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Ombudsperson

The ombuds office was established at Dakota State University (DSU) in January 2021 to serve as a resource between faculty and administration on issues related to DSU or South Dakota Board of Regents (BOR) policies and procedures. The ombudsperson is a current faculty member who is assigned to a three-year term by the University President from a slate of individuals selected by the General Faculty.  

Expectations of Ombudsperson

The ombudsperson provides confidential, impartial, and informal assistance to individuals and groups who are experiencing conflicts, issues, concerns, or who have complaints.

Confidential:
The ombudsperson maintains the privacy of the identity of individuals as well as the content of their conversations. With an individual’s permission, the ombudsperson may contact others within the institution whose help is necessary to resolve a concern. Individuals should note that while generally confidentiality will be protected, the proceedings of some issues will necessitate others within the institutions being informed about who has brought forth the issue. In these cases, the individual will provide consent prior to their information being shared. The ombudsperson will develop an annual report of concerns brought forth which will contain no identifying information.

Impartial:
The ombudsperson has no personal interest or stake in and will incur no personal gain or loss from the outcome of any disputes. In situations where there may be a conflict of interest or appearance of a conflict of interest, an alternative ombudsperson will be selected to assist the faculty member in that individual situation.

Informal:
All faculty members have the right to consult voluntarily with the ombudsperson. The ombudsperson has no authority to make decisions or render rulings on behalf of the institution.

Meeting with the Ombudsperson

Faculty members are encouraged to meet with the ombudsperson whenever they have an issue they have been unable to resolve. For those faculty who are considering the grievance process, they should be aware of the timeline of that process and contact the ombudsman as early as possible.

Whenever possible, meetings with the ombudsperson will be held in person, by video conference, or by the phone rather than via email. This helps ensure confidentiality and provides the opportunity for more efficient conversations.

During the meeting with the ombudsperson, the faculty member will share their concerns and provide information related to the issue. The ombudsperson will:

  • Provide information related to corresponding policies, procedures, rules, etc.
  • Provide options on what the faculty member can do moving forward. The faculty member will always have final authority on whether or not to continue pursuing an issue.
  • Make referrals to different individuals and offices on campus if appropriate.
  • Clarify what next steps will be taken and by who.

After the initial meeting with the ombudsperson, the faculty member may request additional assistance such as:

  • Reviewing paperwork and providing feedback. The ombudsperson will not complete the paperwork for a faculty member.
  • Attending meetings between the faculty member and other individuals. The ombudsperson will serve as an advisor during these meetings.

Resolutions

There is no guarantee that bringing forth an issue to the ombudsperson will result in the desired outcome for the faculty member. However, by working with the ombudsperson, the faculty member will have the opportunity to have their concern brought forward to the appropriate administrative level for consideration.

Mary Francis

Mary Francis

Reference & Instruction Librarian

Department

Karl E. Mundt Library

Education

M.A., The University of Iowa
B.A., The Franciscan University

Biography

Mary Francis has a Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of Iowa and a Master's in Technology for Education and Training from the University of South Dakota. Her current research interests include: the use of fun as a motivational technique in instruction, the implementation and assessment of information literacy threshold concepts, and the impact of the library on student success.

Contact

Office Location: Karl E. Mundt Library
Phone: 605-256-5845
Email

Contact

We want to hear from you. We will arrange a confidential meeting at a time convenient for you.

Ombuds Office
Email