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The Ombuds as Conflict Engagement Extension Practitioner

Two weeks ago, the NC Cooperative Extension State conference “Partnering to Serve” was in Raleigh to bring together extension from across North Carolina. All told over 700 extension agents, faculty and staff attended the event with multiple presentations and educational sessions. As the NC State Faculty & Staff ombuds I serve extension and had a chance to spend some time at the conference. I staffed a table and had a chance to meet many attendees and share information about ombuds services. And, as I thought about the work of extension, of how agents, faculty and staff work locally to support a wide range of programs, it occurred to me that as ombuds I’m an extension practitioner too!

According to one definition, an extension agent is a university employee who develops and delivers educational programs to assist people in economic and community development, leadership, family, agricultural and environmental issues. Extension practitioners are the content experts in these many fields and lead programs across North Carolina.

In a similar manner, I’m a conflict engagement extension practitioner – meaning as ombuds, I bring knowledge and experience and programming to help people engage with and hopefully solve workplace conflicts. I know this is not an exact match yet just as people turn to extension for help, I want to invite extension to turn to the ombuds for help when such may be needed.

Remember, when you are not sure where to turn and want some help – Go Ombuds!