UAB Ombudsperson Position Description
Job Title: University Ombudsperson
Department: Office of Provost
Reports To: Office of Provost and Faculty Senate
Status: Part-time, .5 FTE (Possibly increasing to full-time depending on usage)
The Ombudsperson is the designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner at UAB. The major functions of the position include providing confidential, impartial and informal assistance to faculty; acting as a source of information and referral; aiding in answering faculty questions; and assisting in the facilitation of resolutions of concerns. The point of view of all parties involved in each case is taken into account. The ombudsperson is not an advocate for any individual, but rather is an advocate for fairness. The ombudsperson helps to facilitate productive communication aimed at assisting resolve such issues before they become formal grievances. The ombudsperson maintains a database of issues and concerns brought to their attention, and compiles a quarterly report from that data. The UAB Office of Ombuds Services supplements, but does not replace, UAB’s existing resources for conflict resolution.
MINIMUM QUALIFICTIONS AND EXPERIENCE:
Tenured faculty member with additional experience that demonstrates the requisite skills and abilities.
Master's degree or higher. Experience working with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Mediation/conflict resolution experience. Demonstrated communication and problem-solving skills. Ability to organize, analyze and report data; and to present information to individuals and groups of varying sizes and hierarchal levels. Demonstrated ability to act independently while also being a team player. Experience working across disciplines or multiple departments/units. Ability to maintain confidentiality with sensitive information, including student information.
Knowledge of legal issues in higher education. Demonstrated interpersonal and facilitation skills. Experience working with diverse groups and individuals. Demonstrated technical literacy. Willingness to complete training in dispute resolution technique. Relevant experience in higher education, knowledge of its structure, policies, and practices. An advanced degree combined with relevant dispute resolution training or Ombuds experience is also preferred, including experience as a counselor, mediator or arbitrator.
Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, and with percentage of full-time effort in the required position. In the case of an individual also holding a regular faculty position, with approval of the faculty member's department, faculty-related duties will be reduced by an amount commensurate with the compensation for Ombuds-related duties.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned
- Provide a respectful, impartial and confidential source for faculty to discuss problems off the record.
- Assist with clarifying issues, identifying goals and developing as well as considering available options for understanding.
- Provide coaching as needed with regard to effective oral and written communication.
- Provide information on UAB policies and practices.
- Provide referrals to other services at UAB.
- Assist in resolving interpersonal conflicts.
- Facilitate confidential conversations between and among faculty and administrators involved in conflict situations.
- Educate faculty about the Office’s confidentiality, neutrality and availability.
- Facilitate one on one and group conversations as may be requested by faculty members for constructive dialogue.
- Facilitate assessment of the pros and cons of possible options.
- Follow up to determine outcome and further need of assistance.
- Create and maintain protocol and a webpage for the Ombuds’ Office
- Provide regular reports to the President, Provost and Faculty Senate regarding the number of visitors and types of issues addressed to identify systematic issues and trends. These reports will not contain any information about a specific visitor or information which can be used to identify a specific visitor.
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty
satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and
ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Communication and Problem-Solving Skills
- Have outstanding communication skills and be able to communicate effectively with individuals at all levels of the university as well as with people of different cultures in both oral and written communication.
- Have excellent problem-solving skills and be able to gather information, organize, analyze it and as necessary, help develop appropriate options and actions.
- Maintain a professional demeanor, should have strong presentation skills.
- Must be able to understand and abide by the four ethical principles of independence, impartiality, confidentiality, and informality.
- Must be able to effectively listen and maintain confidences.
Decision-Making/Strategic Thinking Skills
- Must be aware of how decisions might have an impact on all stakeholders. The ombudsperson must know how to proceed with issues, help assess who should be involved and at what stage.
- Must have an understanding of the principles of simple justice and academic due process.
- Must be able to command the respect of colleagues and is able to respect the private and confidential nature of the issues brought to his/her attention.
Organizational Knowledge and Networking Skills
- Must be knowledgeable about the university, its structure, culture, policies, and practices, including, possessing a comprehensive understanding of UAB’s policies and procedures (or a university’s policies and procedures, generally), especially those pertaining to grievance, promotion, and tenure.
- Must have excellent networking skills, understand and participate in collaboration with others, and be able to establish and maintain broad contacts throughout the organization.
- Must have a strong understanding of individual and group behavior, as well as excellent relationship establishment and management skills
- Must have knowledge of various computer equipment, word processors, spreadsheets, databases, and other software packages.
- Must have ability to multi-task and use independent judgment.
- Must have excellent time management and organizational skills.
- Must be knowledge of applicable federal, state, and University rules and regulations.
- Must be able to work independently.
Conflict Resolution Skills
- Must be able to facilitate resolution of conflict between/among parties. It is important that the ombudsperson have a thorough understanding of what leads to conflict, the nature of conflict, and methods for resolution.
- Must be willing to attend training provided by the International Ombudsman Association and be knowledgeable of the IOA’s Standards of Practice.
- Must be certified by the IOA before beginning service.
Sensitivity to Diversity Issues
- Must be sensitive to dealing with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures.
- The ombudsperson must be open, objective, and must seek to understand issues from different perspectives.
Integrity and Efficiency
- Must operate fairly, effectively and in a timely fashion.
- Must information confidential and must use good judgment about when and how such information can be shared, while being mindful of maintaining professional standards.
The ombudsperson is independent of existing administrative structures and for administrative and budgeting purposes reports directly to Office of the Provost.
Please submit applications and questions to Erin Edwards, Office of the Provost, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (205) 934-8220.