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ANNUAL REPORT

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ANNUAL REPORT

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OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS

WELCOME TO THE OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

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ANNUAL REPORT

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Table of Contents Message from the Associate Director

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Introduction to the Office of the Ombuds

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Office of the Ombuds Impact

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Forms of Assistance

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International Ombuds Association Code of Ethics

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International Ombuds Association Standards of Practice

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Office of the Ombuds Mission & Vision

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Meet our Team

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Major Accomplishments

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Office of the Ombuds Assessment

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Office of the Ombuds Improvements

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Data Summary 2015-2016

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Points of Contact

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Student Case Data

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Faculty/Staff Hand-Off Data

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Areas of Concern

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Office of the Ombuds Recommendations

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OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS

Message from the Associate Director Dear EMU Community, It is with great pride and excitement that we, as the Office of the Ombuds, present you with our 2015-2016 Annual Report. This report is a culmination of a year that has been marked by great changes and improvements in our office as we strive to improve the services we offer to the EMU community. In this report you will find information about our office services, office assessment, office improvements, points of contact and case data that was collected, and Ombuds recommendations for institutional improvements. First, I would like to thank the many students, staff, faculty, and administrators that have worked with our office during the past year as these interactions have helped our office and EMU as a whole to improve. Based on the assessment of data collected on EMU specific trends, observations of inter-departmental interactions, and review of issues and concerns brought to the Office of the Ombuds, our office has been able to work with the educational leaders across EMU to make institutional improvements to policy and process. The Office of the Ombuds is truly a unique space in which individuals at all levels and in all roles are able to have critical conversations about policy and process, development and improvement. Over the past year the Office of the Ombuds has worked to ensure that we align ourselves with the International Ombudsman Association’s (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. This has helped us to define what our role is within EMU and how we can best work with our students, staff, faculty, and administration. In addition to our work with the IOA , we also hosted the second annual Michigan Caucus of Educational Ombuds here at EMU in July, 2016. We were very excited to be able to show other Ombuds from around the state of Michigan our amazing campus and share the work that our office is doing to support EMU and the Ombuds profession. Over this past year we have also made great improvements to our office operations to better provide access and service to visitors who utilize our office. Some improvements includes: 

Full transition to web based EMU Student Handbook

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Development of Office of the Ombuds Charter

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Online Ombuds Hand-Off Form accessible 24/7

Our office is now in the process of assessing these improvements, and continuing to find ways in which our office can develop better operational processes to fulfill our mission and vision. Again, we are so thankful for the year that has past and the work that we have been able to do. It was a busy year, full of learning and growth, which makes us that more excited to see what the 2016-2017 year have in store for the Office of the Ombuds here at EMU. Thank you and have a fantastic year! Respectfully, Julia Heck, M.A.

Thank You For The Amazing Year!

Julia Heck, M.A. Associate Director, Office of the Ombuds B.A. Psychology B.S. Human Development & Family Studies

University of Wisconsin - Stout M.A. Educational Leadership

Eastern Michigan University


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OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS

Introduction The Office of the Ombuds serves as a resource for students regarding any complaint, grievance, or appeal that may be academic or non-academic in nature. When working with our office, individuals will receive timely, objective, and strategic information in a confidential manner to assist with the interpretation of polices and procedures. The role of the Ombuds is to ensure adherence to EMU policy, confirm due process as it relates to institutional protocol, assist with resolution and prevention of both academic and non-academic concerns, and to make appropriate data based recommendations to the Office of the Provost. The Ombuds works directly with faculty and staff, providing consultation related to university polices and procedures. It has established itself as an objective, nonbiased operation that continues to work towards developing a fair and equitable university community. The following annual report outlines the work of the Office of the Ombuds during the 2014-2015 Academic Year. This report includes data about student concerns and recommendations for institutional improvements. In addition this report includes information about a new program launched by the Office of the Ombuds and improvements made to the office based on data collected from an office satisfaction survey.

The Office ... Listens, informs, and discusses questions, concerns, and complaints about the functioning of the University, including EMU policies & procedures.

Assists in evaluating and assessing a variety of options to address concerns.

Empowers you to develop a plan of action to resolve conflict(s) and/or guide adherence to University policy and protocol.

Identifies problems and conflict areas within the University and recommend improvements.

Supports individuals by connecting them with internal and external resources to foster a helping network.

Provides a safe and neutral setting where individuals feel respected  and where they can be candid and forthright.

The Office Does Not Take part in any formal grievance process, hearing, or judicial process.

Make or change administrative or academic decisions for any other part of the University

Assign sanctions. Give legal advice. Accept official “notice� for the University about issues.


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Office Impact The unique placement of the Office of the Ombuds allows for resolutions and improvements of a significant nature with regard to individual cases, systemic processes, and University policies. The Office supports collaboration and consultation about conflicts as an alternative to confrontation and unhealthy debate that results in complaints with no resolution or contribution to the advancement of effective protocol. Proactive engagement in the development and improvement of policy and process for resolving institutional issues ensures due process and supports appropriate occasions where exception to process or policy may be warranted. Benefits related to the impact of the Office of the Ombuds include the following: Economic:

 Mitigating risk  Increasing student retention  Streamlining processes to eliminate waste  Preserving appropriate resolution channels

Organizational:  Identifying processes and policies that need improvement  Identifying discrepancies between University practice and policy  Assisting with alignment of University policy with the University Strategic Plan  Facilitating departmental cooperation  Heightening transparency  Enhancing accountability  Advising faculty and administration on adherence to University policy Humanistic:

 Improving morale and increasing productivity  Identifying trends and behaviors around struggles/conflicts facing the EMU community  Aiding students in developing a sense of self-efficacy and agency through utilizing existing institutional

processes to achieve appropriate outcomes  Assisting the community; students, staff, faculty, and the institution as a whole with building a skill set around

managing and resolving challenges, critical thinking, and problem solving  Fostering a culture of success, productivity, and positive/meaningful experiences  Supporting the University mission by insuring that students are fully able to make use of the opportunities available to them

What We Do Confidential Consultation

Active Resolution

Policy Review


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Student Advocacy Coach Program The Office of the Ombuds developed the Student Advocacy Coach (SAC) program to assist the University Ombuds with providing better services to students in need of help representing themselves throughout the Student Conduct & Community Standards process and other situations to ensure fair and equitable practice with regard to EMU policy and procedure. SACs help students by amplifying their voice, clarifying their issues, and providing an impartial, listening ear to guide them through university processes. SACs include students, staff, and faculty that have volunteered their time to:  Help students formulate appropriate questions, understand

professionalism, and best prepare themselves to present their concerns.  Assist students in evaluating and assessing a variety of options to

address their concerns.  Provide a confidential environment where students can feel respected

and where they can be candid and forthright.  Assist in conducting campus workshops surrounding conflict

resolution and self-advocacy.  Assist the Office of the Ombuds in creating a helping network for

students.


