UMCES Ombuds Services

The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) provides ombuds services to members of the university community as a resource for collaboration and conflict resolution of individual and systemic problems affecting the workforce. Ombuds create a safe place to discuss concerns, understand all sides of issues, and explore ways to improve the work environment. This in turn can help reinforce a workplace where all employees can thrive and contribute fully to the mission.

Practical Functions

  • Give everyone the full freedom to voice concerns confidentially
  • Explore ways to prevent future conflict
  • Raise issues with senior leadership
  • Help to make sense of what is going on and get questions answered
  • Understand all sides of a problem
  • Improve working relationships
  • Elevate situations requiring urgent action
  • Help employees find their own solutions to difficult problems
  • Provide group facilitations, and train/help with climate survey data gathering as an impartial, confidential resource
  • Make recommendations based on systemic issues identified
  • Enhance what already exists within UMCES through collaborative partnership

Professional and Ethical Standards

Ombuds from The McCammon Group adhere to the International Ombuds Association standards of practice and code of ethics:

  • Impartiality: They approach matters without bias and do not take sides, or advocate for either side; instead, they provide a neutral resource for objectivity.
  • Confidentiality: With the exception of imminent harm, ombuds provide a safe place to talk through options without fear of reprisal. Ombuds are not mandatory reporters and have an obligation to protect the identities of everyone who shares workplace concerns with them.
  • Informality: The ombuds are not investigators and do not process formal complaints.
  • Independence: The ombuds are not part of management and have full access to all information and people needed to perform duties, including the president and other senior UMCES leaders.

FAQs for UMCES Ombuds


Jacqueline Villafañe, Psy.D.

Tahirih Varner, MSCM