University of Wisconsin–Madison

Who We Are

The UW-Madison Ombuds Office is a place where university employees can seek guidance regarding workplace concerns at any time, without fear of reprisal, and at no cost to them. Ombuds confidentially receive questions and concerns related to individual situations as well as broader systemic issues. The response of the ombuds is tailored to the dynamics of the situation and the nature of the concerns. Ombuds assist parties in reaching resolutions that are consistent with the ideals and objectives of the university.

The Ombuds Office is part of the university’s efforts to enhance diversity and climate, and was developed from recommendations from the Committee on Women in the University and the Provost’s Campus Climate Network, as well as other governance bodies. The Ombuds Office was established in 2003.

The Ombuds Office employs retired faculty and staff who work part-time as a team of consultants. There are five individuals who share these responsibilities and who report to the provost.

Important qualifications for Ombuds include:

  • Knowledge of university policies and resources
  • Extensive cross-campus experience
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to be objective and impartial



223-225 Lowell Center
610 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53703

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Current Ombuds

Michael (Mike) Ashmore

Mike Ashmore retired from the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH) in 2015 after nearly 30 years in service to the State of Wisconsin. Mike capped off his career as a program assistant supervisor in SMPH Academic Affairs Office. Areas of expertise were fiscal and payroll, plus knowledge of human resources policies and procedures. Prior to working at SMPH, Mike was employed as a financial specialist in UW-Extension Family Living Programs.
Working at UW-Madison afforded Mike the opportunity to interact professionally with all classifications of university employees as well as UW students.
Prior to UW employment, Mike worked with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) in Kenosha, Platteville, Tomah, Madison and Green Bay. One of Mike’s most interesting duties at DOT was administering behind the wheel road tests to new drivers.
Mike has a long history of volunteer service in his local community, school and church. In his spare time Mike likes to dabble in all things automotive.

John Dowling

John Dowling is senior university legal counsel emeritus, having retired from the Office of Legal Affairs in July 2014. During his 18+ years at UW-Madison, John’s legal practice touched almost every aspect of the university. He was always involved in employment matters, working on a daily basis with all levels of the university’s administration, faculty and staff, including the chancellor’s office, the provost, vice chancellors, deans and directors.
In addition to employment matters, John’s work at UW-Madison included serving as the primary contact for public records and open meetings, constitutional issues, and policies on the use of university facilities. For many years, he also served as the primary legal advisor for the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.
During his career, John served on many committees of the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA) and made many presentations to legal colleagues and other university administrators. In his retirement, John has reinvigorated his lifelong love of music, playing the double bass and serving on the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras (WYSO).

Ann Hoyt

Ann retired in 2014 after nearly 30 years as a professor in consumer science and UW-Extension. She taught retailing finance for many years and was a founder of the financial life skills courses available to all students on campus. Her extension work and research focused on consumer cooperatives, with an emphasis on governance and management particularly in food cooperatives and cooperatives in international development.
On campus, Ann chaired the Department of Consumer Science from 2011-2013 and served on the Social Sciences Divisional Committee. From 2006-2009 she was a member of the University Committee and was chair for the academic year 2008-2009. With Robert Matthew, she established the Faculty-Staff Great People Scholarship and went on to co-chair the University Foundation’s Campaign from Within Committee to raise funds for the scholarship.
Ann is an emeritus director of the UW Credit Union, a senior consultant for the Overseas Cooperative Development Council and board president of Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin.

Jean Petersen

Jean Petersen retired in 2014 after 31 years of service. Jean worked in the Genetics Department in two major capacities. For the first half of her service, she was a lab manager and research specialist in a Genetics lab studying a variety of aspects of the human immune system. Jean retired as the senior student services coordinator where she was a primary adviser for the Genetics undergraduates and graduate students and a recruiter of graduate students. She enjoyed helping the next generation of scientists be successful.
Jean is excited to join the ombuds team in providing service to the university community.
Since 1987 Jean has volunteered with the Boy Scouts. She started as den leader for her son and for many years chaired Cub Scouts summer camping programs. She currently mentors older Scouts in their leadership skills.

Charles (Chuck) Snowdon

Charles (Chuck) Snowdon retired as Hilldale professor of psychology in 2012 after spending his entire career (44 years) at UW. His research focused on paternal care, development, cognition and communication in cooperatively breeding primates, combining laboratory and field research. He has been PI on NIH and NSF grants for more than 30 years, and has served on grant review committees for both agencies. He has also been editor in chief of two major journals in his field of biological psychology.
On campus Chuck has served two three-year terms on the Social Studies Divisional Committee, a term on the Graduate School Research Committee, several terms on the Letters and Science Animal Care and Use Committee. From 2001 to 2005 he was chair of the Psychology Department and from 2007-2012 was director of the Letters and Science Honors Program. In retirement he served as the founding chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee for International Academic Programs.
Chuck enjoys music, dance and theater and serves as secretary of the Madison Opera and teaches Scottish country dance for the Madison Community School Recreation Program.

Former Ombuds

  • Rosa Garner
  • Dale Burke
  • Steven (Steve) Bauman
  • Ann Burgess
  • Jo Ann Carr
  • Peg Davey
  • Ted Finman
  • Sandra (Sandy) Guthrie
  • Roger Howard
  • Christopher (Chris) Kleinhenz
  • John Mather
  • Linda Newman
  • Richard (Rich) Ralston
  • Thomas (Tom) Schaub
  • Doris Slesinger
  • Kathryn (Kay) Simmons
  • Jane Voichick
  • Patricia (Pat) Wolleat