Faculty at Colorado State University will soon have an additional resource for resolving workplace concerns.
The university has recently opened an internal search for a tenured CSU faculty member – current or retired — to become the new Faculty Ombuds. The quarter-time 12-month position will report to the director of the Office of the Ombuds and Employee Assistance Program.
The Office of the Ombuds is open to all university faculty, administrative professionals, state classified employees and all other employees of CSU who seek confidential assistance in resolving issues related to the workplace. The ombuds’ informal assistance supplements but does not replace the university’s formal processes for conflict resolution.
The reason for adding an ombuds designated to assist faculty with dispute resolution was to bring a shared perspective to the process, according to Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Dan Bush.
“There are some unique aspects to issues that arise with faculty,” he said. “While Lanai Greenhalgh (director of the Office of the Ombuds) has worked successfully with our faculty over the years, we felt that some faculty might be more comfortable with someone with direct knowledge of the academic world here on our Fort Collins campus, who is familiar with specific faculty issues and able to navigate the CSU culture and structure.”
That’s also why this position is an internal hire, Bush added, and the successful candidate need not have a specific degree or experience in conflict resolution. Excellent problem-solving, collaboration and communications skills are a must.
“We’re more interested in someone who cares about people and wants to make a contribution to the university,” he said. “We will send the right person to training to become a strong resource for everyone. We’re looking for someone who has the attitude of ‘How can I help?’”
The Faculty Ombuds has the support of the University President, the Provost and the administration, but is neither an advocate for any individual or the institution. The person in the position is an advocate for fairness and just practices, who acts as a source of information and referral and takes an active role in assisting in the resolution of concerns and critical situations.