Who We Are

Brief History

UNM Ombuds Services was originally created in 1994 as The Dispute Resolution Department.  In 2010, UNM created Ombuds Services for Staff and changed the name of this office accordingly.

The creation of Ombuds Services did not impact our fundamental mission.  It did, however, provide us with a title that connects us more obviously with the International Ombudsman Association (IOA).  Our ethical code and standards of practice are best expressed by the IOA.

Most of our higher education peer institutions also refer to their confidential, neutral, informal, and independent conflict management programs with the title of Ombuds.

A brief article: Overview of Ombuds from Scandinavian Origins to the Governments, Corporations, and Universities of America


Value to UNM

The work of Ombuds Services for Staff is a valuable workplace initiative that supports employees’ effort to reduce the human and organizational costs of conflict.  When UNM staff engage our services, we support them in building communication and collaboration which reduces the frequency and costs associated with on-going conflict and adversarial process.   

Our mission is to promote a culture of constructive conflict management on campus.

2020 Annual Report
2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report

Costs of Conflict by Rachel Yarrington (PDF link)



Staff Ombudsperson

JoEllen Ransom, J.D., CO-OP®
As Staff Ombuds, I support your efforts to build communication and collaboration.  My background includes work as a mediator (since 1987), lawyer, adjunct faculty, facilitator, hearing officer, trainer and constructive conflict management program designer/coordinator. In each of these roles, I am inspired by how effectively people can reduce human suffering and reduce the organizational costs of conflict by engaging in collaborative process.

The people who visit this office are taking a constructive approach to addressing workplace concerns. You have my respect and support in your efforts to be proactive about improving your situation in an informal and confidential setting. You also have my commitment to integrity in our work. jransom@unm.edu

Associate Ombuds

Anne Lightsey, CO-OP® 
I am fortunate to be a part of the UNM Ombuds Services for Staff team. Every day I see staff and their coworkers arrive for their Ombuds visit with a _______ (problem, question, conflict, goal, idea, etc.), and leave with their goals identified and prioritized, and with a game plan for how to more forward productively.

I also provide various workshops in communication skills which empower participants to enjoy improved teamwork and morale. I have been a mediator for over 30 years, am a certified Crucial Conversations® trainer and Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioner®.  As part of the Ombuds Services team, I feel privileged to witness the strength, creativity, and dedication of staff to make UNM a great place to work. alight01@unm.edu