Welcome and thank you for your interest.

The Faculty Ombudsperson hosts brown bag lunches on issues arising in ombudsing practice.  Here is a sampling of some of our events.

Brown Bag Workshops from the Faculty Ombudsperson

Compassionate Management


 “We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.”   - Desmond Tutu

 The theme for this Food for Thought brown bag workshop is “Compassionate Management.” There is increasingly compelling data and research demonstrating that compassion and strengths based approaches in the workplace can improve productivity and profit. The theory and applications of psychological safety in learning organizations are helping to build these ideas in various sectors. But what does compassion look like? Where does it start? Does it honor difference? Join us for a gently facilitated discussion on compassion in the workplace. RSVP to McKenna Lang at 296-5898.


Resources for Facilitating Differing Worldviews

 “Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world.” -Tich Nhat Hahn

It may be said that we often co-construct meaning in our world. In these changing times perhaps we can lean into the fluidity of mutually respectful dialogues. As we navigate seas of difference, there are some resources we might call upon to engage in new ways: creating conversational spaces, coordinating multiplicities, finding appreciative and cooperative paths. How can we develop new ways to listen? Can we suspend the need for agreement? In this brown bag workshop, we will consider new possibilities. 


The Science of Compassion

“If we say, oh, the practice of compassion is something holy, nobody will listen. If we say, warm-heartedness really reduces your blood pressure, your anxiety, your stress and improves your health, then people pay attention.”  Dalai Lama

Respected academic researchers like Stanford neurosurgeon James Doty note that: “rigorous empirical data supports the view of all major world religions: compassion is good.” Can compassion heal? Can it help us to bridge differences and build understanding? Can we find compassion in conflict? In this brown bag workshop, we will explore compassion. 


A Discussion of “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” by Joy Harjo

Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye

and the map appears to disappear.

We no longer know the names of the birds here,

how to speak to them by their personal names.

Once we knew everything in this lush promise.  – Joy Harjo

Some modern approaches to conflict resolution seem strong and assured. But voices from all cultures teach us to connect and to think about our connections, and to learn, if we can listen. Many of these speak to deep conflicts. Renowned poet Joy Harjo is one of these voices. Please join us for a discussion of her recent work “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.” In this safe space we will have a gently facilitated brown bag workshop.   



 Exiting the Bullring - Lessons from Ferdinand, a Brave Little Bull 

 "Why don't you run and play with the other little bulls and skip and butt your head?" Ferdinand’s mom would say. But Ferdinand would shake his head. "I like it better here where I can sit just quietly and smell the flowers."


In the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf, Ferdinand the Bull took a decidedly different stance from his colleagues choosing peace over bullfighting. Mahatma Gandhi called this his favorite book, but it was banned and burned in many countries, including Nazi Germany. What can we learn from Ferdinand? Can we step back from Bullying? Can we step out of the Bullring? In this safe space we will have a gently facilitated brown bag workshop and discuss ways to take a step back from bullying situations.

Intentional Inclusion - A Dialogue with Rosetta Lee

A lot of different flowers make a bouquet. – Muslim origin

In-clusion. How do we make room in the circle? How do we create an environment of intentional inclusion? In this gently facilitated brown bag workshop with noted cross cultural expert Rosetta Lee, we will discuss ways to foster intentional inclusion. 



De-escalating Conflict

Conflict: Etymology: < Latin conflict-, participial stem of conflīgĕre to strike together, clash, conflict, contend, fight (whence the frequentative conflictāre), < con- together + flīgĕre to strike. No corresponding verb is recorded in French dicts.; Italian has confliggere, conflissi, conflitto. (OED, 2015)

Sometimes when we are embroiled in conflict, we want to de-escalate the situation in order to reach a better outcome. How do we de-escalate and avoid fanning the flames? In this brown bag workshop, we will consider ten steps towards de-escalating conflict.

Polyocularity: Multiple Points of View?

A polymath and creative thinker, Magoroh Maruyama coined the word ‘polyocularity.’ Maruyama has taught and written extensively on innovative ideas across disciplines and linguistic barriers.

How do we see and understand things from different angles, and how can polyocularity apply to a wider understanding of different points of view in conflictual situations? Sometimes we build a strong story that does not allow the consideration and movement of other perspectives and viewpoints. How can we alter our orientation for new understandings? In this gently facilitated brown bag workshop we will discuss points of view and polyocularity with ideas drawn from Maruyama, Akutagawa, Berger and others.

Dignity Arising - A Dialogue on Dignity

The word dignity has ancient origins from the Latin dignitāt-em merit, worth, < dignus worthy (OED).

A yearning for dignity is increasingly expressed in ombudsing, but what do we mean by human dignity? Why does it matter?  How can we cultivate it? Concepts of dignity seem to transcend cultural and other boundaries. The scholar Donna Hicks lists inclusion and acceptance of identity among the essential elements of dignity. This brown bag lunch will provide a gently facilitated, participatory dialogue on ideas of dignity drawn from Donna Hicks, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Max DePree and others. 

"We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion. And in giving each other the gift of space, we need also to offer the gifts of grace and beauty to which each of us is entitled."  Max DePree  

Craft of Cooperation - A Lunch Workshop on Cultivating Civility and Everyday Diplomacy 

We often talk about collaboration and cooperation - two related constructive processes. There is increasing emphasis in higher education for both cooperation and collaboration as we work together and share resources. The National Institutes of Health and other research institutions have promoted funding initiatives for Team Science and interdisciplinary teams. But real collaboration and cooperation can be very challenging. We will engage with the following central questions: What does it take to collaborate? What does it take to cooperate?

The sociologist Richard Sennett talks about Cooperation as a craft that can be learned and honed. This interactive brown bag workshop will provide tools on cooperation and collaboration with ideas drawn from Richard Sennett, Team Science research and others. Workshop materials provided.    

"In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed."  - Charles Darwin