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External review takes a closer look at Office of the University Ombudsman

Input sought from campus community for modernizing conflict resolution role.

The Office of the University Ombudsman is undergoing an external review to assess its effectiveness, its profile among the campus community, the communication of its services, and its future direction. With responsibilities for ensuring fairness in all of the university’s policies, procedures and decision-making, the office will garner insights from the review process that will help it offer increasingly effective and contemporary service to students, staff, and faculty. 

“The Ombudsman’s Office serves a crucial role in identifying and interpreting applicable policies and procedures for members of the university community, as well as in identifying and addressing systemic barriers to fair process at the university,” says Lon Knox, University Secretary. “This external review will provide important information regarding the profile of the Ombudsman's office on campus and help to identify best practices in the provision of ombuds services and the leading trends facing ombuds offices within the university sector.” 

As part of the review, students, staff, and faculty are being asked to email the external reviewer their comments detailing their awareness of the Office of the University Ombudsman and their engagement with its services. Respondents are also asked to provide input on how the ombudsman role could evolve or expand to suit changing needs of the university community. 

“The views of the community are critical to understanding areas where the Ombudsman’s Office is bringing value and about other matters where more focus might yield greater impact in delivering on the office’s mandate,” says Mr. Knox. “This input, together with a broader environmental scan, will help to shape the future direction of the office as we look to the recruitment of the next Ombudsman for Queen’s.” 

The external review is being conducted by Stephen Strople, retired secretary general of McGill University and 30-year career veteran of various post-secondary administrative positions. Mr. Strople will consult with stakeholders across the university, collecting and analyzing their input, before presenting his report and recommendations to the university’s Audit and Risk Committee at the Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 14, 2018. 

“To be of maximum value, the review should be informed by input from members of the Queen’s community,” says Mr. Strople. “I encourage everyone with a viewpoint on the Ombudsman role to send comments or contact me for a conversation.” 

Students, staff, and faculty can learn more about the larger review process and are invited to email Mr. Strople their comments before Nov. 9, 2018.