Faculty Resources

University Ombudsperson

The University Ombudsperson at Texas A&M-San Antonio is a designated neutral faculty member selected by the Faculty Senate who works with faculty, staff, and paid graduate assistants to assist them in clarifying work-related issues and identifying options to help them resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns related to their employment at A&M-SA.  Additionally, the Ombuds periodically brings systemic issues to the attention of University Administration so they may be addressed at the organizational level. The Ombuds follows the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics outlined by the International Ombudsperson Association. Perhaps most importantly, all interactions with the Ombuds are confidential.

Your Ombudsperson:
Dr. Gary Coulton, Associate Professor of Psychology, is the University’s Inaugural Ombudsperson. The Ombuds’ Office offers services throughout the calendar year.

Dr. Coulton Photo

Contact Information:

Phone: (210) 784-2203
Office: STEM 349A

  • Spring 2024 Ombud’s hours-Monday 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, Thursday 2:00-4:00 and by appointment.
  • At the Visitor’s request, sessions may be held at locations other than the Ombudsperson’s office (either on- or off-campus)
    • The Ombuds has access to a private conference room
  • Typical sessions are 50 minutes long
  • The number of sessions are not limited
  • Virtual sessions are available (via Zoom)

Important Things to Know about the Ombudperson’s Services:

  • Services are available to all University Faculty, Staff, and paid Graduate Assistants
  • All communications with the Ombudsperson are confidential - including whether an individual has consulted the Ombuds
    • No permanent records are kept about individual ‘Visitors’
    • Only aggregate data (e.g., number of Visitors, average number of visits) are periodically reported to the University Administration
  • On occasion, Visitors may be referred to the Ombuds by Deans, Department Chairs, or other University Administrators
    • However, no information about visits (including whether or not the referred party actually met with the Ombuds) will be shared with anyone without the Visitor’s explicit permission

What an Ombudsperson does:

  • Listens and attempts to understand issues while remaining neutral. The Ombudsperson does not judge who is right or wrong.
  • Assists in reframing issues and helping individuals evaluate their options.
  • May guide or coach Visitors to deal directly with other parties and may advise Visitors of formal resolution resources at the University.
  • Assists in surfacing common issues to decision-makers at the University.
  • Facilitates informal resolution processes; the Ombudsperson may help resolve issues between parties through informal mediation.

What an Ombudsperson does not do:

  • Because of the informal, neutral, confidential and independent positioning of an ombudsperson in an organization, they typically do not undertake the following roles or activities:
  • Participate in formal investigations or play any role in a formal issue resolution process.
  • Serve in any other organizational role that would compromise the neutrality of the ombudsperson role.
  • Receive notice for the organization.
  • Make binding decisions or mandate policies.
  • Create or maintain records or reports for the organization.

The Ombudsperson Follows the Standards of Practice of the International Ombuds Association:

  • Independence: The Ombudsperson is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree possible within the organization.
  • Neutrality and Impartiality: The Ombudsperson, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsperson does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.
  • Confidentiality: The Ombudsperson holds all communications with Visitors in confidence. The only exceptions are: (a) when a Visitor gives permission to share information; (b) when a Visitor discloses allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct; or (c) when there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm to the Visitor or others.
  • Informality: The Ombudsperson, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

Bruce Auerbach - Faculty Ombuds

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