Aug. 28, 2023
Pamela Bruzina, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine, was named MU’s inaugural ombudsperson by Provost Latha Ramchand, effective July 1, 2023.
As ombudsperson, Bruzina serves as a designated neutral party, whose major function is to provide informal assistance and impartial conflict and dispute resolution to MU faculty. The work of the ombudsperson is meant to help address faculty conflicts at early stages and suggest appropriate resolutions. As part of her role, Bruzina will also develop an educational program for faculty that facilitates access to existing resources and reporting mechanisms.
The ombudsperson is neither an advocate for any individual nor the organization, but rather is a promoter of fairness, acting as a source of information and referral, aiding in answering an individual’s questions, and assisting in the resolution of concerns.
“My overarching goal for the ombudsperson role is for faculty to feel seen, heard and cared for,” Bruzina said. “If individual faculty members feel valued and like they belong, the increased connection will strengthen the institution. I hope to create a mechanism by which faculty concerns can be addressed before they fester and damage relationships.
“Another goal is to provide a space where issues that do not fit in formal institutional processes or policies can be addressed. I see this as a gap that can be filled by the ombudsperson role. I also hope to identify issues or areas of the organization that can be targeted for corrective actions.”
The ombudsperson is housed within the Office of the Provost, reporting directly to the provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, for purposes of administrative and budgetary support. However, the ombudsperson is independent in their work to the extent feasible and lawful, and will ensure that university leadership is kept abreast on systematic issues within the institution.
“The process for creating this role and selecting Dr. Bruzina took nearly 18 months,” said Candace Kuby, associate provost for faculty success, who led the search committee. “I am thankful to everyone who was involved in the many committees, listening sessions, and interview groups that led us to select Dr. Bruzina. This is an important role with the opportunity to positively influence our faculty members’ well-being and our institutional culture.”
Bruzina joined MU in 2000 and is a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology in the College of Agricultre, Food and Natural Resources and the School of Medicine. For the past six years, she has served as the faculty athletics representative to the SEC and NCAA, a position that she will maintain. Bruzina served as a member of the MU Grievance Resolution Panel, the committee that processes academic grievances, from, 2009 to 2023. Since 2018, she has been a member of the MU Equity Resolution Panel. She has also served on Faculty Council since 2020 and chaired the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee from 2021 to 2023.