The Ombuds Program advances consciousness in communication, collaboration, and organizational climate through preventive support, proactive solutions, and positive response to conflict and other challenges. Our services include consultation; mediation and facilitation; education and professional development; and organizational development and change services.
o Listening to concerns, acting as a sounding board
o Assistance identifying issues and analyzing the situation from multiple perspectives
o Helping to identify and explore interests, needs, goals, etc.
o Assistance generating and evaluating options for addressing the situation effectively and constructively
o Identifying and clarifying relevant policies, procedures, and practices
o Gathering information pertinent to your situation (such as relevant policies, procedures, etc.) in an anonymous manner
o Prevention of negative conflict through early intervention
o Referrals to other helpful resources
o And more
Mediation & Facilitation
“Things are going really well now – amicable and with good communication. I feel really good about the whole process. Thanks a lot for everything.” – Anonymous Visitor (services provided: mediation for supervisor-employee conflict)
The Ombuds Program facilitates dialogue between two or more people who would like an uninvolved, impartial facilitator to guide them through discussions or processes. Since everyone on a team has some stake in the conversations and outcomes, teams often find it helpful to have an outside facilitator, especially when there are controversial topics to navigate or big decisions to make. Feel free to contact us to facilitate your next meeting. We can help you to proactively prevent destructive conflict from arising, or help you to manage it effectively if it already has.
Shuttle Diplomacy / Intermediary
The Ombuds Program provides shuttle-diplomacy in situations where it isn’t feasible, possible, or agreeable/appropriate for the involved parties to meet in person. Shuttle diplomacy involves the Ombuds acting as an intermediary, communicating with each visitor separately and communicating information back-and-forth between visitors in order to build understanding on issues and arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement.
Large Group Processes
Large group processes are essentially facilitated dialogue (see above description) on a large scale. This can be, for example, on the departmental, college, or organizational level. Large group processes are helpful when exploring or implementing big ideas, new initiatives, and change processes. Please also see information about our Organizational Development & Change services.
Education & Professional Development
We provide one-on-one coaching to help you advance your skills and confidence in relation to communication, collaboration, and conflict management. Please feel free to contact us for coaching if:
o You would like to proactively work on your communication, collaboration, and conflict management skills in general
o There is a particular workplace/academic relationship, situation, or dynamic that you would like to improve, or a non-workplace/academic situation that is affecting your effectiveness at work/school
o You would like to more deeply integrate the skills you learned in an Ombuds Program training
o You are preparing for a mediation and want to contribute to its success by engaging in the process most effectively
o You want support in the process of transforming a relationship post-mediation or in maintaining/sustaining a mediation agreement
o You are a leader who would like to enhance your conflict competency and/or your communication and collaboration with your team
Trainings/Workshops & Presentations
We offer trainings/workshops and presentations on topics related to effective communication, collaboration, and conflict management. Trainings can be general or specific, introductory or advanced, or anywhere in between. We are happy to tailor our training/workshop/presentation to meet the unique needs and context of your team. We provide trainings proactively for units wanting to learn more about effective workplace communication, collaboration and conflict management, or to prevent destructive conflict. We also provide trainings in response to challenges that have arisen. Trainings can be a stand-alone service, or integrated with other Ombuds Program services in order to address multiple challenges or multiple levels of issues. Please also see information about our Organizational Development & Change services.
Informational Presentations & Consultations
We provide informational presentations and consultations in order to get the word out about our services and put a face to the Ombuds Program for you. We also appreciate the opportunity to meet you and learn more about what you and your team do. Please contact us to meet with you or to invite us to present at your upcoming team/staff/faculty/student meeting!
Ombuds Program Library
The Ombuds Program Library has hundreds of books available for check-out by UA employees and students to help you expand your knowledge and skills on topics related to effective communication, collaboration, and conflict management. To check out a book please contact the Ombuds Program at 520-626-5589.
Organizational Development & Change
Departmental/Organizational Climate & Effectiveness
We do in-depth work with units to assess and improve departmental/organizational climate and effectiveness. This work can involve a combination of our other services, tailored to your unique needs, challenges, and context. In addition, it can be proactive to explore what might be done even better, or responsive to assess and address workplace climate concerns.
Change Management Assistance
We provide assistance with effectively engaging change management, including help with challenges that arise in the process. Whether you are a leader implementing a change or an employee in a unit experiencing change, we welcome you to contact us to help you navigate the process effectively.
Ombuds Program Anonymous INPUT
As another way to address concerns, and in order to advance positive change in the institution, the Ombuds Program provides input to leaders, administration, and/or others in positions of influence on a particular matter. This input is shared if and only if it is possible to uphold the confidentiality and anonymity of visitors, unless the visitors request that their identities be revealed or there is a situation of imminent risk of serious harm. INPUT stands for: Information, Nudges, Pressing Issues, Undercurrents, and Trends
Confidentiality is a fundamental element of the Ombuds Program. As such, the Ombuds Program is not authorized to accept notice of allegations of violations of law or other formal complaints, and it treats all communications as strictly confidential to the maximum extent permitted by law, unless, in the discretion of the Ombuds, failure to disclose information would create an imminent risk of serious harm. No employee or other University constituent can compel the Ombuds to disclose information and the Ombuds does not participate in formal processes.
By electing to utilize the voluntary, confidential, impartial, independent, and informal services offered by the UA Ombuds Program, visitors agree to never seek to compel the Ombuds to disclose any information received as part of providing Ombuds services in any other forum, including a formal grievance or lawsuit. In addition, if the Ombuds Program utilizes mediation, facilitation, or another group process in serving the visitors, by electing to participate in the mediation, facilitation, or group process the visitors agree (to the extent permitted by law) to: (i) keep any and all communications that take place in the process confidential unless all parties agree otherwise, (ii) waive any right they may have to use communications that take place in the process in any formal grievance or lawsuit, and (iii) participate in good faith towards a mutually satisfactory outcome.
NOTE: The Ombuds Program was established to create an alternative resource for conflict resolution on the University of Arizona campus. It does not replace other means of resolving conflicts or solving problems. It is an informal, neutral, confidential, and independent resource for all members of the campus community.