Bruno Giordani, chief psychologist in the University’s Department of Psychiatry and professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology, began his term as faculty ombuds, the University’s chief mediator, Sunday.

A faculty member at the University for 26 years, Giordani has a vast array of experience in academia and University governance. Between 2005 to 2007, he was chair and vice chair of the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and for 12 years was the director of the neuropsychology section of the University Health System.

As ombuds, Giordani will serve as a mediator in conflicts and as a liaison with standing to recommend changes in policy or procedures to senior University officials.

According to the faculty ombuds website, ombuds — which translates to “representative” in Old Norse — is a neutral official positioned outside of an organization’s staff hierarchy. In their historical role, ombuds have provided a check on government rulers in the interest of a nation’s citizens.

In 2003, following the practice of other universities, then-Provost Paul Courant created the position of faculty ombuds at the request of SACUA.

The ombuds must maintain confidentiality in negotiations and pinpoint new issues that may require University review. Any member of the University faculty, including professors, researchers, librarians or instructors, can use the ombuds. The University also has an ombuds designated for students that reports to E. Royster Harper, vice president for student affairs. Additionally, each academic unit has their own faculty ombuds.

At the University, the ombuds provides information and options to faculty looking to resolve a conflict with other faculty, administrators or students. Potential conflicts can include disputes over hiring practices, performance evaluations or other University policies applied unfairly. The ombuds serves a resource for members — though they do not advocate or choose sides in a conflict.

“I want to assure faculty that I can be an effective voice when they need one to reach other faculty, U-M faculty governance, or University administration,” Giordani said in a statement.

Giordani earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1975 from Dartmouth College and a doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1982. He came to the University in 1987 and has been a mentor in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program since it was founded 25 years ago.

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