Everyday Hero: Dolores Gomez-Moran

Posted: August 19, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

Dolores Gomez-Moran

Name: Dolores Gomez-Moran

Title: Ombudsman for Student Academic Affairs

Years at Mason: 10

First Position at Mason: Program coordinator for the Office of Diversity Programs and Services. The ombudsman position was created in 1998.

What She Can Tell You about Her Job: As ombudsman, Gomez-Moran is an unbiased neutral party who listens to student academic concerns, provides advice and referrals, and helps students to resolve academic conflicts. An ombudsman is an “informal investigator” that has access to all the academic records at the university. From grade appeals to transfers, from withdrawals to suspensions, from financial aid to student accounts, Gomez-Moran has heard it all. “Students need to know what the policies are, and it is my job to educate them on these policies, as well as to show them how to navigate the system so they can address their academic concerns in the best possible manner.”

What She Can’t Tell You about Her Job: Who comes to see her or what they say while there. She operates independent of all university departments, cannot overturn academic actions, participate in any formal grievance procedures, or provide legal advice. Her lips–and her records–are sealed.

Her Other Duties: Gomez-Moran is also an associate director of Student Academic Affairs where she is responsible for developing exit interviews for students leaving George Mason. She also teaches University 100 courses to international students, and is a member of several committees around campus. This academic year, she will have a student from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution working with her under a graduate research assistantship focusing on promoting and expanding the University Conflict Resolution Project. One of Gomez-Moran’s most important tasks in her ombudsman role is to write a yearly report where she makes suggestions for policy changes based on the kinds of issues and concerns she sees in her dealings with students.

Difficult Part of the Job: Gomez-Moran believes that the most challenging part of her job is to make people understand what an ombudsman is. Also, she has to deal with the wide range of emotions students exhibit when they come see her. “Because they are coming here with an issue of concern, many students are angry or crying or upset when they come see me.” Gomez-Moran also has a portable alarm for security, which would make a loud wail should it ever be pulled. (It has yet to be needed.)

Proud of: Coming to the United States at age 25 from her home country, Spain, without knowing a word of English. Gomez-Moran took one year to learn English, and then got her master’s degree in counseling psychology with a concentration in organizational studies from Boston College two years later. She received a scholarship from the Spanish government that fully paid for her master’s degree.

Memorable Moments at Mason: In 1996, Gomez-Moran brought Rigoberta Menchú Tum, winner of the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize, to speak at Mason. Two years later, Gomez-Moran coordinated a visit from world-renowned opera singer Plácido Domingo during Hispanic Heritage Month and had the pleasure of introducing him in the Concert Hall.

Off the Clock: She can be found working out at the gym, raising her two children, oil painting, or Salsa dancing with her husband. She also loves reading.

In an Alternate Universe, Her Career Would Be: Owning her own travel agency. “I love to travel. I love traveling to new places and seeing how different people live. I’ve been fortunate to work in different places and cultures in my life, and it’s one of the greatest pleasures.”

What People Are Saying About Dolores Gomez-Moran:

“I am a new employee at George Mason University. Dolores has been resourceful and has helped to ease my transition to Mason. She has been generous with her time when I have had questions about Mason, and is genuine, accessible, and well informed about the university. She cares about the Mason community and people and takes great delight in seeing others achieve their goals and success.”

–Erek Perry, Director of University Scholars and associate director of Student Academic Affairs

“Dolores truly cares about people–she loves to learn from them and to help them in whatever way she possibly can. Her patience and open mindedness are unparalleled. She is perfectly suited to the role of university ombudsman.”

–Elizabeth Patten, Director of the Freshman Center and associate director of Student Academic Affairs

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