Job Title:
Rhode Island School of Design
Providence, RI
Position Description:
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD or the College) seeks an Ombudsperson to further our vision of creating and sustaining a diverse, equitable and inclusive community by providing independent, confidential, neutral and informal resources for students, faculty and staff who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at RISD. In this inaugural role, the Ombudsperson will informally work within the institution to listen to concerns, promote equitable resolutions, provide information and referral services and serve as an organizational resource to promote conflict management skills and provide insight into patterns of concerns that are operating within the institution.

Founded in 1877, RISD has earned an international reputation as a leader in art and design education. It is recognized for its renowned faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities, and the intensity of its studio-based approach to learning—an approach where critical thinking informs the making of works by hand. Approximately 2,500 students from around the world study at RISD, pursuing full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in 19 fine arts, architecture, or design majors, complemented by essential study in the liberal arts.

RISD’s mission incorporates artistic and scholarly achievement with social impact, and the institution has played a vital role in preparing students for leadership roles in all sectors, as demonstrated through the outstanding and varied accomplishments of its 27,000 alumni.

The College is located in Providence, Rhode Island, which offers its own vibrant art scene and is conveniently located between two other major cultural centers: Boston and New York. The RISD campus is contiguous with the campus of Brown University and the two institutions share social, academic, and community resources.

The goal of the Ombudsperson is to improve the understanding and management of policy and procedures while fostering an environment of equitable and respectful treatment for the students, faculty and staff of the College. As a designated neutral party, the Ombudsperson does not take sides or advocate on behalf of anyone or with respect to any concern, nor decide cases. Rather, the Ombudsperson is an advocate for fairness who seeks to promote a climate and processes in which individuals are treated equitably and with dignity and respect.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Listen and understand issues from the perspective of the individual while remaining neutral with respect to the facts.
• Help individuals to frame issues and to develop and evaluate options.
• Guide or coach individuals to deal directly with other parties, including through the use of informal resolution resources.
• Serve as an educator to help individuals improve their skill and confidence in voicing their concerns directly.
• Refer individuals to appropriate resources that can potentially resolve the issue. When an individual is unable or unwilling to surface a concern directly, that could impact the safety of the individual or others, raise awareness of the issue among appropriate decision-makers at the College.
• Help parties to resolve issues through various types of informal mediation.
• Identify new issues and provide insights regarding issues and trends and act as a source of detection and early warning of new issues and a source of suggestions of systemic change to improve existing processes.
• Commit to continuing to enhance skills and adhere to the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the International Ombudsman Association.
Minimum Qualifications and Skills:
-Master’s degree (required) or PhD (preferred) from an accredited institution in an appropriate area of specialization, such as (but not limited to) psychology, social work, law, conflict resolution, mediation, or organizational behavior.
-At least five years of experience in a higher education setting. Experience as an ombudsperson or in a similar position preferred.
-Outstanding interpersonal communication skills including active listening.
-Ability to communicate successfully with a diverse range of people, remain nonjudgmental, and have the courage to speak up and address problems at higher levels within an institution.
-Strong problem-solving and analytical ability.
-Ability to work independently, with excellent judgment and decision-making capacity.
-An understanding of the nature of conflict, negotiation skills, and strategies for dispute resolution; significant demonstrated experience in conflict resolution preferred
-Absolute integrity with regard to confidential material and ability to work with a high level of discretion.
-Ability to work collaboratively within an ecosystem of RISD offices including Human Resources, Title IX, Student Affairs and Academic Affairs.
-Ability to conduct educational workshops across the College in listening, conflict resolution and related skills.
-Willingness to obtain certification from the International Ombudsman Association or equivalent.
Application Deadline
Application Requirements
  • Resume
  • Cover Letter
Who should be contacted for further information on this opportunity?
Nicole da Cruz
Contact Info
Talent Acquisition Partner
Two College Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
United States
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Who should the MBLA contact with questions on this request?
Nicole da Cruz
(401) 454-6256