The role of Ombuds Academic Appeals Advisors reflects that of the Office of the Ombudsperson - to assist students with understanding policies and procedures of the university. They are not advocates but rather, advisors who help students navigate academic systems. As faculty members, they play an important supportive role to students as they offer unique expertise and insight into academic structures that students may not possess.
The Office will make best effort to have Faculty representation from a variety of Faculties and Schools and guarantee that an advisor will never work with a student from their home Faculty or School. Appointments to the role will be for two-year renewable terms.
In appropriate circumstances and subject to availability, the Office of the University Ombudsperson will use their discretion to assign an Ombuds Academic Appeals Advisor to assist a student who is facing serious adverse academic consequences. The assignment of an Ombuds Academic Appeals Advisor is generally reserved for situations such as those in which a student:
- could be required to withdraw for academic reasons;
- has received a decision requiring them to withdraw for academic reasons;
- is facing an allegation(s) about a departure from academic integrity; or
- is seeking to appeal a decision that the student engaged in a departure from academic integrity.
Ombuds Academic Appeal Advisors will not be assigned to cases of grade appeals, unless the grade will result in the application of an academic regulation requiring the student to withdraw for academic reasons.
Ombuds Faculty Advisors are expected to be familiar with the academic rules and regulations that apply to the student so they can provide appropriate assistance and advice to the student. The role of a Faculty Advisor is to ensure that students are aware of their rights and responsibilities and to counsel students about opportunities to resolve their matter.
Advisors shall provide guidance, advice, and support to students. More specifically, an advisor may:
- Meet one-on-one with assigned student in advance of their scheduled meeting (with the decision maker) in-person, via telephone, or through virtual means
- Communicate, as needed, with the assigned student via appropriate means
- Provide information, facts, and support for the process
- Support the informed interpretation of the process, which may require communication between both parties
- Review draft letters composed by the student; ensuring they convey the appropriate information and that all viewpoints have been considered
- Explain possible consequences and outcomes based on the circumstances
- Assist the student with developing a plan of action as they advance through the process
- Be present at any meeting between the student and a decision-maker but does not directly advocate on behalf of the student
Additional responsibilities include:
- Participate in training offered by the Office of the University Ombudsperson
- Meet quarterly with the Office of the Ombudsperson and other Faculty Advisors
- Engage in regular communication with the Office
- Acknowledge that most policies and procedures follow a set timeline; ensure responsiveness (within reason)
Note: The Ombuds Academic Appeals Advisor name replaces the former Dispute Resolution Officer & Faculty Advisor following the implementation of the Office’s updated Terms of Reference (September 2019).
Due to the number of Notices of Investigation that are provided to students across the University, the Office is unable to provide Advisors to assist students in responding to a Notice of Investigation. We encourage you to talk through the situation with someone you trust and you’re welcome to bring a support person with you to the meeting. Check out our tip-sheet: Responding to a Notice of Investigation.
A Dispute Resolution Advisor was the name given to advisors from our Office. Under the updated terms of reference, the role of the advisor went under review as our Office moves away from a previously perceived advocacy role. This required a name change of our advisors so it’s more in line with the function of the Office.
Due to the number of requests we receive from across the University, the Office is unable to provide Advisors to satisfy all requests. They are subject to availability and typically reserved for students who are facing serious adverse academic consequences. The Office is currently working with Faculties and Schools across the University to update language in their letters to reflect these changes.