Reese Appointed to Bowdoin’s New Ombuds Position

By Bowdoin News

Jacqueline M. Reese has been named ombuds at Bowdoin College following a national search to fill this new position embodying a confidential, neutral, and impartial resource who will listen to faculty and staff concerns, foster communications, and assist in navigating appropriate resources in pursuit of equitable resolutions.

Jacqueline M. Reese
Jacqueline M. Reese

Reese comes to Bowdoin from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, where she has served in a number of roles of increasing responsibility for nearly twenty years, most recently as associate director of student access services, in which she directed the strategic planning, development, and implementation of the vision and goals for services around issues of student access, including conflict management and alternative dispute resolution, accessibility accommodations, and policy evaluations and improvements.

While reporting directly to the president of the College, the ombuds will maintain the highest levels of confidentiality and independence as aligned with the Standards of Practice and the Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsperson Association.

Reese will be responsible for providing guidance and understanding of the College’s policies, procedures, resources, and options and offer a safe, respectful, and confidential space for faculty and staff to discuss challenges and issues, ask questions, and consider options while identifying how decisions might impact all involved.

She will also empower individuals to resolve conflicts for themselves through confidential processes such as conflict resolution coaching, problem-solving, and facilitated conversations, mediations, or meetings with individuals or within groups and conduct outreach and training to educate staff and faculty about the role of and services provided by the ombuds.

“I am particularly inspired by what is clearly a heartfelt commitment to supporting the work of the ombuds office, as demonstrated by each and every member of the Bowdoin community I’ve met thus far,” Reese said. “I’m excited to begin this new chapter of my career and look forward to joining the Bowdoin community this fall.”

Reese earned an associate of arts degree in communication at Georgia State University, a bachelor of interdisciplinary studies degree with focuses on writing, sociology, and information technology at Georgia Southern University, and a master’s degree in peace studies and conflict resolution at Kennesaw State University. 

“I’m excited about both this new role and Jackie’s appointment because I know she believes, as I do, that we can build an even more inclusive community at Bowdoin by better responding to and resolving the conflicts that inevitably arise,” said Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Diversity Benje Douglas.

“Conflict resolution is an inclusion practice and doing it well will benefit all employees and ultimately have a powerful impact on students as well. I look forward to Jackie’s leadership, humor, warmth, and sense of purpose in doing this work.”

Reese’s appointment follows a search by a committee comprising the following:

  • Dallas Denery, professor of history and associate dean of curriculum 
  • Benje Douglas, senior vice president for inclusion and diversity
  • Bill Harwood, associate director of safety and security
  • Shawn Gerwig, conservation technician, Bowdoin Library 
  • Delmar Small, concert, budget, and equipment manager 
  • Tama Spoerri, vice president of human resources

“For many years, the College has had dedicated workplace advisors who did a really good job in a quasi-ombuds role, but I am thrilled that Jackie will be joining Bowdoin as a true ombuds,” said Spoerri.

“As an impartial, neutral resource, she will fill an existing void for staff and faculty as a confidential listener who can help navigate challenging workplace concerns.”  

Reese begins her new role at Bowdoin on September 1, 2023.