George Mason University: George Mason University chooses experienced administrator trained in mediation as ombudsperson

George Mason University has named Kimberly Davidson as University Ombudsperson, a new position within the university. Davidson, who has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration, has demonstrated throughout her career a deep commitment to building momentum for change and fostering an inclusive culture.

Davidson comes to Mason from Oberlin College, a private liberal arts college in Ohio, where she served in a variety of professional positions for over two decades, including for the past five years as the Oberlin College Ombudsperson. Davidson is an informed practitioner of alternative dispute resolution methods, including social justice mediation and conflict management coaching.

Davidson officially joins Mason in February 2022.

“I love how young Mason is and how it is imbued with a sense of innovation and dedication to thoughtfully responding to the needs of its stakeholders,” Davidson said. “I’m happy to be joining the family at George Mason University and grateful for this incredible opportunity to help the university shift into a new period in its growth.”

The role of University Ombudsperson was created to ensure that the university continues to expand its culturally inclusive environment. The office will serve as a neutral place where faculty can talk in confidence about issues, concerns or disputes. The University Ombudsperson will be tasked with developing the resources and tools to aid university constituents in fostering a culture of respect, collaboration and mediation.

As University Ombudsperson, Davidson will be responsible for assisting individuals and groups in determining options to help resolve conflicts or concerns and bring systemic matters to the attention to the university for resolution. In her new role, Davidson will be an advocate for fairness and a source of information and referral. In addition, she will assist in the resolution of concerns and critical situations.

“We are thrilled to have Kim Davidson at the helm of this important new office at Mason,” said Ken Walsh, vice president for strategic initiatives and chief of staff, Office of the President. “With her demonstrated commitment to creating an inclusive environment within higher education, she’ll encourage and strengthen our culture of diversity, inclusion and excellence.”

Davidson grew up in Williamsburg, Virginia, before attending Spelman College in Atlanta, where she received her BA in English. Davidson also has an MA in African languages, literatures and linguistics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Davidson started her career at Oberlin as a visiting lecturer in African American studies, and then went on to serve in a variety of roles including associate dean of students.

The new ombuds office is a much-needed, important resource for supporting Mason faculty and helping all of us the navigate the difficult situations that will inevitably occur from time to time at such a large institution,” said Melissa A. Broeckelman-Post, associate professor in the Department of Communication and chair of the Faculty Senate. “I’m so glad that Ms. Davidson will be joining Mason and look forward to working with her.”

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