Chapter 04: Discovering the Need for an Ombuds Office

Title

Chapter 04: Discovering the Need for an Ombuds Office

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Description

In this chapter, Dr. Brock begins the story of how he came to the role of founding Director of the Ombudsman's Office. This began, he explains, with faculty dissatisfaction in the late nineties and Dr. John Mendelsohn's [oral history interview] request that he join a blue ribbon committee to study the grievance process, resulting in a new "Faculty Appeals Policy."

Identifier

BrockW_01_20181204_C04

Publication Date

12-4-2018

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Building the Institution; Professional Values, Ethics, Purpose; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; Personal Background; Professional Path; Evolution of Career; Overview; Definitions, Explanations, Translations; Institutional Processes; Working Environment; MD Anderson Culture; Understanding the Institution; On Research and Researchers

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

So tell me about transitioning to the Ombuds Office. Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Oh, right. I have that someplace. Bill Brock, PhD [ ] maybeAfter Dr. Mendelsohn had been at MD Anderson for a few years, there were some developing problems with faculty dissatisfaction. In particular, some faculty were unhappy with our system of dispute resolution. This including dissatisfaction with how a couple of faculty members were fired and lack of trust in the tribunal mechanism.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right. Can you share why they were fired? Were the reasons controversial? Bill Brock, PhD [ ] [The reasons given were that they were fired for cause, breaking institutional rules or possibly worse. They disagreed and some, maybe many, faculty thought they were not treated fairly. I don’t know what was true, but Dr. Mendelsohn wanted to revise the mechanisms for faculty grievance and to have the faculty recommend policy. He formed an ad hoc committee, chaired by William Plunkett, to study mechanisms from other institutions and to make recommendations. The committee developed a Faculty Appeals Policy. Briefly, the policy consisted of a mechanism for choosing creating a pool of faculty members who would be trained in hearing faculty grievances and from this pool would be chosen three members to hear a faculty grievance and make recommendations for resolution to the president. Having a mechanism for faculty appeals works well, but it runs the risk of creating bad feelings and destroying the potential for collaboration among participants, even if the issues might have been more easily solved informally. As a member of that committee, I suggested we include a mechanism for early dispute resolution, including an Ombuds Office and the possibility of mediation as a first step or alternative to Appeals.]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I’ve interviewed him. Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And what was your final product? Bill Brock, PhD The final product [of the committee, which was approved an scheduled for implementation in 2000 was a] Faculty Appeals Policy [ ] [along with an early dispute resolution mechanism in the form of an Ombuds Office staffed by professional Ombuds and trained mediators.]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] [Redacted]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] [Redacted]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

[ ] Bill Brock, PhD [ ]

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Chapter 04: Discovering the Need for an Ombuds Office

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