How can I contact the Ombuds office?

Classified Staff 404-385-BUDS (2837) Classified Staff Ombuds

Assistant Vice Provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution Kyla Ross, Ph.D.  kyla.ross@gatech.edu Office phone: 404-894-2863

Faculty and Graduate Student Ombuds  Leigh Bottomley ​leigh.bottomley@gatech.edu ​Phone: 678-773-6016

Faculty and Graduate Student Ombuds W. Russell Callen, Ph.D., P.E. (Professor Emeritus) russ.callen@ece.gatech.edu Office Phone: 404-894-2919 Home Phone: 404-261-6179

To whom does the Georgia Tech Ombuds report?

The Ombuds Office reports to the president through the Office of the Provost.

What kinds of services does the Ombuds provide?

The Ombuds provides the following services:

  • Listens carefully to your complaint or problem
  • Responds to your requests for information
  • Informally investigates your complaint or problem
  • Helps you identify and evaluate options and strategies for solving your problem
  • Opens channels of communication
  • Helps mediate a resolution to your problem
  • Identifies, clarifies, and interprets Institute policies and procedures
  • Refers you to appropriate campus resources
  • Recommends changes in Institute policies or procedures that are unfair, outdated, or ineffective

The Ombuds Office also offers other unique services such as mediation, facilitated discussions, training, referrals (to appropriate individuals to address concerns), presentations, policy/procedure development, and document reviews.

What kinds of services will the Ombuds not provide?

  • Represent you formally in a grievance procedure
  • Provide you legal advice or legal representation
  • Address a non-Institute-related problem or complaint
  • Intervene in a formal grievance procedure
  • Overturn decisions by Institute officials
  • Advocate for you (i.e., assume a non-neutral role)
  • Receive official "notice" for the Institute about issues *

*For confidentiality reasons, the Georgia Tech Ombuds Office will not accept official "notice" for the Institute about issues. (If someone wishes to put the Institute "on notice", that is make Georgia Tech formally aware of a particular problem, the office can provide information on how to do so through the proper Institute channels.)

What authority does the Ombuds Office have?

The Ombuds Office has the authority to informally investigate complaints, to bring issues to the attention of those with authority to address concerns, and to contact senior Institute officials to expedite administrative processes, to mediate or negotiate settlements to disputes, and to make recommendations for changes in policy, procedure, and/or practice, when appropriate.

The Ombuds Office does not have authority to take disciplinary action, reverse decisions, or circumvent existing Institute rules, policies, and procedures. The Ombuds Office supplements, but does not replace, existing Institute policies and procedures for redress of grievances. The Ombuds Office does make recommendations for change to those with the authority to implement them.

Any recommendations are based on investigation of issues and perceived trends. The office does not keep records of specific complaints or problems, but does keep track of general statistical patterns and brings concerns to the attention of those with the authority to make institutional improvements. The data collected does not include details that could identify an individual's confidential information.

When should I contact the Ombuds Office?

Contact us as a first step, or as a last resort, or anywhere along the way. Come and share your concerns; we will help in evaluating your situation and help plan your next step — if you want to take a next step.

Examples:

  • You don't know where to turn or who to talk to about an Institute/unit problem
  • You need to have a confidential discussion about a work-related problem
  • You feel an Institute policy or procedure has been unfairly applied to you
  • You need more information about faculty rights and Institute policies and procedures
  • You need help in facilitating a resolution to a work-related problem
  • You need help in communicating or negotiating with other faculty, staff, student, or Institute administrators
  • You want to know your options for solving a work-related problem
  • You prefer to resolve a dispute in an informal manner
  • You want to know what Institute resources are available to you

When should I contact the Asst. Provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution?

If a student or faculty member has attempted to have their concern or grievance addressed (e.g., student has tried to reach the faculty member regarding a grade grievance; or a faculty member has discussed their situation with their School Chair) yet still feels that they need someone in the Institute to look at their case to help with the conflict, they should reach out to the Asst. Provost for Advocacy and Conflict Resolution.

There may be situations where contacting the faculty member or School is not appropriate, and going directly to the Asst. Provost would be the recommended course of action.  As described on this page, the Ombuds are an excellent and confidential resource to help an individual get some input on how to navigate difficult situations.