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

Aug. 29, 2008

New ombuds officer arrives on the job Sept. 12

by Diana Pounds

Elaine Newell, an attorney who has worked for two university systems, the Michigan department of civil rights and Story County's Legal Aid Society, will become Iowa State's ombuds officer on Sept. 12.

Newell has been an attorney for Legal Aid Society of Story County since 2006. Prior to that, she held legal positions with the Board of Regents, State of Iowa (2003-04), Michigan Department of Civil Rights (1999-2003) and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (1995-98). She also was assistant attorney general in the State Law Department of Georgia (1990-95) and, before that, a writer and editor for a number of corporations.

"Newell's legal training and experience with higher education make her a good fit for this position," said executive assistant to the president Tahira Hira. "In her previous positions, she has worked with a wide spectrum of clients. She's a good communicator and listener. I am excited that she will be serving Iowa State in this important position."

Pilot complete

The appointment of Newell marks the end of a two-year pilot program, during which temporary ombuds officers assisted faculty and staff with workplace issues. The pilot proved successful and the search for a new ombuds officer began earlier this year. Initially, longtime ISU employee Sharon Drake had accepted the ombuds position, but later withdrew due to personal reasons.

"The ombuds officer offers confidential, professional assistance to ISU faculty, P&S and supervisory/confidential staff and graduate students who are facing problematic situations," Hira said.

The program provides an informal way to resolve conflicts and concerns in their early stages. (Merit staff and undergraduate students have other services for dispute resolution.)

Newell will serve a half-time, year-round appointment as ombuds officer. She will be in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. reserved for walk-ins. Clients should make appointments for other time slots by contacting Newell at 4-0268,

The ombuds office is located in 69 Physics.

Ombuds office

Officer: Elaine Newell
69 Physics Hall
(515) 294-0268
Hours: M-W-F
    8 a.m.-5 p.m.