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Ombuds Day 2023

By Belinda M. Robinson, PhD
Associate Organizational Ombudsman - Federal Bureau of Investigation

For nearly six years, in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s Ombuds Day Committee, the Ombuds community is celebrated, recognized, and congratulated on the second Thursday of October, also known as Ombuds Day. This year, Ombuds Day is celebrated on Thursday, October 12. The theme for 2023 is Ombuds: Diverse in Role. United in Service.

Prior years’ themes have paid homage to the professionals who lead conflict resolution efforts and mediation services for organizations, large and small, and regardless of their internally or externally facing ombuds roles:

  •  2022Ombuds: Resilience, Respect, Resolve
  •  2021Ombuds: Exploring Options to Resolve Conflict Together
  •  2020 and 2019Ombuds: Unusual Name. Important Service

Ombuds practitioners are often described as navigators who provide a beacon of light; giving employees, and often the public, hope that their problems can be resolved fairly and equitably.

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ABA Dispute Resolution Section - Call for Proposals

The ABA Dispute Resolution Section is now accepting program proposals for our 2024 Spring Conference that will be held April 10–13, 2024, in San Diego, CA. This year’s conference theme is Mastering the Future: Revolutionizing Dispute Resolution in a Dynamic World.

We welcome program proposals from anyone who can enlighten and connect with our anticipated attendees, who include dispute resolution leaders, mediators, arbitrators, ombuds, judges, attorney advocates, court administrators, neutral providers, ADR consumers, and legal educators. The proposal deadline is September 13 at 5 p.m. ET, so now is your chance to bring your program idea to life!

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In Memoriam: Jared Lee

We have some very sad news to share, on behalf of IOA member Jennifer Moumneh:

It is with great sadness that I’m writing to share the news that our team member and dear friend, Jared Lee, passed away unexpectedly last week.

Jared Lee

Jared was a key member of UC Irvine’s Office of the Ombuds, a wonderful colleague, a rising star in the Organizational Ombuds profession, and an overall amazing human being.  He will be missed dearly.

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Advocacy Committee Update

Advocacy Committee Update:  

Our Advocacy Committee is hard at work preparing resources members can use across sectors to help advocate for ombuds offices in their organizations. These include:  

1) An IOA Organizational Engagement “Triage” Template

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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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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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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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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 Advocacy Update - Press Release

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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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 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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5 Tips for Submitting a Successful Speaker Proposal for IOA Conference

By IOA

The Deadline to Submit for #IOA2023 Is Monday, 17 October 2022!

Female presenter speaking to a room full of conference attendees

The International Ombudsman Association warmly invites you to submit a presentation proposal or speaker suggestion for our 18th Annual Conference, Ombuds as Change Agent? ReEngaging and Transforming Conflict. Our in-person conference is scheduled for 3–5 April 2023 in Seattle, Washington, USA. 

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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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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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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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18th Annual IOA Conference Updates

By the IOA Conference Committee & IOA Board of Directors

The IOA Conference Committee is hard at work planning the 18th Annual IOA Conference, in person in Seattle, WA, USA, 3–5 April 2023. It has been brought to our attention that the event dates run over or are adjacent to a number of major religious holidays including Ramadan, Palm Sunday, and Passover. As an organization that honors diversity and inclusivity, the Conference Committee, staff, and the Board are taking this issue seriously and considering the potential impacts on members as we begin planning the schedule for the Conference. We deeply apologize for the overlap this year and we will work to ensure that the planning allows attendees time to observe religious activities.

We have already explored whether the hotel is able to move our date; unfortunately, the hotel is unable to accommodate us. As you may know, the IOA Annual Conference has typically been held in April with the actual dates dependent upon many factors such as hotel availability and pricing. The contracts for the Annual Conference are typically signed two to three years ahead and changing those contracts is exceptionally difficult under normal circumstances. Because we had to cancel and move hotel contracts in 2020, 2021, and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we had very limited options for the 2023 Conference.

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IOA Welcomes a New Ombuds

By Breanne Taylor

Breanne TaylorHello IOA! My name is Breanne Taylor and I am very excited to be serving as the next IOA Ombuds. I have been a member of IOA for almost 10 years and currently serve as the Associate Ombuds at Oregon State University. I am excited to be serving in this role for many reasons but primarily it is the opportunity to work with ombuds across many different sectors, experience levels, and locations that led me to pursue this role. To be in a position to support my fellow ombuds, as they serve their constituents and continue to grow and hone their own abilities within this field, is incredibly energizing.

I want to acknowledge Elaine Shaw, CO-OP®  for all her hard work as the inaugural IOA Ombuds and for the excellent foundation she established for the office. I am excited and eager to be part of its continued success in supporting this community as we adapt to new and perpetual changes. I also want to express my gratitude to Elaine for her warm welcome and guidance as I transition into this role.

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