Case Examples

Here’s a sample of cases that come to the Faculty & Staff Ombuds office.

Faculty

  1. Faculty member working on project with faculty outside NC State and a conflict developed. Wanted to discuss options for how to address either directly or with departmental support as both faculty work in same geographic area and will need to potentially work jointly in the future.
  2. Faculty member working on software related project with intellectual property concerns. Project work included various forms and contributions including student, contractor and various locations. Faculty Ombuds made confidential contact with Office of Institutional Research and Office of General Counsel to inquire about the issues raised. Provided general information and process information and contacts for faculty member to pursue as determined.
  3. Faculty member working on grant submission concerned about level of college research office support. Reviewed steps taken to date and developed plan for additional steps. Faculty member commented that issues surrounding the situation made it feel like a “cloud of isolation” and talking it over and “thinking about options” helped clear the air.
  4. Tenure track faculty with questions and concerns about meeting departmental expectations and staying within the tenure track. Reviewed and discussed RPT process, current circumstances and future goals in order to develop a strategy for moving forward. Identified additional resources and made confidential inquiry to learn about tenure clock extension considerations.
  5. Faculty that used own material for a class and wanted information about how to handle situation. Ombuds made confidential inquiry to learn about how Conflict Of Interest situations are handled including how and whether a management plan might be needed. Provided information to faculty about process so that additional steps could be taken.
  6. Faculty member was apprised of some teaching issues as it related to classroom management and came to ombuds to discuss and consider next steps. Developed strategy and identified additional resources.
  7. Professional Track faculty member shared concerns about continued employment while also trying to make plans about whether to seek positions elsewhere. While discussions were generally supportive with department leadership, the uncertainty was creating timing challenges in terms of the job market. Developed strategies for additional discussions with leadership and identified resources for promotion process information.
  8. Faculty member met with ombuds as part of retirement transition. Faculty member referenced how much the academy had changed over time and that s/he had not really kept up with building local department relations and that as career was winding down, did not have the local support desired. Discussed transition strategy along with resources available to assist faculty member.

Staff

  1. Staff and faculty member had a dispute about publication of data. Assisted resolution by facilitating the sharing of information to clarify situation.
  2. Staff member concerned about appropriate resource use by individual in unit. Discussed options ranging from direct conversation, discuss with program director, internal audit, and not taking any action. Follow up indicated that individual brought up the issue with program director and others in leadership position that led to review and decisions that resolved the situation.
  3. Change in leadership led to change in management style. While prior manager let folks in unit do their work, new leader was perceived as micro-manager and causing difficulty in function of unit. Discussed strategies to bring up differences and frame constructively instead of focusing on negative aspects.
  4. Staff member raised concerns about unit/department reorganization, its impact on position, along with supervisor gender treatment differences. Identified and discussed options including self-care via the FASAP (Faculty and Staff Assistance Program), whether and how to address issues in the workplace and consideration of contacting the Equal Opportunity and Equity staff at OIED.
  5. Staff member called at 3:30 pm on a Friday afternoon and was quite upset with an issue of immediate concern. Per the staff member, a decision impacting office location was made without their input and there were several concerns including safety and security that may not have been addressed. Staff member was being directed to pack up and move.

    Staff member and ombuds discussed the situation and developed an interim strategy – the staff member would respond to the person making the move request (not the immediate supervisor) and ask that since it was late on a Friday, to shift any move to the first of next week and for the staff member to seek a meeting with direct report to review issues.  Information about the FASAP program was also shared in case staff member wanted additional support.

    On the following Monday morning ombuds received a call that the strategy had worked, that the staff member was scheduling a meeting with direct report and would share issues of concern.  Staff member also indicated that if a move was directed, then it would be done; however, by meeting with the direct report, staff member felt part of the decision even if it was only to raise certain issues of concern.

Contacting the NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds Office or the Faculty & Staff Ombuds is not notice to NC State of any issue, complaint, grievance or claim.