Grinnell Chamber

Ombudsperson

Full time
Posted: 07/11/2024
Grinnell, IA
Human Resources

Description

ABOUT GRINNELL COLLEGE

Grinnell College is a private liberal arts college located in Grinnell, Iowa and is ranked #11 on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Grinnell College is a top ranked Liberal Arts institution that values diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, intellectual freedom, and social responsibility. We seek candidates that align with these values and have the ability and desire to advance our values and belonging within our community and the communities we engage. Ideal candidates will be prepared to collaborate and contribute to the mission and values of the college across all constituencies.
 

POSITION SUMMARY

Grinnell College seeks applicants to fill the position of Ombuds. The ombuds function is independent of existing administrative structures and reports directly to the president. The ombuds is a designated neutral or impartial facilitator whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to the college’s community, which includes students, faculty and staff. The ombuds serves to uphold the dignity and well being of each person who visits by providing a highly confidential and safe space to talk about difficult concerns and/or challenging situations. The Ombuds is an advocate for fairness and acts as a source of information and referral, aids in answering visitor’s questions, and assists in the resolution of concerns and critical situations. The ombuds will serve as a campus resource to: consult, refer, and facilitate the resolution of conflict between parties, apply essential knowledge of college policies, analyze concerns, issues and current policy and make recommendations, design and conduct training related to dispute resolution, and educate the campus community about the office’s roles.

Key Responsibilities

The Ombuds’ responsibilities will be executed in alignment with the Ombuds Office standards of practice and ethical code in alignment with those of the International Ombuds Association (IOA). The Ombuds responsibilities include:


Dispute Resolution Consultation and/or Referral

 

  • Provide a respectful and safe place for listening to and discussing concerns and issues that are presented by a visitor.
  • Listen to concerns and assist visitors in identifying, clarifying, and considering their concerns, goals and potential options and strategies for next steps towards resolution.
  • Collaborate with campus partners in college-wide efforts to promote a campus culture and climate that is inclusive and equitable for all.
  • Help visitors to fully understand their agency with their situations and present plausible options for consideration without advocating on behalf of any individual or entity within the community.
  • Assist with the identification and clarification of the college’s policies and procedures, as needed.
  • Conduct informal fact-finding to promote a better understanding of the issues, as appropriate.
  • Help to identify processes and solutions that are fair and equitable to all parties.
  • Make referrals to appropriate campus offices and/or outside resources, and coordinate resource use as necessary.
  • Provide conflict coaching, informal mediation, group facilitation, restorative processes, and shuttle diplomacy as appropriate.


Community Outreach and Education

  • Design and conduct education and training programs for the campus community in positive conflict resolution, effective communication, negotiation, civility, and related topics.
  • Provide on-going education and communication about the office’s role to all potential inquirers as well as to college leadership.
  • Advise on-campus committees regarding conflict resolution and participate in ombuds outreach activities regionally and nationally.


Policy Analysis

  • Serve as a campus resource for those formulating or modifying policies and procedures.
  • Review and report patterns and trends of concern brought to the Ombuds Office, including a critical assessment of systemic need for improvement and suggestions for options to reduce or eliminate recurring problems.
  • Maintain non-identifying visitor statistics and general statistics regarding outreach, training, and presentations to share with the President of the College
  • Review, identify and examine patterns of conflict, systemic issues and themes emerging from the work of the Ombuds that are relevant to campus culture, leadership initiatives and areas for policy and process improvement and provide constructive feedback to appropriate stakeholders.
  • Keep secure records in accordance with the recommendations from the IOA.


Professionalism & Integrity of the Ombuds Office

  • Take all steps to ensure that the integrity of the Ombuds Office is always maintained, including upholding its standards regarding confidentiality, impartiality, independence, and informality.
  • Establish positive contacts across the organization and work collaboratively with campus partners.
  • Treat all individuals with dignity, respect and professionalism and respond to them in a timely manner.


Supervision and Office Management

  • Supervise the Ombuds Program
  • Formulate, manage, and monitor the overall goals, direction, data, programs, and budget of the office.
  • Engage in ongoing professional development through the IOA and other ombuds organizations, including in the areas of counseling, restorative practice principles, implicit and explicit bias, principles and practice of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism, and trauma-informed support.

Requirements

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • An advanced degree, such as a master’s degree, JD or PhD
  • At least 5 years of relevant professional experience
  • A well-developed understanding of the role of an organizational ombuds
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills
  • The ability to communicate effectively with persons at all levels of the institution
  • A commitment to the continuous learning and self-reflection necessary to work effectively with members of a diverse community in an inclusive and respectful manner
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and a demonstrated ability to analyze complex scenarios, delineate issues, assist in developing and analyzing a range of options and approaches to resolution
  • Some understanding of conflict resolution and mediation techniques and principles, including restorative practices and processes
  • Some understanding of formal resolution processes and related ethical/legal/risk management concepts
  • The ability to maintain strict confidentiality, use discretion and discernment in highly sensitive situations, and to respond to all individuals with care and concern
  • Excellent presentation skills and the ability, or willingness to learn, to facilitate group processes
  • Ability or willingness to learn, to analyze quantitative and qualitative data and generate statistical and narrative reports
  • Completion of the International Ombuds Association Foundations training
  • Demonstrated understanding of best practices in the Ombuds Field including multiple forms of alternative dispute resolution, including restorative practices

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner (preferred)

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