The Ombudsperson’s office is based on the assurance of confidentiality to the extent to which the law allows. Therefore the ombudsperson must keep information confidential in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsperson Association.
The Ombudsperson should not be risk-averse and should understand that this position may, on occasion, challenge even the highest levels of the administration in an effort to foster fair and just practices.
This job has an FTE that is flexible up to any hours up to full time as needed. This job also has the option to work remote or on-site as needed.
The employee ombudsperson is a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to constituents of the College community, which includes staff, faculty, and/or administrators. Serving as a designated neutral 3rd party, 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, and aids in answering individual’s 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 College’s existing resources for formal conflict resolution.
The ombudsperson function is independent of existing administrative structures and reports directly to the MATC Climate Committee. The ombudsperson does not accept notice on behalf of the College. While maintaining confidentiality of communications with inquirers, the ombudsperson may prepare a periodic report to the MATC 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 MATC.
CORE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AND SUPPORT
Dispute Resolution: Provide impartial and confidential conflict resolution services to employees of the MATC community who are aggrieved or concerned about an issues. Remain independent, neutral and impartial, and exercise good judgement. Encourage flexible administrative practices to maximize the College’s ability to meet the needs of all employees of the campus community equitably.
Consultation:Assist inquirer in obtaining and providing relevant information regarding College policies and procedures. Assist inquiries in clarifying issues and generating options for resolution. Facilitate the inquirer’s assessment of the pros and cons of possible options. Engage in informal information gathering in order to better understand an issue from all perspectives when necessary and while maintaining confidentiality. Consult with department managers and appropriate individuals to develop cooperative strategies for resolving concerns and complaints. Facilitate group meetings, use foster diplomacy, or negotiation skills to facilitate communication among parties in conflict
Referrals:Provide inquirers with referrals to other resources such as Human Resources, Faculty Support, the Employee Assistance Program, etc. when needed.
Policy Analysis and Feedback: Serve as a college resource for administrators in formulating or modifying policy and procedures, raising issues that might surface as a result of a gap between the stated goals of the college and actual practice. Act as a liaison between individuals or groups and the college administrative structure, serving as a communicator or informal facilitator, as appropriate, and providing upward feedback. Function as a sensor within the college community to identify problems or trends that affect the entire college or significant parts of the college; if appropriate, recommend creative ways to address these concerns. Provide early warning of new areas of organizational concern, upward feedback, critical analysis of systemic needs for improvement, and make systems change recommendations.
College Community Outreach and Education: Responsible for ongoing education and communication about the office’s role to all potential inquirers as well as to college leadership. Design and conduct training programs for the college community in dispute/conflict resolution, negotiation skills and theory, civility, and related topics.
CRITICAL SKILLS AND CHARACTERISTICS
Communication and problem solving skills: The Ombudsperson will have outstanding communication skills and be able to communicate effectively with individuals at all levels of the organization, as well as, with people of all cultures. It is imperative that the ombudsperson has excellent problem-solving skills and be able to gather information, analyze it and, as necessary, help the inquirer develop appropriate options and actions.
Decision-Making/Strategic Thinking Skills. An ombudsperson must be aware of how all decisions might impact the inquirer, as well as other stakeholders and the college. An ombudsperson must know how to proceed with issues, and help the inquirer assess who should be involved and at what stage.
Conflict Resolution Skills. An essential element of the ombudsperson’s role is that of facilitating the resolution of conflict between parties. It is important that the ombudsperson have a thorough understanding of what leads to conflict, the nature of conflict, and methods of resolution. The skills used to assist inquirers to resolve their conflicts include:
helping people learn how to deal with the matter directly if they wish to do so - serving as a facilitator between the parties via shuttle diplomacy
informally bringing the parties together and serving as a facilitator or mediator approaching the conflict issue generically within the larger environment (especially when the inquirer is afraid of retaliation)
influencing systems change which could obviate the individual problem
Organizational Knowledge and Networking Skills. An ombudsperson must be knowledgeable about the college and university, its structure, culture, policies, and practices. The ombudsperson must have excellent networking skills, understand and participate in collaboration with others, and be able to establish and maintain broad contacts throughout the organization.
Sensitivity to Diversity Issues. The ombudsperson must be sensitive to dealing with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures. The Ombudsperson is open, objective, and will seek to understand issues from multiple perspectives. The Ombudsperson should be innovative in developing options that are responsive to differing needs.
Composure and Presentation Skills. An Ombudsperson should maintain a professional demeanor, should have strong presentation skills, and should be able to organize and communicate information to groups of varying size and hierarchical levels in the organization.
Integrity. The Ombudsperson should have a reputation for integrity and for dealing fairly effectively and in a timely fashion with all constituents.
Compliance with all state, federal, and accreditation standards/requirement, as well as all MATC policies and procedures.
Required Education & Experience:Master’s degree in Counseling, Social Work, Social Sciences, or related field; Five (5) years experience in conflict resolutions, counseling, and mediation strategies.
Interested parties should complete an Independent Contractor Agreement Form (electronic signatures not accepted. Must be actually printed out, signed, and returned) and complete a W-9. The completed forms can be emailed to [email protected] attention: E. Bonds.