The University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz) seeks an inclusive and culturally competent professional to serve as its next Ombuds. This is an on-site and in-person role, and the anticipated start date is January/February 2023.

The Position

ROLE OF THE OMBUDS AT UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA CRUZ

The Ombuds at the University of California, Santa Cruz, supports and promotes an inclusive and equitable campus community in alignment with the university’s mission and primary goals. This critical campus leader directs the activities of the Office of the Ombuds, which provides confidential, impartial, informal, and independent resolution services to the entire affiliated campus community, including staff, faculty members, and students. The Ombuds is responsible for program administration; collaboration across campus to establish priorities, goals, and objectives; and developing outreach activities and training on dispute resolution, mediation, and communication. They work to facilitate communication and assist parties in reaching mutually acceptable agreements to find fair and equitable solutions to concerns.

The Ombuds functions independently with respect to case handling and issue management and reports to the Office of the Chancellor for administrative and budgetary purposes. The position provides regular updates to campus leadership and an annual report to identify key trends and areas of concern, including recommendations for institutional policy and procedural changes. The Ombuds collaborates with other Ombuds professionals across the University of California (UC) System and the national higher education sector and represents UC Santa Cruz as appropriate on system-wide committees and workgroups.

QUALIFICATIONS AND CHARACTERISTICS

A bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution, mediation, legal studies, or a related area, or equivalent experience and training, is required. An advanced degree and a minimum of three years of experience as an organizational Ombuds, a professional mediator, a conflict resolution specialist, an organizational development professional, or a similar role are preferred. Required knowledge, skills, and abilities include the following.

  • Expert knowledge of the appropriate role of the Ombudsperson, the International Ombuds Association’s professional code of ethics and standards of practice, and the Declaration of Best Practices for University of California Ombuds Offices
  • Outstanding interpersonal communication skills to work effectively with a broad range of diverse populations within a complex and multi-layered organization, including effective listening, discernment, empathy, and sensitivity skills
  • Excellent conflict resolution and mediation skills and expert skills in developing effective options for conflict resolution
  • Thorough understanding of public higher education institutions, including mission, vision, goals, objectives, resources, infrastructure, policies, procedures, and practices

The search advisory committee is particularly interested in candidates who have a successful history of working collaboratively to build and sustain highly effective and positive relationships at all organizational levels, can demonstrate a passion and appreciation for UC Santa Cruz’s student-centered research university identity, and have documented evidence of progressive professional experience needed to function in a leadership capacity within the UC system and to work independently and exercise sound judgment.

Additionally, stakeholders expressed that UC Santa Cruz’s next Ombuds should be someone who:

  • Is consistently impartial and approachable.
  • Has a deep and nuanced understanding of the complexity of power dynamics and the nature of evaluative relationships.
  • Is not only inclusive but also culturally competent across a range of social identities.
  • Can consistently role model the discretion and independence necessary in the role.
  • Is a person of high integrity.
  • Has experience providing training and opportunities for learning and skill development.
  • Demonstrates familiarity with staff, faculty, and student concerns.
  • Is an authentically positive colleague and collaborator.

CONTEXT AND HISTORY OF THE POSITION

UC Santa Cruz previously had a Campus Ombuds, but the office was closed in 2012 as part of the University’s response to budget reductions in the aftermath of the great recession. The Office of Campus Conflict Resolution Services, established in 2009, has provided a wide range of conflict resolution services since that time.

Chancellor Cynthia Larive has identified strengthening the diversity, equity, and inclusion ecosystem within the UC Santa Cruz community as a critical leadership priority. Consequently, the University engaged an external review team in January 2022 to learn more about the campus experience during the decade that UC Santa Cruz did not have an Ombuds office. The external review team recommended the re-establishment of the Ombuds office and crafted a detailed and thoughtful report to help guide the process of re-establishing the office. The team’s report can be found here.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES OF THE ROLE

The new Ombuds at UC Santa Cruz will find a campus that is genuinely excited about the reestablishment of the office and is prepared to welcome this key position back into the UC Santa Cruz community. In addition to the sense of optimism on campus, the Ombuds will join an equally supportive community of university Ombuds colleagues at the other UC system campuses.

Within this context, the successful candidate will encounter the following opportunities, priorities, and challenges.

  • It will be critical that the new Ombuds quickly establish a strong presence among students, faculty, staff, and senior leadership and develop a strong understanding of the campus culture and bureaucracy.
  • The UC Santa Cruz community has felt the absence of the Ombuds role during the last ten years, and the new Ombuds will be expected to devote time and energy to strategically reintroduce the role to the wide range of campus constituencies and educate the community on the services, roles, and boundaries of the Ombuds office.
  • While the position has existed on the UC Santa Cruz campus before, this position may at times feel like an inaugural role since the Ombuds will need to build out the administrative infrastructure of the office, including the formal adoption of the office’s charter and the hiring of an additional staff member.
  • The Ombuds will need to become deeply familiar with and knowledgeable about the UC System’s Declaration of Best Practices for Ombuds Offices and quickly establish relationships with their Ombuds peers across the other UC system campuses and the UC Office of the President.
  • The Ombuds will collaborate with UC Santa Cruz’s newly appointed Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity and Equal Protection to clarify the boundaries of each role to ensure the impartiality and independence of the Ombuds office.

