Ombudsman

Under Penn State University Policy HR 76 - Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, “colleges and campuses should have a person or group to serve in the role of ombudsman. The objective is to enhance communication and clarify possible misunderstandings in situations which involve potential disputes, to advise faculty members and administrators as to appropriate courses of action, and to help settle matters before they become hardened into serious disputes.”

The faculty ombudsmen for the College of Medicine are:

  • Timothy W. Palmer, M.D., Neonatology, (717) 531-8412, tpalmer@psu.edu
  • Ralph Norgren, Ph.D., Neural & Behavioral Sciences, (717) 531-6921, rxn5@psu.edu

You should consult with these individuals if you are involved in a dispute that cannot be resolved through usual channels (e.g., through your department chair or division chief). The functions of the ombudsman are to:

  1. Clarify misunderstandings;
  2. Advise faculty and administrators as to appropriate courses of action; 
  3. Assist in the informal resolution of differences; 
  4. Assure that appropriate department, college and/or campus procedures are exhausted before referring the case to higher levels; 
  5. Inform the Office of the President and appropriate college or campus officials if a matter cannot be resolved at the lower level and the case is to be referred to the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities.

The University Ombudsman is Professor David P. (Duff) Gold, Department of Geosciences, dpg1@psu.edu.

The College of Medicine also has ombudsmen for medical & graduate students:

Information on ombudsmen for residents is available on the website for Graduate Medical Education (or call 531-1692).