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Forms of Assistance Assistance for Students Confidential Consultation The Office of the Ombuds provides consultation only services. The Ombuds will serve the visitor by providing information and assisting with exploration of various resolution options and developing action plans to pursue resolution on an individual basis. In a confidential consultation, no action is taken by the Office of the Ombuds. In this form of Ombuds assistance, the visitor shares and discusses questions and concerns in order to gather advice about how best to proceed with resolving a matter independently.

Active Resolution The Ombuds will serve the visitor by providing information and assisting with exploration of various resolution options, and developing action plans to pursue resolution as facilitated by the Office of the Ombuds. In an active resolution, action is taken by the Office of the Ombuds. With this form of Ombuds assistance, the visitor shares and discusses questions and concerns in order to gather advice about how best to proceed with resolving a matter in collaboration with the Office of the Ombuds. The Office of the Ombuds will speak with both the visitor as well as any and all relevant university personnel and other individuals related to the case in order to ensure resolution. Active resolution means case content and any information shared by a visitor may be used throughout the resolution process and in consultation with University Officials with a legitimate educational interest, to conduct a comprehensive review of the case and determine the appropriate resolution.

Assistance for Faculty/Staff Confidential Consultation The Office of the Ombuds provides consultation only services. The Ombuds will serve the visitor by providing information and assisting with exploration of various resolution options and developing action plans to pursue resolution on an individual basis. In a confidential consultation, no action is taken by the Office of the Ombuds. In this form of Ombuds assistance, the visitor shares and discusses questions and concerns in order to gather advice about how best to proceed with resolving a matter independently.

Referral Services

Policy Review

The Office of the Ombuds will serve the individual to whom the faculty/staff are referring to our office by providing information and assisting that individual with exploring various options. The Office of the Ombuds will reach out to the individual being referred to invite them in for a conversation regarding concerns they may have.

The Office of the Ombuds will provide a systematic and critical review of policies to aid department and offices in their own goals of enhancing student and program experiences. Once we have completed the policy review, the submitter will receive a Policy Review Report that articulates specific policy recommendations.

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IOA Code of Ethics The Eastern Michigan University Office of the Ombuds, adheres to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for the Ombuds profession as derived from the International Ombuds Association.

Independence

Neutrality & Impartiality

The Ombuds is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.

The Ombuds, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombuds does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.

Confidentiality

Informality

The Ombuds holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

The Ombuds, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

The IOA is dedicated to excellence in the practice of Ombudsman work. The IOA Code of Ethics provides a common set of professional ethical principles to which members adhere in their organizational Ombudsman practice. Based on the traditions and values of Ombudsman practice, the Code of Ethics reflects a commitment to promote ethical conduct in the performance of the Ombudsman role and to maintain the integrity of the Ombudsman profession. The Ombudsman shall be truthful and act with integrity, shall foster respect for all members of the organization he or she serves, and shall promote procedural fairness in the content and administration of those organizations’ practices, processes, and policies.

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IOA Standards of Practices

The IOA Standards of Practice are based upon and derived from the ethical principles stated in the IOA Code of Ethics. Each Ombudsman office should have an organizational Charter or Terms of Reference, approved by senior management, articulating the principles of the Ombudsman function in that organization and their consistency with the IOA standards of practice. Independence 1.1 1.2 1.3

The Ombudsman Office and the Ombudsman are independent from other organizational entities. The Ombudsman holds no other position within the organization which might compromise independence. The Ombudsman exercises sole discretion over whether or how to act regarding an individual’s concern, a trend or concerns of multiple individuals over time. The Ombudsman may also initiate action on a concern identified through the Ombudsman’ direct observation. The Ombudsman has access to all information and all individuals in the organization, as permitted by law. The Ombudsman has authority to select Ombudsman Office staff and manage Ombudsman Office budget and operations.

1.4 1.5

Neutrality and Impartiality The Ombudsman is neutral, impartial, and unaligned. The Ombudsman strives for impartiality, fairness and objectivity in the treatment of people and the consideration of issues. The Ombudsman advocates for fair and equitably administered processes and does not advocate on behalf of any individual within the organization. The Ombudsman is a designated neutral reporting to the highest possible level of the organization and operating independent of ordinary line and staff structures. The Ombudsman should not report to nor be structurally affiliated with any compliance function of the organization. The Ombudsman serves in no additional role within the organization which would compromise the Ombudsman’ neutrality. The Ombudsman should not be aligned with any formal or informal associations within the organization in a way that might create actual or perceived conflicts of interest for the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman should have no personal interest or stake in, and incur no gain or loss from, the outcome of an issue. The Ombudsman has a responsibility to consider the legitimate concerns and interests of all individuals affected by the matter under consideration. The Ombudsman helps develop a range of responsible options to resolve problems and facilitate discussion to identify the best options.

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4

2.5 2.6

Confidentiality The Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and takes all reasonable steps to safeguard confidentiality, including the following: The Ombudsman does not reveal, and must not be required to reveal, the identity of any individual contacting the Ombudsman Office, nor does the Ombudsman reveal information provided in confidence that could lead to the identification of any individual contacting the Ombudsman Office, without that individual’s express permission, given in the course of informal discussions with the Ombudsman; the Ombudsman takes specific action related to an individual’s issue only with the individual’s express permission and only to the extent permitted, and even then at the sole discretion of the Ombudsman, unless such action can be taken in a way that safeguards the identity of the individual contacting the Ombudsman Office. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm, and where there is no other reasonable option. Whether this risk exists is a determination to be made by the Ombudsman. Communications between the Ombudsman and others (made while the Ombudsman is serving in that capacity) are considered privileged. The privilege belongs to the Ombudsman and the Ombudsman Office, rather than to any party to an issue. Others cannot waive this privilege. The Ombudsman does not testify in any formal process inside the organization and resists testifying in any formal process outside of the organization regarding a visitor’s contact with the Ombudsman or confidential information communicated to the Ombudsman, even if given permission or requested to do so. The Ombudsman may, however, provide general, non-confidential information about the Ombudsman Office or the Ombudsman profession. If the Ombudsman pursues an issue systemically (e.g., provides feedback on trends, issues, policies and practices) the Ombudsman does so in a way that safeguards the identity of individuals. The Ombudsman keeps no records containing identifying information on behalf of the organization. The Ombudsman maintains information (e.g., notes, phone messages, appointment calendars) in a secure location and manner, protected from inspection by others (including management), and has a consistent and standard practice for the destruction of such information. The Ombudsman prepares any data and/or reports in a manner that protects confidentiality. Communications made to the ombudsman are not notice to the organization. The ombudsman neither acts as agent for, nor accepts notice on behalf of, the organization and shall not serve in a position or role that is designated by the organization as a place to receive notice on behalf of the organization. However, the ombudsman may refer individuals to the appropriate place where formal notice can be made.

