Grinnell, Iowa -- After an extensive search and selection process, Grinnell College has named Chinyere Ukabiala as the college's first ombudsperson. Her appointment is effective February 1, 2013.
As ombudsperson, Ukabiala will assist members of the Grinnell campus community who are experiencing problems, conduct critical analyses of the college, and educate and coach Grinnellians on communication and conflict management skills.
Ukabiala currently is a Des Moines-based attorney, mediator and educator, specializing in family law, domestic violence, mediation, negotiation and cross cultural-communication skills. She has taught legal negotiations and family law as an adjunct professor at Drake University Law School for several years, and served as co-chair of the Women and Minorities Committee of the Iowa State Bar Association from 2009 until July 2012. Ukabiala spent many years as an attorney in civil law practice at Iowa Legal Aid, the Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence and in private law practice, representing mainly immigrant and low-income clients. In her legal practice, Ukabiala has focused primarily on public interest law, mediation and conflict resolution. She also has practiced law in England and in Nigeria.
"Chinyere Ukabiala has impressive experience working effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures," said Grinnell College President Raynard S. Kington."Her commitment to diversity and mutual understanding, along with her expertise in negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution, will make her an outstanding resource for our entire college community."
"Chinyere's experience and background are impressive; even more so are her wisdom, empathy, insight and intelligence," said Tammy Nyden, associate professor of philosophy and chair of the Ad Hoc Ombuds Committee. "She has an amazing ability to put people at ease and get to the heart of the matter."
Ukabiala holds a J.D. degree from Drake University Law School and received an LL.B. degree from Buckingham University Law School in Buckinghamshire, England. Also licensed to practice law by the Councils of Legal Education in London, England, and Lagos, Nigeria, she holds certificates in negotiations and mediation from various organizations, including the Iowa Mediation Service.
Founded in 1846, Grinnell College is a highly selective, liberal arts college that enrolls 1,600 students from nearly every state and more than 50 other countries.Grinnell has a long history of curricular innovation and thoughtful progressivism; the college awarded the B.A. degree to a woman in 1857 and to an African American in 1871. Grinnell established the nation's first major in political science in 1883, and in 1970 pioneered an individually advised curriculum that allows students to tailor their own education in collaboration with their faculty advisers. Grinnell is a leader in ensuring access to the nation's most talented students from all backgrounds, and Grinnell students graduate with one of the lowest levels of debt in the United States.