Alan Bowling, an associate professor in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, led a group that created a Student Ombuds team for engineering undergraduates, part of the college’s Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
According to the International Ombudsman Association, an ombuds team “works with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues, or concerns, and brings systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution.”
The team comprises engineering faculty and staff members who will listen to students’ concerns in a confidential setting and discuss how to resolve the situation. The team’s role is not to solve problems for students, but to help them gain the knowledge, information, and skills necessary to find a resolution. The process is informal, impartial, and confidential, with a goal of resolving the situation in a way that allows the student to continue onward in their academic career.