Main Menu

University Ombuds

The University Ombuds serves as part of the informal institutional structure to address concerns students, faculty and staff may have in their relationships and interactions within the organization. This position is dedicated to creating an atmosphere of appreciation for the contributions of each member of the campus community, endeavoring to create a climate of hospitality in the workplace and a learning environment in which each person feels acknowledged, valued and safe. Instances in which individuals experience being disrespected or dismissed by others are addressed through confidential consultations designed to empower that individual in the process of discernment about how to best move forward toward fairness and reconciliation.  

The responsibilities of the Ombudsperson position include assisting members of the University community who may prefer to address their concerns informally rather than, or before, seeking remedies through formal organizational structures.  The Ombudsperson serves as a sounding board and at times conducts voluntary mediation among parties.  Occasionally, they work on conflict resolution strategies for entire departments, along with the Director of Human Resources.  The Ombudsperson reports directly to the President and meets periodically to provide updates. (President Hendrix, September 2021) 

The University Ombuds operates under the standards of practice and ethical principles established by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). These include: 


The Ombudsman is independent in structure, function, and appearance to the highest degree
possible within the organization.


The Ombudsman, as a designated neutral, remains unaligned and impartial. The Ombudsman
does not engage in any situation which could create a conflict of interest.


The Ombudsman holds all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and
does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so. The only exception
to this privilege of confidentiality is where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.


The Ombudsman, as an informal resource, does not participate in any formal adjudicative or
administrative procedure related to concerns brought to his/her attention.

The Ombuds role at Shepherd University was first established in the early 1990’s, and historically has been filled on a part-time basis by staff members or faculty who have other responsibilities in their full-time positions. While this limits the availability of services, every effort is made to respond in a timely fashion to requests for confidential meetings, in person or via phone. The ombuds phone contact is 304-261-9592. The current Ombudsperson is Dr. Stacey Kendig, who can also be reached via email at