Search committee will review applications for employee ombuds soon

Zumberge Hall seen behind orange fall leaves
The new position will complement Takeelia Garrett's position as student ombuds.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills

Grand Valley's first employee ombuds could begin working in early January, according to the search committee timeline.

Jesse Bernal, vice president for Inclusion and Equity and executive associate for presidential initiatives, said the search committee will review applications next week and candidates will give presentations at virtual campus forums on December 21.

The new position will complement Takeelia Garrett's position as student ombuds. Garrett began working in that role in 2015. She worked with nearly 200 students last year.

Discussions about an employee ombuds have occurred on campus since at least 2013-2014. Sonia Dalmia, professor and chair of economics, was a member of the Ombuds Task Force in 2013. Dalmia said the task force was charged by faculty governance to explore the need for an employee ombuds based on recommendations from the 2011 campus climate survey.

Bernal said the search committee drew from the 2014 task force's foundation materials, including a draft job description, to create the current job posting for employee ombuds. Learn more about the position and see a list of search committee members online.

The employee ombuds will report to President Philomena V. Mantella; the position also furthers one of the commitments from the Network of Advisors for Racial Equity, which Mantella appointed in June. 

Dalmia, also a member of the current search committee, encouraged faculty and staff members to attend the virtual forums with finalists (register online for the December 21 forums).

"To be effective, an ombuds must enjoy the trust of the widest possible cross-section of the campus community," Dalmia said. "It’s important that the committee capture the feedback of our diverse community and the finalists are able to engage with faculty and staff."