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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Jan. 18, 2008

Ombuds pilot program deemed a success

by Diana Pounds

The pilot university ombuds office has proved successful, and president Gregory Geoffroy is putting the program on more permanent footing.

The search is under way for an ombuds officer, who will provide confidential, impartial advice to ISU faculty; professional and scientific, and supervisory/confidential staff; and graduate and professional students. (Merit staff have their own services for dispute resolution.)

The officer's primary role is to help resolve concerns and conflicts before they become formal grievances or appeals. The officer also will provide information on university rules and policies, recommend policy changes aimed at reducing conflicts, facilitate communication among individuals and refer clients to other sources of assistance.

The ombuds officer will be hired on a contract basis and serve a half-time, year-round appointment. The new appointment will begin in July.

Executive assistant to the president Tahira Hira, who leads the search, said the new position is open to all applicants, both within and outside the Iowa State community. Applications, which are due Feb. 15,

should be submitted through the university jobs Web site. Nominations for the position can be sent to

"We're very excited to be moving forward with this position," Hira said. "Our pilot program has confirmed that an ombuds office is a very useful service to the university community.

"We're grateful to our current ombuds officers, Edwin Lewis and Grace Weigel, for their excellent service and for their assistance in testing this program and refining the job description."

Lewis, former Iowa State associate provost, and Grace Weigel, former ISU assistant dean of students, have been serving as part-time ombuds officers since the pilot program began in August 2006. They will continue in their posts until the new ombuds officer has been appointed.

Ombuds offices have become increasingly common on college campuses, and proposals to create such an office at Iowa State have been a topic of campus discussion for a number of years. The ombuds office was created at the request of employee groups and supported by Geoffroy.


"We're very excited to be moving forward with this position. Our pilot program has confirmed that an ombuds office is a very useful service to the university community."

Tahira Hira