What are the similarities and differences between the Faculty Ombuds Office and other NC State services?
While there are commonalities across NC State in terms of services for faculty, the Faculty Ombuds Office has some significant differences. It is independent in structure, not part of any one College or Department. It is confidential with limited exceptions. It is impartial in that the role is designed to support a faculty member without taking a particular “side” to a situation or outcome. Finally, the office is informal and keeps no records with identifiable information and seeks resolution of issues at the lowest possible level. The office fills the gap between formal and informal services. Here’s a comparison chart that appeared in a recent article Organizational Ombuds: Filling the Gap in Effective Dispute Resolutions Systems – Formal v Informal Comparison Chart
How can the Faculty Ombuds help me?
It’s the old adage – two heads are better than one. Most of the time its helpful to talk over an issue or concern. Often we turn to family, friends, and colleagues. Those contacts remain important and the Faculty Ombuds can also help because the office has four features that distinguish it from most any other service. The office is independent, confidential, impartial, and informal. Thus, you won’t be judged on the issue or concern your bring; instead, the Faculty Ombuds will help you think through your situation and help you develop and consider options for moving forward. The Faculty Ombuds may also provide you information on existing University services that could help with your situation.
What does “confidential” mean as it relates to the Faculty Ombuds Office?
The NC State Faculty Ombuds provides an “off the record” space in which to explore issues and concerns. All contact with the office is confidential except with your permission to disclose or based on two exceptions – 1) imminent risk of serious harm or 2) if required by law. Additionally, contacting the Faculty Ombuds Office does not place NC State on notice. Together, these protections make the Faculty Ombuds Office a place where you can raise issues or concerns and retain control of what happens to the information. For the Faculty Ombuds, “confidential” means the information will not be shared unless permission has been granted and it can be done in a way that does not identify the source. What you do with the contact is up to you.