Ombudsperson and troubleshooters resolve concerns

Do you need guidance on how to address a grade appeal, class withdrawal, financial assistance or a health problem? Have you ever looked for clarification on a campus policy or procedure, but did not know where to go? At the University of Miami, who do you seek when you need help in resolving a concern or mediate a conflict?

Established in 1970, the Ombudsperson Council was created to open channels of communication between students and the university community by providing an identifiable person to listen to student grievances. The goal was to increase student satisfaction by attempting to assist in the resolution of problems and minimize the red-tape and shuffle effect. Since its inception, the Ombudsperson Council has expanded into a comprehensive service called the Ombudsperson and University Troubleshooters Program.

If students have a concern over an academic or administrative matter, they should consider accessing a university troubleshooter or ombudsperson. The university troubleshooters are faculty members and administrators who serve as a first responder, on behalf of their departments, and provide assistance to students seeking help.

“My role as a university troubleshooter is to assist students with their individual questions and problems which they alone have been unable to resolve,” University Troubleshooter for Department of Residence Halls Jon Baldessari said. “Sometimes a phone conversation or e-mail correspondence does the trick, but many times a one-on-one conversation is the most meaningful to the student and typically moves the process along to a productive outcome.”

When regular channels have not brought resolution to your problem and after you have spoken to the appropriate troubleshooter, you should contact the appropriate ombudsperson. The role and approach of the ombudsperson is impartial, confidential and informal.

“The ombudsperson facilitates a voluntary process. We listen, answer questions and interpret University policies,” Dr. Gail Cole-Avent, university ombudsperson said. “Ultimately, the goal is to educate students and identify resources that will help them resolve their concerns.”

The Ombudsperson Program does not bypass or circumvent departments or classroom instruction. It does not eliminate certain structured grievance and appellate mechanisms already established by the university.

For more information, please feel free to visit The website provides access to the University Troubleshooters directory. Students may also submit a case online. The appropriate ombudsperson may be contacted by visiting the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs in the Ashe Administration Building Room 244, by phone at 305-284-4922 or via e-mail at

Dr. Cole-Avent oversees the Ombudsperson and University Troubleshooters program and addresses the administrative/non-academic concerns. V. Chunoo is the Academic Ombudsperson and addresses academic concerns.

Jacqueline Ledon, University Troubleshooter for the Student Health Services, summed up her role:

“Smile…I’m here to help!”

August 10, 2009


Dr. Gail Cole-Avent

Special to First Impression

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • Error

University of Miami linebacker Jamie Gordinier has had another unfortunate setback, effectively side ...

The calmest coach on the planet got mad Friday after football practice. University of Miami coach Ma ...

Lester Williams wasn’t on the field playing for the Miami Hurricanes when they won their first natio ...

An extremely frustrated University of Miami football coach Mark Richt began his media availability b ...

UM chatter: • One lesson learned in recent years, as one UM official put it: Don’t get your hopes up ...

UM’s new chief academic officer holds some 40 patents, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Ac ...

University of Miami students and researchers are blogging during a month-long expedition in the Gulf ...

María de Lourdes Dieck-Assad, a world-renowned economist and former ambassador, fills a new role for ...

Through the U Dreamers Grant, DACA students find essential support as they pursue their college degr ...

UM students talk about their internships up north in a city that never sleeps. ...

RSS Error: A feed could not be found at A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed.

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.