UM Awards Ombuds Who Fought to Protect Employees’ Confidentiality After UM Emails Series

By Ashton Pittman, Mississippi Free Press (reposted with permission)

Headshot of Paul Caffera in a suit

The University of Mississippi awarded Ombudsman Paul Caffera as one of 12 “outstanding staff members” at its May 30, 2023, Staff Appreciation Week Awards Ceremony. He fought the university in a lawsuit between 2020 and 2022 as he sought to maintain the confidentiality of employees who had sought his office’s services. Photo courtesy Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

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International Ombuds Association’s first book, The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & Its Future: Ombuds effectiveness

Deanna Yuille Bandford and Bina Patel, seek participants for a project that explores Ombuds effectiveness at both the individual and programmatic level. Their research will be incorporated into a chapter for the International Ombuds Association’s first book, The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & Its Future.   

Participants are invited to share their personal perspectives via an anonymous survey or one-on-one interviews. 

Patel and Banford say that Ombuds are free to forward the survey link to their colleagues as this will greatly help to collect contextual data. Additionally, if participants are willing to share their story of how they entered and approach the profession, they can email the researchers: [email protected] or [email protected]

IOA DEIB: Creating an Inclusive Environment

For the last several years, IOA has intentionally worked to address Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) issues in our association, not only in terms of race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, but also accessibility, inclusion of our international colleagues, and creating space for those new to the field. We are far from finished, and certainly have work to do, but we also know that meaningful change takes time and we are committed to making change.  

The need to redirect our attention was heightened after the 2019 Annual Conference in New Orleans. Some of you may have participated in the discussion following Robin DiAngleo’s keynote on White Fragility or attended the “UnDebate” plenary about civility within the ombuds community, and if so, you may have seen our IOA community struggling. While the goal was to host a provocative speaker that we knew would be challenging, the discussion felt unsafe for many. Others felt that it shed important light on some of the DEIB challenges at IOA for BIPOC, individuals who identify other than male, and younger professionals.

We wanted to reflect on this journey, and share with our members our efforts to date: 

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Connecting with your fellow K-12 Ombuds

The K-12 Ombuds field continues to steadily grow. Connecting with other K-12 Ombuds is an invaluable way to grow as a practitioner. If you are a practicing K-12 Ombuds and would like to connect, we have you covered.

First, the IOA Online CommUnity platform provides everyone with the ability to engage with, learn from, and share resources with other Ombuds. Once in the platform, under Groups, select "Groups by IOA Sectors" and then select the "Academic: Primary & Secondary Education K/12" group. As a group, we also meet monthly via Zoom and would love to have you join us.

To learn more about the group, please contact Monique Bookstein.

IOA Online CommUnity

Survey Responses Requested: Building Relationships and Engaging across Organizations

Dear Ombuds Colleagues!

As many of you know, the International Ombuds Association (IOA) is publishing its first ombuds handbook The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals, and its Future. Donna Buehler and Liz Hill are co-authoring a chapter discussing how organizational ombuds build relationships and engage with entities across organizations while maintaining their independence and impartiality. 

To accomplish this, Donna and Liz kindly request that you share your experience and complete their survey by Friday, May 12, 2023, at 12:00 a.m. 

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JIOA: Essays in Honor of Dr. Mary Rowe

 

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association

Special Issue Announcement 

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Contribute to Research on Ombuds Origins

Deanna Yuille Bandford and Bina Patel, seek participants for a project that explores Ombuds effectiveness at both the individual and programmatic level. Their research will be incorporated into a chapter for the International Ombuds Association’s first book, The Organizational Ombuds: Foundations, Fundamentals & Its Future

Participants are invited to share their personal perspectives via a survey or one-on-one interviews. The anonymous Ombuds Origins survey is here: 

https://qfreeaccountssjc1.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8hJ12M5XGmKEmxg.

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ABA Section of Dispute Resolution's 25th Annual Spring Conference

Don't miss out on this year's ABA Section of Dispute Resolution's 25th Annual Spring Conference on May 10–13, 2023, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are excited to bring ADR professionals together again in Las Vegas after three years of virtual conferences! As the world’s largest ADR conference, it provides attendees a chance to network with others in the field, attend quality educational programming to advance their careers, and have fun with peers at social events. Join us in celebrating this year’s ADR awardees and be inspired by the keynote speakers. Whether you are new to the field or have been practicing for decades, the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference has something for you!

IOA Announces 2023 President Award Recipients

The International Ombuds Association (“IOA”) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2023 President’s Award.  

The President’s Award recognizes distinguished individuals for their commitment to serving the ombuds field and/or the International Ombuds Association. All award recipients were recognized at the IOA's Annual Conference 3-5 April in Seattle, Washington. 

