Tomorrow I meet with the University of Washington's ombudsman. Don't worry, it's nothing serious, and is of my own prerogative. If it is appropriate, I will certainly post more specifics in the future.
Just out of curiosity, does anyone out there have any experience interacting with ombudsmen?
Universities have come to rely on this person as a resource for personal conflict mediation and for processing claims of scientific misconduct (neither is the reason I am meeting with her). One prominent use of ombudsmen is the James Sherely tenure dispute at MIT. I also bet that legislation like the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (HR 985) probably comes to bear on this office. The nature of ombudsmen's work is usually confidential, so it will be interesting to learn more about what the office does.
I figure that at the least, I will come away from our meeting with a better sense of how the ombudsman can factor into the academic structure. And maybe by the end of this I will be able to pronounce ombudsman without twisting my tongue.