Office of the President

Faculty Ombuds

The faculty ombuds provides services to faculty who are experiencing concerns with other faculty, administrators, staff, or students. The position is located in the Office of the President. The ombuds has no role in evaluating the qualifications of faculty members for tenure or promotion.

In a typical case, a faculty member or administrator contacts the ombuds and explains the concern from their perspective. Sometimes the ombuds simply listens to the faculty member, helping them to understand the situation and to develop a strategy for dealing with the concern independently (i.e., without direct involvement of the ombuds).

In some cases, the faculty member may provide permission for the ombuds to contact the other party or parties involved to obtain their perspectives on the matter and identify possibilities for mutually acceptable resolution. The ombuds may practice "shuttle diplomacy," going back and forth between the parties to discuss various options.

Where appropriate, and with the agreement of all parties, the ombuds may provide mediation, in which the parties come together face to face and propose specific ways to address the problems that have been identified. The ombuds facilitates this process, and identifies areas of agreement. Ideally, the parties agree on how they can address the concern(s).

If the parties cannot reach a mutually satisfactory agreement, then the faculty member may file a formal grievance document with the University Senate. The ombuds provides a summary of the efforts to resolve the concern and indicates whether the concern is grievable according to University policies. Then, the ombuds is no longer involved in the process. The Senate appoints an ad hoc review committee to study the grievance and call witnesses to testify as appropriate. The review committee eventually recommends a final resolution of the matter. If either party refuses to accept the review committee's judgment, they may appeal directly to the University President.

The types of concerns brought to the ombuds vary greatly and have included disrespectful or inequitable treatment in the workplace, interpersonal conflicts, diversity-related concerns, and issues associated with salary, communication, assignments/schedules, performance appraisal, departmental climate, retaliation, or supervisory effectiveness.

Faculty Ombuds (for TTK and PTK faculty)

Dr. Karen M. O'Brien is a professor in the Department of Psychology and has served as a faculty member at the University of Maryland for more than 25 years. Dr. O'Brien held the position of associate chair for undergraduate studies in the Department of Psychology for over four years, and served as co-training director for the counseling psychology doctoral program for eight years. Dr. O'Brien is a fellow of the America Psychological Association, and has published numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Through her research, teaching, and service, Dr. O'Brien strives to generate knowledge to address social concerns, to educate and mentor students to achieve their potential, to assist faculty in creating equitable, inclusive, and healthy work environments, and to contribute to the communities where she lives and works. Dr. O'Brien studies factors related to successful management of work and family, grief counseling and related interventions, and dating violence. She teaches courses on intimate partner violence and death, dying and grieving, and arranges service learning experiences for undergraduates who work with children living in shelters for abused women. Dr. O'Brien is a licensed psychologist in the State of Maryland.

Dr. Karen O'BrienOffice: 2147B Biology-Psychology Building, College Park, MD 20742Phone: 301.405.5812Email:

Faculty Ombuds (for PTK faculty)

Dr. Nazish Salahuddin is a principal lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Psychology where she has served as a faculty member for over 15 years. Dr. Salahuddin teaches courses related to identity, diversity and counseling. She previously served as Assistant Chair for Equity and Inclusion in the Department of Psychology and led the departmental Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Salahuddin developed and led a Rapid Response Team to respond to incidents of bias in the Department of Psychology, created and leads a pipeline mentoring program for first generation students and students of color interested in pursuing doctoral studies in psychology, and heads the Department of Psychology's climate assessment initiative. Through her teaching, mentoring, and leadership, Dr. Salahuddin strives to contribute to a healthy, affirming, fair, and compassionate climate for students and faculty. Dr. Salahuddin is a licensed psychologist in the State of Maryland.

Dr. Nazish SalahuddinOffice: 1121Q Biology-Psychology Building, College Park, MD 20742Phone: 301.405.8430Email:

Faculty Grievance Policy

Faculty Ombuds Annual Report

Other Resources