April 16, 2011

Bates College to Review Ombuds Program

In 2000, the highly selective, private liberal arts college in Lewiston, Maine created an Ombuds program serve staff with workplace concerns. The Ombuds program started with a network of volunteer staff, but that number has dwindled over the years to just one: Sarah Potter, the College's Bookstore Manager and Contract Officer. 

According to the Bates staff newsletter, College President Elaine Hansen has requested a review with the goal of revitalizing the Ombuds program and expanding the number of Ombuds available to employees. (Bates HR Communicator.)


  1. It doesn't sound like it can be a very effective ombuds program. No independence. And questionable confidentiality. Why call it an "ombuds"?

  2. A+ for effort, though. Elite little colleges like that make their own rules.

  3. I commend Bates goal of revitalizing the ombudsman program. Hopefully, the review will look at the efficacy of volunteer staff as opposed to professional staff dedicated to ombuds work. My sense is, the program is not sustainable with all volunteer staff. Thoughts?