The WSU Faculty Ombuds operates according to the standards of practice of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). These include:
Though the faculty ombuds reports annually to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Office of Academic Affairs, the ombuds functions independently of all university offices, and neither represents the university administration nor any individual.
Neutrality and impartiality
The ombuds does not take sides and remains neutral. The ombuds is not an advocate for faculty or for the university, but rather, acts as a facilitator and is even-handed. The ombuds does not have the power to change decisions, but can advise, refer, review, and/or persuade as a neutral and impartial agent. The ombuds promotes fair practices and fosters integrity and timeliness in the administration of university policies and practices that affect faculty.
To the extent permitted by law, conversations with the faculty ombuds are confidential except where there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm, where harassment or other illegal activity may be involved, and where there is no other reasonable option.
Meeting with the faculty ombuds is an informal and off-the-record process, which includes such means as: listening, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, and developing a range of responsible options. The faculty ombuds pursues resolution of concerns and looks into procedural irregularities and/or broader systemic problems. The faculty ombuds does not make binding decisions. The ombuds, as an informal resource, does not participate in any university adjudicative or administrative hearing, process, or procedure related to concerns brought to the ombud's attention.
When working with an ombuds, no personal information is retained or used for subsequent formal proceedings. An ombuds will not serve as a witness nor offer testimony in any formal proceeding, unless required by law.
The modern use of the term began in Sweden with the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman, instituted to safeguard the rights of citizens by establishing a supervisory agency independent of the executive branch. Currently, more than 200 colleges and universities have ombuds offices.