Clemson benefits greatly by the quiet, but critical work of its two ombuds — Gordon Halfacre for faculty and students and Allison Monyei for staff. The two, along with Glenda Dickson who provides the two ombuds administrative support, represent an important office at the University.
Halfacre and Monyei are designated neutral and confidential resources available to those faculty and staff who may want to privately discuss concerns they encounter in the workplace in order to explore options available for addressing those concerns.
A recent hire to the position of ombuds for staff at Clemson, Allison Monyei is driven by the fact that her role allows her to advocate for fairness and equitable treatment. “I am able to coach staff members and to build their confidence to approach conversations with their supervisors in a positive way,” said Monyei.
“During my meetings, which are confidential of course, I remain neutral. I coach staff to have clear, concise and confident conversations. I’m also able to provide information about resources that assist them with the process of resolving workplace issues.”
By comparison, Gordon Halfacre has been the ombuds for faculty and students since the position started at Clemson in 1998. “Our role at the University brings about a certain ‘calmness’ to the institution,” said Halfacre. “Visitors to our office are afforded the time to reflect on the full and complete situation. We listen objectively.”
The average visit to the Ombuds Office lasts more than an hour and a half. Listening truly takes time, but it’s time well spent according to both Halfacre and Monyei. “It’s our job to listen, and thankfully the University has provided this office to its faculty, staff and students,” said Halfacre. Monyei agrees. “Supervisors across campus are truly busy, and so it’s really important to have our positions so that we can spend the time it takes to establish a sense of calm in the approach to resolution,” says Monyei. “We need an office that allows people to achieve their own resolutions, whether it’s through mediation, conflict coaching, guided conversations, facilitation or just simply being a sounding board.”
All members of the Clemson University community have the right to consult the ombuds, and retaliation for consulting an ombuds is not tolerated. To provide anonymity for visitors, the Ombuds Office is located a quick drive from Clemson’s main campus at 201 W Cherry Rd, Seneca, SC 29678. Explore more or call 864-656-5353 for Allison Monyei or 864-656-4353 for Gordon Halfacre.
Mark Your Calendar for October Events
The Association for Conflict Resolution has designated October as a time to promote and celebrate peaceful conflict resolution practices worldwide. The month will provide an opportunity to learn more about how dedicated dispute resolution practitioners like Clemson’s ombuds provide mediation and other innovative conflict management processes.
International Ombuds Day
Thursday, Oct. 10 — the American Bar Association’s International Ombuds Day is designed to increase awareness of the services provided by ombuds while acknowledging the evolution of a profession that has existed for centuries. This year’s theme is Ombuds: Unusual Name. Important Service.
- 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Clemson’s staff ombuds will provide information for faculty, staff and students while moving between Core Campus, Douthit Hills Hub, Daniel Hall, Vickery Plaza, and the Hendrix Center while establishing visiting areas in each location to engage with faculty, staff, and students. Information, brochures and swag items. will be provided, and visitors can enter a drawing to win door prizes.
Conflict Resolution Week
Oct. 13 – 19 — Conflict Resolution Week
- 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Hendrix Student Center, the Ombuds Office will have a table at the Pro Benefits EXPO, educating attendees about the office as a resource.
About Clemson’s Ombuds
Gordon Halfacre, Ph.D., an Alumni Distinguished Professor, is the University’s ombuds for faculty and students. Independence, neutrality, and confidentiality have characterized his work as ombuds in the role as shuttle diplomat, mediator and coach. He is a full member of the International Ombudsman Association and served on the IOA Boards from 2005-2007 and is a former board member of the now-defunct University and College Ombuds Association. Halfacre earned his B.S. and M.S. in Horticulture from Clemson University and his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He also holds a M.L.A. in Landscape Architecture from North Carolina State University. Prior to becoming the first ombuds at Clemson in 1998, Halfacre had a successful career as a landscape architect, horticulturist, and educator and served as president of the Faculty Senate.
Allison Monyei, J.D., is the University’s ombuds for staff. Monyei earned her Juris Doctorate from Mercer University School of Law and has trained extensively as a mediator, facilitator, and conflict coach. She holds the distinction of being certified by the Mediation Training Institute as a trainer in workplace conflict resolution. Prior to joining Clemson, she was the associate ombudsman at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products. Before becoming an ombuds, she worked as an attorney for the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), advocating on behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families.
Allison is an active member of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and the American Bar Association (ABA).
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