Faculty Ombudsperson

News & Good Stuff to Know

Helping Colleagues Cope with Grief and Loss
Don't Forget to Say "Thanks!"
Tips for Working with Teams
Concerned about a Student?
Concerned about Disruptive or Threatening Behavior?
Crucial Conversations Panopto Presentations
Ombuds Reports

Helping Colleagues Cope with Grief and Loss

In my school, we’ve gone through a period in which several of our colleagues experienced personal losses, such as the death or illness of a loved one. It’s really hard to know what to say, and easy to say the wrong thing, so often we just avoid them. Usually that makes us feel awkward or guilty, and our colleague may feel ignored or isolated.

This link is from “VitalSmarts” that includes pointers about how to express your concern compassionately: Coping with Loss

Don’t Forget to Say “Thanks!”

A recent study by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino shows how simply saying “thanks” can improve your work life. In a series of four experiments, people who were thanked for assisting in a task were more likely to help again, even without being asked. These people reported they wanted to be helpful because the gratitude they received made them feel socially valuable.

Thanking people seems to make others more likely to help you in the future. They may also be easier to work with, negotiate with, and more likely to cooperate.

So don’t forget to say “thanks!”

Source: Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation  January 20, 2012

Tips for working with teams

Working in a research team? Working in a committee? Team teaching? Many of us collaborate with others regularly. The evidence shows that our work will generally be of higher quality, more creative, and overall more successful than if we work alone. However, we are all familiar with the problems that can arise when we work in teams: disagreements about how things should be done, poor communication, missed deadlines, differing levels of commitment to the task, etc.

If some of this sounds way too familiar to you, or if you're considering joining, forming, or leading a team, please take a look at the document posted on the UMKC Faculty Ombudsperson website: "Collaboration & Team Science: A Field Guide," written by L. Michelle Bennett, Howard Gadlin, and Samantha Levine-Finley for the National Institute of Health. Although its main focus is research teams, it offers valuable evidence-based information on how to build, lead, navigate, and work effectively in any kind of team. This useful document includes tips on how to choose personnel for a research team, foster trust, develop a shared vision, communicate, share recognition, handle conflict, and strengthen team dynamics.

Concerned about a Student? Try the UMKC Case Management Team

The Case Management Team is assembled by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and assists faculty with problems or concerns about working with students.

Concerned about Disruptive or Threatening Behavior on Campus? Seek Help from the UMKC Intervention Team

UMKC's Intervention Team identifies and assists in addressing situations where faculty or staff are displaying concerning, disruptive, or threatening behaviors.

Crucial Conversations Panopto Presentations

Having trouble engaging in constructive dialogue? This 8-part video series, found in the Faculty Ombuds Blackboard site, leads you through the "Crucial Conversations" framework, based on the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, by Patterson, Grenny, McMilan, & Switzler. Also found in the Content Folder in Blackboard are supplemental videos and other resources; the presentations can be found under "Panopto Classes."

Ombuds Reports


Carla Noack

Due to the limits of technology, confidentiality cannot be ensured in email or digitized voicemail communication. Thus, you are advised against sending sensitive information via emails or voicemail messages.