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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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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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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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IOA Committee Updates July 2022

By IOA

At each IOA Board of Directors Meetings, our association's Committees submit a report about the progress they are making on their latest projects. Each Committee and Task Force 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.


Conference Committee, June 2022

Conference Committee is beginning the planning process for #IOA2023 in Seattle and would like your input. We are seeking to build upon lessons learned from our virtual experiences in 2021 and 2022 while creating a true feeling of belonging and reintegration from our long separations. If you would like to work with our team, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form with the Volunteer Coordination Committee or contact the Conference Committee co-chairs, Katie Manderson and Bina Patel.

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US Title IX June 2022 Update

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

On June 23, the US Department of Education issued proposed revisions to US Title IX. Once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has been issued in the US Federal Register, all stakeholders will have 60 days to comment. 

Per the press release, the proposed new regulations would:

  • Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination.

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New IOA Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics

Updated Board-Approved Documents Now Available

By IOA

We are pleased to announce that the IOA Board of Directors approved the final, revised Standards of Practice (SOP) and Code of Ethics (COE) at its meeting on 17 March 2022. The new documents are now in effect and are available for download on the IOA website. Current SOP & COE translations include, Amharic, Chinese, French, French Canadian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Latin American Spanish, and Thai. If you would like to suggest another language to add to our translation list, please email the IOA office at [email protected].

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Call for Articles: Just Resolutions - ABA e-newsletter

By Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D., University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University

Dear Ombuds Colleagues,

I am writing to solicit articles for the September 2022 Just Resolutions e-newsletter.  This edition centers on the work of ombuds and it would be wonderful if we had a number of individuals interested in writing!

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Hear From the President & Executive Director | Parts One & Two

Watch Part One and Part Two of the 2022 Good Day IOA interview between Ronnie Thomson, IOA 2022-2023 President and Ellen M. Miller, IOA Executive Director. Learn about their roles and what's on the horizon for IOA. 


 

View Part One on YouTube
View Part Two on YouTube

Congratulations to 2022 Distinguished Emeritus Members

By IOA Nominating Committee

Each year, members are invited to nominate retired colleagues to be honored as Distinguished Emeritus members, in recognition of their outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and profession. This year, we had several such nominations for ombuds who have gone above and beyond. These esteemed members were recognized during the 17th Annual IOA Conference. Please join us in congratulating each of them:

Jenna Brown

Retired, University of Denver, Member Since: 2000

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Introducing IOA's New Website

Begin Exploring

By the International Ombuds Association

We are delighted to announce that we have launched a new IOA website. You are invited to visit our new and improved site at www.ombudsassociation.org.

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Message from the Executive Director

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

Greetings IOA Members & Supporters,

Thank you for the very warm welcome and the many kind messages I have received. I am now well into my third week at IOA, learning about the organization’s many committees, task forces, and projects, and attending the March Virtual Foundations course this week. One thing is very clear: I am so impressed with the tremendous energy and engagement of our members.  

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Volunteers Needed in Anticipation of Proposed Title IX Amendments

Call to Action

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

Calling All US Academic Ombuds

We need your help. The US Department of Education has finalized its proposed amendments to Title IX and we expect a Notice of Proposed Rule Making to be issued in the next 60–90 days. According to an abstract previewing the amendments, the following changes may be included to align Title IX with Biden-Harris Administration priorities: 

  • Designation of coordinator
  • Dissemination of policy
  • Adoption of grievance procedures
  • Definitions
  • Recipient’s response to sexual harassment
  • Grievance process for formal complaints of sexual harassment

You may recall that in March 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Education to review changes made to Title IX during the Trump administration that prompted a week of exploratory hearings last summer. IOA participated by submitting comments that encouraged the retention of two amendments to preserve the effectiveness of organizational ombuds on college campuses.

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A New Name, A New Logo, A New IOA Brand

What's Changing & How Will It Affect You?

In 2018, IOA began our journey to redefine the way we communicate about our association and about the organizational ombuds profession as a whole. Today, we are proud to announce and share the results of this effort.

Along with formally changing our organization's name to the “International Ombuds Association,”  we are releasing a new logo, revised color palette, and a refined branding style guide. This new branding helps us celebrate the growth and evolution of our organization and our profession. It reflects a modern interpretation of our core values and traditions while incorporating elements of our 2021-2024 Strategic Direction.

Thank You for Your Input

During this process, member input has driven the overall direction and design of this new modern look. Your responses to the member-driven 2020 Branding Survey, your comments and input on the revisions to IOA's Bylaws & Articles of Incorporation, as well as your feedback on the 2021 logo design concepts have helped IOA leadership to better understand what you think IOA's brand should convey and what imagery resonates most with you. 

