As I meet faculty leaders across campus and explain the role of the NC State Faculty Ombuds, I ask them to think in terms of – What can the Faculty Ombuds do for you? Specifically as it relates to leaders, let me explain.
Recently in a meeting with faculty leaders, I asked for a show of hands – How many of you have ever had someone come to your office mad/angry/upset/etc., about something that was part of your work? Did you feel personally attacked? Most hands shot up! (no surprise)
Now suppose that person showed up at your office with a calm demeanor, with an “us against the problem” mentality instead of “me versus you” framework, with a willingness to think about the situation from both their own and your perspective, and discuss multiple options for resolving the situation? Lots of heads nodding and smiles across the room. This sounds pretty good.
Now, I can’t “promise” this happens after every visit to the Faculty Ombuds Office; however, when people meet in a confidential setting, share strong emotions about a situation, think strategically about the matter, and consider options for resolving the situation, then the opportunity to find solutions in partnership increases. If you want faculty members with issues/problems/concerns to show up to your office in this frame of mind then ask them to visit the Faculty Ombuds Office first!
Part of an ombuds role can be thought of as a way station along the road (issue/concern/conflict) to be traveled. A place for a short break, to regroup, rest, get focused, and prepared for the journey ahead.
Let me know what the Faculty Ombuds Office can do to help you.