February 25, 2019

University of Tennessee Searching Internally for Next Ombuds

UT Knoxville will select a faculty member to serve as its next Campus Ombudsperson. The search will fill a position vacated by the retirement of Elaine Wynn, who served as UT Knoxville’s Staff Ombudsperson since December 2018. The new hire will serve both faculty and staff at the public university. Faculty Ombuds Bill Nugent is currently managing the office on an interim basis. (UTK Chancellor.)

Prior posts: University of Tennessee, Knoxville Names Interim Faculty Ombuds; Job Posting; University of Tennessee Appoints Two Ombuds for Faculty and Staff; University of Tennessee Staff Ombuds to Retire.


  1. Interesting that the position is not only internal only, not only faculty only, but TENURED faculty only. I'm curious how Tennessee's tenure review process uniquely qualifies people to serve as ombuds.

  2. All good points. It seems like a misguided effort to have an ombuds who "knows" the culture and can act without fear of termination (although they could be terminated from the ombuds position). In light of this, I would prefer such searches to have a term limit (3 yr appointment) so 1) the position doesn't become a glorified retirement with pay role which can be common in higher ed searches with similar criteria, 2) uniquely qualified candidates can serve the university without derailing their active academic careers and 3) others can acquire the skills necessary to aspire toward the position. It is telling that this search is only taking place because the current ombuds are retiring/stepping down from the position. This is too important of a position, especially for an environment like UTK, for such shortsided thinking.