Confidential | Informal | Independent | Neutral
Shannon Lynn Burton
University Ombudsperson

Shannon Lynn Burton, PhD became the University Ombudsperson at Michigan State University in July 2018 after serving previously as both the Assistant University Ombudsperson and later Associate University Ombudsperson. During her 25+ year tenure in education, she has cultivated a culture of academic integrity, guided students on goal setting and educational choices and ensured institutional compliance with federal regulations. After 11+ years as an ombuds, she seeks to make the office a touchpoint for building trust within the organizations by creating a space where individuals, in particular students, can freely discuss their concerns in an environment that adheres to the International Ombuds Association (IOA) Standards of Practice: confidentiality, informality, neutrality and independence. Ultimately, her goal is to develop human capital in managing conflict and improve communication skills in line with the role and purpose of the ombuds office, as well as in line with the organization's mission. Since beginning her tenure as University Ombudsperson, Shannon has been appointed to several committees examining structures of safety and support including the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, the Positive Workplace Alliance, the Workplace Bullying and Harassment Ad Hoc Task Force, the Virtual Harassment Think Tank and the Police and Public Safety Committee. In addition to her work as an ombuds, she has served as Research Integrity Coordinator and co-directed an academic integrity consortium, as well as facilitated faculty learning communities on academic integrity and served in multiple workgroups addressing the history and status of integrity and served in multiple workgroups addressing the history and status of integrity with the institution.

Shannon serves the broader professional community through her work as one of the International Ombuds Association's (IOA) inaugural co-chairs for the Research and Assessment Committee and as Editor for the Journal of the IOA (JIOA). She was also asked in 2022 to serve as the Response Working Group Representative for IOA to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine's Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. Previously, she served on the IOA Title IX Task Force and the Contract Conference Ombuds Task Force. Additionally, Shannon is an active member of the American Bar Association's (ABA) Ombuds Committee, as well as the Michigan Caucus of Educational Ombuds. She regularly presents, researches and consults on organization and administration in higher education, student development and learning theory, and the history and evolution of ombuds practices, as well as coaches and mentors new organizational ombuds. Most recently she worte "Assessing the Establishment of Ombuds Offices in Professional Academic Research Associations" published in the JIOA (2021) and currently co-editing The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & its Future, a handbook for the organizational ombuds profession to be published by the IOA in 2024. Finally, she created the ombuds program for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2019 where she continues to serve as one of its two inaugural Co-Ombuds and has served as an Adjunct Professor of Management at Aquinas College since 2020 where she teaches courses on conflict resolution, group dynamics and ethics.

Shannon earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education with a Specialization in Global Urban Studies from Michigan State University. She also has a Master of Science in Academic Advising (Kansas State University), a Master of Arts in Student Affairs Administration (Michigan State University), as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Russian Studies, a Bachelor of Science in Sociology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (Grand Valley State University). In 2018, she also completed a graduate certificate in Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement (Kansas State University). Shannon is also trained in social justice mediation, restorative practices, compassionate communication, collaborative discussion, and trauma-informed practices.