Institution & Location

INSTITUTIONAL OVERVIEW

UC Santa Cruz is a student-centered research university and a member of both the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the prestigious, ten-campus University of California system. UC Santa Cruz, founded in 1965, is distinguished by its residential college system through which students live and learn in small communities organized around themes of broad intellectual interest. UC Santa Cruz offers rigorous academic programs and cutting-edge research opportunities that teach students how to think, not what to think. The University is located among the redwoods on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, approximately 70 miles from San Francisco, and is ideally suited for year-round outdoor activity.

The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) and was proud to be named a Social Mobility Innovator in recognition of the ways in which it educates economically disadvantaged students who graduate and obtain high-paying jobs. United by the pursuit of social justice and environmental sustainability, and driven by passion and curiosity, UC Santa Cruz students, faculty, staff, and alumni innovate across disciplines, seek to push the envelope of knowledge, and deploy their expertise and voice to advocate for transformative change.

Enrollment, 2021–2022

  • Undergraduates: 17,084
  • Graduate Students: 1,896
  • Total: 18,980

Academics

  • Undergraduate majors: 64
  • Graduate studies: 65 programs

UC Santa Cruz Vision Statement
The Strategic Academic Plan
The Undergraduate Colleges

INSTITUTIONAL LEADERSHIP

Cynthia K. Larive – Chancellor

As the 11th Chancellor of the University of California at Santa Cruz, Cynthia K. Larive leads an institution known worldwide for its interdisciplinary approach to research for the public good and its commitment to social and environmental justice. Since its founding fewer than 60 years ago, UC Santa Cruz has been on an unprecedented trajectory, with its faculty advancing world-changing research and establishing its reputation as one of the most innovative, collaborative, and impactful institutions in higher education. It is a place where ideas are converted into action and action into real, transformative change.

A common thread throughout Larive’s career has been her commitment to student success, inclusion, and equity. She has led undergraduate research and curricular innovation programs and has written extensively on active and experiential learning and mentoring. She has personally mentored 30 doctoral and master’s students, and she has been active in encouraging the participation and success of women and other underrepresented groups in the STEM fields.

Upon her arrival in Santa Cruz in 2019, she immediately prioritized improving graduation rates and eliminating graduation gaps for low-income and first-generation students and students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. She elevated the role of the campus chief diversity officer and restructured the Office of Student Affairs and Success to align with her goals.

Read more about Chancellor Larive here.

Meet Chancellor Larive’s leadership team here.

PRINCIPLES OF COMMUNITY

The University of California, Santa Cruz, is committed to promoting and protecting an environment that values and supports every person in an atmosphere of civility, honesty, cooperation, professionalism, and fairness.

UCSC expects that every campus member will embody the following Principles of Community.

  • Diverse: UCSC embraces diversity in all its forms, and strives for an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened and productive environment.
  • Open: UCSC believes the free exchange of ideas requires mutual respect and consideration for our differences.
  • Purposeful: UCSC is a participatory community united by shared commitments to service to society, preservation and advancement of knowledge, and innovative teaching and learning.
  • Caring: UCSC promotes mutual respect, trust and support to foster bonds that strengthen the community.
  • Just: UCSC is committed to due process, respect for individual dignity, and equitable access to resources, recognition, and rewards.
  • Disciplined: UCSC seeks to advance common goals through reasonable and realistic practices, procedures, and expectations.
  • Celebrative: UCSC celebrates the heritage, achievements, and diversity of the community and the uniqueness and contributions of its members.

Benefits Overview

The Benefits Office Staff administers comprehensive University benefits programs and provides information and counseling on benefits programs for academic appointees, staff, and eligible dependents. Benefits available to eligible UC Santa Cruz employees include the following.

• Medical, dental, vision, and supplemental health plans
• Retirement benefits
• Disability, life, and accidental death & dismemberment insurance
• Tuition discounts
• Flexible spending accounts
• Pet insurance
• Family care resources
• Legal insurance
• Adoption assistance plan

For more information, click here.

The UC Office of Loan Programs also offers various mortgage assistance programs to eligible employees.

Application & Nomination

University of California Santa Cruz has retained the services of Spelman Johnson, a leading national executive search firm, to assist with leading this search. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter that includes a Statement of Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (visit https://chancellor.ucsc.edu/recruitment/diversity-equity-inclusion-contributions-statements.html for instructions).

Nominations for this position and details about the status of this search may be emailed to Michel R. Frendian, senior consultant, at mrf@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895 or email info@spelmanjohnson.com.

COVID Vaccination Requirement

The University of California has implemented a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy covering all employees. To be compliant with the policy, covered employees must submit proof of vaccination or have an approved exception or deferral, eight (8) weeks from the date of hire.

Visit the UC Santa Cruz website at www.ucsc.edu.

The University of California is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees.