January 23, 2012

Three Questions for Hamline's Ombuds

Molly McAvoy, the Ombudsman for Hamline University, was recently interviewed by the Twin Cities Star Tribune. Although she helps faculty, staff and students work through their issues as a neutral third party, she says that coaching individuals to handle their own situations often yields better results. The newspaper asked her three questions. 

Q: How do you help people through conflicts?
A: When people are in conflict, it's often because they have different styles of communication. Or they just don't hear each other. My job is to bring them to the table and elicit more information, ask questions, and get them to say what they are really thinking.

Q: Is your job stressful?
A: It can be ... but the beauty of this position is that I'm not part of the conflict, and I can help people move through it. There are always some cases where the outcome is really going to impact a person's life ... and those are really difficult.

Q: What do you enjoy about your job?
A: For someone to be able to tell their story and be heard can really make a difference ... sometimes that's the only thing they need to move forward. (Vita.mn.) 

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