The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) seeks its first organizational Ombudsperson to foster a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist community of belonging for its students, faculty, and staff. This is an on-site and in-person role, and the anticipated start date is January/February 2023.
For more than 150 years, SAIC has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top four graduate fine arts programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities.
One of the country's largest accredited independent schools of art and design, SAIC enrolls approximately 3,550 talented and socially engaged students, with roughly 2,800 undergraduate students and 750 graduate students, 27.6 percent of whom self-identify as a student of color. International students, representing 79 countries, comprise 30 percent of the student population. Guided, supported, and mentored by 172 full-time and 584 part-time faculty members, SAIC students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, and LeRoy Neiman.
SAIC’s inaugural Ombudsperson will provide neutral, informal, independent, and confidential conflict resolution services to the School’s constituencies through a restorative practice lens. The Ombudsperson reports to the Office of the President for administrative and budgetary purposes, and in a manner that is independent of ordinary line and staff structure. This ensures that the Ombudsperson will use independent judgment, in accordance with the office’s charter, regarding whether to become involved in a matter and what steps to undertake regarding each matter. Guided by the International Ombudsman Association’s current Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, they will engage in consultation, conflict assessment and analysis, conflict coaching, mediation, and facilitation to encourage amenable parties to reach mutually agreeable solutions to concerns between or among individual or groups wherever possible. Further, they will develop, design, deliver, and evaluate a range of training programs regarding mediation, negotiation, and other related skill sets to promote constructive communication, conflict resolution, and collaborative problem solving within an art and design school context.
This new role extends SAIC’s strategic commitment to actively support and advance diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and anti-racism within the School. Through culturally responsive services and practices, the Ombudsperson will provide a discrete space for students, faculty, and staff to share issues and explore early resolution options to avoid escalation of conflicts and empower individuals to find self-directed solutions to problems. Additionally, the Ombudsperson will confidentially advise the president and other DEI staff on overall and emerging trends and will develop a process for sharing general statistics and information about the usage of the Ombudsperson’s services with the School community while maintaining the confidentiality of the office.
A bachelor’s degree and four years of professional experience in conflict resolution are required. The successful candidate will be expected to hold or obtain CO-OP certification from the International Ombudsman Association or equivalent.
The search committee is also prioritizing the following as highly desired skills and traits for the Ombudsperson:
- Experience in providing two-party and group facilitation
- The ability to communicate effectively with students, faculty, and staff confidentially on sensitive topics and maintain an emotionally resilient and compassionate style
- Familiarity with quantitative data analysis
- Alignment with SAIC’s commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable institution
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Applications submitted on or before Tuesday, November 15, 2022, will receive full consideration; applications will continue to be reviewed until the position is filled. A resume or CV and a position-specific cover letter must be submitted via the Spelman Johnson website at www.spelmanjohnson.com/open-positions.
Nominations for this position may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian, senior consultant, at email@example.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID Vaccination Requirement
All SAIC employees must complete an attestation and provide proof of their vaccination and booster status or request a medical or religious exemption within the first week of employment.
Visit the School of the Art Institute of Chicago website at www.saic.edu.
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is an equal opportunity, equal access employer fully committed to achieving a diverse and inclusive workplace.