Tom Patrick, a long-time teaching professor at the West Virginia University College of Law and a trained mediator, has been appointed faculty ombudsman to the university after a regional search.

In this role, Patrick reports directly to WVU Provost Joyce McConnell and is charged with providing confidential and informal assistance to all faculty members of the university community. In accordance with the code of ethics and standards of practice of the International Ombudsman Association, he will not advocate for individual faculty members or for the university, but will serve as a source of information and referral, aid in answering individual questions, and assist in the resolution of concerns and critical situations. His office will supplement, but does not replace, the university’s existing resources for formal conflict resolution.

In making the appointment, McConnell called Patrick “absolutely the best candidate” for this new position.

“Tom stood out by virtue of both his experience with the ombudsman role and his passion for the work of an ombudsman,” McConnell said. “He truly understands the value that this role—and the office—can bring to our campus in terms of helping faculty navigate what can be a complex and daunting system.”

Patrick, whose appointment is already in effect, will have an office in Purinton House on the WVU main campus and be available to faculty members by appointment, via phone or email, and for office consultation (hours available soon).

“I am delighted to begin service as WVU’s first ombuds,” Patrick said. “The office will offer conflict coaching and mediation; in addition, it will provide a safe place where any WVU faculty, staff, administrator, or student can discuss in confidence any University-related conflict, issue, or concern.”

To contact the new Ombudsman Office at WVU, call 304.293.6338 or email



CONTACT: Ann Claycomb; Office of the Provost

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