What is an Ombuds Office?

At ASU, the 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 of Appalachian State University. 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 ASU 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.

Ombuds Charter

This is a document that formally characterizes the function and operation, and policy for the Ombuds Office for Appalachian State University, signed by the University Administration, Faculty and Staff Senates, and the Ombud.

ASU Ombud: Dr. Bob Hill

Bob Hill was appointed ASU Ombud in August 2016. He was professor of psychology at ASU for the previous 24 years, and was Director of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Program for 8 years. He is trained as a clinical psychologist, and has a history of professional clinical service delivery, including assessment, treatment, consultation, and supervision in diverse clinical settings. He is also Chairperson of the NC Psychology Board, which regulates the practice of Psychology in North Carolina. He has presented nationally and regionally on ethics and professional issues relevant to the practice of Psychology. He is also a member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and adheres to the IOA Code of Ethics, which includes foremost the principles of Independence, Neutrality, Impartiality, Confidentiality and Informality. He strives to serve the ASU community with respect and integrity.