University President Darryll J. Pines sent the following email to faculty and administrators on Nov. 16:
It is my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Karen M. O'Brien as the university's faculty ombuds officer, effective Jan. 3, 2022. In this role, she will serve as a neutral and impartial officer to provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty and administrators in resolving concerns related to their work.
Dr. O'Brien is a longtime Terp, serving as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland for more than 25 years. She also held the position of associate chair for undergraduate studies in the Department of Psychology for the past four years, and served as co-training director for the counseling psychology doctoral program for eight years. Dr. O'Brien is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and has published 10 book chapters and nearly 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals.
The faculty ombuds officer plays an essential role in providing impartial guidance to faculty and administrators to collect different perspectives and assist in developing mutually acceptable resolutions. The faculty ombudsperson serves all faculty and administrators as a counselor, fact-finder, mediator and negotiator.
Dr. O'Brien's expertise as a licensed psychologist and her educational background in counseling psychology will be invaluable to this role. I am confident that she will serve as a trusted advisor and mediator to our faculty and administrators. Please join me in congratulating Dr. O'Brien on her new role.
I also would like to thank Professor Emerita Ellin Scholnick for her extraordinary contributions as faculty ombuds officer since 2010, and for her long-standing service to the university. Dr. Scholnick joined the faculty of the psychology department in 1967 and served as associate provost for faculty affairs from 1997 to 2010. Over her more than 50 years with the university, she has had a tremendous impact on improving faculty well-being and creating an inclusive environment.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland
Story by the Maryland Today Staff was originally published on today.umd.edu.