What is the process for contacting an Ombuds?
The Ombuds Office is available to UWM faculty and staff. Concerns can be directed to the University ombuds of your choice by visiting this link and leaving a confidential message at the Ombuds Office at 414.229.4902. Your message will be accessed from this secure and confidential line by an impartial party who will contact the Ombuds of your choice for a return call and scheduling of a meeting.

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Dr. Joan Prince, vice chancellor for Partnerships and Innovation, and chair of the Ombuds council

Overview

The Chancellor’s Ombuds Council was created October 22, 2007 to help enhance the campus work force climate. Formation of the Ombuds Council resulted from the Chancellor’s commitment to enhancing a supportive workplace environment for faculty and staff, and from the advisory recommendations from the Chancellor’s Council on Inclusion, as well as the recommendations of the Task Force on Women and the Task Force on Race and Ethnicity.

The council provides a neutral and confidential resource that will serve as a first step for individuals with an unresolved issue before they move to a more formal discussion, says Dr. Joan Prince, vice chancellor for Partnerships and Innovation, and chair of the council.

The Council, which consists of 6 members, is representative of faculty, academic staff, and classified employees, says Prince. The Council also includes the chairs of university governance committees and the Provost as ex-officio members. Individuals are able to contact the council directly to set up appointments to talk.

The Chancellor’s Ombuds Council has an important role in advancing the climate of our campus. Through it, UWM provides and maintains a neutral, confidential resource that can improve communication and help resolve problems.

What is an Ombuds?

An ombuds is an independent, informal, neutral and confidential resource who provides assistance to members of the University community in exploring options to resolve problems, complaints and conflicts at a preliminary and informal level. This assistance functions as an early opportunity to explore options outside of formal administrative channels, supplementing them, but not replacing them.

The Ombuds Office serves as a resource for those who seek informal guidance on policies, procedures and regulations affecting faculty and staff. Ombuds can refer individuals to persons able to resolve problems, interpret policies, or handle issues at the lowest possible level.

What is the scope of the campus Ombuds?

The role of the Ombuds is to foster equitable treatment of all faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. (Students seeking help should contact the Dean of Students at 414.229.4632). Ombuds exist as the neutral point of view in an informal and confidential environment. The Ombuds will provide a roadmap to identify options for resolution, provide referrals to other resources, and offer recommendations regarding changes in policies, procedures, and resolution structures to the Chancellor via the Ombuds Council. All Ombuds adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.  

Private confidential meetings can be arranged at your convenience. All communications will be treated with strict confidentiality to the extent permissible under the law. Ombuds will not identify you or discuss your personal concerns with anyone unless, within the course of your conversations with the Ombudsman, you and the Ombudsman both agree to do so. The only exception to confidentiality is when an Ombudsman determines that there is risk of imminent harm or when the law requires information to be disclosed.

What is outside the scope of the campus Ombuds?

The Ombuds does not breach confidentiality, determine “guilt” or “innocence”, make binding or administrative decisions, determine rights, give legal advice, or participate in formal campus proceedings or grievances. The Ombuds also does not provide official interpretations of campus policy or procedures, but rather serves as an informal peer-based resource.

If you talk to an Ombuds confidentially about an issue, the university has not been “put on notice” that the issue exists. Rather, the Ombuds exists to counsel you informally prior to or as an alternative to your contacting an official who will formally respond to your problem.

When might I want to talk to an Ombuds?

The Ombuds office is a resource which will provide informal and confidential services to faculty and staff. The following represents the types of issues or concerns that might necessitate the use of an Ombuds:

  • If you have a problem or concern relating to the University and need guidance in resolving the issue
  • If you need information about policies or procedures at the University 
  • If you are unsure about which University policies, procedures or regulations apply to certain situations