Position Title: Director & Ombud Supervisor: Assistant Vice Provost for Student Advocacy and Support
Position Summary: The Director & Ombud of the Student Conflict Resolution Center (SCRC) is a designated neutral (or impartial dispute resolution practitioner) whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to students who are aggrieved or concerned about an issue; make recommendations and negotiate equitable resolutions; serve as a campus resource for officials in formulating or modifying policy and procedures; raise issues that may surface as a result of a gap between the stated goals of the University and actual practice; and to review the patterns of grievances and make appropriate recommendations for policies or practices that would reduce or eliminate recurring grievances. The ombuds is neither an advocate for any individual party to a dispute, but rather is an advocate for equity and fairness of the conflict resolution process. The Director will oversee the work of other staff and serve as a unit lead within the Office for Student Affairs.
Responsibilities: 1. Dispute Resolution, Consultation, and Referral: (30%) The Director of SCRC meets with students, providing impartial and confidential consultation concerning University-based problems and concerns. The Director assists individuals in identifying parties to the conflict, exploring salient issues, and developing options to resolve the conflict. The Director then assesses the merits and investigates the facts of the case. Duties for this function include: Liaising with disputing parties to explore and develop options to resolve individual case issues Assessing the merits of the case Coaching parties to deal with the matter directly Conducting appropriate informal fact-finding in order to better understand issues from all perspectives Facilitating mediation (face-to-face or shuttle diplomacy) of disputes Identifying resources for conflicting parties Conducting research on relevant University policies and procedures Assisting with the preparation of petitions and appeals Giving appropriate feedback on strategies to resolve future situations Partnering with University allies to develop strategies for dealing with individual and institutional issues
2. Establish and Maintain the Student Conflict Resolution Center (SCRC) (30%) SCRC follows the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (ACCUO). The Director of the office safeguards SCRC’s reputation and the integrity of its work through supervision, training and case management. These safeguards ensure impartiality, confidentiality, independence, and timely attention to the resolution of issues. Additionally, the Director seeks to provide conflict management processes whereby members of the University community are treated with dignity and respect. To achieve these objectives, the Director supervises office staff, and formulates, manages and monitors the overall goals, programs, and budget of SCRC. Duties for this function include: Supervision of staff Maintaining (confidential) demographic client statistics Surveying clients and University community members who use SCRC services; evaluating case and survey data for trends, in order to improve service to the University community Forecasting budgets to address programing and staffing needs Developing strategies to address departmental and institutional issues Creating linkages with SCRC’s University allies to improve community outcomes
3. Developing and Presenting Lectures, Trainings, and Workshops (15%) University members contact SCRC to request programming on conflict management or assist in addressing ongoing and historical issues in their departments, programs and communities. The Director of SCRC meets with representatives from University organizations, assesses the needs of the individual or organization, identifies key stakeholders, and designs a lecture, training, or workshop for the group. When appropriate, the Director of SCRC identifies other subject matter experts (such as Student Counseling Services, International Student Scholar Services, Office for Conflict Resolution) for collaboration in these workshops and trainings. Some examples include: Graduate School orientation New Department Chairs Graduate Medical Education School of Public Health College of Biological Sciences Department of Food Science and Nutrition Department of Physics University Libraries Housing and Residential Life
4. Policy Analysis: (15%) The Director of SCRC reviews case information, survey data and integrates information from discussions with staff, faculty and administrators to identify and address common issues or problems. This process helps provide the basis for appropriate recommendations for specific remedies to individual issues as well as changes in policies or practices that would prevent or reduce recurring problems. Duties for this function include: Chairing the Academic Civility Work Group which has developed resources, training, and outreach to address the issue of academic harassment. Providing consultation on academic civility issues Developing and updating University resources that support conflict resolution Providing upward feedback on emerging issues Improving linkages between the University community in the service of conflict resolution efforts Discussing current and emerging systemic issues at the University Providing expertise and support for the Outstanding Advising Award for faculty
5. Research and Publication (10%) The Director of the SCRC also works proactively to address emerging issues. The Director will work with campus partners to administer the “Academic Incivility and the Graduate Student Experience” survey, which is the first known examination of the incidence of academic harassment among graduate and professional students in the U.S. Reports of the survey results were published in 2007, 2011, and 2014, 2017, and 2020 form the basis of an ongoing research program on this topic.
Appointment: The Director and Ombuds position is a 100% time 12-month academic administrative position in the University’s Professional and Administrative (P&A) classification series. Salary is $75,000-85,000 commensurate with education, experience, and qualifications. Benefits include health, dental, and life insurance, retirement after a waiting period, 22 vacation days per year, and U of M tuition reimbursement.
Required Qualifications: BA/BS with at least 8 years experience and prior oversight of a small department and/or Ombuds Highly organized, proactive, strong ability to assist others in navigating through complex situations Able to maintain confidentiality and effectively communicate with others with difficult/sensitive information Excellent oral and written communication skills. Ability to plan, monitor, evaluate, and manage multiple priorities
Preferred Qualifications Master’s degree in a related field, related experience (Ombuds work, excellent problem-solving skills, conflict resolution including mediation, systems theory, negotiation, etc.) preferably within higher education. 5-8 years fullâ‘time experience as an ombud or work in the conflict resolution field Experience leading an ombud team, preferably in a university setting. Experience with database management
The University of Minnesota, founded in the belief that all people are enriched by understanding, is dedicated to the advancement of learning and the search for truth; to the sharing of this knowledge through education for a diverse community; and to the application of this knowledge to benefit the people of the state, the nation, and the world.