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IOA Advocacy Update

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director 

For the past several months, IOA and our Advocacy Committee have been very busy. 

Following the filing of IOA's Title IX Comments last September, Advocacy Committee Co-Chairs Sarah Klaper and Mark Patterson, and I met with 10+ Congressional offices, including staff of the US Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and the US House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce.  These meetings successfully raised awareness about the role of organizational ombuds and why ombuds should be considered confidential employees regarding Title IX and campus security.  The meetings were well-received and illuminating.    

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IOA Committee Updates November 2022

By IOA

At each IOA Board of Directors Meeting, our Committees & Task Forces submit a report about the progress they are making on their latest projects. Each group has been hard at work supporting our members and helping to advance the organizational ombuds profession. Please take a moment to read the latest updates from the last couple of Board Meetings.


Member Engagement Committee, November 2022

Our membership continues to grow and opportunities for members are growing as well. We are excited about the 2023 IOA Conference and are working to recognize our dedicated members in person at the volunteer recognition lunch as well as the Mentoring Program. We are committed to creating meaningful DEIB goals and action plans and will complete them by the end of the year. Currently, we are seeking new members to the Member Engagement Committee and if you are interested, or know someone who might be, please let us know!

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Call for Authors for IOA’s First Book

By Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton and Dr. Loraleigh Keashly

We are currently seeking authors for select chapters for the upcoming book: "The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & its Future."

Organizational ombuds first appeared in North America in the 1960s as an offshoot of classical ombuds practices rooted in Northern Europe. While there have been many publications that address organizational ombuds practice in the form of articles and journals (Journal for the International Ombudsman Association & The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds), as well as publications that serve as legal guides to practice (Howard, 2010 & 2022), there has yet to be a comprehensive handbook that addresses the interdisciplinary and nuanced history, theory and practices found within the field.

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IOA Launches Book Publishing Program

By Ellen Miller

The International Ombuds Association is pleased to announce the launch of our Book Publishing Program to support the ombuds field. Our first book, The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & its Future, is a handbook edited by Dr. Shannon Lynn Burton and Dr. Loraleigh Keashly and will be published in time for IOA’s 2024 Annual Conference. We are currently seeking authors for several chapters. 

Book Publishing Project

Cookies and Conversation with the Ombuds: CSUSB Ombuds Engages Community on Ombuds Day 2022

By Twillea Evans-Carthen, 
University Ombuds Officer, Director of Ombuds Services
California State University, San Bernardino,

California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) celebrated Ombuds Day 2022 by creating a creative approach to have students, staff, faculty, and community celebrate their campus ombuds by stopping by the office of Ombuds Services to meet the campus ombuds, learn about the program, and have a conversation over cookies with the ombuds. The Ombuds informed the community how each year on the second Thursday during the month of October, people from around the world take time to 

celebrate the role of the Ombuds. The CSUSB Office of Ombuds Services celebrated this year by recognizing and bringing forward the 2022 theme: Ombuds: Resilience, Respect, Resolve.

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Are You an Outsourced Ombuds? Probably!

 

Outsourced ombuds fulfill many roles including working with organizations to help them think through the benefits and costs of establishing an ombuds office. They serve as independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resources for visitors. They also support ombuds offices to work with visitors when cases are up and staffing is down, help define the impact of an ombuds office through reimagined annual reports, and discuss difficult cases with their ombuddies.

Many ombuds serve as consultants to ombuds and ombuds offices. If this applies to you, then you’ve been an outsourced ombuds! In addition to the activities above, outsourced ombuds lend their experience and expertise in the following ways:

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Call for Papers: The Ombudsman System: New Challenges and Perspectives

 The Ombudsman Berlin University Alliance (OBUA) has published the call for papers, "The Ombudsman System: New Challenges and Perspectives." 

With this special section of Science and Public Policy, we wish to highlight the need to further engage in (meta-)research on the Ombuds system. We call for contributions on both current research and research application to the subject and aim for an international perspective.

 

Visit their website for more information.

First Southwest Ombuds Symposium: 2-day event allows community of ombuds professionals to learn from each other

By Ish Baki, Americas Ombudsman - Mars,Inc.,

Attendees at the Southwest Ombuds Symposium, hosted by Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Ombuds Office, met at the Laboratory’s Dorothy McKibbin Conference Center in Santa Fe on Aug. 25 and 26.  The Symposium brought together 19 attendees from across New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. "The group has been meeting virtually approximately once per month since 2020," said Cindy Mazur, the Lab’s Ombuds manager. "By the end of 2021, we felt the strong need to meet in person, hence the decision to plan a symposium."

