What is an Ombuds Office?

The University Ombuds Office provides an independent, confidential environment for faculty, staff and students of the Appalachian community to discuss campus related concerns or problems. The Ombuds Office holds the identity and all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and does not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law or where, in the judgment of the Ombuds, there appears to be imminent risk of serious harm.

The Ombuds Office reports, nominally, to the Office of the Provost. Reporting is, however, for budgetary and administrative purposes only and is limited to summary reports or recommendations that do not include or involve any specific client information. This permits work that is free of undue pressure or influence or even the appearance of external involvement that could compromise the impartiality, confidentiality and objectivity that are the hallmarks of the Ombuds office.

Why Might I Need One?

It's pretty common to have a moment when you wish you could have a conversation about a problem or something that concerns you with someone who is neutral and can help you to acquire perspective and think about and assess a range of alternatives. The Ombuds Office provides a confidential environment where you can do just that, whether you are a faculty member, a student or an employee of the University in a staff position. To the extent that the disclosure of information about an aspect of a student’s life at the University is permitted by state and federal law, parents or legal guardians of students may also receive our assistance.

As you may not have tried a service like this before, it is quite natural that you might feel somewhat nervous about making an appointment. Contact us anyway, and give yourself the chance to get some help on something that you  haven’t been  able to work through effectively on your own.

History of Ombuds

You may have heard the following words used to designate this office: Ombudsman, Ombudsperson, Ombud, Ombuds. The modern use of the term began in Sweden with the Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsman instituted by the Instrument of Government of 1809 to safeguard the rights of citizens. The essential characteristic of these offices, no matter how they're designated or the scope of their responsibilities, is that they continue the tradition established in 1809. At ASU the Ombuds Office was established in in 2013 to provide a confidential resource to better support the campus community and provide feedback to the University administration regarding campus concerns.

FYI Podcast Interview: Appalachian's Ombuds Office


The Ombud will hold the identity and and communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence, and not disclose confidential communications unless given permission to do so, except as required by law, such as where in the judgement of the Ombudsperson, there appears to threat of serious harm.

Dr. Tandrea CarterUniversity Ombud: Dr. Tandrea Carter

Dr. Tandrea Carter was appointed to the position of Appalachian State University Ombud in September 2020. Dr. Carter brings a wealth of experience to the Ombud role. She is a trained mediator who has supported numerous individuals as they approached work-based conflicts and concerns. She employs a collaborative approach, anchoring her work in respect for individual autonomy and a desire to understand people's perspectives and experiences. Dr. Carter joined Appalachian State University as an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Psychology and became the director of Counseling for Faculty and Staff in 2010. She is a licensed psychologist who earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology from the University of Miami. She completed her undergraduate studies at Columbia University where she majored in history. Immediately prior to coming to Appalachian, Dr. Carter worked as a clinical psychologist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.