#IOA2020 Call for Proposals

The Call for Proposals for IOA’s 15th Annual Conference is open! Time to look forward to gathering with colleagues old and new in Portland, Oregon, USA from 30 March - 01 April, 2020.

The theme for this year’s conference is

Vision 2020: Innovation, Integrity, & Importance in Ombuds Work

This theme reflects feedback from last year’s conference as well as ideas central to IOA’s future goals. It is intended to focus participants and presenters on the questions of 

Where the field is now and where it may be going, 
What it means to ombuds with integrity, and 
How our work is relevant to our visitors, organizations, and the world at large

The Call for Proposals has been modified from years past to attract conference content that aligns with identified needs of attendees and the field at large. Some new features: 

  • We have added a Conference Suggestion Email anyone can use year-round to share suggestions for keynote speakers, topics, or any ideas or feedback relevant to the conference.

  • We are soliciting content specifically requested by conference attendees. Such requests include:

● ombudsing in light of shifting cultural norms and organizational imperatives
● ombuds and equity, justice, and diversity and inclusion work
● ombuds’ relation and value to leaders, decision-makers, and stakeholders
● self-reflection, personal growth, and self-care for ombuds practitioners
● working with data - collecting, analyzing, communicating, effectively and ethically reporting, leveraging for change
● how to direct and/or work within an ombuds office team - set-up, roles, challenges, best practices
● advanced content designed for very experienced (15+ years) ombuds

  • We are also requesting potential presenters to identify formats for their concurrent sessions in order to better set and align expectations between presenters and participants:

    • Training - Designed to train participants in a particular technique; to transfer a specific skill or set of skills 
    • Workshop - Designed to collaboratively engage participants around a particular problem or question, and build new knowledge together in a structured way
    • Topic Presentation - Designed toconvey topical knowledge to participants through lecture by subject-area expert(s); may also include thoughtful, limited use of closely-guided discussion 
    • Knowledge Forum - Designed for a small group of expert presenters (3-6) to discuss a specific topic from different perspectives in front of a participant audience; facilitated yet intentionally open-ended, with a robust Q&A component 
    • Other - A new model for instruction, dialogue, collaboration, or professional development outside the options described above, including “bridging” other concurrent sessions and splitting or expanding time slots to enhance collaboration with other sessions and presenters.

  • We have reduced concurrent session time from 90 minutes to 70 minutes to allow more time for networking and/or flexibility in scheduling overall.

  • We have updated the categorization scheme for content levels:

    • Emerging (0-5 years of practice and/or knowledge)
    • Established (5-15 years of practice and/or knowledge)
    • Experienced (over 15 years of practice and/or knowledge)

Please note that these categories are meant to describe one’s relation to the content at hand not one’s overall years of experience or practice. For example, someone may be emerging when it comes to one content area yet experienced in another.

Sincere thanks to all past conference attendees who have shared candid, constructive feedback on conference evaluation forms. This input has made it clear that we have key opportunities to improve the conference experience for all. Top among them are to enhance networking; to set consistent expectations for content; and to source content relevant to the full range of our attendees. The changes above have all been made in the spirit of seizing these opportunities.

Please read the full Call for Proposals, share it widely, and submit your session proposals before the closing date of 21 November 2019! And remember, the Conference Suggestion Email is open 24/7 for nominations of speakers, topics, or general feedback. We look forward to hearing from you, and seeing you in Portland soon!

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