Ethics and Audit Division Director Rachel Schroeder kicked off the first day of the event. The day also included an address from the featured speaker, Chief Justice Emeritus of the Navajo Nation Robert Yazzie. Chief Justice Emeritus Yazzie led with a discussion of the Navajo tradition of peacekeeping. "The Navajo principles, which bring resilience to the life of everyone, align with that of the work of organizational ombuds as impartial peacemakers who work toward building relationships and trust when people feel harmed or hurt," said Elisa Enriquez, senior associate ombuds at the Lab. Other activities included an opportunity for the attendees to share similarities and differences in how they do their work, and discussion around common challenges and best approaches to the work ombuds do.

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Highlighting the 2022 Practice Survey Report

By Jennifer Schneider, Mary Rowe, Tim Hedeen, and Hector Escalante, IOA Practice Survey Sub-Committee

IOA recently released the 2022 Practice Survey Report. The data shared in the report were gleaned from IOA’s Practice Survey, which was administered back in the spring. The report includes information about participants’ organizations, caseloads, issues, services and accomplishments.  

The 2021 calendar year brought many unique challenges that affected the work of ombuds. The IOA Practice Survey team added items that addressed the effects of COVID on ombuds work with visitors and with their organizations. These data suggest that over half of the most serious cases managed by ombuds were related to the pandemic. Concerns around work/life balance, return to work or school, safety and flexibility consumed much of the ombuds time during that year.

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The Most Serious Cases Reported by Organizational Ombuds: Data from Surveys and Interviews

By Mary Rowe, Timothy Hedeen, Jennifer Schneider, and Hector Escalante,
Practice & Compensation Sub-Committee of the IOA Research & Assessment Committee


Why Are Data about the Most Serious Cases (MSC) Important to Organizational Ombuds?

MSC have several important characteristics:

1)    The most serious cases in an ombuds office entail high potential costs—and major gains or losses of possible benefits—for all constituents involved in these cases, including their organization. The value of the organizational ombuds (OO) office is sometimes very apparent, for constituents and the organization, after an OO helps to identify, assess, and help to manage a serious case.




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Gratitude: One Year Anniversary of Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch

By Ronnie Thomson,
Corporate Ombuds - Sandia National Laboratories

Have you ever felt the excitement of a new adventure plus the doubts of whether you’re ready? What is the purpose of that internal voice murmuring doubts? Perhaps it’s a catalyst to bring your best self, pursue excellence, and watch the beauty of the adventure unfold. Or maybe that catalyst is spurring you to ask for support. Upon the one-year anniversary of the Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch, I am reflecting on my current adventure with its mountain-top highs and valley lows, plus the pursuit of excellence and the support I have found. I’m hoping that my sharing this reflection will be of help to you.

Beginning at the Trailhead 

The Sandia National Laboratories Director re-launched and chartered the Sandia Ombuds Office to again provide the workforce with an independent, informal, impartial, and confidential resource. Admirably, the Labs Director even made suggestions to strengthen the agreement before he signed it. Sandia’s Chief of Staff located options for the construction of the office in Albuquerque, NM, established the budget, and supported my launch plan which included my own orientation to a whole new world of premier research and national security with a targeted soft launch for virtual and phone visits during the pandemic. For the first few months, my husband remained in Texas as I navigated my new surroundings working at a military base for the first time in my career, having no colleagues working anywhere close to my temporary office (a bit lonely), and house shopping at the peak of a low inventory, high priced market.

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The Ombuds Journey: Tips as You Embark Upon Your Journey

By Kazmere Duffey,
Ombuds Specialist - Los Alamos National Laboratory

My name is Kazmere Duffey. I am from Long Beach, California, which is known not only for its beautiful beaches but also as one of the most diverse cities a person may live in or visit. I currently reside and work in Los Alamos, New Mexico. I am an Ombuds Specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

I have an AA in communications, a BS in human services, and an MA in negotiation, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding.

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The Organizational Ombuds Reader - Call for Nominations

By Shannon Burton, Ph.D., University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University & 
Shereen G. Bingham, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Nebraska Omaha, 

Dear Colleagues,

The IOA Research & Assessment Committee will be developing The Organizational Ombuds Reader with an anticipated publication date during 2023. This Call for Nominations has been revised in the hope of soliciting articles that fall within the scope of organizational ombuds. In the first call for nominations, we recognized that it was not specific enough to the needs of the members of the International Ombuds Association.

