University of Calgary

New Ombuds keeps students from getting lost in the maze

UToday HomeMarch 13, 2013

By Sandy Bell

Duncan W. McDonald, student ombudsperson, encourages students to contact him early in their problem-solving to find out how he can help them. Photo by Riley BrandtDuncan W. McDonald, student ombudsperson, encourages students to contact him early in their problem-solving to find out how he can help them. Photo by Riley BrandtUniversity of Calgary students have given high marks for the services of the university’s Student Ombuds Office. It’s a distinction that Duncan W. McDonald, the university’s newly-arrived student ombudsperson, works diligently to uphold.

McDonald says his goal is to serve students ― undergraduate and graduate ― in as timely a manner as possible. He finds that one of his challenges is explaining his services, especially to the new students coming in every year.

“I’m here to help students find their way through the university maze they may face when trying to resolve their problems,” says McDonald.

“The student ombudsperson is a fair, impartial, neutral broker between the student and the system, a broker who acts across the university to resolve conflict.”

The Student Ombuds Office offers a confidential place for students to discuss academic and non-academic concerns, and McDonald encourages students to contact him early in their problem-solving to find out how he can help them.

“The Student Ombuds Office is not just an office of last resort when students have exhausted their appeals, for example.  If students connect with us early on with their concern, we have more strategies that we can try.”

McDonald started in early February as the latest student ombudsperson. He holds an MA in conflict analysis and management from Royal Roads University and has studied the role of the ombudsperson in higher education.

Sheldon Roth served as acting student ombudsperson from August 2012 to February 2013. 

To learn more and access related resources, visit the Student Ombuds Office.  For an appointment with the student ombudsperson, please send your request via ombuds@ucalgary.ca or call 403.220.6420.  An advising intake form is available online.  

 

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