Ombuds are Here
Conflict is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to consume yours. A new University Ombuds Office has opened in Strozier Hall to help faculty, staff and students resolve issues of conflict on campus.
Patricia Pinkard, coordinator of office services for the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Bruce Lyons, retired and vice president for Student Services and Dean of Students Emeritus, have accepted the staff and faculty Ombuds positions for 2008-09. Either will see both faculty and staff as well as students.
The Swedish term “Ombuds” refers to a person who is independent in structure, function and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization. The Ombuds remains neutral, unaligned and impartial and does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.
The Ombuds also holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
Why would a person accept this kind of responsibility? Pinkard, a UWG employee for 15 years, said it was an easy decision for her.
“Being a people person I love meeting people and building new relationships,” said Pinkard. “After working in the construction industry for 20 years and then coming to UWG, I discovered that people will be people and that there are only two things I can control on this earth: myself and my attitude.
“When this door of opportunity opened, I ran through it. The self-gratification I receive from helping someone, regardless of the situation, is my reward. Since I’ve worked in the COAS Dean’s office, I have always been the go-to-person when staff, colleagues and faculty needed something and they did not know where to find it. I consider this a great opportunity and a pleasure to do something that I love to do and have been doing, but most of all, to serve the university.”
Professional staff in the University Ombuds Office are trained in accordance with the standards of the International Ombudsman Association and report to President Beheruz N. Sethna.
Problems such as workplace discrimination, supervisor or employee disputes, preferential treatment and professional misconduct, and instructor/student issues are examples of what ombuds can help resolve.
University policy provides assurance that you will not suffer reprisal for seeking the services of the office.
Patricia Pinkard is located in Room 218 at Strozier Hall. She can be contacted through e-mail or phone: email@example.com or 678-839-4165.
Dr. Bruce Lyon is located in Room 220 at Strozier Hall. He can be contacted through e-mail or phone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-839-4166.
Appointments are recommended. Use of e-mail for confidential information is not encouraged.
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