The 2023 award recipients are:

Camilo Azcarate, JD, LLM, Ombuds, European Southern Observatory 
Roy Baroff, CO-OP®, JD, Ombuds, MWI & The McCammon Group
Mollie Berg, CO-OP®, NGA Ombudsman, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
Shannon Lynn Burton, PhDUniversity Ombudsperson, Michigan State University 
Jai Calloway, JD, MDR, Director, Ombuds Office, Harris Health System 
Susan CasinoSenior Ombuds Officer Consultant, United Nations World Food Programme 
Lynne Chaillat, Firm Ombuds, McKinsey & Company Inc. France 
Mary Bliss Conger, EdD, Consultant
Dolores Gomez-Moran, CO-OP®, MA, Senior Ombuds Officer and Mediator, United Nations World Food Programme
Brett Harris, JD, University Ombudsperson, University of Oregon Ombuds Program 
Timothy Hedeen, PhD, Kennesaw State University  
Melanie Jagneaux, CO-OP®, JD, MBA, Executive Director, Ombuds Office, Baylor College of Medicine 
Jessica Kuchta-Miller, JD, MA, University Ombuds, Duke University 
Donna Louden, Director, Ombuds Office, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 
Bruce MacAllister, JD, Ombudsman, International Foundation for Online Responsibility 
Sana Manjeshwar, CO-OP®, JD, SPHR, Global Principal Ombuds Manager, Chevron Corporation
David Miller, PhD, Ombudsman Supervisor, Decanter Bay 
Jennifer Smith Schneider, CO-OP®, PhD, Student Ombuds, University of South Florida 
Fred Wright, MS, MSW, Workplace Conciliator, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria State Government 
 
“It is an honor to recognize these talented colleagues who have demonstrated excellence in advancing both the field and awareness about the role of organizational ombuds” said Ronnie Thomson, IOA President 2022-2023.   





















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Driving Speak-up Culture

By Doriana Vintila, Ombuds - OMV Petrom S.A.

We can all agree that speak up culture is an essential characteristic of a people-oriented inclusive organization. Forbes said it, and I think they said it well in a very insightful article on the benefits of creating a speak-up culture at work [1]. Undoubtedly, most companies have evolved from the initial purpose of speak-up, which was to protect them from wrongdoings, and moved towards making people feel respected, empowered and safe. A work environment where members of the staff, irrelevant of their position, feel safe bringing their ideas to work every day will grow and flourish. Speaking up is very much about learning and improving, becoming a better version of what was yesterday – both individually and collectively.

But having a speak-up culture is more than just having policies and hotlines in place. People often refrain from speaking their minds for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with the availability of tools do so, or where those tools are placed (with HR, Compliance, the Ombuds etc). I’ve more than once heard people say that they won’t criticize a coworker because they don’t want to hurt their feelings or put their friendship at risk. However, isn’t holding back doing exactly that? That is where valuing a true speak-up culture comes into place: the belief that your suggestions, constructive criticism and openness will be perceived as an act of goodwill, both by colleagues and especially by management.

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New Organizational Values/Community Norms to Launch March 22 and Member Feedback Needed on Proposed Concern and Complaint Policy and Procedures

After extensive input from IOA members and other participants, we are pleased to announce the pilot of IOA’s new Organizational Values and Community Norms that will go into effect 22 March 2023. We also invite member input on a proposed IOA Concern and Complaint Policy and Concern and Complaint Procedures.   

Good Day IOA

 

Organizational Values and Community Norms

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2023 Board Elections Results are In

We are proud to announce the results of the 2023 Board of Directors election. These newly elected directors will take office at the Annual Meeting on 11 April 2023. The new Board will convene shortly thereafter to elect new officers.

Thank you to those members who participated in this year's election. IOA is grateful to all of the candidates who ran in this year's election for their interest in board service, as well as the Nominating Committee for dedicating their time and attention to the nomination and election process.


 

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Dancing to the Edge of Neutrality: Identity Survey

Katie Manderson, Jennifer Mahony and Linda Brothers will be presenting the session, Dancing to the Edge of Neutrality, at the 2023 IOA Annual Conference in Seattle on 3-5 April 2023. 

We do so much as ombuds to help our organizations and visitors when their identity feels questioned or threatened, leading to conflict. However, what happens when our identity is questioned or threatened?  We want to get some information from you, our colleagues in IOA, about times when your identity has impacted your work. We are using a very broad definition of identity, looking beyond protected group categories. This is an informal survey, so please be as frank as you are comfortable.

This is the link to the survey

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Organizational Ombuds’ Compensation, Reporting Lines, and Office Structures

IOA is collecting information on organizational ombuds’ compensation, reporting lines, and office structures, and we need your help! The information collected will be useful to: 

  • Ombuds who are hoping to expand or restructure their offices 
  • Ombuds trying to negotiate increases in compensation  
  • Ombuds seeking appropriate reporting structures 
  • Organizational leaders who are exploring the feasibility of an ombuds office 

The anonymity of all participants will be protected at all stages. Meaningful information will be shared in the form of statistical central tendencies (mean, median, mode, range), and no data will be reported on groups of fewer than five participants.

It’s safe, it’s easy, and it’s incredibly important! And it’s also short – only about 20 questions that should take fewer than 15 minutes to complete. Preview the survey instrument.

