Contract Conference Ombuds Task Force Seeks Resource Materials

By Roy Baroff, COOP® , Faculty/Staff Ombuds, NC State University, and IOA Board Member

Greetings IOA members! 

Let us introduce the Contract Conference Ombuds Task Force and ask for your help. This is a new Task Force focused on developing resources to help ombuds and organizations planning for conference ombuds services. IOA is receiving requests for this type of information and a number of organizations are seeking and providing ombuds services at their conferences.  Thus, the Task Force was created and we are meeting to discuss and develop materials. Along the way, the Task Force provided some assistance to the Society for American Archaeology with the outcome being the job posting you may have seen on the IOA job board.

With this in mind, we want your help. Have you worked as a contract conference ombuds and do you have materials related to your work that you could share with the Task Force? We are seeking contracts, charters/terms of reference, job descriptions, and any other materials that we can potentially share on our resources page. 

Send materials to the Task Force Chair, Roy Baroff ([email protected]) and feel free to contact Roy for further information. 

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#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

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IOA Board of Directors Spotlight - Steve Prevaux

by Jennifer Smith Schneider, Ph.D., Student Ombuds, University of South Florida
Editor, The Independent Voice

Steve Prevaux, who is my colleague at USF, was appointed to the IOA Board in August. In an effort to promote transparency and enhance our sense of community, I asked Steve to respond to a few questions (some of which are serious and others that are less so), and I want to share his responses with you here. I think the world of Steve, as a professional and as a human. I feel certain that you will enjoy getting to know him better. Enjoy the read!

What motivated you to become a leader in IOA?

The IOA is poised to make a very positive difference in the directional development of the future organizational ombuds practice. Colleagues have expressed that my governance background and experience with rapidly developing organizations would be helpful as our Board navigates strategic decision points during a period of rapid change. My home university has successfully closed the graduation gap among students, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. This ethos is also a nice fit for the IOA’s current culture of sustainable inclusivity. We are now reaching for the next level of success- onward and upward!

What is your biggest goal for your time on the Board?

Creating clear and transparent processes that add consistent value! We have reached a crucial point in the organizational development of the IOA. Now is a great time to have an authentic dialogue about our future strategic direction with an eye towards positive change management. The consensus we build around our core leadership focus and resulting practices should increase transparency to members and boost our overall effectiveness. The recent hire of our first Executive Director is a solid step in this direction, and I look forward to collaborating with him during my service on the Board to promote IOA success. 

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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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Retirement of Dr. Kathleen Moore (NIH)

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution, announces the retirement of J. Kathleen Moore, Ph.D. from her position as NIH Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution (CCR).  Kathleen has enriched the NIH community for over 30 years through her dedicated efforts in addressing individual and organizational conflict, first as a counseling psychologist, then as NIH Senior Associate Ombudsman.  On January 1, 2016, Kathleen was named Acting Director, and, following a nationwide search, was named NIH Ombudsman and Director of CCR.

Dr. Moore has helped to shape the direction and legacy of our office over her many years with the organization, focusing upon collaborative problem-solving.   She has guided us in the exploration of systemic and equity concerns, published on gender equity issues in science, and advanced the field through her Reflective Observer Model for conflict resolution reflection. Her strong behavioral approach to addressing organizational conflict was informed by her background in Neuroscience (BA), Counseling Psychology (MS), and Human and Organizational Psychology (Ph.D.). 

Julie Muroff, J.D., LL.M., is the Acting NIH Ombudsman and Director of CCR. Ms. Muroff is an accomplished professor, presenter, and practitioner in conflict management/alternative dispute resolution, with extensive experience as a seasoned mediator, facilitator, and executive coach. Ms. Muroff has served the NIH community for 14 years and is well known to CCR through initiatives within and beyond NIH, and through her past service on detail to CCR as an Associate Ombudsman. 