3.1

3.2 3.3

3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8

Informality & Other Standards 4.1

4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8

The Ombudsman functions on an informal basis by such means as: listening, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, developing a range of responsible options, and – with permission and at Ombudsman discretion – engaging in informal third-party intervention. When possible, the Ombudsman helps people develop new ways to solve problems themselves. The Ombudsman as an informal and off-the-record resource pursues resolution of concerns and looks into procedural irregularities and/or broader systemic problems when appropriate. The Ombudsman does not make binding decisions, mandate policies, or formally adjudicate issues for the organization. The Ombudsman supplements, but does not replace, any formal channels. Use of the Ombudsman Office is voluntary, and is not a required step in any grievance process or organizational policy. The Ombudsman does not participate in any formal investigative or adjudicative procedures. Formal investigations should be conducted by others. When a formal investigation is requested, the Ombudsman refers individuals to the appropriate offices or individual. The Ombudsman identifies trends, issues and concerns about policies and procedures, including potential future issues and concerns, without breaching confidentiality or anonymity, and provides recommendations for responsibly addressing them. The Ombudsman acts in accordance with the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, keeps professionally current by pursuing continuing education, and provides opportunities for staff to pursue professional training. The Ombudsman endeavors to be worthy of the trust placed in the Ombudsman Office


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Mission Statement Cultivate a campus community through fairness, neutrality, impartiality, confidentiality, independence, and awareness of bias, that successfully engages with policy, procedures, and processes to address and resolve conflict situations.

Vision Statement A campus community where conflict is resolved through respect, reason, and transparent collaboration.

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Meet our Team Julia Heck, M.A. Associate Director Julia earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs from EMU, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership from EMU as well. She has an earned Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and an earned Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, both from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has worked professionally within the Office of the Ombuds at EMU for the past year and half as a Case Manager and now in her current position. Working in this capacity has allowed her to explore the university structure through the lens of policy and process, working to enhance the organizational function of EMU and improve the institution as a whole for students, faculty, staff, and administration. In addition, her range of experience in the university setting includes housing, student leadership, orientation, recognition and programming, and summer camps and conferences. Her experiences have included work at large institutions, mid-sized institutions, and small institutions, both public and private.

Sean Woolf, M.F.A. Case Manager Sean earned a B.A in theatre from Kent State University where his interests included Yiddish theatre script analysis. He continued his education at Sarah Lawrence College where he earned an MFA in theatre with a focus on playwriting and dramaturgy. He is currently completing his M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at EMU. His analytical and clinical skills have been very useful to him in his role as case manager. Sean is interested in continuing to develop the role of the academic Ombuds here at EMU and throughout the nation.

Sade Wilson Graduate Case Manager Sade received an Associate of Arts from Mott Community College and Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology and Elementary Education from EMU. She is currently a Master of Arts candidate in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program here at EMU. As a proud eagle, Honors student and McNair Scholar, Sade has dedicated her service to helping students succeed in college and graduate.

Chris Madigan Graduate Case Manager

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Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Politics and Government from Illinois State University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Urban and Regional Planning from EMU. After graduating from Illinois State, Chris worked for several years in community organizing and fundraising for political campaigns across the country. Through this work, Chris has been committed to helping communities and individuals voice what issues that are most important to them.


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Major Accomplishments EMU Student Handbook The Office of the Ombuds, in conjunction with the Division of Communications - Integrated Content, was very excited to launch a new web-based EMU Student Handbook beginning the 2015-2016 Academic year. This collaboration was developed out of faculty, staff, and student concerns relating to the usefulness of the current EMU Student Handbook, effectiveness of the information included within the handbook, inaccessibility of the handbook via different technological means, and overall ease of use. The Office of the Ombuds was pleased to launch the new EMU Student Handbook website which included specific sections dedicated to the following:        

Introductions of Key Campus Leaders EMU Mission, Vision, Core Values, and University Creed University Policies Campus Resources Academic Calendar Glossary of Terms Frequently Asked Questions Report an Incident Page

The Office of the Ombuds spent a great deal of time working with the Division of Communications– Integrated Content team, cleaning up broken or dead links that previously were directing students to incorrect or unavailable information. In addition, we were able to ensure that this new EMU Student Handbook would be easily accessible to faculty, staff, and students via computer and mobile devices to ensure that wherever you are, you can always easily pull up and navigate the EMU Student Handbook. The EMU Student Handbook can be found at www.emich.edu/studenthandbook.


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Office of the Ombuds Charter The Office of the Ombuds at Eastern Michigan University was established in 2003 to provide informal dispute resolution to students, faculty, and staff, predicated on the principles of fairness and equity. The structure and practice of the office is built on independence, impartiality, confidentiality, and informality. In the spirit of this important function, we are very excited to share that during the 2015-2016 academic year, EMU’s Office of the Ombuds was able to draft and ratify a Charter, defining the privileges and responsibilities of the Office of the Ombuds. This is a monumental achievement for our office as an Ombuds Charter clarifies and codifies the roles and responsibilities of the Ombuds, reflecting shared understanding of how the office will function within the University. As an Organizational Ombuds, the Charter articulates the principles of the Ombuds role and their consistency with the International Ombuds Association standards of practice. The Charter outlines the following items: 1) Purpose & Scope of Services, 2) Reporting, 3) Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics, 4) Authority & Limits of the Office of the Ombuds, 5) Statement Regarding Retaliation for Using the Office of the Ombuds, 6) Office of the Ombuds Structure, and 7) Review of the Office of the Ombuds. A copy of the EMU Office of the Ombuds Charter can be found online at www.emich.edu/ombuds.

Office of the Ombuds - Syllabus Collaboration Project The Office of the Ombuds, in conjunction with Faculty Senate, Student Government, and the Faculty Development Center was very excited to launch a new University Course Policy Syllabus Support Link to the campus at the beginning of the 2015-2016 Academic year. This collaboration was developed out of faculty and student concerns relating to the large number of University Policies required to be included in a course syllabus and the extended length created in course syllabus from included these policies. The Office of the Ombuds was pleased to launch a section of the new EMU Student Handbook website solely dedicated to University Course Policies, which was converted into one link and one paragraph that faculty could included in their course syllabus; significantly decreasing the length of the syllabus, as well as ensuring all required University Course Policies are included and up to date. To request a copy of the link and accompanying paragraph, please contact the Office of the Ombuds or Faculty  Development Center.


