Faculty Ombudsperson

The Faculty Ombudsperson at Texas A&M-San Antonio is a designated neutral faculty member chosen by the Faculty Senate who works with faculty at A&M-SA to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns related to their employment at A&M-SA and to bring systemic concerns to the attention of A&M-SA for resolution. The faculty ombudsperson will follow the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics outlined by the International Ombudsperson Association.

Your Faculty Ombudsperson:
Dr. Gary Coulton, Associate Professor of Psychology, is the University’s Inaugural Faculty Ombudsperson. The Ombuds’ Office is now open.

Dr. Coulton Photo

Contact Information:
Email: facultyombudsperson@tamusa.edu 
Phone: (210) 784-2203
Office: STEM 349A

Sessions:
  • Fall 2022 Ombud’s hours-Wednesday, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Thursday, 2:00 to 4:00 PM, and by appointment.
    • At the visitor’s request, sessions may be held at locations other than the Ombudsperson’s office (on- or off-campus)
  • Typical sessions are 50 minutes long
  • The number of sessions are not limited
  • Virtual sessions are available (via Zoom)
  • Phone sessions can also be arranged
Important Things to Know about Faculty Ombudperson’s Services:
  • Services are available to all university faculty members
    • No referral is required
  • All communications with the Ombuds are strictly confidential
    • No permanent records are kept about individual ‘visitors’
    • Only aggregate data (e.g., number of visitors, average number of visits) will be reported (quarterly) to the Provost’s Office
  • On occasion, Faculty may be referred to the Ombuds by Deans, Department Chairs, or other Administrators
    • However, no information (including whether or not the faculty member actually met with the Ombuds) about such visits will be shared with anyone without the faculty member’s explicit permission
What an Ombudsperson does:
  • Listens and understands issues while remaining neutral with respect to the facts. The Ombudsperson doesn’t listen to judge or to decide who is right or wrong. The Ombudsperson listens to understand the issue from the perspective of the individual. This is a critical step in developing options for resolution.
  • Assists in reframing issues and developing and helping individuals evaluate options. This helps individuals identify the interests of various parties to the issues and helps focus efforts on potential options to meet those interests.
  • Guides or coaches individuals to deal directly with other parties, including the use of formal resolution resources of the organization. An Ombudsperson often seeks to help individuals improve their skill and their confidence in giving voice to their concerns directly.
  • Refers individuals to appropriate resolution resources. An Ombudsperson may refer individuals to one or more formal organizational resources that can potentially resolve the issue.
  • Assists in surfacing issues to formal resolution channels. When an individual is unable or unwilling to surface a concern directly, the Ombudsperson can assist by helping give voice to the concern and /or creating an awareness of the issue among appropriate decision-makers in the organization.
  • Facilitates informal resolution processes. An Ombudsperson may help to resolve issues between parties through various types of informal mediation.
  • Identifies new issues and opportunities for systemic change for the organization. The unique positioning of the Ombudsperson serves to provide unfiltered information that can produce insight to issues and resolutions. The Ombudsperson is a source of detection and early warning of new issues and a source of suggestions of systemic change to improve existing processes.
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.

  • 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 those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.
  • 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.

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