Reporting directly to the President, the University Ombudsperson works independently of all administrative and academic offices to serve the faculty and staff of University of Northern Colorado. The ombudsperson offers a neutral, informal and confidential place for faculty and staff to bring their concerns. The ombudsperson will help individuals clarify their interests and goals, understand and weigh their options, and develop strategies for handling difficult situations. The ombudsperson can coach individuals in written and verbal communications; identify and explain relevant University policies and practices; provide referrals to other offices and resources; assist in resolving interpersonal conflict by facilitating one-on-one and group conversations. The ombudsperson will provide guidance and improve the understanding of University policies and procedures while fostering a fair, equitable, and respectful environment for all faculty and staff.
The ombudsperson is neither an advocate for any individual nor the organization, but rather is an advocate for fairness who acts as a source of information and referral, aids in answering individuals' questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and critical situations. In considering any given instance or concern, the point of view of all parties that might be involved are taken into account. This office supplements, but does not replace, the University's existing resources for formal conflict resolution.
While maintaining confidentiality of communications, the ombudsperson may prepare a periodic report to the president and/or university community. Based on anonymous aggregate data, this report discusses trends in the reporting of issues or concerns, identifies patterns or problem areas in existing policies and practices, may recommend revisions and improvements, and may assess the climate of the campus.
Duties & Responsibilities:
(1) Serve as a neutral, independent, and confidential resource to UNC faculty and staff:
* Provide individuals with a respectful, confidential, and safe place to discuss challenges and issues.
* Help individuals consider appropriate options and understand relevant policies and processes.
* Empower individuals to resolve conflict for themselves and/or between themselves and others through impartial, informal, and confidential processes such as dispute or conflict resolution coaching, problem-solving, and/or facilitated conversations or meetings between individuals and within groups.
* Refer individuals to appropriate resources such as Human Resources, Office of Institutional Equity & Compliance (OIEC), Employee Assistance Program, Campus Police, etc.
* Serve as a primary partner with Dean of Students and Title IX/OIEC to assess needs as they are received.
* Assist with clarifying issues and generating options for resolution.
* Facilitate the assessment of the pros and cons of possible options.
* Engage in confidential informal information gathering to better understand an issue from all perspectives.
* When appropriate, facilitate group meetings, use shuttle diplomacy, or negotiation skills to facilitate communication among parties in conflict.
(2) Conduct outreach and education about ombuds services to campus constituents:
* Design and conduct training programs for the campus community in dispute/conflict resolution, negotiation skills and theory, civility, and related topics.
* Provide education and communication about the ombuds role to potential inquirers as well as to campus leadership.
(3) Identify trends and anticipate campus needs related to conflict management:
* Function as a sensor within the campus community to identify problems or trends that affect the entire campus or significant parts of the community; if appropriate, recommend creative ways to address these concerns.
* Track frequency of concerns and complaints for annual reporting purposes and identify recurring issues that may benefit from changes to policies or practices.
* Provide early warning of new areas of organizational concern, upward feedback, critical analysis of systemic needs for improvement, and make systems change recommendations.
* Encourage flexible administrative practices to maximize the institution's ability to meet the needs of all members of the campus community equitability.
- Master's degree in Communication, Psychology, Sociology, Counseling, or related field.
- Minimum 8 years' professional experience in a higher education setting (10 years' professional experience in higher education and/or in an ombuds role may be substituted for master's degree). Previous experience must include a significant role in conflict resolution.
- Demonstrated experience in facilitation and mediation, dispute and conflict resolution.
- Understanding of and commitment to providing services to a diverse and inclusive University community.
- Exceptional listening skills and the ability to cultivate trust and credibility among various and diverse constituents.
- Ability and desire to help others problem solve and to see both sides of a dilemma.
- Ability to use creativity to identify solutions.
- Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, at the highest professional level.
- Strong analytical skills, including the ability to quickly analyze complex issues and interpersonal dynamics.
- Strong emotional intelligence and empathy with ability to relate effectively to a broad array of people, including those with different temperaments, occupations, cultures, and life experiences.
- Comfortable managing conflict and working in situations that are at times intensely emotional.
- Capacity to exercise excellent judgment and discretion and to work independently in a collaborative environment.
- Knowledge of higher education and university governance through substantial experience in a university or college setting.
- The individual in this role must have a reputation for integrity and confidentiality, and a strong knowledge of University processes across functions to develop a deep understanding and awareness of the issues that affect members of the UNC community.
- Certification through the International Ombudsman Association preferred in order to stay on the leading edge of critical ombudsperson issues such as confidentiality and privilege. If not currently certified, the individual selected for this role will be expected to attain certification within the first year in the position.
Special Instructions to Applicants:
Attach resume, cover letter, and contact information for 3 references electronically.
Salary and Benefits:
Annual salary is $70,000. Benefits available include health, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance, as well as a selection of several defined contribution retirement plans. Dependents and spouses of UNC Employees who are employed at 0.5 FTE or above are eligible for undergraduate dependent tuition grants of up to 50%. These tuition grants will cover in-state tuition charges. Further requirements may exist. Other benefits may be available based on position.
Additional Requirements and Information:
Satisfactory completion of a background check, educational check, and authorization to work in the United States is required after a conditional offer of employment has been made. The successful candidate must submit original transcripts within one (1) month of hire.
Required Notice: In compliance with the Clery Act, the most recent University of Northern Colorado Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report is available online (https://www.unco.edu/police/clery/security-report.aspx) and a paper copy can be requested at the UNC Police Department. This report contains crime statistics and policy statements related to safety, conduct processes and Title IX investigations.