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Standards Of Practice & Ethical Principles

by Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP® 2020-2021 IOA President

Dear IOA Members,

I am delighted to share IOA's newly proposed IOA Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles (previously called the IOA Code of Ethics). We are nearing the end of what has been a four-year effort and we are seeking input from all IOA members on these drafts before their consideration and possible adoption by the IOA Board of Directors (whose responsibilities include approving any revisions to the Standards of Practice) at its December meeting.

UPDATE 19 November 2020: Please note the updated timeline below and information about the Member Forum.

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IOA 2021-2024 Strategic Direction

By Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP, 2020-2021 IOA President

Beginning in early 2020, IOA embarked on a strategic planning process to set the course for our near future – the coming three years. The Board of Directors engaged Solid Ground Consulting as just the right partner to guide an effective and fruitful process.

To ensure that we were addressing important interests and perspectives across our organization, we intentionally involved key stakeholders of the organization, including chairs and co-chairs of committees and task forces, members of our emerging ombuds network, former leaders, staff, as well as additional IOA members. Through a series of focus group meetings and one-on-one interviews, Solid Ground gathered a broad range of input and perspectives to inform our process. This information was collected in the form of a Pre-Planning Report, which the Board reviewed over a series of three half-day virtual retreats in late summer 2020. With support from Solid Ground, the strategic planning team presented a draft Strategic Direction document to the Board and to all other members of the Leadership Group (which includes all committee and task force co-chairs). That draft was revised to incorporate feedback and the final draft was presented to the Board and approved at its last meeting in October 2020.

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IOA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging Task Force Update

By Marcia Martinez-Helfman, JD, MSW

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Task Force has been formally launched. An organizational meeting of forty-two volunteers was held on Friday, 30 October, and a leadership team is coming together. Jai Calloway, Corporate Ombudsman for Haliburton, and Brett Harris, University Ombudsperson for the University of Oregon, were elected Co-Chairs by the group. It will be on the agenda for the Board of Directors to officially approve the Task Force Co-Chairs at its December meeting.

The Task Force members agreed to break into four teams, each of which will have a particular focus relating to the themes of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, respectively, and will be selecting their own team leads. The IOA Board of Directors provided a draft Terms of Reference, which lays out the Task Force’s purpose, scope of responsibilities, relationship to the organization’s strategic direction, and other guidance for consideration, and invited feedback and recommendations for revisions to the document.

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Surfacing Gems from the Archives of the Independent Voice

By the Editor of the Independent Voice

The Independent Voice provides a channel to communicate happenings within the IOA, as well as insights on timely topics and practice reflections from members. This year, the Independent Voice expanded access to the blog so the public can benefit from this channel as well. As the current editor of this blog, I’ve gone through the archived posts to make sure links are still live and to assess the various topics discussed throughout the years. A result of this effort allowed me to experience the great wisdom shared throughout the years related to topics of discussion in our field, pathways for professional development, and practical skills shared to build our capacity for success in our role. This post is meant to highlight some of the archived posts as a means to share the wisdom conveyed with those that may be newly accessing this blog.

A Meatball by Any Other Name (originally posted 12-14-2018)

This post touches on an issue that I’ve seen surface as of late in social media chatter. It is an introduction to a greater JIOA article on the need for reflection on the title we assign for our work in this profession. After you read through this short article, I invite you to share your thoughts and reflections on where we can bring this conversation. [READ MORE]

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IOA Leadership Onboarding Program Recap

By Steven Prevaux, JD, CO-OP®
IOA Vice President

IOA successfully launched a new Leadership Onboarding Program (LOP) with more than 30 IOA volunteers participating on 23 September 2020 using a virtual workshop format. We enjoyed an open dialogue with a meaningful exchange of diverse viewpoints and perspectives. A dynamic discussion of IOA leadership roles considered aspects of our “value proposition” through the lens of a focus question: “Why IOA?” Those two words sparked a range of honest, robust, and constructive responses from IOA leaders past, present, and emerging. To get a good sense of these timely and essential concerns check out the following video montage that includes thoughtful wisdom from a half-dozen veteran IOA leaders. 


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2016 Clery Act Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting Rescinded

On October 9th, the U.S. Department of Education rescinded the guidance in its 2016 Clery Act Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting. This is good news for those college and university Ombuds who have been compelled or who are under the threat of being designated “campus security authorities” by their institution. Read the full announcement and the new guidance from the Department of Education here.   Read on for a memorandum with analysis from the IOA Government & Policy Committee, or download it below.

