The NC State Faculty and Staff Ombuds Office is a confidential, informal, impartial and independent resource that provides issue and conflict resolution services.
NC State created the ombuds office in 2015 as a resource for faculty. The office began offering its services to staff in 2017. The ombuds is Roy Baroff, who has more than 30 years of conflict resolution experience.
“There are many supportive resources available at NC State, yet for some people, they still don’t know what to do,” Baroff said. “My office fills a gap, making sure people have a place to go when they’re not sure where to go.”
Baroff said his office typically works individually with staff and faculty to help them navigate workplace-related challenges. Those challenges range from difficult co-worker and manager-employee relationships to how employees think about their career progression.
“My office is a safe space, an initial contact point,” he said. “The idea of the ombuds office is to be a navigator, to help people figure out what they want to do, connect them with university resources and coach them through conflict.”
Baroff said when staff or faculty members contact his office, he helps them develop a list of strategies and resources that might address their issue. He said his goal is to empower people as they work toward resolving their issues.
“My office is not designed to be a direct advocate for the people that come to see me,” he said. “It’s designed to be impartial and not take sides. I still support people and am of assistance but not in the role of an advocate.”
In 2020, Baroff provided services in 91 faculty cases and 112 staff cases. He said employees most often request his office’s services for issues related to direct-report relationships, their careers, how university regulations affect them and co-worker relations.
After Baroff helps an employee with an issue, he invites that employee to complete a voluntary anonymous survey to provide feedback about their experience. Because Baroff’s office does not keep permanent records of contacts, he often doesn’t know whether an employee’s issue gets resolved. He does receive a range of comments as part of the survey.
“Roy was an excellent listener and responded with comments that let me know he heard me,” one survey respondent wrote. “He seemed to understand and offered concrete steps to help resolve the issues.”
Baroff said he appreciates the feedback he gets about the service he provides.
“The people that use the service, based on the feedback I’ve received over the years, find it very useful and helpful in at least addressing or getting them more resources for their specific issue in dispute,” he said.
Faculty and staff who need help to resolve an issue or conflict can contact Baroff by phone at 919-935-0922 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You also can visit the Faculty and Staff Ombuds website.