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Published November 29, 2021
The University of Wyoming has established the Office of the Student Ombudsman -- the first office of its kind in the history of the university. The office will provide informal, confidential, impartial and independent assistance to students who are experiencing conflicts.
The ombudsman initiative is part of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and was developed in partnership with Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and the Associated Students of UW (ASUW).
“It is important that students have a place where they can be heard and supported when they encounter challenges or inappropriate situations in their university experience,” says Kevin Carman, UW’s provost and executive vice president.
The Office of the Student Ombudsman is an independent, problem-solving and first-stop resource that assists in conflict resolution or complaint process support for undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The office also assists faculty and staff members regarding student-related issues. The mission of the office is to empower UW students to overcome disputes, conflicts and barriers that stand in the way of reaching their goals.
“This position will be an incredible resource in helping students better understand UW processes and resources. This is a big place, and it can be very helpful to have someone walk students through their options,” Vice President for Student Affairs Kim Chestnut says.
“What I like so much about the ombudsman position is that they are an advocate for student success. As a graduate of UW, or a current student, the person in this position inherently knows some of the common difficulties that students run into at the university,” ASUW President Hunter Swilling says. “With the struggles many students have balancing school, work and life, it’s very important for students to have someone they can talk to if they need additional support in addressing concerns or conflicts. That makes this position unique -- they understand the student experience deeply.”
Dilnoza Khasilova, a recent UW Ph.D. graduate, has been appointed to serve as the inaugural student ombudsman. In addition to her role as student ombudsman, she will retain her position in the UW Office of Global Engagement. Khasilova is a two-time alumna of UW, earning her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction in 2014 and her doctoral degree in literacy with a minor in international studies in 2020.
“The student ombudsman office is slated to officially open in the spring,” Khasilova says. “Currently, our organizational group is collaborating closely with different offices on campus to ensure they know about our services. Our goal is to highlight the value the office brings to our campus and encourage greater use of services the office will be offering to students and staff.”