Guidelines and Procedures for the School of Physics Concerns & Feedback Box
Last updated: 2023-01-24
The Concerns & Feedback Box is an anonymous digital method for students, staff, faculty, and all other constituencies in the Georgia Tech School of Physics to provide suggestions and feedback, or express concerns. It can be found as a link in this page in the School of Physics website:
No identifiable data is collected with the submissions. Submitters are given the option to provide identifying information if they wish.
The guidelines and procedures for the Concerns & Feedback Box are written and maintained by the SoP Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. The submissions are handled by the SoP Ombuds. The names of the Ombuds are included in the Concerns & Feedback webpage.
The School of Physics will always have two (2) ombudspeople – one (1) faculty member and one (1) staff member – who oversee the Concerns & Feedback Box and address all submissions. The Ombuds will always be assigned to be part of the DEI Committee, and are encouraged to complete DEI-related training available at the Institute level (e.g., implicit bias training, safe space training, QPR training, or similar).
The Ombuds serve staggered terms of two (2) academic years, to ensure continuity and institutional memory.
Ombuds selection process
The procedure for selecting Ombuds is as follows:
- In the second half of the Spring semester, the Chair(s) of the DEI Committee will create an anonymous online form that will be sent to all students (graduate and undergraduate) in the SoP. The form will explain the role of the Ombuds and include an initial list of all current faculty and staff members of the DEI Committee, from which students are asked to select all the people they would feel comfortable with being Ombuds, plus an additional space for students to write in the names of other faculty and staff they would like to nominate. The form is sent by the School Chair to the student mailing lists, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and remains open for a period of one (1) week.
- When the form is closed, the Chair(s) of the DEI Committee compile a list of the top 10 candidates, and then contactsthe candidates and inquire if they are interested in the Ombuds position. Candidates who are interested must respond within one (1) week with the following information:
- That they are interested and available to serve in the role of Ombuds for two (2) academic years, which includes being part of the DEI Committee
- Why they are interested in serving in the role of Ombuds
- What training(s) they have participated in or plan to participate in soon (and dates) that qualifies them for the role of Ombuds, or other information that qualifies them for the position
- The Chair(s) of the DEI Committee then compile a final list of candidates who are interested, available, and qualified, and sends it to the SoP Chair.
- The SoP Chair sends an anonymous form to the full SoP mailing list, firstname.lastname@example.org, for a final ranked-choice vote to take place. The voting form is open for one (1) week.
- The SoP chair announces the newly selected Ombuds and puts them in contact with the chair(s) of the DEI Committee.
If no one is nominated or interested in the position, the responsibility of selecting an Ombuds falls to the DEI committee, to choose from among its faculty and staff members.
Collecting the submissions
The two Ombuds will have access to the Qualtrics data that is submitted to the Concerns & Feedback Box, which they will receive via email in weekly digests. The Ombuds will meet once a week to review and discuss the received submissions and decide the optimal course of action for each submission.
Submissions reporting harassment, discrimination, assault, or intent to harm or self-harm, need to be forwarded to the appropriate Georgia Tech authorities (e.g., Title IX, GTPD).
The Ombuds will keep documentation of the types of submissions received (e.g., concerns over microaggressions), but not details or specifics about the submissions, for statistical purposes. The Ombuds will delete all submissions from Qualtrics at the end of each semester (end of Fall, end of Spring, end of Summer). No permanent record of the submissions will be kept by the Ombuds, since data deleted from Qualtrics is unrecoverable more than 30 days after deletion.
What happens to the submissions
Each submission received is reviewed and discussed by the Ombuds, who will exercise their best judgment to determine an appropriate course of action and bring the submissions to the attention of the relevant parties as needed.
If someone wants to submit a concern about one of the Ombuds, they should contact the SoP Chair directly.
In cases where the Ombuds are unsure of the best course of action, then they can take the concern to the Associate Vice Provost for Conflict Resolution. It is expected that the Ombuds will use their best judgment when addressing submitted concerns.
At the end of each academic year, the Ombuds will compile a brief summary of the types of submissions received. This will be discussed within the DEI Committee and later presented in a faculty meeting to bring awareness and ensure transparency.