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Join the DEIB Committee

In an effort to be more inclusive of those committee members and potential volunteers who might be interested in joining the DEIB Committee and for whom our monthly committee meeting time has been inconvenient, we will be testing different start times for our next two meetings.

The DEIB Committee meetings are normally scheduled for 12:00-1:00 p.m. PT on the first Thursday of every month.  Please note these new meeting times for March and April. March 2, 2023 at 9:00-10:00 a.m. PT April 13, 2023, at 3:30-4:30 p.m. PT (moved from April 5 so as not to conflict with IOA’s 2023 Annual Conference)

Please consider becoming a member of the DEIB Committee. Visit IOA’s Committees & Task Forces web page for more information and to submit the Volunteer Interest Form.

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Calling All Ombuds for Associations

Calling All Ombuds for Associations

Are you an outsourced/contract ombuds for a professional, scientific or trade association?  IOA's Executive Director Ellen Miller will be presenting at the American Society for Association Executives's  2023 Marketing, Membership & Communications Conference (MMCC) in June and would like to highlight your work in this presentation.   Please contact Ellen Miller to contribute.

Dependable Vs. Dependency

By Christina Tay

Director of Services - Restorative Resolution 

Over the past few years, I have been thinking thematically about the tension between being dependable as a organizational ombuds and the unintended consequence of dependency developing with a user of the service.  In a previous role, I had attended a potential client’s senior leadership team meeting with our organization's business development manager and we were attending to promote the value and benefit of providing ombuds services. One of the senior leaders asked “What do you do if one of the staff becomes dependent on you as a practitioner or the service you are here to promote”? As we had a very limited amount of allocated time I responded “One of our key roles as a practitioner is to empower individuals through the sharing of knowledge and tools to move towards being able to manage the situations they are experiencing.”  It has been a few years since that question was posited and it is a topic that I have continued to consider.

One of the senior leaders asked “What do you do if one of the staff becomes dependent on you as a practitioner or the service you are here to promote”?

In a past role, I was working in an organization that employed a few thousand employees.  One of the requirements of the role was to continue to promote the service to the widest possible audience across the organization.  I started to observe that once some users of the service connected with the ombuds they were inclined to return for multiple individual sessions and while the subject may have slightly changed between sessions it did raise thoughts about the possibility of dependency.  On one hand, I see the absolute value of providing as much support as an individual requires but this has to be balanced against ensuring that there is sufficient time and energy available to an expanded base of users.


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Call for Articles: Just Resolutions

By Shannon Lynn Burton, PhD
University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University

Dear Ombuds Colleagues,

I am writing to solicit articles for the September 2023 Just Resolutions e-newsletter. This edition centers on the work of ombuds and it would be wonderful if we had several individuals interested in writing!

Article submissions would be due to me by July 31st, 2023, for editing before they are forwarded to ABA for publication. However, an early submission of an article is always encouraged.

Articles have a wide range of content from interviews to book reviews and more! They run approximately 750 words in length (3-5 pages double spaced). For information on types of articles, please see the ABA Guidelines for Publication: https://lnkd.in/g9XQs7ww

Additionally, you are welcome to review the September 2019, 2020, and 2021 and November 2022 editions:


If you have an idea of what you would like to write about, but want to talk it through with someone, please let me know that as well. I am always happy to discuss potential articles.

In the interim, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you might have, as well as let me know if you plan on writing a piece. I want to be supportive of our authors and knowing who is writing ahead of time allows me to do so! You can reach me via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (517) 353-8830.

Best Wishes,
Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D.
University Ombudsperson | Michigan State University
Editor | ABA Just Resolutions September 2023

IOA Executive Director's Yearly Recap

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director 

Fifty percent of my work is externally facing -- helping to raise awareness about Organizational Ombuds. This year, we made some great strides: mapping out an external relations plan, kicking off our lobbying efforts, and forging key relationships with important policymakers and collaborators.  Check out this infographic to see how I have been spending some of my time.    

It has been a year since I came to IOA. Thank you for creating such a welcoming environment and sharing your knowledge, challenges, successes, and concerns.  You are always willing to stand up when needed and are generous with your time, energy, and talent. I am grateful for the time we have spent together, and I look forward to seeing so many of you in Seattle.   

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IOA Advocacy Update - U.S. Department of Education

Advocacy Update  

 IOA Advocacy Committee Co-Chair Sarah Klaper and Executive Director Ellen Miller had an exceptionally productive meeting with representatives of the U.S. Department of Education on February 14.  Similar to our congressional meetings last fall, the opportunity to connect with policymakers one-on-one to discuss how organizational ombuds who practice to standards support the campus security landscape proved to be both illuminating and valuable.  The Department is currently in the process of updating the Clery Handbook as new guidance, and we hope to be a resource to the Department, as needed.      

This latest effort reinforces the importance of building relationships for IOA.  Please reach out to Sarah or Ellen if you have any questions.   

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