Letter From the President Herbst

Dear Colleagues:

The UConn Ombuds office and University Ombuds, Jim Wohl, begin operations today. Jim will continue to work closely with the University Senate, the President’s office, UCPEA, AAUP, and others as his office develops.

The Ombuds is here to serve all UConn employees and graduate students at the Storrs and regional campuses and is committed to promoting fair practices and fostering integrity and timeliness in the administration of University policies and practices affecting our work.

Please see the charter for the Ombuds Office for a detailed explanation of its roles and responsibilities.

Jim’s goal is to assist in communication and help parties achieve mutually acceptable solutions when possible. His services will focus on the needs and interests of the parties involved. Depending on his visitors’ consent, he may gather information, clarify issues, expedite solutions, or conduct informal mediation when appropriate.

Jim reports directly to me and he may use his access to the senior administration to report trends in conflicts that may be resulting from University-wide policies. However, his day-to-day activities as an impartial and confidential resource are independent of the University’s administrative structure. As is the accepted practice of the ombuds profession, the identities of visitors and specific concerns they raise will not be disclosed without consent, except as required by law.

The telephone number for the Ombuds office is 860-486-5143 and Jim is available Monday through Friday during regular working hours. Other times are available by prior arrangement. The Ombuds office is located in Homer Babbidge Library in rooms 2-189 and 2-191. I encourage you to visit the Ombuds website at ombuds.uconn.edu.

Jim is well-suited to this role. He has served as a workplace mediator in higher education and in the power industry. Previously, he served as University Ombudsperson at Louisiana State University and Auburn University. He is a member of the International Ombudsman Association, a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner and holds a Certificate in Workplace Conflict Resolution from Cornell University. He also spent 17 years on the faculty at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Over the next few months, Jim will be attending campus events and reaching out to units and groups to introduce himself and provide information about the Ombuds office. But he is ready to meet with you now, answer your questions, and work with you to find solutions to any workplace conflicts you may be experiencing.


Susan Herbst

University of Connecticut