Services

The Office of the Student Ombuds (OSO) works with the university community to ensure that university processes related to students operate as fairly as possible.

Confidential Advice (Individual Appointments)

  • grade appeals
  • student and applicant discipline
  • academic standing (required to withdraw, probation, appeals, etc.)
  • student-supervisor, student-instructor, and student peer conflicts
  • breakdowns in graduate programs
  • intellectual-property issues
  • professional practice
  • residence disputes

Education Sessions and Informal Resolution Services

We offer a variety of services to graduate students, undergraduate students, and medical residents for university-based activities. Ombuds will explain their suitability upon a request.

Interactive Education Sessions
These sessions are provided to groups and classes on topics such as: “Exercising Your Rights and Responsibilities as a Student”; “Resolving Supervisory Conflicts”; “Resolving Group Project Conflicts”; “Guidelines on Use of Social Media”.
Conflict Management Coaching
Conflict Management Coaching (AKA "conflict coaching") offers individualized coaching to examine issues holistically and develop communication skills for resolving supervisory/instructor conflicts, student discord, lab/workplace conflicts.
Peacekeeping Circles
Peacekeeping Circles are for graduate students, students working in labs/group projects, etc., to facilitate private conversations with groups of individuals to rebuild trust in their relationship before discussing the difficult issue(s).
Restorative Conferences
Restorative Conferences are structured confidential meetings between those involved in a conflict where one or more have experienced harm. The conference helps a party recognize consequences of the harm caused and how to repair that harm.
Shuttle Diplomacy
Shuttle Diplomacy requires the ombuds to act as a non-biased intermediary between parties in discord, helping them to reach a mutual agreement without direct contact. Parties may be reluctant to meet face-to-face, but desire to come to a resolution.
Mediation
Mediation is an informal, confidential conflict resolution process in which two or more parties voluntarily agree to meet with a mediator/co-mediators to discuss their issues through an interest-based process and come to a mutual non-binding agreement. OSO offers facilitative, transformative, narrative, and neutral-evaluation approaches.
Appreciative Inquiry
Appreciative Inquiry is conducted when a party believes a procedural error was made in a university administration process for which appeals have been exhausted or none exist. An ombuds reviews documents and makes a non-binding recommendation.

Community Education

OSO offers workshops such as communication skills, conflict resolution, facilitating a mediation.

The Ombuds Internship Program 

This undergraduate and graduate internship program builds and hones students’ ombuds skills incrementally via shadowing, mentoring and supervision. Contact: ombuds@ualberta.ca