LAWRENCE — A former ombuds from Princeton University and vice president of Global Integrity Leaders for Nielsen was selected to be the new University of Kansas ombuds. Diedrick “D.A.” Graham joins the campus community this month.
“D.A. is an exceptional professional, and KU is fortunate to be able to bring him to our campus,” said Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi. “He possesses a diverse body of experience that makes him an excellent choice for our institution.”
The KU ombuds serves to ensure students, faculty, staff and administrators experience fair treatment and acts as a neutral facilitator or mediator when conflict arises.
“KU has a noble history of addressing the real issues that affect people, and I think it’s the perfect time to be here,” Graham said. “I look forward to immersing myself into KU life.”
As vice president of Global Integrity Leaders for Nielsen, Graham was responsible for overseeing, coordinating and facilitating eight regional compliance and integrity leaders who in turn cover more than 100 countries. In that role he advised senior leadership on trends involving employee harassment, discrimination, mistreatment, wrongful disciplinary action or termination, and workplace interpersonal interaction issues. He collaborated with departments to ensure the appropriate use of appeal and that grievance issues were resolved in a timely manner.
Graham is also founder of the New Jersey Intergroup Dialogue Coalition of Trenton, New Jersey, and the founder and principal consultant of DNA Consulting. Before joining Nielsen in 2016, Graham spent four years as director of human resources and Title IX coordinator at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia. He has served as the university ombuds for both Princeton and California State University at San Diego. From 1999 to 2005, he was a lieutenant chaplain for the Navy.
His academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in speech communications from the University of Alabama, a master's degree in divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, a master's degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma and a doctorate in education from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His honors and awards include the Navy’s Distinguished Service Award Chaplain of the Year and the Outstanding New Professional of the Year Award from California State, San Diego.
Graham’s responsibilities as KU’s university ombuds will be to provide overall direction for the Office of the Ombuds and offer confidential, informal, impartial and independent conflict management and consultation services. Consultation includes clarifying visitors’ concerns, offering information and resources regarding the university's policies and procedures, discussing options regarding informal, formal and administrative processes for complaint resolution and to promote positive, fair, systemic-change. In addition, the university ombuds provides appropriate conflict coaching, facilitation and referral services.
The Office of the Ombuds operates independently of the usual administrative authorities. In accordance with University Senate Rules and Regulations, 6.2.2, the ombuds has access to all administrative officials of the university and, in accordance with law, to all university records, including those of faculty members. The ombuds does not have authority to take disciplinary action, reverse decisions or circumvent existing university rules and procedures. The ombuds supplements but does not replace other means that may exist for redress of grievances.