Signing the official terms of her role today, the University of Wollongong has a new Student Ombudsman in Associate Professor Samantha Hardy.

The new role is an amalgamation of various conflict management positions including the Dean of Students, which previously lay within the university but is now completely separate from the administration.

A small gathering of faculty staff and administration, including the Vice-Chancellor Academic Eeva Leinonen, officially welcomed A/Prof. Hardy to the position before she signed the terms of her position.

The new Student Ombudsman Samantha Hardy, signing the terms of her appointment with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Eeva Leinonen

The new Student Ombudsman Samantha Hardy, signing the terms of her appointment with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Eeva Leinonen

A/Prof. Hardy noted in a brief speech the importance of an independent officer to handle conflict resolution and academic complaints from students.

“The University can’t direct me in the decisions that I make. [The independence of my role] allows me some freedom to go and ask questions and talk to people without having to worry about consequences. I think it gives students and staff the confidence to come and talk to me because they know that it will be confidential and they will be treated fairly and impartially,” she said.

A/Prof. Hardy also said the role will allow her to identify areas where communications between staff and students can be improved.

“I can help the university to improve their policies and procedures when things aren’t working very well for the students,” she said.

If you have an academic complaint you can contact the Student Ombudsman via email: student-ombudsman@uow.edu.au or on campus in Building 19-003.

BELOW: UOWTV Multimedia mobile reporter Sydney Pead broadcasts an interview with A/Prof. Hardy live to our Twitter feed.

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