Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

September 7, 2006

Contact: Eric Gerber
713.743.8189 (office)

Teri Elkins Longacre Will Confidentially Advise Faculty, Staff and Help Resolve Disputes

HOUSTON, Sept. 7, 2006 – Teri Elkins Longacre, an associate professor of management, has been named ombudsperson at the University of Houston, the first person to hold the newly created position.

As ombudsperson, Longacre will confidentially advise faculty and staff members regarding issues related to their employment with the university. As a neutral third party, the ombudsperson will not act as an advocate for any individual or for the university, but rather provide faculty and staff members with an informal mechanism for addressing workplace conflicts, questions and concerns. The ombudsperson will not participate in any formal grievance process, conduct formal investigations, provide legal advice or engage in administrative decisions.

“Like a growing number of companies and educational institutions, the University of Houston has taken a proactive approach to identifying and resolving employment-related concerns by creating the position of faculty and staff ombudsperson,” Longacre said. “As a supplement to other organizational resources, an ombudsperson can be a valuable asset by serving as an early warning system and helping to effect positive change. I am honored to have been selected for this position and excited about serving the university in this important role. In providing ombuds services, I hope to promote fairness and foster a positive work environment at the university by offering informal, neutral and confidential mechanisms for early conflict resolution and problem-solving.”

The ombudsperson position was created following recommendations from both the Faculty Senate and the Staff Council. The appointment is for a two-year term with the possibility of renewal by mutual agreement.

Longacre was appointed by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Donald J. Foss, who announced the creation of the position last spring, invited applicants, and convened a search committee to review candidates. The search committee was chaired by UH Law Center Professor Raymond Britton and included faculty and staff members. The committee recommended three candidates to Foss, who made the final selection.

Longacre earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Management from UH in 1995 and a J.D. from the UH Law Center in 1997. She joined the UH faculty as a visiting assistant professor in 1995 and was named associate professor at the Bauer College of Business in 2003.

“I am very pleased for the campus that Professor Longacre is willing to serve as the inaugural holder of this important campus position,” Foss said. “Her professional background suits her well for this role, and she has already demonstrated a commitment to it. I’m looking forward to getting her ongoing input on how we can improve policies and practices on the campus.”

Services provided by the ombudsperson may include making referrals to appropriate university resources, helping faculty and staff analyze complaints by identifying issues and outlining available options, coaching employees in addressing and managing conflict, facilitating communication, and mediating conflict at the request of disputing parties. Periodically, the ombudsperson will review patterns of concerns and may provide the university’s president and provost with suggested changes to policies and procedures that could eliminate or reduce recurring workplace problems, enhance the effectiveness of university resources, or increase the quality of work life for university employees.

Ombudsperson Longacre can now be reached via e-mail at and by phone at

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH visit the university’s ‘Newsroom’ at