GMU hires first university ombudsperson
Kimberly Davidson to start in February
George Mason University has hired Kimberly Davidson as its first ombudsperson, and she will start in February, the university announced Friday.
Davidson comes to the university from Ohio’s Oberlin College, where she worked for two decades, including the past five years as the college’s ombudsperson, who is charged with listening to faculty members in confidence about disputes and other concerns. A Williamsburg native, Davidson has studied alternative dispute resolution, social justice mediation and conflict management coaching.
“The role of university ombudsperson was created to ensure that the university continues to expand its culturally inclusive environment,” GMU wrote in a news release. “The office will serve as a neutral place where faculty can talk in confidence about issues, concerns or disputes. The university ombudsperson will be tasked with developing the resources and tools to aid university constituents in fostering a culture of respect, collaboration and mediation.”
Davidson will assist individuals and groups in looking for options to resolve conflicts or concerns and bring systemic matters to the attention of the university. She will also “be an advocate for fairness.”
“I love how young Mason is and how it is imbued with a sense of innovation and dedication to thoughtfully responding to the needs of its stakeholders,” Davidson said in a statement. “I’m happy to be joining the family at George Mason University and grateful for this incredible opportunity to help the university shift into a new period in its growth.”
Davidson attended Spelman College in Atlanta, where she earned a degree in English. She also has a master’s degree in African languages, literatures and linguistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
“The new ombudsperson’s office is a much-needed, important resource for supporting Mason faculty and helping all of us the navigate the difficult situations that will inevitably occur from time to time at such a large institution,” Melissa A. Broeckelman-Post, associate professor in the Department of Communication and chair of the Faculty Senate, said in a statement. “I’m so glad that Ms. Davidson will be joining Mason and look forward to working with her.”