Frequently Asked Questions

To whom are the faculty ombudsman services available?
To all faculty at all academic ranks associated with all OSU campuses.

Does the faculty ombudsman handle student or staff issues?
No. Undergraduate and graduate students should contact the Student Advocacy Center, Office of Student Life.  Staff should contact their local Human Resources person. OSU has available a Mediation Service for faculty, staff and graduate associates (at hr.osu.edu/mediation).

What functions does the faculty ombudsman perform?

  • Listens to you
  • Answers your questions
  • Analyzes your situation
  • Explains policies and procedures
  • Provides information and advice
  • Explores possible solutions
  • Suggests appropriate referrals
  • Assists in pursuing a resolution
  • Informally mediates a dispute where appropriate
  • Apprises the administration of significant trends
  • Recommends changes in policies and procedures

When should a faculty member contact the faculty ombudsman? 
When you:

  • need to have a confidential discussion about a university related problem
  • feel a policy or procedure has been unfairly applied to you
  • need information about faculty rights and university policies and procedures
  • need help in facilitating a resolution to a work-related problem
  • need help communicating with other faculty or university administrators
  • want to know your options for solving a work-related problem
  • prefer to resolve a dispute in an informal manner
  • want to know what university resources are available to you

What doesn’t the faculty ombudsman do?

  • Advocate for you, i.e., assume a non-neutral role
  • Represent you in a grievance procedure
  • Address a non-university related problem or complaint
  • Intervene in a formal grievance procedure
  • Overturn decisions by university officials
  • Provide legal advice or legal representation

What authority does the faculty ombudsman have?
The faculty ombudsman has no formal authority. However, he can mediate and negotiate settlements in disputes.  The faculty ombudsman may identify systemic conflicts, bringing to the administration’s attention those practices, policies, and aspects of OSU culture that appear to exacerbate tensions or create problems for faculty. 

If the faculty ombudsman is employed by OSU, how independent can he be?
The faculty ombudsman is not part of the OSU administration.  He is free from any influence in addressing issues and resolving conflicts. The fact that faculty ombudsman works outside of the official channels means a person can raise a concern without bringing  it as a formal complaint.

How long has the faculty ombudsman worked at OSU?
This is the faculty ombudsman’s 38th year as an OSU faculty member and second year as faculty ombudsman.

Do you keep records?
No. The faculty ombudsman may take notes to be sure of a comprehensive understanding of the issues. These notes and any documents that may be provided are shredded after consultation is complete. The faculty ombudsman’s notes are not subject to open records requests. The faculty ombudsman keeps only statistical data and does not keep names in a database.

What is informal, early stage, mediation?
Informal mediation is a voluntary meeting of disputing parties in which they attempt to reach their own solution with the help of the faculty ombudsman.  
Some benefits of mediation include:

  • Parties choose their own solution; no arbitrator imposes a decision
  • You can work to seek common interests, rather than bringing or defending against charges of wrongdoing or violations of OSU policy
  • You have flexibility to reach creative solutions that a grievance or other formal proceedings may not allow

Can faculty members be compelled to use the services of the faculty ombudsman?
No. The use of these services is strictly optional.

How should I communicate with the faculty ombudsman?
Appointments can be arranged by telephone or email.  Please do not include confidential information in an email.