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Class Notes: North Georgia names Walter ombudsman
Tom Walter

University of North Georgia Vice President of Student Affairs Tom Walter has been selected as the ombudsman for faculty and staff.

He will continue serving in the vice president position until his replacement is named; at that time, he will transition to his new role.

“I am excited about the new role because of the opportunities it presents to help others,” Walter said in a news release. “An ombudsman serves in a neutral capacity to help faculty and staff members resolve conflicts and solve problems. I have been helping students in these areas for three decades and look forward to providing this kind of support for university employees.”

He began working in student affairs with the former Gainesville State College in 1989 and was named vice president for student affairs when the college consolidated with North Georgia College & State University in 2013.

In addition to his administrative roles, Walter has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has been active in numerous professional and community organizations.

“Dr. Walter’s background and training are well aligned with this position, which provides faculty and staff with an informal and confidential means to discuss and address issues,” University President Bonita Jacobs said. “I am pleased that he will take on this new role with the university.”

In this role, Walter will be asked to listen to staff and faculty concerns, problems and other issues while working to find a resolution. The current ombudsman is Michael Stapleton, who is continuing to serve in the role until Walter can take over.

Stapleton retired in November 2013 from his position as director of public safety, after 12 years in that role.

Gainesville contemplates adding makeup days for faculty, staff

After losing four days in January due to inclement weather, Gainesville school board members have discussed the possibility of adding days back in to help employees make up days they have missed.

“Here’s my concern in this order,” board member Sammy Smith said at the Monday work session of the board. “We’ve lost four instruction days in a month, and then we have employees who are not being paid because they must work to be paid on instruction days.”

Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said individual schools are putting plans into place so all faculty and staff members will receive pay for days missed.

“We are taking steps where they will get their full pay,” she said. “As long as there’s a plan to make up the days, no one is not getting paid.”

Some of the plans discussed include longer hours in the afternoons, or working Saturdays. Plans are set to be presented to board members at the Feb. 17 meeting.

Carly Sharec covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: