Exciting News from the CO-OP® Board!

Dear IOA Members,

The CO-OP® Board is very pleased to announce broader and more accessible credentialing! The Certification Board and Committees have made changes based on IOA member input.  We have decided to implement a leveling approach to certification. The CO-OP Board feels leveling is an important way to maintain the rigor of certification, while expanding access to credentialing. We recognize that ombuds practice in a variety of settings, and have worked hard to achieve and maintain a professional level of knowledge and experience. We feel that recognizing this with our new credentialing levels will aid in the continued professionalization of our field.

What does this mean? This means that there will be more than one level for credentialing. Some people in our profession who are knowledgeable and experienced ombuds are unable to obtain certification because their organization has requirements that compromise their ability to practice to standards and obtain full certification. One example of this is in the academic sector where some institutions have interpreted reporting requirements related to Title IX or Cleary Act, which technically conflict with the standards of practice for our profession. We want to recognize these ombuds.

The CO-OP® status will remain the same, but now there are two new levels. One is called a Candidate for CO-OP. This means that the applicant has passed the Certification Exam, has held the title of ombuds for at least 1 year or 2000 hours within the past four years, and has performed the traditional role of an organizational ombuds. The difference is: Candidate for CO-OP does NOT have to be adhering to all standards of practice.

The second new level is Inactive Status. This means that if you have achieved CO-OP certification, but your organization no longer allows you to practice all of the standards, you can request this status. Inactive status means that you cannot formally use the CO-OP® credential. However you do have the option of being reinstated by going through a similar process to recertification (submitting a fee and proof of 60 hours professional development in the four years prior to reinstatement and signing a statement verifying that these conditions have been met). You will not be required to go back to the beginning of the certification process.

We will be available at the IOA Conference to answer your questions! We will have an information table that you can visit between sessions. We also invite you to join us at the informational session during breakfast on Tuesday, April 2 at 7am during the conference.

More information will be coming. We are excited about these changes!

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Comments on "Exciting News from the CO-OP® Board!"

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Carol Booth - Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Sorry for the errors - the sentence about the new category being unnecessary should read ..."previous and current"...

Carol Booth - Tuesday, March 05, 2019

This news serves to undermine the profession of Ombuds. As I have said several times in my appeals for a reasoned approach to the issue of certification for Ombuds designated as "responsible employees" for Title IX purposes even if they do practice to standards at all times, CO-OP certification should be based solely on whether the Ombuds actually practices to standards. Maintaining the standards of a profession is a fundamental and basic requirement to be considered a professional in any other field. Creating a "Candidate" category is misleading (it sounds like the candidate is just waiting for the official notification), unnecessary, (Ombuds can be 'responsible employees' and practice to standards under previous and prior Title IX guidance), and belittles the profession, which is exactly the opposite of the goal of creating the CO-OP designation in the first place. What membership may want is not necessarily in the best interest of the profession. If there are not going to be required standards, why create a certification?

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