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AS&E Faculty

Faculty Resources

A Letter from the AS&E Faculty Ombudsperson

John Barker

Dear Colleagues:

Since joining the Deans’ Office, just over a month ago, I have taken great pleasure acclimating once again to the City of Rochester and to the University of Rochester community. As senior associate dean of the faculty, my responsibilities lie in the areas of:

  • Faculty development
  • Aiding the Susan B. Anthony Institute (SBAI) and Frederick Douglass Institute (FDI) in program and curricular design
  • Revenue generation
  • Faculty ombudsperson responsibilities

Today, I am writing specifically to explain my new role as the Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E) Faculty Ombudsperson.

Role of the Ombudsperson

The ombudsperson (or ombuds) serves as a neutral resource who provides confidential and informal assistance to members of the campus community. The goal of the office is to provide faculty with voluntary, informal, neutral, and confidential assistance in resolving University-related issues or concerns. Ombudspersons follow the International Ombudsman Association Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

Ombudspersons listen impartially to faculty concerns and offer an environment that is conducive to problem solving. In addition, they discuss multiple options for conflict resolution, including appropriate resource referrals and applicable University policies. The ombudsperson is always an impartial third party and cannot provide legal advice or representation at any grievance, disciplinary, or judicial procedure.

Ombudspersons will:

  • Offer an environment conducive to problem resolution and impartially listen to concerns or problems
  • Maintain confidentiality
  • Gather information with specific permissions
  • Discuss options for resolution of your problem or concern
  • Discuss University policies and procedures that may be applicable to your problem or concern
  • Make referrals to appropriate resources
  • Facilitate difficult conversations

Ombudspersons will NOT:

  • Provide legal advice or representation
  • Represent or advocate for you at any grievance, disciplinary, or judicial procedure
  • Testify in a formal grievance or legal proceeding
  • Assist with non-University-related issues

As AS&E continues to work toward being an inclusive and welcoming community, we are developing processes that enable communication and dialogue. The ombuds program will offer suggestions to those who seek assistance on effective ways to handle problems that are often unavoidable.

The ombuds promotes an environment that will offer members of the faculty community a venue for dealing with conflict that, if left unattended, can interfere with one’s ability to perform their academic responsibilities.

Once an ombudsperson is made aware of issues, they bring those issues forward to the administration for potential change, in no way revealing the person who brought forward the issue but bringing the issue to light so that institutional change may happen.

I look forward to working with you to advance the ideals of Meliora and in developing a community that is reflective of—and safe for—all.

Respectfully,

John Barker
Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty
AS&E Faculty Ombudsperson
Professor, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony Institutes