The Office of the President has appointed Judi Segall, a highly accomplished conflict management specialist, as MIT’s newest ombudsperson. Segall began in this position on Sept. 2.
Segall joins current ombudsperson Toni Robinson in leading the MIT Ombuds Office, which serves the MIT community as an independent, neutral resource on a wide range of policy and conflict-resolution matters. Segall replaces longtime MIT ombudsperson Mary Rowe, who retired on Sept. 14 after 41 years of service to the Institute.
In her new role, Segall will informally, impartially, and confidentially help MIT community members resolve disputes, convey concerns, and express their points of view. She will also work with her fellow ombuds — including representatives at MIT Lincoln Laboratory — to help identify problems, promote ethical conduct, and facilitate positive growth within the Institute.
Segall joins MIT from Stony Brook University, where she served for the past 17 years as university ombudsman and director of the Stony Brook Ombuds Office. Her responsibilities there included directing management and oversight of all Ombuds Office operations; conducting informal consultations with administrators and managers to raise awareness of systemic problems; and leading conflict management training courses and outreach programs for faculty, students, and staff.
Since 1997, Segall had also been also a clinical lecturer in the Stony Brook School of Social Welfare. There, she developed curriculum for the social work master’s program and taught advanced graduate student seminars on leadership development, organizational change, and conflict management.
Prior to her directorship of the Stony Brook Ombuds Office, Segall served from 1989 to 1997 as the executive assistant to Stony Brook’s vice president for student affairs.
Throughout her career, Segall has held various local, national, and international conflict-resolution leadership positions. Most recently, these have included service as president of the International Ombudsman Association; president of the Ombudsman Association; and president of the University and College Ombuds Association.
Segall holds a BA in history from the State University of New York at Oswego and a master’s in social work from Stony Brook University. She was awarded certification from the Center for Mediation in Law in 2005, and in 2011 was certified as an organizational ombudsman practitioner.
The MIT Ombuds Office was established in 1980 by former MIT President Paul Gray to serve as a voice for the students, faculty, and staff of MIT. Currently there are more than 500 academic, corporate, and government ombuds programs across the country, charged with advancing constructive conflict management and supporting positive systems change. Ombudspeople within these programs may also act as consultants and mediators in internal disputes.