Back to University Action Items

The Staff Ombuds Office promotes the University’s DEI commitment and core values by addressing issues that create conflict at the intrapersonal, interpersonal and structural levels.

DEI 1.0 Evaluation Update

The Staff Ombuds Office was established in 2017 to promote the University’s DEI commitment and core values by educating, informing and acting as a catalyst for staff in order to assure a positive, inclusive and accessible workplace. In 2018, Dr. Jacqueline Bowman was appointed Staff Ombudsperson (SO), and since becoming fully operational in 2019, the office has fulfilled its objectives by:

  • Providing university staff members with impartial conflict resolution services, information and referrals
  • Serving as a campuswide resource for policy and procedures
  • Acting as a liaison between individuals and university administration
  • Identifying problems, trends and organizational concerns
  • Making recommendations for systems change

In response to the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SO strategically evaluated how best to deliver high-quality services to eligible staff, senior leaders and other stakeholders. The emphasis was on how to create a more diverse, engaged and equitable organization in which staff feel valued. Additionally, the Staff Ombuds Office spent considerable time building collaborative relationships around culture change efforts within Michigan Medicine and across campus. The office garnered buy-in from senior leaders and forged partnerships aligned with DEI efforts to promote a “speak up” culture without fear of reprisal, which will ultimately increase levels of trust, mutual respect, accountability and retention.

Since 2019, the Staff Ombuds Office has had a steady increase in visits, resulting in a total of 1,750 new and return appointments, group facilitations, and mediation sessions. The ombuds helped staff clarify and understand newly implemented COVID-19 policies, procedures and guidelines and consulted with HR and senior leaders to ensure fairness in the application of new policies. Reported conflicts included: future of work concerns, civility/respect/equity of treatment, climate/culture issues, excessive stress, retaliation, salary equity, unfair application of policies, disability accommodations, communication, and lack of transparency.

Of staff members utilizing the SO office in the past two years, on average 59% were from the Ann Arbor campus; 41% were from Michigan Medicine; 17% of all visitors held a management-status position; 84% were in non-managerial positions; and 1% was from the Dearborn campus.

Responsibility: University Human Resources