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The Office of the Ombudsperson (ombuds) is a safe place for faculty and staff to talk in a confidential and neutral environment about concerns such as as a conflict with a colleague or supervisor, the need for a difficult conversation or any work situation that you’re unsure about how to handle. The ombuds will work with you to develop effective options for addressing concerns and resolving conflicts. To make an appointment to discuss your concerns with the ombuds,
set up a meeting via email.

You may contact the ombuds to discuss a wide variety of issues, such as:

  • Desire to improve working relations with a colleague or your supervisor
  • Concern about the application of college policies and procedures
  • Difficulty in giving or receiving feedback, including performance appraisals
  • Concern about the behavior of a colleague
  • An ethical dilemma that has arisen at work
  • Planning for a difficult conversation with a colleague or supervisor
  • Concern about safety or other aspects of your work environment
  • Curiosity about having a "facilitated conversation" or mediation process with a colleague or supervisor

About the Ombudsperson

Mark Stephens, Smith College Ombudsperson

Michael Stephens

Michael Stephens served as ombuds for Amherst College’s staff and faculty from September 2015 to August 2018, and he joined the Smith community as ombuds in November 2016. Prior to beginning his role at Amherst and then at Smith, he had many years of experience in human resources functions, employee relations, conflict resolution, ombudsperson services, facilitation and employee counseling. He worked for more than 25 years in various corporate settings, providing these services to employees and managers at all levels. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado and a master’s in business administration from New York University.


Office of the Ombudsperson
Smith College
Lilly Hall B-4
Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: 413-585-7953

Meetings are being conducted, with masks on or not, according to your preference, in Lilly B-4. Zoom meetings are also available. Mondays and Wednesdays are the preferred days.
Please email to arrange for a time to meet.