September 20, 2018

Ombuds at University of Washington Offers Perspective

Chuck Sloane, the University Ombud at UW (he is one of the few that drops the 's' from the neutered label), was interviewed for the campus newsletter. The wide-ranging conversation covered his career path, and explanation of the Ombuds role and challenges gained during his five-year tenure.

Sloane talked about how he helps people overcome their fears and move toward a resolution.
Sloane cautions solutions are not always possible, but coming to that point of realization is sometimes a solution unto itself.
“If it is possible, let’s figure out who you need to win over? What funding do you need? What opportunities do you need to make this happen? Let’s talk about how you find mentorship and new opportunities within and outside the University? How do you create a work and life that’s challenging and rewarding?”
When neglected, problems at work can become “emotional quicksand,” Sloane says. To avoid the pitfalls of problems left unaddressed, he and clients work together to answer the question: “What is the fear here?”
“As adults, we can get afraid of things and then we don’t want to think about them,” Sloane says, drawing a comparison to fears children have of not wanting to look at what might lurk in their darkened closets. “The fear may be appropriate at a certain level, but we also need to figure out a path through.”
That can mean connecting individuals to other University services as well. For Sloane, the role of Ombud is so interesting because it gives him the chance to “go deep.”
“We go there—wherever that is—and we’ll ask the questions that friends or family or coworkers might not feel comfortable asking sometimes,” he says. “We want to go there and help figure out the whole situation.”
It's an insightful interview. (The WholeU.)

Related posts: University of Washington Names OmbudsUniversity of Washington Ombuds to Hire from WithinUniversity of Washington Ombuds Releases Annual Report; University of Washington Ombud Posts 2014 Annual Report; University of Washington Ombud Posts 2016 Annual ReportUniversity of Washington Ombud: Cases Level Off in 2017

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