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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Thomas Nelson

First Committee Member

Angela Dash

Second Committee Member

Heidi Stevenson

Third Committee Member

Marilyn Draheim


Current research indicates that abrasive conduct or incivility is on the rise in higher education and Ombuds are in a unique position to address this behavior. By applying transcendental phenomenological methodology to examine Ombuds experience when handling these types of cases and how the complex structures of higher education impact what they do, this study provides insights into how other institutions and organizations can address the rise in abrasive conduct amongst university faculty, staff and students. I interviewed ten university Ombuds experienced with cases of incivility, and I asked them open-ended questions regarding how they define and identify abrasive conduct. I also asked them questions regarding their roles and how they work within the structure of academia. I analyzed the data gathered from these interviews using Moustakas’ (1994) modification of the Van Kaam Method. Four common themes emerged from the data analysis. The four theses are listed below:

  1. The Visitor’s story is the Ombuds experience
  2. How Ombuds define and identify abrasive conduct
  3. The powerful impact of the academic structure
  4. Guiding dynamics and the role of the Ombuds

The results of this research provide insight to Ombuds and organizations regarding how the Ombuds role can help identify, address and prevent abrasive conduct.



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