Heather Cruz

Heather Cruz, MS, Ed.

┬ÚÂ╣╣˙▓˙AV Ombudsman (Ombudsperson)
(716) 955-9723

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The individual must demonstrate knowledge of higher education practices and experience in resolving disputes.┬á For example a current or emeritus┬á┬ÚÂ╣╣˙▓˙AV┬áfaculty or (emeritus, retired) faculty member from other institutions are eligible to apply.┬á


This one-year pilot-program-period will be subject to review and renewal by a vote of the Faculty Senate. The position is part-time, on an hourly basis funded from the budget of the VPAA.


The Senate makes recommendation of candidates to the VPAA. If the recommendation meets the approval of the VPAA, an appointment letter specifying the term of the agreement will be issued.


The University Ombudsperson may not serve on any elected or standing committee that requires any senate action.


The University Faculty Ombudsperson shall report to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Periodically, the Ombudsperson may be invited to update the Faculty Senate, and shall maintain liaison with the Office of Employee Engagement, and the president of the Faculty Senate.

Duties / Position Description

The Faculty Ombudsperson is a neutral person with whom faculty members can voice concerns, evaluate situations, organize thoughts, and identify options.  Since the Ombudsperson keeps no records identifying faculty members, the Ombudsperson can offer a good first step for faculty who don't know where else to turn or how to proceed.  The Faculty Ombudsperson shall have no policy role or decision making responsibility, other than to acquire a thorough understanding of university policies that pertain to faculty rights and responsibilities and other aspects of the position. The University Faculty Ombudsperson shall have no adjudicatory or appellate function.

The Ombudsperson will be required to adhere to the principles outlined in the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for an Ombudsperson  by the  described as follows:

  1. ▒§▓ď╗ň▒­▒Ŕ▒­▓ď╗ň▒­▓ď│Ž▒­:╠řThe┬áOmbudsperson┬áis independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible. ┬áThe┬áOmbudsperson┬áis independent of the University's formal administrative structure and strives to consider all sides of an issue in an impartial and objective manner. ┬áThe┬áOmbudsperson┬ácannot impose solutions, but may identify options and strategies for resolution of disputes.
  2. Neutrality and Impartiality:┬áThe┬áOmbudsperson, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. ┬áThe┬áombudsperson┬ástrives to promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of┬á┬ÚÂ╣╣˙▓˙AV┬áUniversity's practices, processes, and policies. ┬áThe┬áOmbudsperson┬ádoes not engage in any situation that could create a conflict of interest.
  3. ░ń┤ă▓ď┤┌ż▒╗ň▒­▓ď│┘ż▒▓╣▒˘ż▒│┘▓Ô:╠řThe┬áOmbudsperson┬áholds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, or where, in the judgment of the┬áombudsperson, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.┬á
  4. ▒§▓ď┤┌┤ă░¨│ż▓╣▒˘ż▒│┘▓Ô:╠řThe┬áOmbudsperson, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.┬á The┬áOmbudsperson┬áprovides information relating to university policies and procedures, but does not replace or supersede other university┬ágrievances, complaint or appeal procedures.


Faculty members are encouraged to make a bona fide effort to resolve an issue collegially by discussing their concerns with their director/chair and dean. If this does not prove satisfactory, faculty members may consult with the faculty┬áOmbudsperson┬ávia a private phone call or a private e-mail. The faculty┬áOmbudsperson┬áserves as a confidential, neutral, informal, and independent resource for faculty concerns and conflicts at┬á┬ÚÂ╣╣˙▓˙AV┬áUniversity. As an independent resource for problem resolution, the┬áOmbudsperson┬áworks to ensure that all members of the faculty are treated equitably and fairly. The faculty┬áOmbudsperson┬ácan provide confidential and informal assistance to help resolve issues related to both the workplace and academic environments.

If informal resolution is neither possible nor satisfactory in the judgment of the concerned faculty member, the faculty member may follow the applicable procedure as described in .