In December, the Division of Student Affairs hired Tony Delgado as the new University Ombudsman and Assistant Dean of Students. With 15 years of Student Affairs experience, Delgado has delved into his new role as Ombudsman, a position previously held by Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Lunsford since 1998.
Delgado recently sat down with FIU News to answer the top five questions about a University Ombudsman:
1. What exactly is a University Ombudsman?
The University Ombudsman is a person designated as an impartial professional who serves as a resource for students who are experiencing problems or concerns within the university. It is my role to assist students in a confidential setting to identify options, strategies and resources available to address their concerns. Most often the assistance involves providing information on university policies, procedures and services or making referrals to specific departments that may assist students with their concerns.
2. Do you have the ability to overturn decisions made by other entities within the university?
As an impartial professional, I do not have the ability to overturn decisions made by any other academic or administrative unit at the university. Also, I do not participate in any formal appeal or grievance process.
3. When should students contact the University Ombudsman?
The university is a complex organization and students may feel like they do not know where to obtain information for a particular situation. As the University Ombudsman, I can be a first point of contact for students. At other times, students may feel like they need a person to speak with in a confidential setting to seek assistance in addressing and resolving issues with faculty, staff, departments or programs. I am able to meet with students to listen to their concerns and provide guidance on how to proceed.
4. Can students report formal complaints confidentially to the University Ombudsman?
Students may report general concerns to me and I will review and forward those concerns to the appropriate person or department. However, formal complaints or grievances should be filed with the responsible department or unit following established university policies and procedures. Students should know that when reporting a formal complaint it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality. I will discuss this with each student prior to taking any action.
5. What’s the difference between an Ombudsman and an Assistant Dean of Students?
The Ombudsman addresses issues brought forward by students that are usually related to academic or administrative matters. As the Assistant Dean of Students, I provide support to students who are referred to or brought to the attention of the Dean of Students office by concerned students, family, faculty or other members of the university community. The concern is for the overall well-being of students, particularly when students are in distress due to personal hardships, such as health issues or family problems that create obstacles on the path towards academic success.
Delgado earned two degrees from FIU, including a bachelor’s in psychology and a doctorate in adult education and human resource development, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member. In addition, he holds a master’s in college student affairs administration from University of Georgia and a master’s in human performance systems from Marymount University. Delgado’s scholarly activity includes numerous publications and conference presentations.
Delgado’s office is located in GC 219 and can be reached at (305) 348-2797 or firstname.lastname@example.org.