DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
PROPOSAL FROM THE FACULTY GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE TO CREATE AN
OFFICE OF THE FACULTY OMBUDSPERSONS
On behalf of the Faculty Grievance Committee,
Martha Hilley (professor, music) submitted the following proposal
to create an Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons. This is a revision
of legislation first introduced in D&P
17040-17043.1 The secretary
has classified this resolution as general legislation. The Faculty
Council will take action on the proposal at its meeting on January
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
This legislation was posted on the Faculty Council web site
on January 15, 2002. Paper copies are available on request from
the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.
1 Inserted sentence January 22, 2002.
PROPOSAL FROM THE FACULTY GRIEVANCE
COMMITTEE TO CREATE AN OFFICE OF THE FACULTY OMBUDSPERSONS
It is valuable to the University for faculty to have a prompt and professional
way to resolve questions, concerns, and complaints beyond turning to
their supervisors. The creation of the Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons
would provide this service. Such an office would also ease the burden
of voluntary service of the Faculty Grievance Committee which is not
in a position to answer or mediate quickly many faculty questions or
For these reasons, the Faculty Grievance Committee recommends the creation
of an Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons as specified in the following
The Faculty Ombudspersons serve as neutral third parties providing
information, counsel, and mediation to faculty (as defined in Regents'
Rules Chapter 3, Section 1.8) who have University-related questions
|Scope and Duties
||The scope of the Faculty Ombudspersons'
concern extends to all aspects of University life,
both academic and nonacademic, which affect faculty.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall receive,
examine, and channel complaints of faculty to appropriate
University officials or University committees (including
the Faculty Grievance Committee and the Office of Equal
Employment Opportunity) and seek to secure expeditious
and impartial redress. The Faculty Ombudspersons may
decline to deal with any case which they consider inappropriate
for the office or postpone consideration until a final
decision resulting from a referral to another University
entity is made.
||For certain complaints, the Faculty
Ombudspersons may work with the Faculty Grievance Committee
or the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity; however,
none of the responsibilities or duties of either the
Faculty Grievance Committee or the Office of Equal
Employment Opportunity are altered by the creation
of the Faculty Ombudspersons' Office. Initiating and
pursing a formal grievance with the University will
be accomplished through the faculty grievance process.
Initiating and pursuing an equal employment opportunity
complaint will go through the Office of Equal Employment
Opportunity. Faculty may always informally pursue questions
and complaints through regular administrative channels
||The effectiveness of the Faculty Ombudspersons'
office will rest on its reputation for fairness, objectivity,
tact, independence, and respectful concern for the
welfare of all members of the University community
and the well-being of the University.
||When investigating a complaint or question,
the Faculty Ombudspersons shall have access to all
records ordinarily available to University administrators.
University officials and employees involved in a case
shall cooperate with the investigation in good faith
and in a timely manner.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall establish
simple, orderly procedures for receiving complaints
and for ensuring that case records are maintained in
a confidential manner.
||The sensitive and confidential nature of the
Faculty Ombudspersons' work dictates that office operations
be conducted with dignity and integrity. The Faculty Ombudspersons
shall maintain the privacy of all persons who solicit their
assistance and protect them against retribution.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall recommend
to University officials procedures or policies as necessary.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall make a written
annual report to the executive vice president and provost
and also the Faculty Council regarding the operation of the
Office of the Faculty Ombudspersons. This report shall contain
a general summary of the ombudspersons' activities for the
past year, along with any appropriate recommendations for
new policies and procedures. In addition, the Faculty Ombudspersons
shall make periodic reports to pertinent University standing
committees when issues arise that should be addressed by
those committees. Moreover, when the Faculty Ombudspersons
deem it necessary, they shall report to the executive vice
president and provost or appropriate University committee,
including the Faculty Grievance Committee, any valid complaint
for which no remedy has been found. The Faculty Ombudspersons
may make any recommendations they deem appropriate regarding
such unresolved complaints.
||When a vacancy occurs, a screening committee,
composed of four faculty elected by the Faculty Council
and two administrative/staff members appointed by the Executive
Vice President and Provost, will be created. In accordance
with established personnel policies and procedures, the
screening committee shall review applications and nominations
for the position and interview candidates as appropriate.
||Only tenured faculty members already employed
at The University of Texas at Austin are eligible as candidates
for ombudspersons. Additional qualifications for the position
shall include evidence of an understanding of the administrative
procedures of the University, strong written and oral communication
skills, effective interpersonal skills, the ability to
evaluate objectively the facts of a given situation, and
the ability to manage the Faculty Ombudspersons' office.
Additionally, candidates must demonstrate that they are
able to act with fairness, objectivity, tact, independence,
and respectful concern for the welfare of all members of
the University community and well-being of the University
in the conduct of duties. Moreover, the sensitive and confidential
nature of the Faculty Ombudspersons's work dictates that
candidates be able to perform their duties with dignity
||In its report to the executive vice president
and provost, the screening committee shall recommend one
candidate for each position for the executive vice president
and provost's consideration. If the executive vice president
and provost is unable or unwilling to appoint any of the
individuals recommended by the screening committee, the
Executive Vice President and Provost shall ask the committee
for additional nominations.
|Structure and Organization
||The Faculty Ombudspersons' office shall
be housed and funded within the Office of the General Faculty.
The Faculty Ombudspersons shall maintain posted office
hours during University working days.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall be appointed
by and report directly to the executive vice president
and provost of the University.
||The Faculty Ombudspersons shall be appointed
by the executive vice president and provost for a two-year,
renewable term. If possible, terms of the ombudspersons will
||One Faculty Ombudsperson shall be appointed
to a twelve-month 1000 code (non-academic employee) appointment.
Additional compensation will come in the form of course teaching
reductions, other reduced workload expectations (research,
service), and/or a salary increase as negotiated at the time
of appointment. The form and level of compensation will be
determined by mutual agreement of the faculty member and
provost after consultation with the faculty member's chair
and dean. Service as the ombudsperson shall fulfill the total
expectations for service to the University for the academic
||Assistant Faculty Ombudspersons will be appointed
and trained in the same manner as the primary Ombudsperson.
The number of assistants will be determined by the demand
for mediation each year.
||The Ombudspersons shall undergo formal training
as mediators through the Center for Public Policy Dispute
Resolution in The University of Texas School of Law. The
Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will pay
for this training.