Role and purpose

VCU's ombudsperson provides confidential, neutral and informal dispute resolution services for VCU's faculty, staff, postdoctoral trainees and students. The office is available to assist VCU employees and students who seek guidance with the resolution of academic or administrative issues and disputes. Its services supplement, but do not replace, other administrative processes at the university. The office works to facilitate communication and assist parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements in order to find fair and equitable resolutions to concerns that arise at the university. The ombudsperson's office also reports general trends of issues and provides feedback throughout the organization, as well as advocates for systems change when appropriate without disclosing confidential communications.

Who should seek help from the ombudsperson?

Administrative and professional faculty, teaching and research faculty, classified staff, postdoctoral trainees and students may access the services of the office.

Examples of questions and issues

  • Communication issues with colleagues
  • Departmental concerns
  • Discipline/promotion/demotion 

  • Ethical considerations
  • Performance evaluations

  • Retaliation

  • Research data ownership/usage/authorship
  • University policies and procedures
  • Whistleblowing
  • Academic concerns
  • Student and professor behaviors 

History

The office was established in 2006 to serve as an alternative channel for communication and resolving issues. Donna Brodd, Ph.D. was appointed VCU's first ombudsperson after serving as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs since 2002. 

Frank Baskind, Ph.D., former dean of the VCU School of Social Work (1992-2008) was appointed to the position in July 2008. Mr. William King became the VCU Ombudsperson in 2013.

VCU Ombudspersons are Certified Organizational Ombudsman PractitionersSM (CO-OPSM), certified by the IOA Board of Certification.