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2022 President's Message to IOA Members

President, Melanie Jagneaux

By Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP®, IOA President

IOA begins the new year strong. Steadily growing over the past two years, IOA has surpassed its 1,000 member milestone! Even as the impacts of the COVID pandemic continued, we ended 2021 in a prosperous financial position, closing the year with an approximate net surplus of more than $35,000.

We, the members of IOA, accomplished a great deal in 2021! I think it is important to pause and celebrate our successes because our efforts in 2021 will bring even more value to our membership and the ombuds profession in the years to come. If you volunteered your time and talent on an IOA Committee or Task Force, IOA has greatly benefited from your investment. If you provided valuable feedback on proposals in surveys, you helped IOA leaders make better decisions. If you shared viewpoints in town halls or member meetings you contributed to our collaborative culture. We stayed well focused on our goals, engaged openly, collaborated well, met challenges with confidence and persistence, and made important changes to ready the organization for the future.

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Progress on Revising IOA's Standards of Practice & Code of Ethics Revisions

What Is Changing & Why Is It Important?

By IOA SOP & COE Working Group

In the Fall of 2020, the IOA Board of Directors presented revised drafts of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics to the IOA membership for feedback (more information is available on The Independent Voice). We received many comments via our survey questionnaire, during listening sessions, and in individual communications. The majority of the comments supported the proposed changes, but there were a number of members who offered valuable constructive criticism and specific suggestions.

Next, the Board convened a working group to methodically review and evaluate the comments and suggestions from members. That group met weekly and conducted a section-by-section, paragraph-by-paragraph review of the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics, incorporating many of the suggested edits. The working group exercised its best judgment to reconcile many conflicting member suggestions.

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2021 IOA Member Updates

By IOA

We would like to thank IOA's  1,000+ members for participating in our organization in 2021. Members' support and investment in the association help us continue striving toward our mission to advance the organizational ombuds profession worldwide.

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Announcing Chuck Howard's New Book

A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds: How They Help People and Organizations

Chuck Howard

The wait is over! After more than a year of research and with the participation of many IOA members, Chuck Howard’s new book, A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds: How They Help People and Organizations, is going on sale this month.

It is the second book by IOA’s executive director and follows his seminal work, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations - A Legal Guidepublished in 2011, which has since become an essential resource for ombuds, dispute resolution professionals, in-house counsel, corporate executives, university administrators, compliance officers, and human resources personnel.

Where his first book provided a history of the evolution of the role of an organizational ombuds and explained the function, Chuck’s new release is a practical guide for anyone with questions about what ombuds programs are and how they operate.

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Call for IOA Board Nominations

The IOA Board of Directors Call for Nominations Is Open

The nominations window will close on 16 December 2021.

We are pleased to invite you to submit nominations for the IOA Board of Directors. This is the first step in kicking off the elections process for the next set of directors. All eligible candidates directors will begin their service following the 2022 IOA Annual Business Meeting in March 2022.


Your Questions Answered

How Is this Nominations Cycle Different from Others in the Past?

After the November 2021 Special Member Meeting, several changes were made to the IOA Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation. Due to these changes, IOA will be following a modified process to catch up after the postponed 2021 election.

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The Results Are In: IOA Bylaws & Articles of Incorporation Amendments Passed

16 November 2021 Member Vote Results

All proposals were passed by a clear majority.

On 16 November 2021 at 8:30 AM Pacific Time, voting at the IOA Special Member Meeting concluded. After a quorum of 322 members was declared achieved, a live vote was conducted for each proposal and tallied along with the proxy votes that were previously submitted. Below are the final results of each vote. All proposals were passed by a clear majority.

Based on these results, the new IOA Bylaws are now in effect. The IOA Articles of Incorporation will be revised and filed as required by IOA's attorney, and then shared with members once available. 

In alignment with these new changes, we will soon be opening the 2021 & 2022 Call for Board Nominations. Please be on the lookout for an announcement email soon. Additionally, we will roll out a new name and logo in early 2022 and implement other necessary changes to our elections process as a result of the revised Bylaws.

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Executive Director Search Update and Request to Membership

By Lee Twyman, Executive Director Search Team Co-Chair

In late September, the IOA Executive Director Search Team began our search for IOA’s next Executive Director. The Search Team values members’ perspectives as we meet the goal of selecting a new ED that represents you, our members, and we wish to share the following update and give you the opportunity to provide input. Our next ED will be a full-time position and work in collaboration with membership, the Board, and our staff to advance the goals of the IOA and the Organizational Ombuds profession. As a reminder, the Search Team includes the following members: Marcia Gee Riley, Juan Lattanzio, Suzanne Diviney, Marcia Martinez-Helfman, Lindsay Jennings, IOA Managing Director, and Co-Chairs Willem Kweens and Lee Twyman. Please view the IOA Board-approved ED position description for reference.

The search process and timeline includes:

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