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UT Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis has appointed Lisa Yamagata-Lynch UT’s next ombudsperson. She will begin in the role May 1 and will report directly to the chancellor.

Yamagata-Lynch is associate head of the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. She is also a professor and director of graduate studies. She will remain a tenured professor but will not continue serving in her other roles.

“I am honored and excited to serve as ombudsperson for the UT community. It is fortunate for me to be transitioning from one role at UT that I love and go into another, because I already know how fulfilling it can be to be a part of our community,” said Yamagata-Lynch. “Since my arrival at UT in 2011, I have learned so much from faculty and staff colleagues as well as students in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling—many of whom I consider my close friends. I am who I am in my career because of their contributions to my professional development.”

In December 2019, staff ombudsperson Elaine Wynn announced plans to retire. Faculty ombudsperson Bill Nugent filled both roles on an interim basis, and led the search for a new full time ombudsperson. In this new full time position, Yamagata-Lynch will serve faculty, staff, and graduate students.

“Elaine and Bill have filled critical roles within the university since 2009, and their service is much appreciated,” said Davis. “I’m looking forward to working with Lisa in a position dedicated to our faculty, staff and graduate students. Her commitment to others and experience on our campus, and elsewhere will serve her well in this new role.”

An ombudsperson is a designated neutral and impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal conflict resolution assistance to faculty, staff, and graduate students.

Before coming to UT, Yamagata-Lynch served as an associate professor at Northern Illinois University and assistant professor at the University of Utah.

Yamagata-Lynch has a doctorate in educational psychology and instructional systems technology and a master’s in instructional systems technology, both from Indiana University. She received a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo.

While at UT, Yamagata-Lynch has served on numerous task forces and committees, including STRIDE (Strategies and Tactics for Recruiting to Improve Diversity and Excellence), a faculty-led committee that seeks to retain and attract a diverse faculty. She has also served as co-chair of UT’s Commission for Women.

Members of the ombudsperson search committee included chair Bill Nugent, associate dean of research in the College of Social Work; Bill Lee, associate professor of English and UT president for the American Association of University Professors; Nathalie Hristov, associate professor and music librarian for technical services, University Libraries; Jill Malolepszy, assistant director, Office of Equity and Diversity; Izetta Slade, senior director, Human Resources; and John Zomchick, vice provost for faculty affairs.

Nugent will return full-time to serving as associate dean of research in the College of Social Work.


Tyra Haag (865-974-5460,