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Director, Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds

Apply now Job no: 534351
Work type: Management (MPP)
Location: Pomona
Categories: MPP, Administrative, At-Will, Full Time

Cal Poly Pomona


Cal Poly Pomona, recognized as one of the most diverse regional universities in the Western United States as well as nationwide, offers an affordable, life-changing education. Less than 30 miles east of Los Angeles, the campus enjoys the excitement of a diverse metropolitan area while retaining the serenity of a foothill community. As a polytechnic university, Cal Poly Pomona utilizes a technology-enhanced, learn-by-doing approach to education. Students enjoy endless opportunities for involvement in a vibrant and diverse community. A Hispanic-Serving Institution, Cal Poly Pomona is among the top 25 colleges in conferring baccalaureate degrees to Hispanic students.

Cal Poly Pomona opened on September 15, 1938, with an all-male enrollment of 110 students as the Voorhis Unit of California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo. It was located on the150-acre San Dimas site of the former Voorhis School for Boys. Breakfast cereal magnate, W.K. Kellogg, deeded 813 acres of land located three miles south of the Voorhis campus to the state of California in 1949. In 1956, 508 students and 44 faculty and staff moved from San Dimas to the Kellogg campus. In a first for the all- male campus, 329 women joined the student body in 1961. The Pomona campus separated from the San Luis Obispo campus in 1966 and became California State Polytechnic College, Kellogg Campus. University status was granted in 1972. Today, the university is part of the 23-campus California State University system. Cal Poly Pomona has nearly 30,000 students and 2,700 faculty and staff.

Cal Poly Pomona's history and geography are unlike any other university in the region. Nowhere else can students ride an Arabian horse, practice on a Steinway piano, bring a new product to market, and build a liquid-fueled rocket. Benefitting from a campus community that embraces and learns from the richness of its members' myriad lived experiences, Cal Poly Pomona is alive with academic, social, and volunteer and career development opportunities. Faculty in all disciplines put theory to practice, providing students with opportunities to apply their knowledge in hands-on projects, research collaborations, and valuable internship and service-learning programs.


University Rankings

Cal Poly Pomona is among the best public universities in the West and is nationally ranked for helping students achieve economic success. As an inclusive polytechnic university, Cal Poly Pomona cultivates success through experiential learning, discovery, and innovation. Cal Poly Pomona embraces local and global challenges and transforms lives. When it comes to quality education, affordability, and career prospects for graduates, Cal Poly Pomona consistently ranks among the best universities in the country. While each ranking is a snapshot of achievement, taken collectively, they provide a picture of a diverse, learn-by-doing university whose students graduate with the skills needed to succeed in a dynamic, evolving work environment.

Money Magazine recognized Cal Poly Pomona as one of the “2024 Best Colleges in America,” receiving

4.5 out of 5 stars based on quality of education, affordability, and student outcomes. U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Colleges ranks Cal Poly Pomona as No. 3 among “Regional Universities West,” a region that covers 15 states, as well as No. 2 among “Top Public Schools in the West” and No. 2 on the “Best Colleges for Veterans” in the region. Money Magazine ranked the College of Business Administration No. 5 in California and No. 30 in the nation on its 2022 “Best Colleges for Business Majors.”  Forbes’ third annual “America’s Best Value College” list ranks Cal Poly Pomona among the best in the nation for a student’s return on investment.  The university was No. 59 among the 300 schools that made the list.


Social Mobility

Cal Poly Pomona’s success in admitting and graduating students from lower-economic backgrounds is also receiving attention. The Wall Street Journal listed the university as the top polytechnic and No. 11 on its list of “2024 best U.S. Colleges for Social Mobility.” The Washington Monthly ranked Cal Poly Pomona as the top polytechnic and No. 14 in its ranking for “2023 Best Bang for the BuckColleges.” CollegeNet ranked the university No. 17 in the nation on its “2022 Social Mobility Index.”

