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 tenure, she has cultivated a culture of academic integrity, guided students on goal setting and educational choices and ensured institutional compliance with federal regulations. In her role as University Ombudsperson, she seeks to make the office a touchpoint for building trust within the organization by creating a space where individuals can freely discuss their concerns in an environment that adheres to the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) Standards of Practice: confidentiality, informality, neutrality and independence. At the center of this, she aspires to:
- Treat individuals as conscious beings able to actively participate in creating solutions through reflection;
- Increase capacity for conflict resolution and engage processes that build democracy; and
- Develop critical thinking skills and create lifelong learners.
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 university's mission. Shannon serves the broader professional community through her work as one of the International Ombudsman Association's (IOA) inaugural co-chairs for the Research and Assessment Committee and as Co-editor for the Journal of the IOA (JIOA). Previously, she served on the IOA Title IX 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. Finally, she regularly presents, researches and consults on organization and administration in higher education, student development and learning theory, conflict resolution, dialogue and deliberation, as well as academic integrity.
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).