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Updated 5:30 PM September 5, 2007




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Welsh appointed faculty ombuds

Michael Welsh, professor of cell and developmental biology, has been appointed University faculty ombuds effective Sept. 1.
(Photo by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services)

Welsh was selected to succeed Bonnie Metzger, the first appointee to the position created in 2004. Welsh will carry a 50-percent appointment.

"I think one of the most important facets of the job is to gather information so you can offer reasonable suggestions," says Welsh. He served 11 years as an ombuds in the medical school.

As the University faculty ombuds, Welsh will meet with faculty, assist in determining the nature of complaints or problems, advise on policy and explore avenues for redress. He will work with faculty and administrators to mediate and facilitate the resolution of issues when appropriate.

"The University faculty ombuds office, established in 2004, has benefited from the capable leadership of Professor Bonnie Metzger. We are grateful for her service in this role," says Provost Teresa Sullivan. "I am confident that Professor Welch will be an excellent resource for the faculty as he assumes this role. He was selected from a pool of strong candidates and brings considerable experience to the position. I want to thank SACUA for its assistance in the selection process."

In an ombuds role, Welsh says it's important to be a dispassionate, neutral observer. "Don't draw any conclusions whatsoever until you have a lot of information," he explains. "When you can help someone find a solution to a problem, that is something that is a value to the University and helps make the institution as a whole a better place to be."

Welsh suggests the University faculty ombuds office could benefit by having a more highly developed tracking system of matters brought before it: "I think provost Sullivan and President (Mary Sue) Coleman are both very interested in having the institution be responsive to faculty concerns."

Welsh earned a bachelor's degree in zoology from Texas A&M University in 1970 and a doctorate degree in zoology from the University of Western Ontario in 1977. In October 1979 he came to Michigan as an assistant professor of anatomy, was promoted to associate professor of anatomy and cell biology in 1985 and to professor in 1990.

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