Diverse Student Body

Diverse Issues in Higher Education recognized Cal Poly Pomona as No. 20 in the nation for the most bachelor’s degrees awarded to minoritized students on its “2022 Top 100 Degrees Conferred” list. The university was also No. 13 for bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanic students and No. 20 for bachelor’s degrees earned by Asian American students.

Recognition of Individual Program Excellence

U.S. News & World Report recognized the College of Engineering at No. 9 among the nation’s “2024 Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” where a doctorate was not offered, and No. 3 in the state.

Several individual departments were also in the top 10: No. 2 Computer Engineering, No. 3 Mechanical Engineering and Electrical/Electronic/Computer Engineering, and No. 4 Civil Engineering. The Collins College of Hospitality Management is ranked No. 5 in CEO World Magazine’s 2023 “Best Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in The World” list. The list goes on, with many additional colleges, departments, and programs ranking highly in the region and the nation.


University Leadership

The new Director of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds will have a reporting line directly to President Soraya Coley.

Dr. Soraya M. Coley became the sixth president of Cal Poly Pomona in January 2015 after more than twenty years of leadership in higher education, pledging to be a leader who is “student-centered, faculty- and staff-focused, and community-minded”. Dr. Coley, the first woman to be named president of Cal Poly Pomona, ushered in a new era of strategic leadership for the campus, establishing a vision for Cal Poly Pomona as a model for an inclusive polytechnic university that inspires creativity, discovery, and innovation, embraces local and global challenges, and transforms lives. In 2023, she received the American Council on Education (ACE) Donna Shavlik Award that honors an individual who demonstrates a sustained commitment to advancing women in higher education through leadership and career development, campus climate, and mentoring. She has served as the ACE Southern California Women’s Network presidential sponsor for four years. In 2022, she was listed as one of the Los Angeles Business Journal 500 – a list of the most influential and most impactful professionals in the Los Angeles region.


The Leadership Opportunity

The Director of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds will be a campus-wide leader in strengthening the campus culture and climate and enlivening a sense of community and belonging.  CPP’s 2017 Strategic Plan affirms its institutional values of fostering an inclusive, welcoming and respectful environment where we nurture relationships and where our individual and collective actions reflect our commitment to one another. As an expression of these values, a strategic initiative focused on advancing organizational development and employee excellence aims to foster a culture of care for employees that is people-centered and helps to develop their skills and talents. 

In alignment with the Strategic Plan, the position has emerged from two years of extensive internal dialogue culminating in a renewed institutional commitment to creating a coordinated set of aligned people-centered functions that collectively will contribute to a healthy campus culture and climate and a responsive, accountable institution.

In March of 2023, President Coley charged a working group of administrators to advance a proposal for a recommended structure, staffing, goals, services, and outcomes for a university Conflict Resolution/Ombuds function that would address broad community concerns from students, staff, and faculty. This charge followed the submission of the report of an Academic Senate Working Group on Conflict Management/Dispute Resolution/Mediation in December 2022, which was focused specifically on the needs of faculty, as well as the preliminary recommendations from the CSU System’s Title IX/DHR Assessment.

Mindful of both immediate needs and the desired future scope of the function to serve the community, the university working group convened several meetings in the spring of 2023 during which they reviewed best practices, considered structures and models in place at other institutions, reviewed desired qualifications for personnel, and sought understanding of the operational assets currently in place at CPP.  After discussions with the Academic Senate, college deans and department chairs as well as other key campus stakeholders – in  which all agreed upon the seriousness of purpose for the new office – the university working group recommended a model that will effectively serve faculty, staff, and students. These efforts resulted in the creation of a multi-year plan to develop the Office of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds.  The first step in that plan is to hire a new Director/Ombuds to lead efforts to translate the university’s vision and plan for these services into action. 

The Director is charged with shaping and realizing the vision for Conflict Resolution Services & Ombuds as an accessible entry point for all community members with a dual purpose of listening/providing guidance as well as building the capacity of individuals and groups to navigate and resolve conflicts.  In leading and developing the newly created office, the Director/Ombuds will play a critical role in empowering members of the CPP community to manage conflict effectively by developing individuals’  skills needed for productive dialogue, collaborative relationships, and healthy learning and work environments.

