Pamela Haney, the new ombudsman for the University, started work April 16 in the usual way, with a flurry of meetings with Human Resources, a briefing on benefits and introductions around campus. Despite the whirlwind of activity, Haney graciously sat down to talk to an Our Workplace editor about herself and her perspectives on her new job.
Coming from Illinois where she had been dean of liberal arts at Moraine Valley Community College, Haney had also served as the dean of academic services at the college, a position that required her to act as a mediator and resolve conflicts.
Two cases came to mind: A committee overseeing a professor seeking tenure was split. Half wanted him to receive tenure; half were opposed. The solution: Have the professor undergo an additional semester of review. He was then granted tenure.
A faculty member who had gone on maternity leave during her final year of review before she was to receive tenure was asked to redo an entire year's worth of work due to the timelines involved in earning tenure. The solution: She had to make up just the months she lost while on leave.
Haney has also held positions as adjunct faculty at Moraine and as a tenure-track assistant professor at both Norfolk State University in Virginia and Defiance College in Ohio.
"My background as both a faculty member and administrator made the position of ombudsman attractive to me," she said.
The ombudsman position was created following a 2005-2006 Faculty Senate Morale Task Force report.
The task force was charged with seeking solutions to and finding causes for the low morale among faculty and staff. Hiring an ombudsman who would report directly to the president was the top solution.
In the report, the ombudsman was seen as the key person who would help resolve issues before they escalated to the level of grievance or lawsuit.
Haney noted that she will soon create a website that will offer people various ways to connect with her, including by telephone and email, which have yet to be established. Her office is in the Reynolds School of Journalism.
Haney came to Nevada with her husband, Napoleon Haney, who is special assistant to Reno City Manager Charles McNeely. They have two sons, 1 and 4.
Haney earned a doctor of philosophy degree in interpersonal communication, at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, 1995; a master of arts degree in speech communication at Norfolk State University, Va., 1992; and a bachelor of science degree in mass communication at Norfolk State University, 1991.