An independent resource for SOU students needing advice, guidance, and more.
What is an Ombuds? The critical role of the Ombuds comprises four main essential attributes and offerings to a visitor (someone with a complaint, issue, or dispute to resolve), according to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.
Who we are:
- Ombuds are independent from the organization’s structure and function formally.
- Ombuds are neutral and impartial – unaligned, nor do they engage in any situations which could create a conflict of interest.
- The process is confidential, meaning all communications are held in strict confidence and is not allowed to disclose the nature of the meeting unless there is imminent harm to themselves or others on campus or in the community.
- Ombuds does not participate in formal procedures or court, and is an informal resource and process. The Ombuds cannot be called into any formal court proceedings or asked to testify.
- The Ombuds’ primary role is to listen deeply to the visitor while adhering to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice; after which offering the visitor a selection of options to weigh strategies and help the visitor decide what action(s), if any, to take.
The Ombuds have four primary responsibilities to act:
- As a resource to the visitor about procedures, policies, and protocol across the University,
- As a sounding board for issues that arise,
- As an avenue for informal inquiry
- Support policies and procedures across multiple SOU offices to access the necessary information needed on campus.
Schedule a Consultation – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All interactions with our office begin with a first meeting (in person or by phone) where we discuss concerns and clarify interests, issues and options through consultation.
Mediation is a process in which two or more individuals who are part of the SOU community voluntarily come together with an impartial third‐party to resolve a conflict or dispute, or to reach an understanding or agreement. The purpose of mediation is to give the parties involved an opportunity to reach a greater understanding of the underlying issues and work toward a resolution.
Our services are provided by trained, impartial mediators. Mediation is voluntary: all parties must agree to participate in mediation.
We provide group facilitation for departments, units, or teams experiencing conflict. We offer a variety of tools to address issues, identify styles, build trust, communicate better, collaborate, resolve conflict, or promote team building for a group or department. This is a voluntary, informal process to assist groups to move to resolution.
Erica Knotts, M.A., MLIS
Erica Knotts, M.A., MLIS, Leadership and Administration, Emporia State University, 2017; MIIS, Crisis & Health Communication, Southern Oregon University, 2015; BS, Psychology and Communication, Southern Oregon University, 2013.
Erica is a Lecturer in the Department of Communication at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, Oregon. Knotts’ academic areas of interest include health and crisis communication, conflict management and negotiation, mediation, and small group communication. Previously, she worked as a public and academic librarian and co-authored (with Ma & Stahl) an article for the Journal of the Medical Library Association (2018). More recently she has co-authored (with Ruggerio) an article for the upcoming volume Mental Health Among Higher Education Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students: A Critical Perspective (2020).For her excellence in activity-based learning in the classroom, she received the SOU Raider Academy Award for Outstanding Faculty in 2019 and the SOU Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020.
Rebecca Williams, Ed.D.
Rebecca Williams, Ed.D., Organizational Leadership, Pepperdine University, 2020; Masters in Dispute Resolution, 2021 and Certificate in Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University School of Law-Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution, 2020; Masters in Public Policy, Pepperdine University, 2006; BA in History, China and U.S. Politics, University of Alaska, Anchorage, 2000.
Rebecca has spent her career working with start-ups, nonprofits, small and medium-sized businesses and transitioning organizations through change. She specializes in leadership, strategy planning, innovation, mediation, dispute resolution, ombudsmen work, human capital training, organizational development, and operational refinement through the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Improvement Program. Rebecca enjoys supporting the next generations by supporting students to find their gifts and talents, and transforming communities through the mentoring of youth and as the Chair of the Rogue Valley Mentoring Board. Rebecca is the Coordinator for the Certificate in Human Resources Management (CHRM).