Professional News

University now taking applications for academic ombud

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 24, 2023) — The position of academic ombud has had an important and respected history at the University of Kentucky for more than 50 years. The university is now taking applications for the position for the 2023-24 academic year, with the option of renewing for a second year.

The academic ombud position is open to tenured faculty members and to faculty emeriti. The ombud facilitates resolution of complex academic issues related to student academic rights and problems concerning the commission of academic integrity issues. The ombud reports directly to the UK provost; and the Academic Ombud Services office functions independently of all colleges and instructional programs.

More information on the responsibilities can be found on the Academic Ombud Services website.

Applications and nominations will be taken through April 7, 2023. Anyone wanting more information on the process can contact Shavonna Ross, director of operations, in the Office of the Provost at

“The academic ombud is dedicated to the success of our students. They provide students a safe, equitable space to seek support, address academic conflicts, apply fair standards and resolve any issues,” said Provost Robert S. DiPaola. “I thank Alice Turkington, Ph.D., for her commitment to our students over the last two years, and I look forward to serving alongside our next ombud.”

The academic ombud was created as an administrative position at UK in 1970, only four years after Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University Billings) became the first school in the United States to do so. UK was among the early supporters of ombud practice — what was considered a progressive action in higher education at that time. Ombud practice eventually spread to government, businesses and the nonprofit sectors from its origins in the U.S. on college campuses.

As the ombud practice has grown, organizations have formed to oversee best practices in the profession. The practice at the University of Kentucky encompasses the four standards established by the International Ombudsman Association (IOA): confidentiality, informality, impartiality and independence. The UK Office of Academic Ombud Services has structured its practice to best serve the students, staff and faculty based on the IOA standards.

Only 29 senior faculty members have served as academic ombud at UK, many finding the job so rewarding they extend their terms to at least a second year.

With the search for a next academic ombud, UK is continuing its support for this important service to the university community.