What is an Ombudsman?

The role of the Ombudsman is to serve as a neutral party for students who may be experiencing a college-related concern. Such concerns may be related to course grading, differences of opinion with instructors, clarification of College policies and procedures, or other College issues. The Ombudsman works with staff, faculty and students to assist in interpreting College policy, and helps identify options and strategies for resolving issues. 

What does the Ombudsman do?

The Ombudsman helps students find resources to address College and personal issues. When classroom concerns arise, students are advised to first contact their instructor, academic director or program manager, or the department dean before seeking assistance from the Ombudsman’s Office. However, instances do occur where contacting the College Ombudsman first is beneficial. For students needing assistance with personal issues, the Ombudsman can help coordinate referrals with Student Services or the Student Assistance Program.

An Ombudsman is …

  • A neutral third party who assists in resolving problems, concerns and complaints through informal means such as counseling, negotiations and mediation 
  • An objective professional with a concern for fairness, equity and accuracy 
  • A comprehensive information resource 
  • A proponent for change if it is clear that existing procedures are problematic 
  • An advisor on how to navigate the College system most effectively 
  • A collaborator with an awareness of the concerns of the individual as well as the concerns of the institution 
  • A mentor to help students analyze and resolve their problems 
  • An authority on rules, policies, practices and procedures 
  • An informal investigator of issues and concerns 

An Ombudsman does not …

  • Supersede the authority of other College officials or faculty 
  • Change rules, policies, practices or procedures 
  • Engage in any activity that might be perceived by others as advocacy for an individual 
  • Participate in any formal hearing or grievance process 
  • Conduct formal investigations 
  • Provide legal advice or represent the student in a legal matter 

 When students contact the Ombudsman’s Office, we will arrange a confidential and convenient meeting. Official College emails are generally public record, so please call (904) 632-3025 for an initial discussion or to make an appointment for a face-to-face or virtual meeting.