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EMU Hosted the Michigan Caucus of Educational Ombuds 2nd Annual Conference The Office of the Ombuds was extremely excited to host the 2nd Annual Conference of the Michigan Caucus of Educational Ombuds here on campus on July 29, 2016. The Annual Conference theme for this year was “Success Through Synergy: Cultivating the Ombuds Practice in Higher Education”. We were excited to host 13 individuals from various colleges and universities from around the state that are serving in an Ombuds role at their institution. Throughout the day the individuals in attendance were able to engage in discussion and dialogue on a variety of topics, helping to grow a deeper understanding of Ombuds work within higher education institutions. Topics of discussion for the conference included:

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Establishing Independence & Navigating Conflicts of Interest

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Gaining Visibility on Campus

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Educating & Informing Campus Constituents About Ombuds Services

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Improving Annual Reporting

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Developing Evaluation Surveys


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Board of Regents– Spotlight Presentation The Office of the Ombuds was very excited to be able to present at the Board of Regents Student Affairs Committee meeting during the April 2016 Board meeting. During this presentation we were able to highlight the work currently being conducted in our office, as well as where we envision ourselves in the next three years. We were able to share information regarding our services, programs, improvements, and goals for the future growth. A copy of the Spotlight report can be found at http:// www.emich.edu/regents/documents.php under the April 2016 meeting.

Office of the Ombuds– Annual Area Assessment Report During the Summer 2013 semester, the Office of the Ombuds went through significant changes and restructuring. Since that time, we have continued to evolve and grow as an office, implementing many new services and practices in helping to address student concerns, complaints, and questions. While we have been extremely excited about the transitions this office has implemented over the past several years, we also wanted to ensure that we have taken the appropriate time and given the appropriate attention to assessing this growth and development. With that said, during October 2015 the Office of the Ombuds underwent an Annual Area Assessment in which we reviewed the areas of strength, areas of improvement, and areas of opportunity for the office. Several of the areas of opportunity that were found include, but are not limited to:  Professional training in mediation in order to fully

implement mediation services for the campus community.  Expand

campus partnerships to enhance services, resources, and policy development across the institution.


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Office Assessment The Office of the Ombuds utilized Survey Monkey to administer an office services assessment survey in order to gain valuable feedback from those who utilized the services of the office during the 2015-2016 academic year. This feedback allowed our office to focus on improvement in our own processes so that we are able to continue to meet the needs of the EMU community. The responses and feedback within this assessment were crucial in our ability to formulate useful resources and provide better assistance to the EMU community. We have outlined several pieces of data that showcase the quality of services provided by our office. We have continued to evaluate our services to determine how we can improve.

69 % Agree or Strongly Agree the Office of the Ombuds was courteous and respectful while assisting in resolution of the case.

63 % Agree or Strongly Agree that the Office of the Ombuds responded to their issues or concerns within an acceptable timeframe.

60 % Agree or Strongly Agree they felt comfortable discussing their problems with the Office of the Ombuds. Â

Office of the Ombuds 2015-2016 Assessment The online survey consisted of 14 Likert scale questions ranging from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree: 1. The Office of the Ombuds was courteous and respectful to me. 2. I was treated in a helpful, polite, and efficient manner by the Office of the Ombuds. 3. I was treated with fairness, and without bias or prejudice by the Office of the Ombuds. 4. The Office of the Ombuds was knowledgeable in University policies and procedures. 5. The Office of the Ombuds provided accurate information. 6. The Office of the Ombuds responded to my issue or concern within an acceptable timeframe. 7. The Office of the Ombuds provided clear answers to my questions. 8. I felt comfortable discussing my problem with the Office of the Ombuds. 9. The Office of the Ombuds helped me identify and evaluate the options to address my concerns. 10. The Office of the Ombuds was accessible . 11. I feel that the Office of the Ombuds did all they could to facilitate a fair process for the resolution of my dispute, conflict, or complaint. 12. I would refer others to the Office of the Ombuds for assistance. 13. Regardless of the outcome of my situation, my experience with the Office of the Ombuds was helpful. 14. Working with the Office of the Ombuds improved my ability to respond effectively to the situation. The online survey also contained 1 open ended question: 1. If you had not used the Office of the Ombuds, what would you have done to address your concerns?


ANNUAL REPORT

Office Improvements The 2015-2016 Academic year was a difficult year of transitions for the Office of the Ombuds. At the beginning of the year the University Ombuds assumed a new position and this position was vacant for the remainder of the academic year. This staff shortage impacted the services of the office, but allowed an opportunity to re-evaluate the current work of the office and implemented new improvements in services and programming for the 2016-2017 Academic year. Based on the data collected we made the following improvements to our office services:  Updated our Intake Form. We streamlined questions and added more directions to better assist students in understanding what information we are looking for to best assist them.  Improved the Office of the Ombuds website. Based on feedback that we received we streamlined our office website. We are continually looking at how we can improve the information that is currently on the website and make the content more engaging for students.  Improved modifications to the EMU Student Handbook website. This past year we transitioned the EMU Student Handbook to an entirely web-based platform. This transition allowed for greater accesses, as well as ease of use.  Improved Case Review & Outcome Letters. We utilized feedback to improve the layout and process for written communication to students, faculty, and staff.  Implemented Restorative Justice Language. To improve the student experience we have shifted to utilizing a restorative justice model to guide our language with students during communications.

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Data Summary 2015/2016 The Office of the Ombuds collects data related to concerns brought to the office in two ways: points of contact and cases. Points of contact include any phone call, email, mail, walk-in, or Ombuds Intake Form that comes into our office starting or pertaining to a case. Cases are the number of individual cases started with our office. The numbers reflected in this section represent data collected on points of contact and cases during the 15-16 academic year (September 2015-August 2016). The data that is represented here allows the Office of the Ombuds to make appropriate data-based recommendations to the Office of the Provost surrounding policy improvement, University services improvement, and continued growth towards supporting the University Mission and Strategic Plan.

2432 Points of Contact

627 Student Cases

The above graph showcases the percentage of cases and percentage of points of contact related to a specific area of concerns. The percentage of cases represents the total number of cases related to that specific area of concern out of all cases started with our office. The percentage of points of contact represents the total number of points of contact related to that specific area of concern out of all of the points of contact made to our office. How to read this graph: For “Admissions” we see that 3% of our cases are related to this area of concern, but only 2% of our points of contact are related to this area of concern. This means that while we have more cases started, they take fewer points of contact to resolve these concerns. For “Grading” we see that 15% of our cases are related to this area of concern and 17% of our points of contact are related to this area of concern. This means that it takes more points of contact to resolve each case that is started with our office related to this concern.


