UCAR Ombuds Office


Who We Are

Wendy Abshire

Ombuds Wendy Abshire

Wendy has been a UCAR employee for over 30 years.  She has worked at NCAR in radar meteorology research and field projects and has been a part of the COMET Program in UCAR’s Community Programs since 1990. Wendy completed the UCAR Leadership Program in 2004 and the Supervisory Certificate Program in 2007. She has experienced UCAR through many different roles and responsibilities and finds mentoring students and staff deeply rewarding. She is a member of the International Ombuds Association and practices to the code of ethics and standards of the Association. Wendy's contact information


Loretta Quinn

Ombuds Loretta Quinn

Loretta has been a UCAR employee for 20 years. As a project coordinator for the Joint Office for Science Support, a UCAR Community Program, she plans, manages, and oversees the logistics of domestic and international conferences from beginning to end. She has served on numerous UCAR management and vendor review teams and chaired the re-engineering committee for UCAR’s internal event management process. A graduate of UCAR’s Leadership Academy in 2004, Loretta has also been recognized with an incentive award for creating a new online resource for UCAR meeting planners. She recently completed the Foundations Course of the International Ombudsman Association.  She is a member of the International Ombuds Association and practices to the code of ethics and standards of the Association. Loretta's contact information


Ombuds Dick Valent

Ombuds Dick Valent

Dick has been an employee at NCAR for nearly 40 years. He worked in the Consulting Services Group, specializing in math software support, almost his entire career, and is now a casual employee in that group.  Dick completed the UCAR Leadership program in 2003.  His background is largely listening to computer users, and providing guidance in helping them resolve problems. He believes these skills will be useful in the context of the UCAR Ombuds Office. He is a member of the International Ombuds Association and practices to the code of ethics and standards of the Association. Dick's contact information 


What is an Ombuds at UCAR?

An Ombuds is an independent person who offers informal assistance to employees and visitors to help resolve issues related to their employment or appointment at UCAR. While there are established avenues to address most issues (see UCAR's Problem Resolution Policy http://www.fin.ucar.edu/polpro/section6/6-8.html), employees and visitors may want to discuss options with a neutral person and the Ombuds fills this role. Issues that can be handled through normal procedures do not need to be brought to the Ombuds.

The Ombuds is not a member of management or an agent of record for UCAR. Talking to the Ombuds does not constitute formal notice to UCAR. The Ombuds is an independent, neutral resource.  You may seek advice from the Ombuds in confidence before deciding on what actions to take about any issue. If you want to put UCAR “on notice” about a particular issue or problem, the Ombuds will help you identify who to contact.

When should I contact the Ombuds?

  • to discuss a sensitive UCAR related issue
  • to help resolve conflict with another party at UCAR
  • to discuss which policies or procedures apply in a sensitive situation
  • if you feel a policy or procedure has been unfairly applied
  • if you don't know who to talk to, where to turn or what options are available


The Ombuds can:

  • listen to you 
  • help you define and consider options
  • help you resolve your issue informally
  • look into your problem, complaint, or concern
  • if you approve, initiate and facilitate discussions with other parties 
  • explain relevant policies and procedures
  • offer you referrals to other UCAR resources


The Ombuds cannot:

  • conduct formal investigations
  • change rules, policies, or procedures
  • participate in any formal hearing or grievance process
  • formally mediate conflicts
  • act as an advocate for you in a dispute
  • take sides or determine guilt or innocence in any issue
  • sanction any individual
  • provide legal representation or give legal advice
  • disclose information provided in confidence, except to address an imminent risk of serious harm where there is no other responsible option

Note: The UCAR Ombuds Charter provides a more complete description of the Ombuds role at NCAR.

Ombuds Principles


Confidentiality is expected of the Ombuds as well as of visitors to the Ombuds Office; it is essential to the Ombuds function.

Conversations with the Ombuds are confidential, and do not become part of any personnel record or file. The Ombuds Office maintains only statistical information such as the number of visitors, the frequency of different kinds of issues, and length of service. Except in the most extraordinary circumstances - such as threats to life or property - the Ombuds will not share information with a third party without the employee's written permission.


The Ombuds seek processes that are fair and equitable to all parties. The UCAR Ombuds Office provides an impartial and objective resource for its staff and visitors.


The UCAR Ombuds Office officially reports to the Board of Trustees and is independent of any UCAR management structure.

Notice to the Corporation

The Ombuds Office may assist in the informal resolution of concerns regarding a variety of issues, including sexual harassment and discrimination. Talking to an Ombuds does not constitute notice to UCAR, since the purpose of the Ombuds Office is to provide a confidential forum where different options may be considered. The Ombuds can provide the visitor with information about how a complaint may be made to the corporation.

Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice

The UCAR Ombuds Office operations are consistent with the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association


  • When was the UCAR Ombuds Office established?
    • The UCAR Board of Trustees approved the UCAR Ombuds Charter and the first Ombuds on 12 October 2009.
  • Whom do the UCAR Ombuds serve?
    • We serve UCAR employees and visitors.
  • What is the UCAR Ombuds record-keeping policy?
    • We keep as little identifying information as possible, and we retain any documentation for as short a period as possible. This information and documentation is kept locked, and then shredded when done. At UCAR, email is NOT private so we prefer that you use the phone to contact us if the matter requires privacy. No e-files will be kept on UCAR systems. If there are e-files, they will be kept for as short a period as possible on a thumb drive only.
  • To whom do the UCAR Ombuds report?
    • We report to the UCAR Board of Trustees.
  • What information will the Ombuds share?
    • No names, personal information or visit-related details will be shared. Only generic statistics will be reported to the UCAR Board of Trustees. These statistics include number of visitors, length of time from first visit to last interaction on same issues, frequency of different kinds of issues (e.g job conditions, relationships, information/assistance, other), and the number of sessions per visitor from initiation until the Ombuds are no longer involved.