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Mundhenk and Smith to serve as ombudspersons

Rosemary J. Mundhenk and Charles R. Smith will serve as Lehigh University’s ombudspersons.

Rosemary J. Mundhenk and Charles R. Smith have been appointed to serve as Lehigh University’s ombudspersons, serving as neutral, independent, confidential and informal conflict resolution resources for all Lehigh faculty, staff and students.

Mundhenk, professor of English, and Smith, professor of mechanical engineering and mechanics, replace Vince Munley, a long-time economics professor who has served as ombudsperson since October 2002.

The university ombudsperson adheres to the Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association and reports annually to President Alice P. Gast. The report is intended to identify systemic issues that are causing, or could possibly cause, conflict within the university.

Mundhenk has taught at Lehigh since 1973, and has published on John Milton, George Eliot, and Charles Dickens. Smith has taught at Lehigh since 1978, and his research focuses on the fundamental fluid and heat transfer behavior of turbulent and generally unsteady flows.

Why an ombudsperson?

The ombudsperson at Lehigh seeks to promote fair and effective conflict resolution processes, adherence to university regulations and personal responsibility—without advocating for any individual or any specific outcome.

Because the ombudsperson is a neutral party, a report made to the ombudsperson is not considered an official notice to the university. The ombudsperson can suggest the appropriate steps to begin official action or processes within the university’s system.

Strict confidentiality is maintained at all times, except in circumstances of illegal behavior (including harassment and/or discrimination), physical danger or similar emergency. In such cases, the ombudsperson will act as confidentially as possible.

No personally identifiable records are kept on file in the Office of the Ombudsperson.

For more information on the Office of the Ombudsperson and its function within the university, please visit the Office of the Ombudsperson Web site.

--Bill Doherty

Photo by Douglas Benedict

Posted on Friday, January 18, 2008

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