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Points of Contact Data Contact Type The Office of the Ombuds has points of contact including email, phone calls, walk-ins, appointments and Ombuds Intake Forms. Out of 2432 points of contact, 26% were Ombuds Intake Forms, 24% were appointments, 22% were emails, 18% were phone calls, 10% were walk-ins to the office. These numbers reflect the points of contact coming into the office. These numbers do not reflect the internal work of the office including all outgoing contacts to other offices/departments or outgoing contacts to individuals with open cases in the office.

Contact Source The Office of the Ombuds had points of contact with several different sources including EMU employees, EMU students, Family members of students, and others. Out of 2432 points of contact 76% were EMU students, 18% were EMU employees, 5% were family members, and 1% were other constituents of the EMU community. The Office of the Ombuds communicated with many EMU Employees, that had an educational need to know, in order to assist students in resolving concerns. Employee contacts included Academic Staff, Faculty, Non-Academic Staff, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the President. The Office of the Ombuds works with a variety of students in addressing their concerns. Students contact the office included undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-bachelor students.

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Student Case Data Relationship to EMU The Office of the Ombuds had cases initiated by a variety of sources. These cases were specific concerns brought to our office in which assistance was requested in reviewing policies and/or processes, as well as getting additional assistance in understanding and clarifying certain policies and/or processes. Out of 627 cases, 3% were initiated by EMU employees, 92% by EMU students, 2% by Family Members, and 3% by other constituents of the EMU community. For cases initiated by a Family Member, due to FERPA the EMU student also needed to initiate a case with our office for a review of policy and process to be conducted.

Faculty/Staff Hand-Off Data 20 Confidential Consultations

45 Referrals

5 Policy Review Requests

What does this mean? The Office of the Ombuds has directed specific attention to determining how we may be able to best support our faculty and staff on campus in assisting students who are experiencing a conflict. In doing so, we developed three new services: confidential consultations, referrals, and policy reviews. Over this past year we have seen an increase in faculty and staff use of the Office of the Ombuds in determining options for students they are working with, referring students who may benefit from speaking with our offices, or participating in a policy review to work towards improving institutional policies or practices to better serve our student population.

Race & Ethnicity Out of 627 cases initiated with the Office of the Ombuds:  32% -African American  3% - Asian or Asian American  3% - Hispanic/Latino  2% - Middle East or Arab Ancestry  47% - White or Caucasian  9% - Other  4% - Not Reported *Race & Ethnicity is an optional field on the Ombuds Intake Form.


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Gender Out of 627 cases initiated with the Office of the Ombuds:  37% by individuals identifying as male  56% by individuals identifying as female  2% by individuals identifying as transgender  2% by individuals identifying as other  3% by individuals who did not report *Gender is an optional field on the Ombuds Intake Form.

Assistance for Students The Office of the Ombuds has two types of assistance that students can request when initiating an Ombuds Intake Form. Students are able to select between “Confidential Consultation” or “Active Resolution”. Out of 627 cases initiated with the Office of the Ombuds:  35% were Confidential Consultations  65% were Active Resolutions *Note: 18% of the Confidential Consultations, at some point during the case resolution process, were transitioned to Active Resolution requests by the student who had submitted Ombuds Intake Form

What does this mean? The Office of the Ombuds has focused a great deal on working to build positive relationships with students who choose to engage with our services. We have intentionally spent time during our student meetings working to address concerns, fears, or apprehensions that may be present when working through conflict situations. The 18% noted above has shown great progress in this area as we have been able to have a greater portion of students transition to active assistance in the resolution process from their initial request for only a confidential consultation.

Referral to the Ombuds The Office of the Ombuds collects data on who students are encouraged to contact the Office of the Ombuds by or who they have learned about the Office of the Ombuds from. Out of 627 cases initiated with the Office of the Ombuds:  16% were referred by other EMU Students  50% were referred by EMU Employees  19% found the Office of the Ombuds on their own  3% were referred by individuals outside of EMU  3% were referred by Family Members  9% listed “other” as a referral source


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Areas of Concern The Office of the Ombuds has developed areas of concern in which we are able to categorize the concerns and develop themes to offer appropriate data-based recommendations to the Office of the Provost. The areas of concern include, Admissions, Advising, Campus Operations, Disability Resource Center, Financial Aid, Grading, Instructional Issues, Records & Registration, Student Business Services, Student Conduct & Community Standards, Student Well-Bring and Student Services. We do want to point out that not all points of contact end up in a case started with our office, as well as one case may have multiple points of contact depending on the complexity of the policy, process, and/or specific situation. What do the following graphs mean? The following graphs outline the percentage of overall cases we have related to a specific area of concern compared to the percentage of points of contact we have related to a specific area of concern. Through these graphs we can better understand the amount of interfacing with various campus constituents needed to work towards resolution of concerns. Some areas of concern take less points of contact per case than other areas of concern do to reach resolution.

Admissions Concerns related to admissions were broken down into specific categories including 2nd Admit Programs, Graduate Admissions, International Admissions, and Undergraduate Admissions. Concerns related to admissions included issues such as admissions criteria, admissions decisions, the admissions application process, and misinformation given during the admissions process.

Advising Concerns related to advising were broken down into specific categories including Advising Errors, General Education Requirements, Program Dismissal, Program Certification & Licensure, and Transfer Equivalencies. Concerns may arise from student advising from the University Advising Center, Departmental/College Advising, and/or Faculty Advising.

Campus Operations Concerns related to campus operations were broken down into specific categories including Department of Public Safety, Housing & Residence Life, Parking, and Personnel Complaints. Concerns related to campus operations included issues such as communication from Department of Public Safety, housing availability and cost, housing maintenance needs, parking availability, and quality  of service provided by EMU Employees.


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Disability Resource Center Concerns related to the Disability Resource Center were related all related to the accommodations available for students who are working with the DRC. Concerns related to the Disability Resource Center included issues such as timeliness of accommodation information, accommodations being followed within the classroom, and questions about reasonable accommodations for specific situations.

Financial Aid Concerns related to financial aid operations were broken down into specific categories including Communications, Eligibility/Criteria, Refund/Award, and Scholarship. Concerns related to financial aid included issues such as communications received regarding eligibility to receive financial aid, availability of additional financial aid, receiving a financial aid refund, and scholarship availability and/or eligibility.

Grading Concerns related to grading were broken down into specific categories including Grade Grievances and Incompletes. Concerns related to grading included issues such as reports of unfair and capricious grading, assistance in understanding the steps of the grade grievance process, review to ensure grade grievance process was followed, and assistance in understanding the policy and process regarding requesting Incompletes.

Instructional Issues Concerns related to instructional issues were broken down into specific categories including Books & Materials, Harassment & Discrimination, Performance, and Technology & Facilities. Concerns related to instructional issues included issues such as availability of course textbooks, reported harassment or discrimination from faculty, instructor performance in the classroom, ability of instructor/student use of course technology. Â


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Records & Registration Concerns related to records and registration were broken down into specific categories including Diploma Issues, Graduation Audit, Graduation Ceremony Exceptions, Registration Issues, Late Withdrawal, Tuition Appeal, Transcript Issues, Academic Probation, and Academic Dismissal. Concerns related to records and registration included issues such as graduation requirements and policies surrounding graduation, difficulties registering for courses, questions and assistance in pursuing a late withdrawal from courses, questions and assistance in pursuing a tuition appeal for courses, questions and assistance related to appealing academic probation and/or academic dismissal, and general records and registration communications.

Student Business Services Concerns related to student business services were broken down into specific categories including Billing, Course Fees, Financial Holds, and Residency Issues. Concerns related to student business services included issues such as a past due balance that is preventing a student from being able to register, a financial hold that is preventing a student from obtaining their transcript, questions regarding tuition fees, and questions regarding residency status.

Student Well-Being Student Concerns were broken down in specific categories including Death, Illness, Safety, Hospitalization, and Campus Employment. Student Concerns included issues such as a death in a students family or a personal illness a student was going through that impacted their academic success, student safety concerns, student well-being concerns, and issues around student employment. Â


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Student Conduct & Community Standards Concerns related to student conduct & community standards were broken down into specific categories including disruptive behavior, the hearing process, and plagiarism. Student conduct & community standards concerns included issues such as faculty reporting disruptive behavior by students in their classrooms and students requesting assistance going through the hearing process.

Student Services Concerns related to student services were broken down into specific categories including Campus Life, Career Services, and the Holman Learning Center. Student services concerns included issues such as policy surrounding student organization involvement, questions surrounding Career Development Center services, and concerns about programs provided by the Holman Learning Center.

Other Concerns that are represented in the other category encompass issues that do not fit into any of the previous categories represented in this report. Concerns included in this category include issues such as general policy questions, inquiries about religious holiday policy, concerns about the Early Childhood Alliance program, and other various concerns.

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Our Recommendations One of the responsibilities of the Office of the Ombuds is to make appropriate data-based recommendations to the Office of the Provost regarding institutional improvement. Based on the data collected over the past year, the Office of the Ombuds has several recommendations to assist in continued improvement to policy and process at EMU. This year the Office of the Ombuds has diligently worked to align its roles and responsibilities with the EMU Strategic Plan. In doing so, this years recommendations have been categorized based on the four (4) Strategic Themes established within EMU’s Strategic Plan. Based on the assessment of data collected on EMU specific trends, observations of inter-departmental interactions, and review of issues and concerns brought to the Office of the Ombuds; the following institutional improvements are recommended:

Student Engagement & Success 1. University Accessibility Review EMU has made great strides towards increasing support , improving campus climate, and specifically focusing attention on enhancing the institutional environment for students with disabilities. With this said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends the Disability Resource Center focus on conducting a University Accessibility Review to ensure that EMU (1) is compliant with all federal, state, and local laws and (2) is enhancing appropriate services to best support our student populations. We recommend that one aspect of this accessibility review consist of completing Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Disability Resource Center Self-Assessment. Through conducting this review, the Office of the Ombuds believes the DRC will be able to identify, design, and implement seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that can assist in facilitating student persistence and graduation for EMU’s student populations.

2. Enhance University Engagement with the Office of the Ombuds Over the past year, the Office of the Ombuds has seen an increase in the University’s engagement with the office. This specifically can be noticed through the use of the

new consultation, referral, and policy review services provided by the office. The Office of the Ombuds recommends that EMU and the office continue to find ways to enhance engagement with the Office of the Ombuds through these services, encouraging offices and departments to utilize these services. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help connect students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (2) identify, design, and implement seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation.

3. Improving Transparency of University Communications University communications across many different departments and offices has improved in transparency over the past year. Offices, departments, and individuals have focused a great deal of attention on improving the ways in which information is presented and shared with students, as well as working to ensure that information is available and provided to students in multiple ways. While we commend EMU for these great strides, improvements in transparency around communication is always an area in which we recommend offices, departments, and individuals continually improve their


ANNUAL REPORT

communication efforts. The Office of the Ombuds recommends that EMU continue to find ways to enhance transparency of University communications to (1) continue to build a culture of respect and responsibility in which all campus constituents are able to interact successfully and meaningfully with each other, and (2) improve services and processes that enhance student persistence and graduation.

4. Assess & Advance Degree Completion & Retention Plan The EMU Degree Completion and Retention Plan was developed in 2014 to address both retention and graduation rates in a comprehensive and coordinated manner. The outlined plan specifically targeted initiatives for two demographic segments of the student population: Men of Color and Single Parents. Through recent reports the institution has shown great progress in carrying out this plan. In order to continue the forward progress EMU is making in regards to addressing student retention and graduation rates, the Office of the Ombuds recommends that EMU assess and advance the Degree Completion and Retention Plan through identifying several new demographic segments of the student population to target initiatives towards. The Office of the Ombuds believes that the advancements of this plan will Â

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continue to (1) create and expand purposeful learning opportunities inside and outside classrooms, in the community and globally, (2) identify, design and implement seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (3) connect students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (4) build a university culture in which respect, responsibility, pride and diversity are valued, encourages and celebrated.

5. Assess University Classroom Behavior Policies The EMU Administrators Guide to Classroom Management (2014) was developed to provide guidance to the university community on the management of the classroom environment. While we commend EMU for supporting the universities commitment to promoting a safe and healthy teaching and learning environment, guidance around classroom management is always an area in which we recommend the university continually assess and improve. The Office of the Ombuds recommends Academic Human Resources and the Office of Student Conduct, Community Standards, and Wellness work collectively with university constituents to focus on conducting a review of the current


30 Administrators Guide and procedures associated with classroom management. This is to ensure that EMU (1) is compliant with all federal laws, state laws, local laws, and contracts, (2) is enhancing appropriate services to support our faculty and student populations, and (3) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communication among university constituents. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help connect faculty and students through existing structures to resources that will support student wellbeing across the university, and (2) identify, design, and implement seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation.

6. Campus Climate Review - Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion The Office of the Ombuds recognizes the Universities continual support of improving diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus. Offices, departments, and individuals have focused a great deal of attention on improving institutional policies, procedures, and practices, as well as working towards enhancing our overall institutional climate. With this said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends EMU conduct a campus climate review focusing on understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion as it relates to (1) the experience of university constituents interacting with the institution, (2) the impact of existing university policies, procedures, and practices on university constituents, and (3) the effectiveness of current efforts towards creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus. Additionally, the Office of the Ombuds recommends a comprehensive review of institutional data through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion to determine areas of institutional strength and opportunity. For example, analyzing institutional data to determine EMU’s graduation and retention of African American males who reside on campus during

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OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS their college careers versus those who reside off campus. The Office of the Ombuds believes that the advancement of this recommendation will aid in (1) creating and expanding purposeful learning opportunities inside and outside classrooms, in the community and globally, (2) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (3) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student wellbeing across the university, and (4) building a university culture in which respect, responsibility, pride and diversity are valued, encourages and celebrated.

