What is an ombudsperson?
Who is the UMKC Faculty Ombudsperson?
What does an ombudsperson do?
When can I see the ombudsperson?
The mission of the Office of the Faculty Ombudsperson is to contribute to a fair, equitable, and respectful work environment by providing independent, neutral, confidential, and informal consultation to faculty who visit the Ombudsperson.
The Faculty Ombudsperson Office seeks to further the University’s mission and goals by supporting and encouraging an ethical, civil, and respectful culture in which differences can be resolved through mutual understanding. Respectful dialogue and fair process are cornerstones of ombuds work.
UMKC’s Faculty Ombudsperson Office is an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource for any faculty member at UMKC. This office provides a safe place to have off the record conversations about any problem you might be having about your workplace, supervisor, colleagues, etc. Talking to the Ombudsperson is a particularly good place to start in resolving problems or issues if you want to remain confidential, or don’t know where to start. Services are available to all UMKC faculty. This position was established jointly by the UMKC Faculty Senate and UMKC Office of the Provost in 2010.
The Faculty Ombudsperson Office is staffed by Carla Noack, Associate Professor of Theatre in Acting at the UMKC Conservatory.
The Faculty Ombudsperson may do a number of things, such as:
- Listening and providing a respectful, safe place within UMKC for faculty to discuss problems.
- Helping individuals clarify concerns and develop options.
- Explaining University policies and procedures.
- Providing referrals to other offices.
- Coaching visitors on how to help themselves.
- Looking into problems by gathering data and the perspectives of others.
- Engaging in shuttle diplomacy.
- Provide training in how to have difficult conversations.
Confidentiality is essential to Ombuds practice. Some visitors may choose to give the Faculty Ombudsperson permission to take action that would reveal their identity, while others ask that no action be taken that would lead to a risk of disclosure. The Ombudsperson will respect the visitor’s choice regarding disclosure, except in limited circumstances, such as where risk of imminent threat to individuals or the University exists and when required by law. In accordance with University of Missouri System Collected Rules and Regulations 600.020, the Faculty Ombudsperson is considered a non-professional counselor and hence is considered confidential in regards to sex discrimination.
Please note: A non-professional counselor however, does not hold legal “privilege.” Any information shared with the ombudsperson is subject to legal discovery, which means s/he may be required to provide the information in a deposition or testimony to a court. The ombudsperson must submit monthly reports of sex discrimination in any form to UMKC’s Office of Affirmative Action containing aggregate, non-personally identifiable information. More information can be found about this “non-professional counselor” status can be found in the University of Missouri System Collected Rules and Regulations 600.020.
The Faculty Ombudsperson provides informal assistance only. This means that if you want to file a grievance or file a formal complaint of any kind, you will be referred to another office. However, the Faculty Ombudsperson office is a good place to start a conversation that may help you determine if a formal process is the right one for you.
The Faculty Ombudsperson remains impartial. This means that she advocates neither for the visitor nor the University administration. The Faculty Ombudsperson Office does advocate for a fair, equitable, and respectful workplace.
The Faculty Ombudsperson is independent. This means that, while she reports to the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, she is not a member of management, and has sole discretion over how to react to visitors' concerns.
Although the Faculty Ombuds is a part-time appointment, she will make every effort to meet with you, either in person or by phone, as quickly as possible. During the academic year, she is able to meet with you at any mutually agreed-upon time. During semester breaks and the summer, her availability is more limited due to study abroad demands and personal time off.
The Faculty Ombudsperson Office commits to embracing diversity and developing sensitivity and understanding about differences among people on an ongoing basis. We uphold the definition of diversity as taking responsibility for our own personal biases. We extend that to specifically welcome all persons of varying race/ethnicity, disability, religion, creed, national origin, socioeconomic status, gender, gender identification, and sexual orientation.