The Director/Ombuds will report directly to the President.  They will also operate independently of line and staff reporting structures. To promote access and the Director’s ability to engage in problem-solving, they will be a part of the newly created organizational unit of People, Culture, and Institutional Affairs (PCIA).  PICA includes the following units, each sharing a commitment to fostering collaboration and communities of practice:

  • Office of the President
  • Employee & Organizational Development & Advancement 
  • Employee Labor Relations
  • Office of Equity and Compliance
  • Inclusive Excellence
  • Strategic Communications
  • Conflict Resolution Services and Ombuds


In addition, the Director/Ombuds will retain critical partnerships and collaboration with the Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs. 


The Office of Conflict Resolution Services & Ombuds

Informed by internal work already completed on the vision, purpose, and scope of services, the Director/Ombuds will further shape the direction and implement the plan for creating the Office of Conflict Resolution Services and Ombuds.  

Vision and Purpose:

The purpose is to promote mutual respect, civility, and support an ethical and responsive culture for members of the CPP community by providing confidential, impartial, and informal conflict resolution services, problem-solving support, recommendations to appropriate resources and tools, and guidance on questions or concerns related to university structure, policies, procedures, and practices.

Proposed Scope of Services:

  • Provide proactive training and development for members of the campus community in healthy workplace interactions, well-being practices, navigating difficult conversations and constructive conflict resolution.
  • Serve as a strategic thought partner in identifying solutions to problems.
  • Help to identify areas and sources of conflict.
  • Provide resources and information about university policies and systems.
  • Provide referrals to and/or offering a range of options for addressing issues and concerns, such as facilitated conversations, conflict coaching, restorative justice circling, alternative dispute resolution, informal climate assessments, and mediation.
  • Identify themes of concern for university leadership and recommend associated approaches to address them including changes to policies and practices.

2024: Year 1 Goals/Objectives

  • Hire and onboard office support staff.
  • Assess immediate campus needs in light of and beyond the existing working group recommendations.
  • Establish relationships with campus partners and collaborators.
  • Develop mission and vision for the office in alignment with the university’s strategic plan.
  • Develop and formalize Office Charter.
  • Develop initial programmatic offerings (in consideration of existing resources) and begin providing services.
  • Implement campus selected case management solution.
  • Formalize the community of practice and develop a routine process for collaboration and consultation.
  • Develop and communicate internal procedures and standards of operation.
  • Educate the campus and raise awareness/visibility of the Office.  

2025: Year 2 Goals/Objectives

  • Continue assessment and prioritization of needs.
  • Scale programmatic offerings and services in response to community needs.
  • Develop assessment plan (utilization and satisfaction).
  • Develop reporting mechanisms and provide a schedule for sharing insights on patterns and areas of concern with university leadership and with the campus.
  • Scale staffing to include student and/or faculty fellows and additional professional staffing as emerging needs require.


Required Qualifications 


  • Master's degree from an accredited university and/or college in one of the following: law, counseling psychology, ethnic/gender/diversity studies, higher education, social work, psychology, higher education, dispute resolution, legal studies, or relevant field.


