What is an Ombuds?
We all have times in our professional lives when we face complex situations. Often the complexities and entanglements make it hard to know how to move forward. The University Ombuds serves as a kind of co-navigator to help you clarify your concerns and discern next healthy next steps.
The Ombuds Office provides a safe environment where faculty, staff and administrators may speak in confidence about issues of concern related to their work at WFU.
WFU’s Ombuds Office adheres to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice. These standards prescribe that an Ombuds must adhere to confidentiality, informality, impartiality and independence.
- Confidentiality. Unless there is danger of harm to you and/or others the Ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in confidence. This commitment ensures that the Ombuds Office provides a space where you can speak freely, think freely and keep the power to take action with yourself.
- Informality. The Ombuds supplements, but does not replace, any formal channels. Interacting with the Ombuds is voluntary and is not a required step in any grievance process. This commitment ensures that we are off-the-record and that the Ombuds can suggest tools, strategies and techniques that empower you to decide healthy responses to the challenges you face.
- Impartiality. The Ombuds strives for impartiality, fairness and objectivity in the treatment of all. We do not advocate on behalf of any individual but do advocate for progress at a systemic level. This commitment ensures that we can be of service to all members of the University community.
- Independence. The Ombuds is independent from other University entities. This commitment ensures that there won’t be a conflict of interest between the Ombuds Office and any other individual or department.
The Ombuds assists faculty, staff and administrators by listening to concerns, clarifying issues, explaining policies, articulating options, serving as a neutral party in resolving disputes and providing referrals to other resources.
The Ombuds does not render decisions, conduct formal investigations, alter policy, offer legal advice, provide psychological counseling or take sides as an advocate for a specific individual or group. Unless required by law, the Ombuds does not participate in any formal grievance, hearing, administrative or legal proceeding.