OSU names Arkansas leader to new university ombuds post


CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Arkansas administrator with 17 years of experience in conflict management has been appointed by Oregon State University to the new position of university ombuds.

Susan Theiss, who has held a similar position at the University of Arkansas since 2002, will begin her new duties on Feb. 13. She previously had been an ombudsperson with the University of Arizona for eight-plus years.

The university ombuds position at OSU is designed to serve the campus community by acting as a designated neutral, independent and confidential referral resource in resolution of concerns. The ombuds is not an advocate for any individual or the university, but rather acts as an advocate for fairness and healthy conflict resolution, according to Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president.

The appointment of Theiss follows through on a commitment by OSU President Edward J. Ray earlier this year to create an ombuds position.

“This new position is a natural and positive reflection of Oregon State University’s growth and increasing diversity on campus,” Ray said. “Having a completely neutral person available to assist the campus community and provide conflict resolution as needed will contribute to an environment of fairness and well-being that we continually strive to achieve.”

Theiss began her career as senior business manager for two cooperative departments – the Family & Community Medicine Department and the Arizona Prevention Center, and took over as administrator of the former. In 1994, she began serving as part-time ombudsperson for the University of Arizona, remaining there for eight years until being appointed as director of the University Ombuds Office at the University of Arkansas.