Faculty Senate announces election of new University Ombudsperson

July 01, 2010

Penn State's Faculty Senate has announced the election of Deborah F. Atwater, associate professor emerita of communication arts and sciences and African and African-American Studies, to the position of University Ombudsperson. Atwater will assume this position on July 1, 2010, succeeding David (Duff) Gold, professor emeritus of geology, who has served as the interim University Ombudsperson since February 2009.

In addition to her faculty responsibilities, Atwater served as head of the Department of African and African-American Studies from 1996 to 2000. From 1988 until June 1995 she was senior faculty mentor in the Center for Minority Graduate Opportunities and Faculty Development. In that role she worked with junior minority faculty to enhance their intellectual and professional growth through a wide range of mentoring, counseling and peer development activities. Atwater has extensive University service, including serving on several department, college and University-wide committees. Additionally, she served eight years as a Liberal Arts Faculty Senator and three years as an elected member of the Senate Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities.

Atwater's research and scholarly interests are in the areas of, but not limited to, Black rhetoric, African-American Women's rhetoric, and organizational and intercultural communication. She is past president of the Eastern Communication Association. Her works include more than 30 articles and book chapters, and two books, one titled "The Rhetoric of Black Mayors: In Their Own Words," to be published in August 2010.

The University Ombudsperson coordinates the training of all college and campus ombudspersons and serves as the University-level contact for all unit ombudspersons. The University Ombudsperson reports periodically to Senate Council and maintains liaison with the Office of the University Provost and the Office of Human Resources.

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Last Updated January 10, 2015