Jennifer Rau is the University of Miami’s assistant to the vice president and ombudsperson. She has held this title since 2014 and works with Heather Stevens, the student advocacy coordinator, and Michelle Maldonado, the academic ombudsperson. Additionally, an entire team of academic and administrative troubleshooters students in addressing student concerns.
An ombudsperson is the university official who helps students resolve issues with academic, extracurricular and administrative processes. An ombudsperson will also help liaise between students and administrators.
“Our team is here to listen to all students and discuss their options, next steps and get them connected with the appropriate resources,” Rau said.
If students are having an issue and not sure about whom to contact
to get it resolved, they should contact the appropriate office first. If they are unclear about whom to contact, they should consult with the ombudsperson.
“If they are not sure what that is, give us a call and we will direct them there. If they have a complex issue that they are having difficulties navigating with multiple offices, let us know, and we can help guide them through the process,” Rau said.
Sometimes the university system can be overwhelming. The ombudsperson can help students streamline the process.
Rau recalled working with an overwhelmed student who was looking for help balancing her research assistantship with family problems affecting her financial aid. With Rau’s help, the student received appropriate support from financial aid and found work alternatives. The student ultimately graduated with honors and will start medical school in the fall.
Call 305-284-4922, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the online form on ombuds.studentaffairs.miami.edu under “Submit a case.”
Ashe Administrative Building, Room 244