December 04, 2012

Appalachian State University Creates Ombuds Office

The public university in Boone, North Carolina has appointed Professor Jim Barnes to serve as its first University Ombudsman. In a campus announcement, ASU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Gonzalez said, "The Office of the Ombud will provide all members of the Appalachian community with a neutral, impartial and confidential environment to discuss individual concerns of faculty, staff and students."

A decade ago, the ASU Faculty Senate recommended the creation of a university ombudsman, emphasizing that "anonymity (of the grievant) will be maintained to the greatest extent possible."  Provost Gonzalez agreed that having an Ombuds Office is a "best practice in higher education." 

Barnes, a faculty member in the Department of Government and Justice Studies, will serve as the Interim Ombuds when the office open in Spring 2013.  Barnes has been a member of the faculty since 1996, having previously reaching emeritus status at the University of Ohio. He earned his BA, MA and PhD from Ohio State University. He has published several books and is a leading expert on the politics of Gabon. (Watauga Democrat; ASU Faculty Page.)

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