Word originated in Sweden in 1809 when an
independent office was set up to hear
citizen’s complaints about the government
At University of Texas, the Office of the
Ombudsperson was created in 1968 to hear
student concerns and facilitate information
gathering and option-generation
Now have Ombuds services for faculty, staff,
and students through 3 separate offices
Funded mostly through the Student Services
Budget Committee and some State Funds
Reports directly to the Office of the President
Serves close to 1,000 students per year
walk-in, appointments, phone calls, emails
Part-time ombudsperson, full-time
administrative associate, graduate assistant,
other student assistants
The mission of the Office of the Student Ombuds is to provide
neutral, impartial, and confidential environment for students to
voice concerns related to life at The University of Texas at
Austin. The Student Ombuds functions in an independent and
informal manner to help students discover options for effective
problem solving and conflict resolution. The office provides
recommendations to the University regarding systemic issues.
The Student Ombuds is an advocate for fair and equitably
administered processes and does not side with individuals or
The core values of The University of Texas at Austin
are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership,
individual opportunity and responsibility. Each
member of the university is expected to uphold
these values through integrity, honesty, trust,
fairness and respect toward peers and
Lack of communication or miscommunication
Cheating, plagiarism, or collusion
Unclear grading criteria or standards for curves
Retroactive mental health
Registration and Admissions
Help generate options for a plan of action
Find relevant university or departmental
policy or procedure
Facilitate information gathering from all
parties in the conflict
“Help students help themselves”
Publications such as Guide to Writing an Effective
Syllabus, and Guide to Final Exams and Grade Disputes
Contact about particular cases with general questions
Referrals to you
Referrals from you
Reporting trends related to your college or department
or university/ academic policies and/or procedures
Suggestions for best practices for conflict resolution
Tell them how you, the chair, or the dean want to be
communicated with (email, in person, phone call, etc.).
If you have a time limit or time frame for the meeting or
decision, tell them upfront.
Listen for what they are asking you to do and a context for
the reasons behind their request.
Observe their tone and body language
Observe your tone and body language
Validate their experience (You don’t have to necessarily
agree with it).
Explain your rationale for decision (i.e. the policy)
Contact us if you need assistance, help, or tips on
communicating challenging messages to students.
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