March 10, 2015

Job Posting: University of Massachusetts Amherst

The flagship of the University of Massachusetts system has opened a public search for its next Ombudsperson.  The search will fill the position long held by Catharine Porter, who retired last July, but wh has stayed on on part-time in a post-retirement appointment.  This is the first time that the position will be filled from outside the university.  The position will head an office that serves a total student, staff, and faculty population of about 40,000.  

Applicant must have a Bachelor's degree (advanced degree preferred); five years of mediation/conflict resolution experience (experience in higher education preferred); formal mediation training and/or certification; and knowledge of professional Ombuds standards. Applications are due March 27, 2015; no salary indicated.  (UMass Jobs via Indeed; UMass Faculty Senate Note.)

Current members of the UMass Amherst Ombuds office include: Assistant Ombudsperson, Martha Patrick; and Ombuds Assistant, Elizabeth Vassallo.

Updated 3/17/15 with corrections from Martha Patrick.

Related posts: UMass-Amherst Ombuds Releases Annual Report [2007]UMass Appoints New Associate OmbudsUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst Ombuds Publishes 2012 Annual Report.


  1. The core IOA informality standard states "The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention." However, this "Ombuds" office says "We serve as a neutral 'process manager' for academic grievances and charges of academic dishonesty by coordinating the associated hearing processes." In no way shape or form is this informal. "Neutral process manager." Seems like an inappropriate subordination of the role to admin support. Note to IOA, please move to start certifying programs. Note to UMass Amherst, this may be why you're having difficulty filling it. Certified Ombuds might actually lose their certification if they accept the position, thus won't even apply. The administration made a poor choice of forcing this function onto the Ombuds.

    1. I agree, but would still encourage people to apply. It is possible that a knowledgeable and persuasive outsider could help change some minds. I have seen this happen.