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Winter, spring, summer or fall. For faculty, staff and students, even parents of students. Confidential, informal, impartial, independent.Meet one of the most robust campuses resources you may not know about: UC Santa Barbara’s Office of the Ombuds. Tucked inside a nondescript office on a sometimes-overlooked wing of Girvetz Hall, the ombuds team is working day in, day out, to nurture the campus community by fostering clearer communication.
That’s how Caroline Adams sees it.
“Having an ombuds is so important in a university setting — in any organization — to really help maintain community,” said Adams, campus ombuds and director of the UCSB’s Office of the Ombuds. “As we look at the generations and the technology that people are using — we’re almost losing that ability to communicate as people, and to hear. When you email or text, you’re not listening to the other person. You can’t see their body language or hear the tone in their voice. So many misunderstandings are created by technology, on top of just regular communication issues.
“I think it really helps to have a way to address these things that doesn’t just jump to formal processes, though obviously there are situations where that’s the right way to go,” she continued. “But about 90 percent of what we do here is just trying to help people communicate. And if we can be a channel to do that, that’s why we’re here.”
The campus community can learn more about those whys — as well as the whats, hows and whos — through a pair of events today, Ombuds Day. The inaugural national recognition is an effort of the American Bar Association to promote ombuds and build awareness of their work and the essential role they play.
The UCSB Office of the Ombuds will host an open house for faculty and staff from 10 …