Download the Memo

GPC MEMORANDUM

To:                   All IOA Members & the Ombuds Community

From:               IOA Government and Policy Committee

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Retrospective on IOA’s Summer of 2020 Community Connections Series

By IOA's Community Connections Task Force

2020 continues to be the year that just won’t stop. However, this past spring/summer IOA found a way to pivot from our canceled 15th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon to a series of well-received and well-attended mini-events. This included discussions on how members were managing personally and professionally during COVID, important networking opportunities, interesting topical presentations, moving Petcha Kutcha presentations, and an opportunity to recognize the 2020 Distinguished Alumni, Janet Hill.

"As we have all learned over the past six months, everything is new and a work-in-progress."

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Happy Ombuds Day & Chuck Howard's Speech

By IOA Executive Director, Chuck Howard

Happy Ombuds Day 2020

 

Today, on this 3rd Annual Ombuds Day, IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard was honored to speak during the virtual event Ombuds Day – A Recognition of the Ombuds Profession & the Value of Ombuds, presented by the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Day Committee.

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Ombuds Practices: The Reach Out Initiatives

By Eliane Markoff
Ombuds - Bentley University

This reflection describes initiatives launched by my Ombuds Office to create a platform for faculty and staff to be empowered to address challenging situations in a timely and constructive manner. In addition, these initiatives create an infrastructure to proactively ensure practicing core values of collaboration and caring. The initiatives are referred to as Reach Out initiatives. The first initiative launched, Reach Out to Resolve a Conflict, outlined steps and best practices in addressing and resolving a conflict. 

The idea and inspiration came to me as I spoke with members of our community who wanted to resolve an issue or a conflict but were hesitant when too much time has passed or were a bit uncertain on the best way to proceed. During a dedicated week, members of our community were encouraged to reach out to those they have or had a conflict with.  Other initiatives focused on expressing appreciation, on apologizing and on requesting and providing constructive feedback.

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IOA Ombuds Office Effectiveness Project

By Hector Escalante, Ed.D, MFA
Ombudsperson - Pacific University

What are the top suggestions ombuds can use to show value to leadership? What tools can they use to make a case that their office deserves to exist? Recently, Chuck Howard, IOA’s Executive Director formed a task force led by Randy Williams and Ronnie Thompson to address these key questions. The Ombuds Effectiveness Project’s mission is “to equip ombuds offices with guidance, research tools, and training to measure and present effectiveness of their programs relevant to the stakeholder’s goals, in alignment with their organization's mission and values”.

In today’s uncertain and unstable environment, this mission is critically important for ombuds offices. Many ombuds offices may be at risk for closure. I recently experienced the possibility of my office being closed because of new leadership and extreme budget cuts. Fortunately, with the help of IOA, close ombuds colleagues and my university stakeholders, I was strategically able to convince our new leader that the ombuds role brings tremendous value to him as a leader and to the greater university community.

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Covid Strategies: Mobilizing peers, and bystanders, and bystanders of bystanders

By Mary Rowe

Hello IOA,

I have been studying how peers and bystanders are being encouraged to support community values with respect to COVID. I continue to study peers and bystanders because I have come to believe that peers and bystanders are the principal constraints on unacceptable behavior in our society. (And I believe that this is especially true in constraining the unacceptable behavior of people who have a lot of power in any context.) 

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Updates from the 2020 Practice and Compensation Survey

By Mary Rowe,

The survey team has been preparing many reports from the 2020 Practice and Compensation survey report. Here are the first two reports. Information is coming next about compensation. And more is coming about OO Practice in addition to the attached articles. Hi Colleagues, we enormously appreciate all who participated in the IOA survey by sharing your insights and information. Through your contributions, the world - and we - are able to understand the functions, boundaries, and impact of organizational ombuds (OO) with greater clarity. Thank you, thank you!

The first report helps provide information to a confused world about what OOs actually do and do not do - and how we fit into the whole world of all ombudspeople.

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How Can You Safely Participate in Ombuds Day During COVID

Celebrate Our Profession October 8, 2020

The primary goal of Ombuds Day is to improve public awareness of ombuds. 

Our actions are intended to

  • Educate the public about the role of ombuds
  • Explain the wide variety of services that ombuds provide
  • Encourage greater use of ombuds programs and services
  • Highlight the value ombuds bring to the institutions and constituents they serve.

With all of that in mind. How can you participate this year while keeping safe and healthy? Here are some helpful suggestions from Ken Skodacek, representing the ABA Ombuds Day Subcommittee.

