The community college in southern Michigan has published a profile of Leigh Ann Swihart, who became its first Student Ombudsman earlier this year. “I’m here to help students have a better experience at JCC,” she said. Swihart said her office has already been a help to both students and the institution. Swihart has worked at the college since 2007 in a variety of roles, most recently in the registrar’s office, and she also coaches women’s volleyball.
Creation of the JCC Ombuds program was prompted by concerns about the college’s complaints and appeals process based on recommendations from the Academic Quality Improvement Program, the accrediting process for JCC, to improve the way complaints and appeals are tracked and resolved. The JCC Office of the Ombudsman serves as neutral third party for student issues. This is a significant change from the way the college initially envisioned the position in 2008, when it began a search for an "Enrollment Services Specialist/Ombudsperson" who would participate in student complaint hearings. (JCC Highlights.)