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Update on the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education

by Marcia Martínez-Helfman, JD, MSW, 2019-2020 IOA President

Greetings, Colleagues –

I want to share with you this letter I received from the National Academies' Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education acknowledging the IOA as a founding member of this very important effort to address sexual misconduct in academia. IOA has made a four-year commitment to this effort. Hats off to Jessica Kuchta-Miller, IOA Board member and Government & Policy Committee Co-Chair, for bringing this opportunity to the IOA.

The Action Collaborative will host an annual summit every fall in a different part of the country. The Summit is an opportunity to gather information, engage in a dialogue, gain diverse perspectives on how to effectively prevent sexual harassment and abuse, and ultimately identify and elevate promising practices for preventing sexual harassment and abuse. This year's Summit will be held November 19 - 20, 2019 at the University of Washington in Seattle, and is free and open to the public. Jessica Kutcha-Miller and Chuck Howard will be attending on behalf of IOA, and will be sharing information about the value and effectiveness of ombuds programs with Summit participants.

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Highlights from the Second Annual Ombuds Day

By Katie Swanson, Ombuds Day Task Force Committee Volunteer

The second annual Ombuds Day has come and gone leaving many amazing highlights from this year’s events and theme – Ombuds: Unusual Name. Important Service. In case you may not be familiar with all of the back story behind Ombuds Day,be sure to check out the ABA Journal on What are ombuds? The ABA provides a primer on special day.

A major point of focus surrounding Ombuds Day 2019 was the effort behind pushing cities, states, universities, and so forth to make a proclamation that would recognize the second Thursday of every October going forward as Ombuds Day. And the effort by those involved paid off in a very meaningful way with the response received. On the state level, proclamations were received from Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, New Mexico, Washington, Arizona, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Joining in as well at the city level, Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Anchorage, East Lansing, Des Moines, and King County in Washington have proclaimed Ombuds Day moving forward. This is only the beginning when it comes to proclamations as the efforts continue so be sure to stop by the Ombuds Day Toolkit for all the details and keep watching for who is added to the list next.

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Read Chuck Howard's Ombuds Day Keynote Address

IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard gave the keynote address at the Ombuds Day event held on 10 October 2019 in Washington DC. Read on for the full transcript of Chuck's speech.Chuck Howard Speaking at 2019 Ombuds Day in Washington DC

This is the second year of Ombuds Day celebrations. Last year, the inaugural Ombuds Day event was held here in Washington to an overflow crowd with a waiting list. This year, there are three main Ombuds Day events—here, in Chicago, and in Boulder, Colorado—as well as an Ombuds Day event in Connecticut on October 15th, with the delay necessitated by lack of space for it on the 10th. We have several state proclamations—from the governors of Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as proclamations from the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and from at least 8 local governments. There are also numerous events being hosted by ombuds offices at companies, universities, and other organizations.  I think this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.

Before I turn to my main remarks, however, l would like to give a bit of background on what the ABA DRS Ombuds Committee is, what it has tried to accomplish, and how Ombuds Day celebrations came about.
I don’t know when the first ABA Ombuds Committee was organized, but one existed in the early 2000s, as it was very instrumental in helping to achieve ABA adoption of two important ombuds resolutions by the ABA House of Delegates in 2001 and 2004. These resolutions help standardize the terminology for the different types of ombuds programs—classical, advocate, and organizational. They also set forth standards for the creation and operation of these programs. These have been foundational documents in the growth of the ombuds field in the United States. this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.

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Get Involved in IOA Through Volunteering!

Hello, IOA — from your Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC)!

IOA is a volunteer-driven organization, and there are so many great individuals already contributing their time, skills, and energy to advancing work within IOA, but there are still phenomenal volunteer opportunities that await eager individuals!

The Volunteer Coordination Committee (VCC) is excited to share the following open IOA volunteer opportunities. We encourage you to review the below opportunities and get involved with IOA!