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Updates from the JIOA

By Shannon Burton
JIOA Editor

Dear IOA Colleagues,

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA) has been busy these past few months!  Please visit our website if you have not done so recently.  There are new articles and book reviews posted.  These include:

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My #OmbudsDay2020 Playlist

By Michael Green

With #OmbudsDay 2020 around the corner, I received a ‘challenge’ from a few colleagues and members of IOA. They, knowing of my passion for creating meaningful playlists, suggested I curate a list of songs for this event taking place on October 8th, 2020. I took this informal invitation as an opportunity to craft some songs for personal reflection and professional development. Using the lens of an ombuds, with an eagerness to serve communities and listen to the issues facing organizations, institutions, and everyday people, I developed the playlist that follows.

It was my intention to utilize art, in this case music, as a mechanism for awareness into the lives of the people who walk through the doors of ombuds offices. I attempted to absorb the complexities and dynamics that various populations are being forced to face during this turbulent year and mold that into a list of songs that could provide insight for those of us working with those populations. I believe that being intune with the culture of our constituents is vital to our impact. It is my hope that my fellow ombuds (former, current, and aspiring) can use this playlist to reflect on the past year, enhance their current practice amidst major societal shifts, and as a means to inspire transformation as we move forward. There is much work to be done, but I think if we listen intently to those we serve we will be better ombuds, better global citizens, and better human beings.

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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force Announcement

by Melanie Jagneaux, CO-OP®, IOA 2020-2021 President

In July of 2020, the IOA Board unanimously approved the establishment of a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force. This task force will help IOA internally evaluate itself on aligning with anti-racism practices and racial justice. It will also define parameters for ensuring IOA cultivates a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that supports membership belonging and connection within the organization.

Initial work of the DEI Task Force will be to propose a position statement for IOA regarding racism and racial injustice and recommending any changes to the Terms of Reference for the task force that will better articulate its purpose, composition, authority, and role in relation to the IOA Board of Directors. More importantly, the task force will be critical in the process of profound reflection and examination of how our organization may have contributed to the perpetuation of racial injustice, whether intentional or unintentional. Ultimately, the work of this new task force must be focused on action—that is, doing our part to dismantle the structures, processes, and practices that have reinforced racial injustice—and then building a way forward that advances racial justice, belonging, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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One Conversation at a Time

By James Laflin and Robert Werth

This article was originally published in the 2020 XVIII edition of the Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, (CCCUO). The article is shared in its entirety here with permission of the Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds, (CCCUO). Please check the link above to access the full archive of this beneficial journal.

The Premise

Given the times we're living through and all the voices that need to be heard, the premise of this essay is that we need to get much better at listening to those voices; everyone's.  And we need to do it now; one conversation at a time.  So, what would that look like?  Here are a few small but challenging suggestions.

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JIOA Seeks New Peer Reviewers

By Shannon Burton
University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University
JIOA Editor

Do you have broad interest in ombuds work?

Do you want to help the profession advance intellectually and pragmatically?

If so, then please consider applying to serve as a Peer Reviewer for the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA). The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA) is a peer-reviewed online journal for scholarly articles and information relevant to the ombuds profession. As members of a relatively new profession, we continually strive to understand, define, and clarify the role and function of the professional organizational ombuds. Serving as a Peer Reviewer for the JIOA is a great way to learn more about academic writing and research and gain new insights into the field as well.

Position Description: 

The journal’s reviewers use their expertise to comment and provide feedback on manuscripts submitted to the JIOA. Reviewers conduct blind reviews and are expected to complete them within eight weeks. As part of the review process, reviewers will recommend the manuscripts are accepted with no revisions, accepted with revisions (minor or major), or rejected.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Shannon Lynn Burton – Research and Assessment Committee

By Tiffany Chen, Eastern Michigan University 
IOA Volunteer Coordination Committee

The IOA has always been both a passion and volunteer driven organization. We as part of the Volunteer Coordination Committee, but also IOA, would like to recognize the efforts of our volunteers that keep everything running. It is through our collective efforts that our organization has been able to develop and grow to what it is right now and more importantly what it will become in the future.

This Spotlight Post is to not only recognize some of our fellow IOA members, but also to make a shout-out to their amazing team that helps consistently push research for our work as ombuds on the edge and in the forefront.

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Taking Our Ombuds Skills to the Protest: An interview with D.A. Graham

By Roy Baroff
NC State University, Faculty & Staff Ombuds
IOA Board of Directors

Bayard Rustin said: “When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge their dignity as a human being, their very act of protest confers dignity on them.” (with edits)

How do we bring our ombuds skills to the protest?

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