Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions about the ombuds.
Who does the ombuds serve?
The people who work at NC State. This includes everyone with a faculty appointment, all SHRA and all EHRA non faculty employees. The ombuds can help you navigate issues, will seek to empower you, help identify resources and coach you through the ombuds process
What are the similarities and differences between the ombuds office and other NC State services?
The ombuds office supplements or adds to existing services. While there are commonalities across NC State in terms of services for faculty and staff, the Ombuds Office has some unique differences. It is independent in structure, not part of any one college, department or unit. It is confidential with limited exceptions (imminent risk of serious harm to people). It is impartial in that the role is designed to support people without taking a particular “side” to a situation or outcome. Finally, the office is informal and keeps no records with identifiable information and seeks engagement of issues at the lowest possible level. The office fills a potential gap in services between formal and informal. Here’s a comparison chart that appeared in an article “Organizational Ombuds: Filling the Gap in Effective Dispute Resolutions Systems.”
How can the 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 & Staff 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 & Staff Ombuds will help you think through your situation, may provide you information on existing University services that could help with your situation and can also help you develop and consider options for moving forward. Its about empowering you to make your own decisions.
What does “confidential” mean as it relates to the ombuds office?
The NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds provides an “off the record” space to explore issues and concerns. All contact with the office is confidential except for three exceptions – 1) with your permission and agreement of the ombuds to disclose; 2) imminent risk of serious harm (physical harm) or 3) if required by law (situations related to child / elder abuse and neglect). Additionally, contacting the Faculty & Staff Ombuds Office does not place NC State on notice of any issue, complaint, grievance or claim. Together, these protections make the Faculty & Staff Ombuds Office a safe place where you can raise issues or concerns and retain control of what happens to the information.
Why and when should I contact the ombuds?
One goal of the office is to be a safe and comfortable place for people to bring issues and get help thinking through a situation and developing options. Because contact is confidential (with only a few exceptions), you keep control of the information shared and get to make your own decisions. As to the when, early in a situation is better than later because early usually means you have more options and flexibility.