April 24, 2012

Meet Cornell's New Ombuds

Charles Walcott, a former Dean of Faculty and experienced mediator, was appointed a two-year term as the Ombudsman for Cornell University in July 2011. In a recent interview, he told the Cornell Daily Sun, “Everybody wants the place to work, and they support the Ombudsman’s office because they feel that we help people navigate the complexity that is Cornell.” 

Walcott noted that there is no typical complaint that comes before the Ombuds. 
“Dealing with students’ complaints about grades are probably some of the easier issues,” he said. “We often deal with bosses who are unsympathetic or who make what workers think are unreasonable demands. If you are an employee and say to a boss that you think they are being unfair, you are opening yourself to retaliation. Employees are often hesitant to confront [their boss] in a constructive kind of way and a lot of problems we see stem from that kind of issue.”
Before joining Cornell's faculty full time in 1981, worked in science-related education. He consulted on Sesame Street episodes and public education reform, and helped create PBS’s popular educational science program NOVA. (Cornell Daily Sun.) 

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