The Office of the Student Ombuds March 2012


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  • The Office of the Ombuds Services helps the University uphold the institutional core values and the honor code.
  • If it is unclear what they are asking, ask them specifically what they are asking you to do. Spending time on the front end listening will save a lot of time at the end.
  • The Office of the Student Ombuds March 2012

    1. 1. The University of Texas at Austin
    2. 2.  Word originated in Sweden in 1809 when an independent office was set up to hear citizen’s complaints about the government At University of Texas, the Office of the Ombudsperson was created in 1968 to hear student concerns and facilitate information gathering and option-generation Now have Ombuds services for faculty, staff, and students through 3 separate offices
    3. 3.  Funded mostly through the Student Services Budget Committee and some State Funds Reports directly to the Office of the President Serves close to 1,000 students per year  walk-in, appointments, phone calls, emails Part-time ombudsperson, full-time administrative associate, graduate assistant, other student assistants
    4. 4. The mission of the Office of the Student Ombuds is to provide aneutral, impartial, and confidential environment for students tovoice concerns related to life at The University of Texas atAustin. The Student Ombuds functions in an independent andinformal manner to help students discover options for effectiveproblem solving and conflict resolution. The office providesrecommendations to the University regarding systemic issues.The Student Ombuds is an advocate for fair and equitablyadministered processes and does not side with individuals orthe University.
    5. 5. The core values of The University of Texas at Austin are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness and respect toward peers and community.
    6. 6.  Confidential Neutral Independent Informal
    7. 7.  Grade disputes Lack of communication or miscommunication Cheating, plagiarism, or collusion Unclear grading criteria or standards for curves Academic Expenses Degree Requirements Retroactive mental health Withdrawals Dissertation committees Student employment Final Exams Registration and Admissions
    8. 8.  Listen Help generate options for a plan of action Facilitate dialogue Find relevant university or departmental policy or procedure Facilitate information gathering from all parties in the conflict “Help students help themselves”
    9. 9.  Publications such as Guide to Writing an Effective Syllabus, and Guide to Final Exams and Grade Disputes Contact about particular cases with general questions Referrals to you Referrals from you Reporting trends related to your college or department or university/ academic policies and/or procedures Suggestions for best practices for conflict resolution
    10. 10.  Tell them how you, the chair, or the dean want to be communicated with (email, in person, phone call, etc.). If you have a time limit or time frame for the meeting or decision, tell them upfront. Listen for what they are asking you to do and a context for the reasons behind their request. Observe their tone and body language Observe your tone and body language Validate their experience (You don’t have to necessarily agree with it). Explain your rationale for decision (i.e. the policy) Validate again Contact us if you need assistance, help, or tips on communicating challenging messages to students.
    11. 11. Lauren Bloom, OmbudspersonBrittany Linton, Assistant OmbudspersonVivian Wilbon, Administrative Associate Phone: 512-471-3825 Location: Student Services Building G1.404 Campus Mail Code: A6000 or