Virginia Tech has announced the formation of a search committee to select the inaugural director of its University Ombuds Office.

Reporting directly to the university president, the director will establish and lead Virginia Tech’s Ombuds Office, in keeping with the International Ombudsman Association’s (OIA) principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality, confidentiality and informality.

The office will serve faculty, staff, students, and – when appropriate – others who may encounter difficulties in the scope of their interactions with the university. It will also be charged with facilitating communication and the resolution of conflicts, advocating for fairness and a healthy campus climate, and assisting all parties seeking support in reaching mutually acceptable resolutions that are consistent with the ideals and objectives of the university.

Search committee members are as follows:

  • Sally Morton (committee chair): dean, College of Science
  • Lee Hawthorne: assistant vice president of operations and administration, Division of Student Affairs.
  • Matt Holt: professor and head, agricultural and applied economics.
  • Ken Erikkson: professor, geosciences; chair, Faculty Reconciliation Committee.
  • Hans Robinson: associate professor, physics; Faculty Senate nominee.
  • Divya Srinivasan: assistant professor, industrial and systems engineering; Faculty Senate nominee.
  • Kathy Hosig: associate professor, population health sciences.
  • LaTawnya Burleson: development associate, College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Staff Senate nominee.
  • Bryan Hanson: graduate ombudsperson.
  • Rodney Irvin: director, Employee Relations.
  • Cheryl Peterson: executive director, Office of the President.
  • Ellen Plummer: associate vice provost, Academic Administration.
  • Lisa Lee: associate vice president, Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance.
  • Kay Heidbreder: university legal counsel.

The search committee will be supported by a staff that includes Jack Finney, vice provost for faculty affairs; Amy Hogan, assistant provost for leadership initiatives; and Leslie Sullivan, administrative and program assistant for the provost’s office.

The director of Virginia Tech’s Ombuds Office will be an experienced, highly collaborative leader with excellent communication skills and demonstrated success building relationships across the institution. This dynamic leader will bring vision and energy to guide the development of the university ombuds function and advance the office through processes and communication that foster respect for all members of the university community.

Although the director and office will report to the university president for administrative and budget purposes, the Ombuds Office will otherwise operate independently of normal reporting structures. Consistent with IOA principles, the office will be a confidential resource for members of the university community. The director will be a member of the President’s Council and the Provost’s Academic Affairs Council for the purposes of gaining insight into the culture of the organization, strategic directions, organizational change, and policy development.

Nominations for the director position and inquiries should be sent to Amy Hogan, assistant provost for leadership initiatives, at Applications will be accepted online at Review of applications will begin Dec. 7.


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