the university.
The ombuds do not have the power to change rules or polices; and will disclose only information that they are required to as mandated reporters (crimes, harassment). They are there to help identify options and strategies open to the individual.
These positions complement the HR office to provide an environment that encourages the use of multiple options to resolve issues and increase communication. The ombuds can serve as a first contact in the resolution of intradepartmental issues. If at any time you feel that you cannot go to the ombuds feel free to contact the HR office with any and all issues that you have.
Note that there is also a separate faculty ombuds program and University ombudsperson who have more specific responsibilities.
Faculty disputes that cannot be resolved through normal channels of administrative responsibility and procedure may be taken to the University Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities. For further details about this procedure and about the duties of ombuds, see University Policy HR-76, "Faculty Rights and Responsibilities."
College of Science Ombuds