November 15, 2009

University of Memphis Provost Overrules Faculty, Keeps Ombuds

In October, UM Provost Ralph Faudree asked the faculty senate to select the next Ombuds from internal candidates. Last week, Faudree unexpectedly rescinded the request and announced that the current Ombuds, Bill Brody, had a contract for four more years. Brody is an emeritus professor in the UM Department of Journalism. There is disagreement over how the Ombuds has been selected and it was not clear why Faudree changed his mind. (Memphis Commercial Appeal.)

The effect on the UM Ombuds is an open issue. Although Ombuds are adept at dealing with conflicts, they generally do not like to be directly involved. In this case, the situation could lead some to believe that the Ombuds cannot be neutral with respect to the Provost. On the other hand, the Ombuds may now enjoy a sense of job security and independence that could allow him to be more outspoken when necessary. As with most Ombuds, the critical issue is his reputation prior to this incident.

Prior post: University of Memphis to Name Faculty Ombuds.

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