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JIOA Call for Submissions: The Ombud’s Office and Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging

By Jennifer Swan and Shannon Burton
JIOA Special Issue Editors

Dear Colleagues,

The events of the past two years have brought issues of Social Justice front and center in the United States. Visitors bring concerns related to the complex issues of identity, marginalization, and inclusion impacting their lives in both the workplace and in the classroom. Shepherding the resulting conflicts generates challenges as ombuds strive to stay neutral while considering the impact of social justice on conflict management.

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Join a Focus Group to Help IOA Create a Code of Conduct

By Ellen Miller, Executive Director of IOA

Updated 15 August 2022

The IOA Ombuds has provided upward feedback that our organization may benefit from the creation of a code of conduct for both members and those who participate in association activities. IOA leadership has begun the process to create such a document, but we are only in the drafting stages and need your help.

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Office Openings and Expansions: Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Arts and Sciences (HCAS) Announces its First Ombuds

By Neil Katz, PhD

Responding to a recommendation of the HCAS Faculty Advisory Committee, Dean Holly Lynn Baumgartner has appointed Dr. Neil Katz to serve as the first Ombuds for the faculty and staff of the Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center’s seven departments at Nova Southeastern University’s main campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Katz will initially serve collateral duties while he maintains his faculty status as a member of the graduate Department of Conflict Resolution Studies (DCRS) offering masters and doctoral degrees.  The Ombuds will be guided by the IOA standards of practice as he consults with office visitors.

Neil Katz brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new role including 50 years as a professor at five universities, 37 years of which were with the renowned Maxwell School of Syracuse University where he initiated several conflict resolution programs, served as Director of Training for the Executive Education Program, and conducted workshops for over 10,000 supervisors, managers, union leaders, and employees. In addition, he is the author or co-author of over 60 publications including several on organizational ombuds in higher education, the 600+ page ACUS report on The Nature and Value of Ombuds in Federal Agencies (2016) and three editions of the popular book Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills, which has been in print now for 37 years.  During his professional career in academia, he has received many accolades including the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award from the Syracuse community for career long commitment to principles embodied in Dr. King’s life and work, the Distinguished College Professor of the Year Award at NSU, and an Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Conflict Resolution from the Association of Conflict Resolution.

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Ombuds Day 2022 Proclamations – Call for Volunteers

By the 2022 Ombuds Day Committee

 

We need your help! Please continue reading if you are interested in supporting our “Ombuds Day 2022 Proclamation Request-a-thon” scheduled for August 8th – 12th, 2022. Volunteering for this effort is a great way to create awareness and improve understanding of the ombuds profession.  It’s also a great way to meet and connect with other ombuds across the nation.   If you’re interested and short on time, you can skip to the bold text below.

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Announcing the DEIB Framework

By the IOA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee 

In July 2020, in alignment with Goal 4 of IOA's Strategic Plan, "IOA has a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement," the IOA Board of Directors established a DEIB Task Force. In July 2021, the Task Force broadened its focus and became IOA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee

The DEIB Committee has worked diligently since its inception and we are now pleased to announce a framework designed to guide the IOA toward a more inclusive organization. The framework was voted on and approved by the IOA Board of Directors on 1 June 2022.

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COFO 2022 Annual Conference: Call for Presentations

By Paul Sotoudeh, Chief Ombudsman, USPTO Office of the Ombudsman

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting proposals to present at its 2022 Annual Conference on 14 October 2022. As with the COFO Annual Conferences in 2020 and 2021, presenters may present virtually, but COFO hopes to run the conference as a hybrid, with in-person attendance in Alexandria, VA.

Therefore, we are soliciting proposals for both virtual and in-person presentations, with a possibility of a pivot to all-virtual.

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Joint IOA/CO-OP Accreditation Task Force Update - Member Input Requested

By Sue Diviney, Co-Chair, Joint IOA/CO-OP® Accreditation Task Force

In May 2022, IOA announced a Joint IOA/CO-OP® Accreditation Task Force had been formed to advance IOA’s Strategic Direction, specifically, Goal 1.4: Develop a program for accreditation of ombuds offices that are structured to comply with IOA and Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

The purpose of the Task Force is to explore the creation of an office accreditation program that will pave the way for refocusing the CO-OP® designation to certify the knowledge, skills, and experience of individuals and remove program requirements from certification. Thus, the group is charged with developing a proposal to accredit programs separately from individual certifications.

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