Tessa Byer of Cambridge, Massachusetts, has been named University ombuds for staff. She will begin working at Clemson in August.
The ombuds for staff provides independent, confidential dispute-resolution support to staff members. The assistance is informal and is an alternative to formal administrative processes, supplementing, but not replacing them. The ombuds assists in clarifying employees’ concerns and helps provide options for resolving them, including coaching in strategies and skills they can use or referring them to other resources.
“With training and experience in ombudsry, mediation, and conflict resolution, Tessa Byer brings significant talent to Clemson. Coupled with her familiarity with higher education, she makes a perfect addition to our ombuds staff,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Bob Jones.
From 2016 to 2020, Byer was a mediator and then a program manager at Just-A-Start Corporation, which promotes access to stable housing and builds pathways to economic opportunity in Cambridge. Since 2015, she has also been an independent coach, divorce and permanency mediator, conflict resolution trainer, restorative justice facilitator and ombuds consultant.
Byer graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Social Entrepreneurship and minor in Biblical Languages from Belmont University in Nashville. She earned a Master of Community Planning degree from Auburn University and a Master of Arts in Coexistence and Conflict from Brandeis University. Byer was also an adjunct professor of mediation at Brandeis.
The ombuds for staff works in conjunction with the ombuds for faculty and students to identify systemic issues and trends causing conflict at the University and works with an advisory committee to explore ways to address system concerns.
“I am coming to Clemson with my husband, Brett, my 4-year-old son, Zeke, and my 1-year-old daughter, Havilah,” Byer said. “I am excited to return to the South and to begin serving the Clemson community in the ombuds office. I look forward to meeting with staff members about their major dilemmas, their minor questions, and everything in between.”
Learn more about the ombuds’ roles here. The University ombuds offices are located at The Pier at 201 W. Cherry Road.