The historically black university in Normal, Alabama has appointed Leatha M. Bennett to serve as its first Academic Student Ombudsman and Advocate. Despite the name, the position serves as, "an impartial, independent, confidential, safe and informal dispute" resource for 4,500 undergraduate students and the university community. Bennett, who previously served as the Director of the Office of Retention and Academic Support, has worked at the university for over 11 years.
Bennett received her bachelor's degree from Tougaloo College, a
master's degree from The Ohio State University; and a PhD from
Washington State University. She has done research on positively affecting student learning behavior, and she developed and directed an academic
intervention and retention program at the University of Alabama in
Huntsville. She is also a member of the International Ombudsman Association. (AAMU Ombuds.)