Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Ombudsperson?
At K-State an ombudsperson is an impartial faculty member or unclassified professional who serves as a resource to facilitate communication regarding concerns related to employment. The ombudsperson may also provide information about the grievance and appeal process and guide a grievant through the initial stages of a grievance. The ombudsperson assists faculty and unclassified professionals, including administrators, to provide information and facilitate communication.
Who are the current Ombudspersons?
Sarah F. Barrett
Administration & Finance
Wayne Everett Goins
University Distinguished Professor
Director of Jazz Studies
School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Who appoints the Ombudspersons?
The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate appoints three ombudspersons to serve at any given time. Ombudspersons may be a tenured faculty member or an unclassified professional on a regular appointment. They are selected for their familiarity with the university's structure and operations, and many have served on Faculty Senate or the General Grievance Board. Each ombudsperson serves a three-year term that begins the first day of each fall semester. Service as an ombudsperson is considered as part of the ombudsperson's responsibility during the term of appointment. Assistance provided by ombudspersons is free of charge.
Who can contact an Ombudsperson?
Ombudspersons are available to assist all faculty and unclassified professionals, including administrators. Faculty include all individuals with the academic ranks of Instructor through Full Professor. Graduate research and teaching assistants (GRA's and GTA's) are also on faculty appointments. Unclassified professionals include all who do not hold academic rank and do not have a University Support Staff (USS) classification. All Research Assistants/Associates and Extension Assistants/Associates are unclassified professionals. Also, unclassified professionals serve in student service departments or in other support units of the university. Directors, assistants, coordinators, and specialists who are not USS are examples of unclassified professionals.
What types of concerns can be discussed with an Ombudsperson?
- Issues related to promotion and/or tenure
- Issues related to renewal of probationary contract
- Salary inequity
- Evaluation disputes
- Disputes between faculty or unclassified professionals and administration
- Disputes between faculty members or unclassified professionals
- Other issues of concern regarding employment
It is suggested that ombudspersons be consulted early in any of the above situations.
What type of help does an Ombudsperson provide?
- Serve as a listener who will maintain a degree of confidentiality
- Provide information on university policies and procedures
- Facilitate communication and/or attend meetings to listen to concerns and/or seek resolution
- Provide guidance regarding the grievance process
- Advise about appropriateness of mediation and how to access it
What an Ombudsperson does NOT do:
- Act as an advocate for either side
- Determine who is "right" or "wrong"
- Determine violations of policy
- Make management decisions
- Make policy
- Testify in any formal process inside or outside the university "unless required by subpoena"