Austin Named Director of Ombuds Office

Austin Named Director of Ombuds Office
Dr. Lavada Austin

A former director of Cal Poly Pomona's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Dr. Lavada Austin has been named by President Michael Ortiz to return as the director of the Ombuds Office. Her new appointment begins July 31.

“This is an extraordinary challenge and I am delighted to return to a campus that shares my values,” said Austin. “Glenda Brock built the foundation of this position and I look forward to continue to elevate the important role of the Ombuds for our faculty, staff and students.”

The Office of the Ombuds is designed to provide the campus community with advisement on concerns or issues and independent counsel for conflict resolution. Austin had led CAPS for 10 years before segueing to her most recent charge as faculty and the coordinator of Psychological Services at Santa Monica College. She replaces charter director Dr. Glenda Brock, who recently retired from the university.

At Santa Monica College, Austin helped develop innovative programs to enhance student success, for example, by working with the International Education Center, the Latino Center and the Black Collegians Program. She also consulted with the college on mental health issues, created and co-chaired the college's Crisis Prevention Team and was a member of the Emergency Preparedness team and Emergency Operations Committee.

“It's a great day for Cal Poly Pomona,” said President Michael Ortiz. “Lavada's experience in counseling and conflict resolution makes her a natural fit for our Ombuds program. She is also well-versed in the campus culture, making her transition that much easier. It's good to welcome her back home.”

In addition to her administrative career, Austin has tremendous experience as in the practical field, having worked as a psychologist at UC Irvine and UC Riverside, chief psychologist and coordinator of Mental Health Services for the Watts Health Foundation in Los Angeles, and as an independent private practitioner since 1993.

Austin received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology from Southern Illinois University. For her undergraduate studies, she attended UC Irvine, where she received a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Located in Building 1, room 106, the Ombuds Office is open to all students, staff or faculty. Confidentiality and neutrality is of the utmost importance for anyone who uses the service.  People who use the office can expect to be listened to and advised on methods of conflict resolution. If people using the service so choose, the person or persons they are having problems with can be brought into the fold for mediation.

The office will not replace or circumvent pre-existing procedures for filing grievances. For example, if a student, staff or faculty member feels they have been racially discriminated against; they would be encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Diversity and Compliance.

The Ombuds Office is independent of the Office of the President; however trends will be reported. If an issue is brought to the attention of the president, confidentiality will continue to be honored.