• Faculty and Staff Ombuds

  • Welcome to the Ombuds Office

    The Ombuds Office provides an independent, confidential, neutral and informal resource for faculty and staff who have concerns about their academic or work environment. In this space, which supplements formal channels, concerns can be voiced, strategies for resolution discussed, resources identified and conversations facilitated. If a problem appears to be systemic, or if there is a pattern of complaints, the office can provide a conduit to university officers responsible for reviewing practices and policies.

    Any topic related to faculty and staff experiences at The New School is open for discussion. Faculty and staff are free to ask questions about policies, examine specific challenges of their work experience, explore the implications of different courses of action, and determine the best process for resolving their issues. The only areas in which the ombuds is not available are matters covered in a union contract.

    Meet the Ombuds 

    Ann-Louise ShapiroAnn-Louise Shapiro came to The New School as Dean of The New School for General Studies in 2001, after 16 years at Wesleyan University where she was Professor of History and Dean of the Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs. At the end of her term as Dean at The New School, she returned to the faculty, teaching at Lang College and The New School for Social Research. More recently, she has completed training in Foundations of Practice for Ombudsmen and in Informal Mediation. In all of her professional work, she has been engaged in forging a community in which all members can expect fair, respectful, and collegial behavior.

  • How does the ombuds operate?

    The ombuds office is a space for off-the-record conversations. All matters discussed with the ombuds are held in confidence except when, in the course of confidential communication with the ombuds, permission is given to the ombuds to reach out to others, or, in a situation in which the ombuds determines that there is an imminent threat of serious harm.

    The ombuds does not keep formal records for The New School and is not authorized to accept claims against The New School.

    The ombuds operates according to the International Ombudsman Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

    Will the ombuds advocate on my behalf?

    The ombuds may assist and guide faculty and staff in resolving workplace conflicts or in addressing concerns of misconduct. A visitor to the ombuds may also request that the ombuds facilitate a larger conversation. The ombuds is not, however, an advocate for any individual; rather, the ombuds advocates for fair process.

    What authority does the ombuds have?

    The ombuds has access to information which may help in addressing faculty and staff concerns, and will provide trend reports to leaders to help improve workplace practices. But the ombuds has no authority to make or change any policy or decision at The New School.

    What happens after I meet with the ombuds?

    Any next steps are determined by you. In meeting with the ombuds, you will have an opportunity to discuss your concerns and evaluate various formal and informal options for addressing the issues; you can then decide what steps you will take.

    What if I want to file a formal complaint?

    The ombuds can assist in explaining the process involved in the formal filing of a complaint and direct you to the correct office or individual. The ombuds is not authorized to accept formal complaints.