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Ombuds Internship Toolkit - EON Needs Your Input

By Mary Bliss Conger, Ed.D.
EON Member

Have you successfully offered an internship in your ombud office? Have you undertaken an internship in pursuit of an ombud career? Would you like to offer an internship but don’t know how?

The Emerging Ombuds Network (EON) is building a toolkit to support the development of ombuds internships. Its purpose is to clarify and simplify the process of offering an internship by aggregating resources within a coherent framework. A draft outline of the toolkit is available online here via Google Drive, where anyone can view, comment upon, and directly add to the document (please resist deleting existing content, however). We need your input. 

We are particularly keen to get sample documents (e.g., confidentiality agreements, job postings, scopes of work, etc.) that can be used as templates or exemplars. There are places to upload such documents linked in the toolkit outline. 

There is also a database of known internship opportunities: Please add to it if you can.


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In Appreciation of My Networks

by Bryan Hanson, Ombudsperson, The Graduate School at Virginia Tech

Working as an ombudsman creates a sense of isolation at times, especially when you are a sole practitioner within an organization. This is a dynamic that became my reality when I took on the role of ombudsman for a university in a rural community. Throughout my career as a conflict engagement professional, I’ve relied on strong networks to help me through phases of my professional development. Fortunately, I’ve been located in communities that had many experienced professionals with whom I could engage and work on a regular basis. Now that I am in a rural community, I must rely on networks that I maintain from a distance.

As a newcomer to the ombudsman profession, I am finding that access to a strong network of support is critical as I navigate the situations I encounter on a daily basis. However, as I become more focused in my work as a conflict practitioner, I have realized that not only is my geographic location a challenge, the wider community of professionals sharing this role is much smaller. Fortunately, I am finding that my colleagues serving as ombudsmen in other institutions are very open to communication and engaging on a level that provides the needed support to ensure that I remain on the right path.

It is with great appreciation that I felt the need to acknowledge the level of support these networks provide and also to encourage others to foster the networks available to them. To do this I wanted to share my story of network development as an ombudsman in a rural community and hope that it inspires the sharing of other ombudsmen’s experiences with the networks that support them. By illustrating the many opportunities to get engaged with those that can be supportive of our success in our role, this interchange will hopefully benefit others new to the field and those who simply feel they could gain value by expanding their networks.

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