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Office of the Ombuds

“What happened here? What have I done? What have they done? What can I do? How can I do it? How should I do it?”

Questions like these naturally occur during the course of a career. When such concerns arise, the Faculty Ombuds is here to help. A trusted confidant, the Ombuds will listen without judgment and strategize ways to answer those questions so you can move forward.      

The Faculty Ombuds is a valuable resource for all faculty, providing impartial, confidential and informal assistance to help resolve conflicts or issues that may arise in the academic or workplace environment. Following the standards of practice of the International Ombudsperson Association, the Ombuds advocates for the principles of fairness and equity, rather than individuals, groups or entities. The Provost and Faculty Leaders collaborated to create the Faculty Ombuds position.

  • Conflicts that may arise when working with an advisor, supervisor, someone you manage, a colleague, a team or a group
  • Dealing with a conflict that is keeping you from doing your job well
  • Interpersonal or intragroup conflicts, misunderstandings, disputes or miscommunications
  • Raising concerns about misconduct: academic, financial or research
  • Policy issues
  • Fear of coming forward or of acting to stop unacceptable behavior
  • Retaliation or fear of retaliation
  • Grades, academic credit or intellectual property disputes
  • Harassment, discrimination, abuse of power, bullying or unfair treatment
  • Ethical dilemmas
  • Cultural misunderstandings
  • Perceived or potential conflicts of interest
  • Annoying or frustrating behaviors
  • Incivility or rudeness
  • Working conditions
  • Unfair treatment
  • Suggestions for improvement at Villanova
  • Provide impartial and confidential consultation
  • Help clarify issues
  • Analyze and develop options
  • Work together to gather information
  • Understand an issue from all perspectives
  • Identify University policies
  • Facilitate meetings to enhance communication between parties
  • Encourage the use of mediation and other informal means of resolution, when appropriate
  • Report on any matters discussed, except in limited circumstances such as where there is imminent risk of serious harm
  • Participate in any formal investigations or proceedings
  • Provide legal advice
  • Receive claims against the University

*The Ombuds is not a mandatory reporter for purposes of Title IX*

Meg Willoughby

Meg Willoughby joined Villanova in 2019 as the University’s first professional Faculty Ombuds. She is a member of the International Ombudsman Association. Willoughby previously served as Senior Attorney and Subject Matter Expert in the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, where she practiced since 2005. In that role, she served as an objective investigator of complaints against schools, including by their faculty and staff members, alleging discrimination and retaliation. While maintaining neutrality, Willoughby negotiated between the parties to the complaints, upholding strict confidentiality in these high-stakes resolutions. Prior to that, she was a litigation associate handling civil rights and commercial matters at Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young LLP, where she successfully resolved cases through alternative dispute resolution methods, including negotiation, mediation and arbitration, as well as through traditional litigation. Willoughby received a JD from Rutgers University, Camden School of Law; a Masters of Public Affairs and Politics from Rutgers University, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy; and a BS In Marketing from Boston College.

Contact: The Ombuds Office can be reached by email or by phone (x9-3273) to schedule a consultation.

Meeting: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ombuds will meet with faculty in a modality that faculty are most comfortable with at the time, either in-person or by Zoom or other online platforms. All in-person meetings will be held in accordance with current safety guidance. To best support the confidential nature of this work, the Ombuds office is located on West Campus.

map of St. Mary's Hall area

Directions: The Office is located in St. Mary’s, nearest to the intersection of N. Spring Mill (RT 320) and County Line Roads.  The entrance to the Office is adjacent to the Chapel in St. Mary's and directly across from Garey Hall.  When this ground floor entrance is used, the office is the second suite on the left (2L).