The Ombuds Office will create a structured, centralized, confidential process for capturing and addressing concerns about conflict, allegations of mistreatment, and/or poor professionalism. The Ombuds Office will also triage and refer issues which, by policy, are the purview of other offices with formal procedures, such as the Office of Equal Opportunity. This enables greater responsiveness to concerns.
Studies show that ombudspersons within higher education institutions yield benefits such as the following:
• Providing a neutral place for faculty and learners to confide concerns and conflicts, report allegations of wrongdoing, and discuss options for resolution free from retaliation and without being required to engage in formal proceedings
• Facilitating informal and/or mediated conversations to resolve issues that might otherwise escalate to resource-intensive grievance and legal proceedings
• Understanding the complex legal requirements of moving complaints into a more formal process (e.g., Office of Equal Opportunity)
• Supporting productivity by reducing the amount of resources that must be diverted to conflict management
• Fostering professionalism and improving retention
• Operating as a clearinghouse for information on policies, processes and resources within the School and University
• Conveying issues and trends to leadership and advising on concerns, using his/her neutrality to support efforts to align with and act on stated institutional values
The office serves faculty and learners across all IU School of Medicine campuses (medical students, residents, fellows, graduate students, and faculty and other academic appointees). IU School of Medicine staff members with concerns will be referred to employee relations through School’s Human Resources team
Since 1999, the Teacher-Learner Advocacy Committee (TLAC) at IU School of Medicine has been engaged in the important work of resolving conflicts and investigating allegations of wrongdoing to maintain a positive learning environment. The Ombuds Office adds institutional resources to this critically important work. The ombudspersons works closely with TLAC and may call upon committee members to assist with complex cases when needed, as TLAC is focused on the prevention of problems and the enhancement of professionalism. The IU School of Medicine ombudspersons collaborate closely with TLAC to review aggregate (non-identifying) organizational issues and trends, assist with evaluating indicators of the teaching and learning environment, and inform and develop initiatives, outreach and education across the IU School of Medicine community.