UTHealth has created a new position, the Office of the Academic Ombuds to serve as a confidential, informal, impartial/neutral, and independent place to discuss concerns, resolve disputes, manage conflicts, and increase communication, negotiation, and problem-solving skills.
“During the past year, faculty, department chairs, deans, and senior leadership identified ombudsman services as a critical need for the success of our academic environment at UTHealth,” wrote Michael Blackburn, PhD, executive vice president and chief academic officer in an email to faculty.
Robin Dickey, PhD, MA, LPC, will expand her current activities as a faculty assistance specialist to serve as the academic ombuds. Dickey is a licensed professional counselor, professional mediator, and certified integrative wellness coach. She is a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and practices according to the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
“The Swedish word ombuds is a 19th century term that is now defined more broadly as an ear to the people,” Dickey said. “The purpose of the UTHealth Office of Academic Ombuds is to assure that every voice in this complex institutional systems can be heard confidentially, and that every problem can receive an impartial and informal review.”
As academic ombuds, Dickey will offer information about resources available at UTHealth and help examine options for resolving concerns. The ombuds will serve as a coach, mediator, facilitator, or simply a listener to all UTHealth students, residents, fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.
Communication with the Office of Academic Ombuds is not considered official notice to the University, nor does the office replace any formal reporting channels. The academic ombuds does not make binding decisions, mandate policy, or formally adjudicate issues.
Those wishing to contact the Office of Academic Ombuds may do so by phone at 713-500-3457 or through email at email@example.com. The Office of Academic Ombuds is located in the University Center Tower (UCT) at 7000 Fannin, Ste. 165-A.