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A Message from IOA's Executive Director

By Charles L. Howard, Executive Director of IOA 

As I near the end of my first month as the new Executive Director of IOA, I want to give everyone a brief update of what I have been up to. Even before I officially started, I met with Marcia Martinez-Helfman and Lee Twyman in Philadelphia to get a lay of the land and make sure that we were aligned on what our goals are for this new position. Since the first of September, I have been primarily engaged in a learning and listening tour—having orientations with leadership and SBI on finances and operations and participating in the monthly meetings of various committees and task forces. I have also had my first Executive Committee and Board meetings. Along the way, I have helped respond to external inquiries and have been engaged in planning for my role as the keynote speaker in the Washington, D.C. Ombuds Day event and a subsequent Ombuds Day event at Quinnipiac Law School here in Connecticut on October 15th. I have been making plans for presentations later in October to university risk managers and to participate with Jessica Kutcha Miller in attending the public hearing and having a poster presentation at the Action Collaborative sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. I am still excited to be a part of IOA and look forward to finding ways to be useful in expanding the reach of this important profession.  


Call for Papers: JIOA Special Issue on Sexual Harassment

By Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D., University Ombuds, Michigan State University
Editor, Journal of the International Ombudsman Association

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the JIOA,

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA) is pleased to announce a Call for Papers for a special edition on Responses of the Organizational Ombuds to Sexual Harassment. The papers in this edition will focus on organizational ombuds’ most significant and challenging experiences in responding to and assisting with sexual harassment concerns. Additional details on the call for papers is attached. Dr. Shereen Bingham will be serving as Guest Editor for this issue.  Please direct questions about the special issue to Dr. Bingham whose contact information can be found in the Call for Papers.

Best Wishes,

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An Invitation from the JIOA

By Shannon Lynn Burton, Ph.D., University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University
Editor, Journal for the International Ombudsman Association

Dear Colleagues and Friends of the JIOA,

We are pleased to announce a new initiative with the Journal for the International Ombudsman Association around book and media reviews! 

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Exciting IOA Partnerships!

By Roy Baroff, COOP® , Faculty/Staff Ombuds, NC State University

Hello, IOA -- from your Strategic Alliances and Partnerships Committee (SAPC)!  

We wanted to provide a quick update and extend an invitation. This is still a fairly new committee, and we’ve been working to build relationships to promote, provide member services and protect the ombuds profession. One project is to firm up connections with like-minded organizations, and we are working to confirm and document reciprocal agreements around conference invitations and exhibiting. Two are right around the corner, and you are invited to say hello and stop by IOA tables next week at the USOA conference in Hawaii (Liz Hill - Associate Director of the Ombuds Office, University of Colorado Boulder ) and ACR in Tucson (Caitlin Hendrickson – Ombuds Program Director, University of Arizona). Many thanks to Liz and Caitlin for representing IOA. If you are attending and want to help staff the table, then please contact them directly.

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Interview with Amanda Dean

by Roy Baroff, COOP®, Faculty and Staff Ombuds, NC State University

This is part of an ongoing series of conversations between an IOA Board Director and an IOA member.  In mid-August I, Roy Baroff (RB), spoke with Amanda Dean (AD), asking about her journey into ombuds practice, how IOA helped along the way, and what else IOA could or should be doing. We had a pretty far-ranging conversation; here’s a summary, and I hope you enjoy it! I really appreciate Amanda for sharing her time and her journey with us!

 RB: Could you start by sharing how you got into ombuds work?

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An ombuds... What? The challenge of bringing ombuds magic to Argentina

By Jacqueline Berzon, former corporate lawyer, current mediator and aspiring ombuds

How do you sell a service that nobody knows? How do you sell a service without being able to demonstrate its positive results? How do you sell a service nobody thinks is needed? How do you sell a service no one has experienced before? It is hard.

My name is Jackie Berzon. I'm 43 and I live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am a mother of two boys, a spouse, a lawyer, a mediator, an organizational coach, a foodie (this is not a minor detail!) and lately a lunatic promoter of the the organizational ombuds role in Argentina.

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International Training in Columbia

There is still time to register for an exciting course taking place in Cartagena de Indias this October!  

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and the University of Los Andes are sponsoring an International Course on Labor Dispute Resolution based on IOA’s Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice course. The course will take place in Cartagena de Indias on October 21-23, 2019. This is the first-ever IOA course offered in Colombia. The course will be conducted in Spanish. 