  • At least 5 years of progressive experience in facilitating/mediating the resolution of problems and conflicts within higher education.
  • Experience developing bias and conflict resolution educational materials and trainings.
  • Training and experience in specific conflict resolution methods, such as restorative practices, mediation, shuttle diplomacy, facilitated conversations, conflict coaching, racial healing, informal climate assessment.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Additional degree in one of the following: law, counseling psychology, ethnic/gender/diversity studies, higher education, conflict resolution, social work, or a related field.
  • Certificate or formal professional development in mediation, conflict resolution or dispute resolution, organizational psychology, higher education, counseling, or related fields.
  • Demonstrated experience in leadership role(s) in higher education.
  • Possess a deep content knowledge of current diversity, equity, and inclusion laws, trends, topics, research, pedagogical needs, and best practices for strategic university DEI and belonging decision making.
  • An astute knowledge of, and demonstrated responsiveness to, the ways socio-cultural forces related to gender, race, ability, class, gender identity, gender expression, etc.,  systemically impede or propel impacted individuals, groups, and communities.
  • Cultural competency and awareness to be able to interact positively and effectively with a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds and viewpoints and at all levels of management, faculty, staff, and students. Must be open, objective, and must seek to understand issues from multiple perspectives. The ombudsperson should be innovative in developing options that are responsive to differing needs.
Excellent listening  skills including familiarity with emotional intelligence, psychological safety, and effective communication skills.
  • Experience in a unionized working environment.
  • Ability to collaborate and partner with departments and units across campus to effectively implement response protocols and to ensure a holistic response to conflict and bias incidents within the campus community.
  • Ability to interpret and evaluate descriptions and explanations of problems brought forward by individuals or groups, analyze, and define the problem, draw valid conclusions, and project consequences and various alternatives of action.
  • Ability to research/analyze data and recommend policies or procedures. Ability to learn and explain state, federal, CSU and CPP policies and procedures.
  • Ability to maintain neutrality, confidentiality, build trust, and handle sensitive communications.


Nominations and Applications

The Search Committee will begin reviewing candidates immediately and will continue until the position is filled.  Priority consideration will be given to materials received by January 16, 2024.  To apply a candidate should submit 1) a letter of intent addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements; 2) a current CV/resume; and 3) contact information for at least five professional references, including email addresses and a brief note of the candidate’s working relationship with each. References will not be contacted without the prior knowledge and approval of the candidate and at a later stage in the search. If you have any questions or if you have a disability and need accommodation with pre-employment processes (applications, interviews, etc.), please email

Academic Search is assisting Cal Poly Pomona in this search. To ensure full consideration, inquiries, nominations, and applications (PDF preferred) should be submitted electronically, in confidence, to:

Nominators and prospective candidates may arrange a confidential conversation about this opportunity with the two senior consultants leading this search: Cynthia M. Patterson at or Maria Thompson at

Additional information about the institution can be found at

We provide reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. Applicants with questions about access or requiring a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process should contact the ADA Coordinator by email at


Employment Requirements:

The salary for this position will be $135,000-$165,000. More information is available at:

 California State Polytechnic University, Pomona is an Equal Opportunity Employer, including veterans/disability. The university seeks to recruit and retain a diverse workforce as a reflection of our commitment to serve the people of California, to maintain the excellence of the university, and to offer our students richly varied disciplines, perspectives, and ways of knowing. Cal Poly Pomona subscribes to all state and federal regulations and prohibits discrimination based on protected status. The university hires only individuals lawfully authorized to work in the United States.

The duties of this position will include participation in decisions that may have a material financial benefit to the incumbent. Therefore, the selected candidate will be required to file Conflict of Interest Form 700: Statement of Economic Interests on an annual basis, complete ethics training within 6 months of appointment, and take this training every other year thereafter.

A background check (including a criminal record check) must be completed satisfactorily before any candidate can be offered a position with the CSU. Failure to satisfactorily complete the background check may affect the application status of applicants or continued employment of current CSU employees who apply for the position.

The person holding this position is considered a “mandated reporter” under the California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act and is required to comply with the requirements set forth in CSU Executive Order 1083 Revised July 21, 2017, as a condition of employment.

Cal Poly Pomona is committed to creating a community in which a diverse population can learn, live, and work  in an atmosphere of tolerance, civility and respect for the rights and sensibilities of each individual, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, medical condition, age, Vietnam era veteran status, or any other veteran's status. Cal Poly Pomona is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


About Academic Search

Academic Search, Inc. is assisting Cal Poly Pomona in this work. For more than four decades, Academic Search has offered executive search services exclusively to institutions of higher education. Academic Search was founded on the principle of strengthening higher education leadership through professional search services. We are the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. As the subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), Academic Search provides substantial financial support to a number of leadership identification, development, and support programs across all sectors of public and private higher education. For more information, visit


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