High Performing Academic Programs and Quality Research 1. Continued Focus on Improvements in University Academic Advising EMU has made great strides towards increasing student support, improving student experience, and specifically focusing attention on enhancing the institutional processes around academic advising. The Office of the Ombuds recommends a continued effort in improving university advising by enriching communication and student support offered via collaborations between university, college, and departmental advisors. In addition, the Office of the Ombuds recommends continual cross-training efforts between university advisors and other student service offices such as those under Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. These cross-training efforts would also be enhanced through university advisors development of an appropriate, consistent referral process for students who may be experiencing difficulties or be in need of additional support. While we commend the university for the expansions of academic advising to date, we believe a dedicated focus in building these collaborations creates


ANNUAL REPORT and supports innovative academic programs and pedagogy, as well as identifies, designs, and implements seamless connections among academic and nonacademic programs and services that can assist in facilitating student persistence and graduation for EMU’s student populations.

2. Assess Integration of the Office of Student Conduct, Community Standards, & Wellness (SCCSW) The Office of the Ombuds commends the institutions commitment to innovative integration of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards with The Wellness Center. This integration is in support of past recommendations, and our continued recommendation of training and implementation of restorative justice practices, motivational interviewing techniques, appreciative inquiry practices, and cognitive coaching techniques into office policies, procedures, practices, services, and programming. The Office of the Ombuds also recommends development of SCCSW programming and outreach to better (1) articulate the mission of SCCSW and how it can positively contribute to the EMU community and (2) serve the needs of the EMU community and its constituents. While we recommend continued improvements to the SCCSW integration, in order for this merger to be executed in a way that maximizes benefits for the EMU community, we also recommend completion of the following:  Comprehensive Climate Review  Surveying Campus Constituents  Providing Listening Sessions for Campus Constituents  Comprehensive Office Review  Review and revision all Policies, Procedures, & Practices to ensure alignment with new SCCSW model  Conducting an Environmental Scan  Integration of Restorative Justice  Conduct a Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) Student Conduct Self-Assessment The Office of the Ombuds believes that the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) providing students with high-quality learning opportunities, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) providing opportunities for institutional

31 growth and community partnerships both within and outside of the institution, (3) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (4) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (5) building a university culture in which respect, responsibility, pride and diversity are valued, encourages and celebrated.

3. Faculty Resources for Supporting Students with Accommodation Needs The Disability Resource Center has made great strides towards identifying and increasing support for faculty in enhancing the classroom setting for students with disabilities. We support the dedicated outreach the DRC has engaged in to help educate and provide support for faculty members at EMU. With this said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends continued growth in services and resources provided by the DRC to continue educating faculty on best ways to ensure classroom accessibility for students with disabilities. The Office of the Ombuds recommends that these resources include, but are not limited to (1) providing an online faculty resource portal, (2) developing a process for addressing faculty questions, conducting faculty consultations, and managing student referrals, and (3) offering faculty the ability to have a classroom accessibility review conducted. The Office of the Ombuds believes that the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) providing students with high-quality learning opportunities, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) providing opportunities for institutional growth and community partnerships both within and outside of the institution, (3) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (4) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student wellbeing across the university, and (5) building a university culture in which respect, responsibility, pride and diversity are valued, encourages and celebrated.


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Institutional Effectiveness 1. Development of University Tool for Complaint Resolution Over the last three years the Office of the Ombuds has worked collaboratively with the EMU community to aid in building complaint resolution processes to help resolve conflicts within the institution. Although this has been a dedicated focus, the Office of the Ombuds supports continued improvement in this area. The Office of the Ombuds recommends that it continues to work collaboratively with offices, departments, and individuals within the EMU campus community to develop tools and resources for conflict resolution. The Office of the Ombuds recommends that this includes, but is not limited to (1) assessment of current campus needs around conflict resolution resources and training, (2) the development of internal, consistent procedures geared towards timely, effective complaint and concern resolution, (3) providing an online faculty and staff resource portal, and (4) engage in campus wide conflict resolution training. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communications among university stakeholders, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) providing opportunities for institutional growth and community partnerships both within and outside of the institution, (4) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (5) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (6) building a university culture in which respect, responsibility, pride and diversity are valued, encourages and celebrated.

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2. Comprehensive Review of Academic Standing Policy and Process EMU has made great strides towards increasing student retention, improving student experience, and specifically focusing attention on enhancing the institutional processes around academic standing. The Office of the Ombuds recommends a continued effort in improving university policies and process around academic standing. This recommendation includes, but is not limited to (1) an increase in the use of technology to quickly, easily, and effectively engage with students before, during, and after the process is carried out (such as implementation of online submission forms), (2) a review of the academic standing process to ensure facilitation of effective, timely, and transparent communication both with students and involved campus departments, (3) development of student support programming and services designed to aid students who are currently on academic probation and in jeopardy of academic dismissal, and (4) engage in crossdepartmental training within the institution for both academic and non-academic departments who may work closely with students who are going through this process. In addition, the Office of the Ombuds recommends incorporating techniques from motivational interviewing, appreciative inquiry, and cognitive coaching into communications and processing procedures related to this policy. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communications among university stakeholders, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) examining university processes for improvement and functional realignment, (4) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic


ANNUAL REPORT and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (5) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (6) building a university culture in which respect, responsibility, and pride are valued, encourages and celebrated.

3. Comprehensive Review of University Late Withdraw/Tuition Appeal Policy and Process EMU has made great strides towards increasing student retention, improving student experience, and specifically focusing attention on enhancing the institutional processes around late withdraws and tuition appeals. The Office of the Ombuds recommends a continued effort in improving university policies and process around late withdraws and tuition appeals. This recommendation includes, but is not limited to (1) an increase in the use of technology to quickly, easily, and effectively engage with students before, during, and after the process is carried out (such as implementation of online submission forms), (2) a review of the late withdraw and tuition appeal process to ensure facilitation of effective, timely, and transparent communication both with students and involved campus departments, (3) development of student support services designed to aid students who run into academic standing issues as a result of going through this process, and (4) engage in cross-departmental training within the institution for both academic and non-academic departments who may work closely with students who are going through this process. In addition, the Office of the Ombuds recommends incorporating techniques from motivational interviewing, appreciative inquiry, and cognitive coaching into communications and processing procedures related to this policy. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communications among university stakeholders, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) examining university processes for improvement and functional realignment, (4) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, (5) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university, and (6) building a university culture in which respect, Â

33 responsibility, and pride are valued, encourages and celebrated.

