WMU News

Dona G. Icabone named ombudsman

Sept. 5, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Dona G. Icabone, associate professor of educational studies at Western Michigan University, has been named University ombudsman.

Icabone's two-year appointment was effective Sept. 2 and was made pending approval by the University's Board of Trustees at its Sept. 12 meeting. The move marks a considerably different step in Icabone's 27-year career at WMU. She will leave her teaching duties to help students, faculty and staff in resolving academic and nonacademic concerns.

"One of my best preparations for the job is that I have a 19-year-old daughter," says Icabone. "I guess that means I know a little about what college students are going through."

As ombudsman, Icabone will provide confidential mediation services to settle disputes and help negotiate solutions to problems. She also will serve as an intervention agent, explain and interpret University policies and procedures, and work with the faculty and the administration.

Since joining WMU in 1976, Icabone has worked extensively with various organizations on campus and in the Kalamazoo community. Those experiences will be a valuable asset in her new role, according to University officials.

"Dr. Icabone has many years of service in teaching and research as a special education teacher and a member of the faculty of the Department of Educational Studies in the College of Education," said Provost Daniel Litynski in announcing her appointment. "She has extensive experience working with diverse constituencies and fostering conflict resolution. She has also served the University in several capacities including the Faculty Senate and the American Association of University Professors."

Litynski said he has "great confidence in her ability and experience to provide outstanding leadership" and he appreciates her willingness to serve.

"One of the things I'd like to do is to meet with different groups to let them know that the ombudsman's office can be a first step, not a last resort," Icabone says of her immediate plans. Too often, she says, by the time people get to the ombudsman, matters are worse than they should have been.

During her tenure at WMU, Icabone has conducted extensive research, including long-term projects to develop and implement statewide research studies in special education while providing technical assistance on special education issues to school districts throughout the state. Icabone also has studied ways to recruit and retain minority students in education programs at the University and led research in the delivery of services to special education students.

She also has served as coordinator of the learning disabled graduate program, co-coordinator of the severely mentally impaired graduate program, and consultant on special education programming. Icabone also serves on the board for WMU's Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

The former Philadelphia-area schoolteacher earned undergraduate and master's degrees at Pennsylvania State University in 1966 and 1967, respectively, and completed her doctoral degree at the University of Minnesota in 1977.

Media contact: Gail Towns, 269 387-8400, gail.towns@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400