Professor of Psychology and Faculty Ombudsperson
Ext. 6431 / Global Commons 216
Communication by email is not recommended. Please call the Faculty Ombudsperson at 278-6431 if you have questions or concerns.
The Faculty Ombudsperson at Elon University
The Faculty Ombudsperson is authorized to confidentially receive complaints, concerns, or inquiries about alleged acts, omissions, improprieties and/or broader systemic problems within the ombudsperson’s defined jurisdiction, and to listen, offer options, facilitate resolutions, informally investigate or otherwise examine these issues independently and impartially. The Ombudsperson is authorized to work exclusively with teaching faculty.
Professor Mathew Gendle currently serves as the Elon University Faculty Ombudsperson.
Functions of the Office
The Elon University Faculty Ombudsperson seeks to promote fairness, conflict resolution, and cooperation through education, negotiation and mediation. The Faculty Ombudsperson adheres to the Standards of Practice adopted by The International Ombudsman Association. These standards were developed in accordance with commonly understood principles within the Ombuds profession and reflect the core values of IOA. The Standards of Practice help guide members in making responsible choices and further, are intended to promote constituents’ understanding of and confidence in Ombuds Offices and their services.
The professional standards of independence, informality, neutrality, and confidentiality guide the work of the Ombudsperson. The Ombudsperson is independent of all formal university processes or procedures. Therefore, he/she is authorized to informally assist with the resolution of issues and disputes. The Ombudsperson is a designated neutral party and does not function as an advocate or representative. All conversations with the Ombudsperson are confidential, except when the safety or security of others are concerned, when permission is given by the complainant to speak with others involved in the case, in cases dealing with concerns about violations of the university’s non-discrimination policy, or where the Ombudsperson may be required by law to testify. For concerns about discrimination or harassment on the basis of age, race, color, creed, sex, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran’s status, please go to http://www.elon.edu/e-web/org/inclusive-community/.
The Ombudsperson Does NOT…
Ombuds Office Categories of Concerns and Reporting Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the Ombudsperson to submit an annual report to the President and Academic Council.
The confidentiality of all cases and anonymity of persons will be maintained. In addition to faculty rank and gender, permissible types of information to be reported include:
Definitions of Categories of Concern
Forms of Assistance Provided to Ombuds Office Visitors
Definitions of Forms of Assistance
Individual Consultation, often about university policies and procedures, is the primary form of assistance provided by the Ombudsperson. It involves extensive discussion of a situation to discover the visitor’s concerns, consider their goals, discuss potential strategies that one might utilize to resolve the conflict, educate about the university’s formal and informal organization, and/or discuss timing of actions and diplomatic approaches to taking action. Assistance in this category often includes conflict coaching to explore ways that one might raise difficult issues, approach others, and/or attempt to gain cooperation. Some cases result in formal complaint procedures during or after Ombudsperson consultation, but the Ombudsperson is never directly involved in this process due to the informal nature of the Ombudsperson’s role within the university.
Referrals occur when the visitor’s needs are best met through contact with another university office or department. In all instances an Individual Consultation precedes referrals. Mediation or Group Facilitation occurs when the Ombudsperson engages in structured mediation between two parties. This requires separate meetings with all disputing parties prior to a mediation session. In some instances it is necessary to engage in shuttle diplomacy, where the ombudsperson meets individually with all parties involved in the dispute.