4. University Review of Switch to Service EMU Model The Office of the Ombuds commends the institutions commitment to innovative integration of student support services. This integration is in support of past recommendations, and our continued recommendation of providing holistic student support. With that said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends a review of the current operation of the Service EMU model. In order to maximizes benefits for the EMU community, we recommend completion of the following: (1) provide a venue for student feedback regarding their experiences, suggestions for improvement, and areas of strength, and (2) engage Service EMU staff members in assessment of current operations to identify areas of strength and process improvement. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help improve processes to enhance operational effectiveness and fiscal stewardship, and (2) facilitate effective, timely, and transparent communication among university stakeholders.

5. Benchmarking on Plausibility of Implementing Tuition Insurance Policy at EMU Through the Office of the Ombuds work with students and university departments, we have identified a common interest in the potential implementation of a tuition insurance policy at EMU. Out of this interest it is the recommendation of the Office of the Ombuds that a committee be convened to review the plausibility of offering a tuition insurance plan to EMU students. This committee should be made up of representatives from departments and university constituent groups involved with the implementation of a program of this type. Should the determination of the committee be that implementation of a tuition insurance program is plausible and of benefit to the EMU community, the committee shall develop a proposal for implementation to be submitted for review by the Office of the Provost. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help improve processes to enhance operational effectiveness and fiscal stewardship, and (2) facilitate effective, timely, and transparent communication among university stakeholders.


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6. Academic Administrators Complaint Resolution & Student Services Training The Office of the Ombuds recognizes the Universities continual support of training and integrated collaborations between academic departments and student service offices. This support is evident in partnerships between student services offices and the Faculty Development Center, as well as trainings offered to academic administrators via Academic Human Resources. With that said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends continued investment into complaint resolution and student services training and collaboration, specifically focused on supporting academic administrators such as program coordinators, department heads, and college deans. The Office of the Ombuds recommends Academic Human Resources work collectively with student services offices (such as the Office of the Ombuds) to focus on (1) conducting an assessment of current academic administrators’ needs around conflict resolution and student services training, (2) developing procedures geared towards timely, effective cross-departmental communication in regards to managing student issues, and (3) ensure consistent, up-to-date application of university policies and procedures. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communications among university stakeholders, (2) examining university processes for improvement and functional realignment, (3) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, and (4) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university.

7. Comprehensive Review of Graduate Assistant Policies, Processes, and Communications EMU has made great strides towards improving graduate assistant policies, procedures, and communications, as well as improving the graduate assistant student experience. The Office of the Ombuds recommends a continued effort in improving university policies, procedures, and processes applicable to graduate assistants. This recommendation includes, but is not limited to (1) a review of graduate assistant policies, procedures, and processes to ensure facilitation of Â

OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS effective, timely, and transparent communication both with students and involved campus departments, and (2) assessment of current graduate assistant orientation programming and its effectiveness in communicating graduate assistant policies and responsibilities for students and campus departments. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) facilitating effective, timely, and transparent communications among university stakeholders, (2) creating and supporting innovative programs and pedagogy, (3) examining university processes for improvement and functional realignment, (4) identifying, designing and implementing seamless connections among academic and non-academic programs and services that facilitate student persistence and graduation, and (5) connecting students through existing structures to resources that will support student well-being across the university.

8. Office of the Ombuds Ex-Officio Committee Involvement Over the past three year, the Office of the Ombuds has continually increased engagement with various university committees in order to effectively resolve student concerns. This engagement ensures transparency, due process, and effective cross-departmental prevention and resolution of student concerns. As the Office of the Ombuds seeks to ensure equitable design, application, and review of university policies, procedures, and practices it is fitting and beneficial to the EMU community that a representative of the Office of the Ombuds sit Ex-Officio on committees designated to the design, implementation, or review of a university policy. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help improve processes to enhance operational effectiveness and fiscal stewardship, and (2) facilitate effective, timely, and transparent communication among university stakeholders.

10. University Review of Board of Regents Policies EMU has worked diligently to continue to ensure that Board of Regents policies are up-to-date and accurate based on current university process and practice. The Office of the Ombuds commends current EMU staff, faculty, and administrators in ensuring that these policies are reviewed, updated, and presented for approval in a timely fashion. With this said, the Office of the Ombuds recommends a comprehensive university review of all


ANNUAL REPORT Board of Regents policies to ensure they are both compliant and current with university process and practice. The Office of the Ombuds commits to aiding the institution in this review process and assisting appropriate administrators, staff, and faculty in review and revision of current policy. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help improve processes to enhance operational effectiveness and fiscal stewardship, and (2) facilitate effective, timely, and transparent communication among university stakeholders.

11. Comprehensive Review of Grade Grievance Policy and Process The Office of the Ombuds recognizes the current universities commitment to review and revision of the current Grade Grievance Policy and Process. We commend the efforts being dedicated to this process by staff, faculty, and administration. The Office of the Ombuds recommends the continuation of this comprehensive review and revision of the current Grade Grievance Policy and Process. The Office of the Ombuds believes this engagement will (1) help improve processes to enhance operational effectiveness and fiscal stewardship, and (2) facilitate effective, timely, and transparent communication among university stakeholders.

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Service & Engagement 1. Enhance University Inter-Department Collaborations to Leverage EMU Talent and Resources EMU has an expansive wealth of talent and resources in the students, staff, faculty, and administrators that make up this institution. In addition, the community stakeholders and partnerships available to this institution pose great opportunity to enhance the experiences of all who interact with EMU. The Office of the Ombuds recommends the university community engage in dialogue and review of ways in which institutional infrastructure can be leveraged to maximize EMU resources and talent to serve the university and local community, as well as state, national, and global communities. The Office of the Ombuds recommends specifically reviewing possible departmental collaborations, reporting structures, or integrations that leverage knowledge and expertise in the best way to enhance the experiences of students, faculty, and staff. The Office of the Ombuds believes the advancement of these recommendations will aid in (1) enhancing community engagement and partnerships, (2) create institutional infrastructure that leverages EMU resources and talent to serve the community and Michigan as a whole, and (3) enhances community knowledge and perceptions of EMU.


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Thank you for the Amazing Year! Office of the Ombuds 248 Student Center 734-487-0074 emu_ombuds@emich.edu www.emich.edu/ombuds

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OFFICE OF THE OMBUDS

Profile for Eastern Michigan University

Office of the Ombuds 2016 Annual Report  

Office of the Ombuds 2016 Annual Report