November 23, 2020

University of Twente's Ombuds Reflects on First Year

Han Warmelink was appointed to a two-year term as the first Ombuds Officer for students and employees at Universiteit Twente October 2019. He recently talked about his experience with the UTwente campus newspaper. Warmelink said that there was clearly a need for the new service. "In less than a year I had to deal with 39 cases. The confidential advisors receive twenty reports a year, the complaints committee a handful. Apparently there was room that had not yet been filled. In addition, the number of cases remains fairly stable, with an average of one new case per week."

His description of the case work will sound familiar to other university Ombuds:
That there are all sorts of types, although it is striking that I have relatively many HR problems on my plate, I also wrote that in my annual report. That worries me and I think we need to find out how that is possible. On the one hand, it is not strange that people knock on the door about their employment position, but on the other hand, this is a high number. It would be good if we could reduce that number.

Incidentally, students don't report to me very often, but that's logical in view of their solid network of student advisors, student deans and psychologists. Employees in particular are now finding a solution that they apparently did not have before. I am very satisfied with that. Also about the general attitude within the UT. It's not always possible to bridge conflicts of interest, but the good will is certainly there.
A new, labor agreement for the Netherlands ensures that UTwente will continue to have an Ombuds Officer after the pilot program concludes. (UTodayNL.)

Related posts: University of Twente Plans New Ombuds ProgramUniversity of Twente Appoints First Ombuds; New Labor Agreement Will Create Staff Ombuds Positions at Leading Dutch Universities.

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