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Reid Named University Ombuds

Jane Ellen Reid has contracted with Washington and Lee University to provide services as the first university ombuds. She offers a neutral, independent, informal and confidential way for all employees of W&L to address work-related or other campus concerns.

Reid has extensive experience in conflict resolution, mediation and third-party intervention. “I came into mediation as a result of growing conflict at one place of employment,” she said. “Several colleagues and I collaborated to create an oversight group and a declaration of civility, and to outline positive and professional behaviors expected of all employees. This experience was the beginning of my commitment to the usefulness of conflict intervention.”

Reid continued, “I hope that my fundamental belief that each of us has the ability to name and communicate our needs to others is evident in my practice. As an ombuds, I relish the opportunity to work with parties, to help them discover their own capacity to address difficult conversations and to resolve conflict. Coaching individuals in the art of productive communication is one of the most satisfying aspects of my practice.”

W&L created the ombuds position after a seven-person working group of faculty and staff, appointed by President Ken Ruscio, recommended its establishment to afford employees a neutral and confidential person to talk to about work-related issues. The group held extensive discussions with staff and faculty and studied similar programs at other educational institutions.

“We are fortunate to have someone with Jane Ellen Reid’s expertise to provide this new resource for W&L faculty and staff,” said Ruscio. “Her background in informal conflict resolution is a perfect fit and will serve our campus community well.”

From 1988 to 1991, Reid worked at the Western Pinal County Literacy Program in Casa Grande, Ariz. She began working at Central Arizona College, in Coolidge, Ariz., in 1992, where she directed the academic support center until 2006. During her tenure there, Reid also developed and directed the college ombudsman program, chaired the college advisory council and served as faculty development coordinator.

In 2006, Reid joined Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), Harrisonburg, Va., co-teaching in the Center for Justice and Peace Building Master’s Program. In 2007, she became the director of University Accord, EMU’s mediation, facilitation and job-coaching program for faculty, staff and students. She also teaches introduction to conflict transformation at Bridgewater College, in Bridgewater, Va.

Reid holds a B.A. in history from the University of Vermont and an M.E. from Northern Arizona University, and is studying for a Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution from NOVA Southeastern University.

The services of the ombuds at W&L will include:

  • Providing impartial, confidential consultation to all employees
  • Helping employees and supervisors resolve conflicts
  • Teaching skills for dispute resolution
  • Providing mediation
  • Helping employees understand and interpret policies and procedures

For more information, see the Ombuds Office Web site. Reid can be contacted at 458-8369 or at jreid@wlu.edu. Her office is in Early-Fielding #103, and she is here on Mondays and Wednesdays.