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College of Education Ombudsperson

College of Education ombuds services

The Ombuds service in the College of Education provides informal help to members of the College community who experience difficulties in the workplace. By design, the College Ombudsperson role is an unpaid position with no formal power. The office is authorized by Senate Faculty action, and the College Ombudsperson is elected by College faculty. Historically and legislatively, the Ombudsperson's primary service clients are the faculty, but the Ombudsperson may be able to assist with  work-related difficulties experienced by other College employees, usually through information gathering or referrals to other resources.

The ombuds position is informal, neutral, confidential, and independent. The College Ombudsperson does not participate in formal investigations, make decisions (e.g., about who is right in a dispute), or create or maintain organizational records (other than ones that are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of ombuds services). The purpose of our ombuds office is to provide an informal, optional alternative to formal (legal) mechanisms.

So what exactly does an ombudsperson do? Typically, the work involves functioning as a trusted intermediary between an individual seeking help and other individuals or institutions, such as departmental, college, or university administrative offices. The ombudsperson may be able to assist by gathering information, clarifying policies, or helping individuals resolve disagreements.

From 2015-2017, the College's Ombudsperson is Pamela Wolfe (psw7@psu.edu), 212A CEDAR Building, 814-863-8002.

The College Ombudsperson Alternate is Rayne Sperling (rsd7@psu.edu), 202 CEDAR Building, 814-863-2261.

Other Resources

Penn State Faculty Senate ombuds resources

Penn State unit ombudspersons

Standards of Practice, International Ombudsman Association