Booker is new UAB ombuds

Written by  Karen Templeton

BookerAlicia 350x450Alicia BookerAlicia Booker has been selected as the new university ombudsman in a newly expanded office within UAB.

The UAB Ombuds Office is a neutral resource available to all university faculty, staff and mentored graduate and post-doctoral students to discuss workplace issues, academic concerns, issues relating to administrative paperwork and processes and explanation and interpretation of policies and procedures, among other issues.

“The UAB Ombuds Office provides a safe place for the UAB community to navigate policies, issues, concerns and conflicts,” said UAB Provost Pam Benoit. “Alicia Booker will promote an ethical university culture committed to problem-solving and dispute resolution in a safe, unbiased environment.”

“I am honored to serve in the ombudsman role at UAB,” Booker said. “My goal always will be to advocate for fairness and serve as a collabrative community resource. The mission of this office is to provide a space on campus where people can come for university-related conflict management, reduction or resolution consultation.” 

Previously, UAB provided an ombudsman for faculty; now the position has expanded to include university staff.

“It is our goal to supplement current employee conflict-resolution channels with a neutral and confidential ombudsman professional,” said UAB’s Chief Human Resources Officer Alesia Jones. “Alicia’s background and experience will enhance our efforts.”

“Alicia Booker will promote an ethical university culture committed to problem-solving and dispute resolution in a safe, unbiased environment.”

Booker plans to connect to the UAB community through a new Om-bassadors program that will help educate and engage UAB employees in the office’s initiatives.

“The program will connect the community to the ombuds office,” Booker said. “We’ll provide opportunities for professional development, provide them with information about our office to share with their units and involve them in initiatives such as random acts of resolution to help their colleagues deal with conflict and assist in referrals to the office.”

The UAB Ombuds Office operates under the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association. Email or call 205-934-7230 to make an appointment with Booker.

Booker, who was selected following a national search, has more than 10 years’ experience in conflict resolution in a higher education setting. Most recently she was the associate ombudsman for the University of Cincinnati, where she advocated for 53,000 students, faculty and staff. 

Booker is completing her doctorate at Nova Southeastern University with research focusing on a competency assessment model for the role of the ombudsperson in higher education. She earned  a Master of Arts in dispute resolution from Southern Methodist University where she also received graduate certificates in conflict coaching, executive coaching and advanced training on workplace collaboration in conflict management. She is an active member of the International Ombudsman Association, the American Bar Association’s Ombuds committee and the International Facilitators Association.