Course Description: Workplace conflict frequently emerges, whether it be in the classroom, public entities, or private companies. When conflicts are poorly managed, they cause declines in productivity and morale, consume time and resources, and trigger stress that can manifest physiologically. Such conflicts can cause long-lasting negative effects and costly legal/administrative fees that commonly result in unsatisfactory outcomes for the parties involved.

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IOA Announces Inaugural Executive Director

By Marcia Martínez-Helfman, 2019–2020 IOA President & Lee Twyman, Chair, Executive Director Search Committee

Dear IOA Members & Supporters,

The selection of an executive director concludes IOA’s organizational transition to a hybrid management model. We are pleased to have received a large number of very strong applicants deeply interested in the work of the IOA. Earlier this year, finalists were interviewed and the IOA Board of Directors unanimously agreed to offer the Executive Director position to Chuck Howard. Chuck will officially begin on 1 September 2019.We are delighted to announce that Charles (Chuck) Howard has agreed to serve as the inaugural Executive Director for the International Ombudsman Association.

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Changes on the IOA Board of Directors and a Call for Nominations

By Kerry Egdorf, IOA Board Member & Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

On behalf of the IOA Board of Directors and with great appreciation, IOA says goodbye to two members of the Board who have resigned due to personal and professional commitments. Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg served on the Board from April 2018 to July 2019, including one year of service as the IOA Secretary. Elaine Shaw served on the Board from April 2018 to July 2019, including four months of service as the IOA Secretary. We are grateful for their passion and participation! 

This July, the Board of Directors elected Ronnie Thomson as the new 2019–2020 IOA Secretary. Congratulations, Ronnie, and thank you!

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Promoting Our Profession Through Collaboration

By Christina Sabee, PhD, Employee Ombudsperson, San Francisco State University & Jessica Kuchta-Miller, CO-OP®, JD, Staff Ombudsperson, Washington University in St. Louis

A recent IOA press release about IOA’s participation in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education describes an exciting collaboration among 28 founding organizations and more than 50 sponsoring organizations. This initiative focuses on prevention, response, remediation, and evaluation of policies and practices for addressing sexual harassment on college and university campuses. The process of developing this collaborative began with the issuance of a June 2018 report from NASEM that focused on understanding the climate created by the sexual harassment of women on college and university campuses and in which the organizational ombuds role was featured. From there, NASEM hosted a convocation in November of 2018 during which members built on the recommendations from this report and other sources to discuss strategies and share practices that might address this important issue. The Action Collaborative was announced as an idea at this convocation.

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How Can IOA Be a Better Member Organization? A Conversation

By Cynthia Joyce, University Ombudsperson, University of Iowa, and Marcia Martínez-Helfman, Associate Ombuds, University of Pennsylvania and IOA President, 2018-2020

Marcia Martínez-Helfman: At the Annual Conference in New Orleans this year, I had the good fortune to meet Cynthia Joyce, a long time IOA member who has had a mixed experience with the organization. At my urging, Cynthia shared with me more about her concerns. The conversation was substantive, frank, and enlightening for both of us. Although each of us would be shortly going our separate ways from NOLA, we both wanted to keep talking and felt it would be instructive and constructive to share our exchange with a wider audience. So here we are. Our hope is that this is the beginning of an extended dialogue between the membership and volunteer leaders, through monthly blog posts, taking us to a better IOA! I want to start by asking Cynthia how long she’s been an IOA member, and to tell me about the early experiences with the organization, some of which left her with a bad taste in her mouth.

Cynthia Joyce: Marcia, I wanted to start on a lighter note and point out the connection between our two offices. The reason the University of Iowa has an ombuds office is Penn. A former UI president, James Freedman, came to Iowa from Penn, where he had served as a faculty ombuds. When he arrived on the UI campus, he asked where the ombuds office was, and, when told there wasn’t one, asked a faculty committee to explore the idea of starting an ombuds office. I think history matters, and I appreciate the fact that our office started in a positive way, providing a needed resource to campus, rather than evolving out of a crisis.

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