The Student Ombuds is a resource for students to discuss concerns related to any aspect of their NC State experience. An independent, neutral, confidential, and informal office at NC State, Student Ombuds Services helps students resolve conflicts in productive ways while advocating for fair processes and empowering students to identify resources to successfully navigate NC State. Student Ombuds Services also provides confidential consultations to faculty, staff, administration and parents on a variety of student life issues in support of their roles to promote student success and regularly makes recommendations to campus leaders to help improve student success and organizational excellence.
The Student Ombuds operates in accordance with the International Ombudsman Association principles of practice and IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The authority for the Student Ombuds is codified in the terms of reference signed by the Provost and Vice Chancellor and Dean of Academic and Student Affairs.
Student Ombuds Services was established in Fall 2014. Roger Callanan was the founding Assistant Vice Provost & Student Ombuds. Upon Roger’s retirement in December 2015, Mike Giancola served as the interim Ombuds and was hired as the permanent Ombuds in May 2016. The Ombuds office has grown significantly during this time and has become a highly sought-out service for students, undergraduate and graduate alike, as well as serving as a resource for staff, faculty and administration on student life and related issues. In 2017, the Pack Essentials program was created to provide a one-stop resource for students experiencing food, housing and/or financial insecurity. The Student Ombuds serves as a point of contact to connect students to appropriate resources on and off campus.
- Mike Giancola, Assistant Vice Provost & Student Ombuds
The Student Ombuds has four primary roles:
- Serve as a confidential resource that provides information, discusses university policies and procedures, and helps students resolve situations – ideally before they escalate.
- Serve as a listening post for systemic concerns and bring these to the attention of the university administration, unit leaders and other decision makers at the university. Monitor trends and make recommendations to campus leaders to help improve student success and organizational excellence.
- Act as an outreach educator for the campus providing training and resources on issues related to effective communication, conflict resolution, diversity and inclusion, and how to be effective in difficult dialogues.
- Serve as a central resource for students who are experiencing food, housing and/or financial insecurity and connect them to appropriate resources on and off campus.
The Student Ombuds has become an essential resource to campus and use of the service has grown dramatically each year since inception. 3102 cases were handled by the Student Ombuds Services during the 2019-20 academic year. This represents a 393% increase in cases and a 53% increase in total contacts over the previous year, largely in part to responding to Pack Essentials applications during COVID-19 pandemic.