Mollie V. Blackburn
Faculty Ombudsperson

The faculty ombudsperson will:

  • listen to faculty concerns and perspectives,
  • provide a safe and private place to share issues,
  • help faculty explore options for resolving their concerns,
  • assist in identifying and interpreting university policies,
  • identify university resources related to their concerns,
  • facilitate communication or mediate between individuals or groups, and
  • remain impartial to all parties involved in a conflict.

The faculty ombudsperson will NOT:    

  • advocate for an individual's personal position,
  • act without consent,
  • participate in any formal grievance or appeal, or
  • keep identifying records

Common issues and concerns that might be brought to the faculty ombudsperson. Note that this list is not comprehensive:

  • miscommunication between faculty administrators,
  • conflict or struggles with colleagues,
  • interpersonal, intercultural and group conflicts,
  • student complaints,
  • questions around policies and/or procedures,
  • perceived ethical dilemmas,
  • perceived unfair treatment,
  • perceived retaliation,
  • concerns regarding promotion and tenure processes and salary equity, and
  • workload issues

The faculty ombudsperson offers a safe, impartial, non-judgmental place to present concerns and issues and will, to the extent possible, help faculty identify possible solutions and related university resources and processes. The Office of Ombuds Services is an ideal place for discussing problems in the early stages of resolution and facilitating effective steps for resolution.

Mollie Blackburn is a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on literacy, language, and social change, with particular attention to LGBTQ+ youth and the teachers who serve them. She is the author of Interrupting Hate, the editor of Adventurous Thinking, among other co-authored and co-edited books. She has received NCTE’s LGBTQ+ Advocacy and Leadership Award; WILLA’s Inglis Award for work in gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and young people; AERA’s Queer Studies SIG body of work award; and the Alan C. Purves Award for an article in the Research in the Teaching of English deemed rich with implications for classroom practice. She has also been recognized with The Ohio State University’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The faculty ombudsperson is an independent, confidential*, impartial, and informal resource for all faculty and is available for assistance in resolving issues and concerns.

The primary mission of the faculty ombudsperson is to support faculty in addressing issues and concerns related to their academic roles at OSU.  More broadly, the faculty ombudsperson identifies trends and systemic issues and reports them as needed to university departments and units to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness. The faculty ombudsperson addresses issues and challenges that faculty face within the university with the goal of supporting a positive work environment and advancing fairness and equity. The faculty ombuds also serves postdoctoral scholars.

Note: If the faculty ombuds might have a perceived conflict of interest in any given situation, visitors are welcome to reach out to the graduate and professional student ombudsperson instead.

Picture portrait of Mollie Blackburn
Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology

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Frequently asked questions about the faculty ombudsperson.


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* Please note that, while the ombudsperson provides confidential support resources for a wide variety of issues, the ombudsperson has reporting obligations with the Office of Institutional Equity related to sexual misconduct and discrimination complaints. Thus, while the ombudsperson will discuss concerns in these areas with sensitivity and keep your information as private as possible, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. For confidential resources for concern in these areas, please contact a confidential counselor.