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Announcing the DEIB Framework

By the IOA Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee 

In July 2020, in alignment with Goal 4 of IOA's Strategic Plan, "IOA has a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement," the IOA Board of Directors established a DEIB Task Force. In July 2021, the Task Force broadened its focus and became IOA’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Committee

The DEIB Committee has worked diligently since its inception and we are now pleased to announce a framework designed to guide the IOA toward a more inclusive organization. The framework was voted on and approved by the IOA Board of Directors on 1 June 2022.

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COFO 2022 Annual Conference: Call for Presentations

By Paul Sotoudeh, Chief Ombudsman, USPTO Office of the Ombudsman

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman (COFO) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting proposals to present at its 2022 Annual Conference on 14 October 2022. As with the COFO Annual Conferences in 2020 and 2021, presenters may present virtually, but COFO hopes to run the conference as a hybrid, with in-person attendance in Alexandria, VA.

Therefore, we are soliciting proposals for both virtual and in-person presentations, with a possibility of a pivot to all-virtual.

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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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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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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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There's Nothing New About the 'New Normal' – Or Is There?

By Doriana Vintilă
Ombuds
PetrOmbudsman Department, OMV Petrom S.A.

Dear colleagues,

During the pandemic period, many organizations were surprised at how quickly their employees adapted to doing their jobs remotely. Psychologists told us that compared to other changes, this one was more easily accepted as it happened under a threat – that of an unknow virus we all needed to hide from.

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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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2022 Ombuds Day Announcement

By Ryan Smith, Ed.D., Assistant University Ombudsperson, Office of the University Ombudsperson, Michigan State University

 

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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

By IOA

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. 



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Who Are Your Champions?

By Ellen M. Miller, IOA Executive Director

IOA Is Looking to Talk to Ombuds Allies

Many ombuds have allies who understand and promote the value and effectiveness of the ombuds office. Whether they are general counsel, Title IX or Clery coordinators, risk managers, HR or compliance professionals, CEOs, presidents, chancellors, or superintendents (just to name a few), these allies help advocate for the ombuds role within an organization.

In alignment with Goal 2 of our Strategic Plan, "Organizational leaders in key sectors understand and value the ombuds function, and IOA," we would like to gain additional insight into the perspectives of these allies and see if they can help us tell your story, especially to their peers.  Are you willing to make an introduction?  If you have a champion in your organization, please reach out to me via email at [email protected] or give me a call at +1 (619) 943-0792.

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Reflections from OMV Petrom’s Ombuds Team

By Ion Anghel, Head of the Ombuds Department of OMV Petrom, Romania

Ion Anghel, Head of the Ombuds Department of OMV Petrom, RomaniaOver the last decade, I have been involved in the life of this department on a constant basis, first from the outside (as an advisor to its activities) and then from its core, as Director of this function. Looking back over time, I can say that the Ombuds’ mission here in OMV Petrom was never an easy one. This statement may surely be confirmed by all international Ombuds colleagues who have had the difficult task of launching an Ombudsman program in a company (or even more, a country) with little or no experience on this topic.

Moreover, the last years have been particularly challenging, as we have seen the whole world deal with the effects of the Covid pandemic. I think that in this new era, the importance of having somebody to talk to and address your concerns has proven to be so much more significant than before. For this reason, we have tried to stay in contact with the people in our organization even when physical presence became scarcer than before, to prevent the feeling of isolation and help build the necessary bridges to move forward. At the same time, we have had to re-invent ourselves on both a personal and professional level, as probably many of you have been required to.

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Reflections from #IOA2022: Randolph Scott

By  Randolph Scott, Interim Student Ombuds & Assistant Director of International Programs, University of West Florida

 

It was an honor to be selected as a recipient of the New & Aspiring Ombuds Scholarship for the 17th Annual IOA Conference. As a new Student Ombuds at the University of West Florida, attendance at the IOA Annual Conference was an incredibly valuable opportunity for me to learn more about the core functions and responsibilities I have as an Ombuds as well as the opportunities I have to make a positive impact on my campus.

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Reflections from #IOA2022: Madeline Kleinberg

By Madeline Kleinberg, Graduate Assistant, Office of the Ombudsperson Division of Academic & Student Affairs

 

As a graduate student still very new to the ombuds field, being able to attend the 2022 IOA Conference was such a valuable experience. The sessions I attended virtually allowed me to learn from the wealth of knowledge in the ombuds community. There seemed to be an abundance of interesting and thought-provoking sessions by a diverse group of ombuds professionals. My only experience in ombudsing has been limited to higher education, so it was eye-opening to gain insight into how broad the field is, and how impactful ombuds can be. I am looking forward to viewing some of the sessions that I was unable to attend live.

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Reflections from #IOA2022: Herschenia Brown

By Herschenia Brown, MBA, CIHC, ADR, Owner of In Agreement Dispute Resolution, LLC

The experience that I had at the IOA 17th Annual Conference – “Belonging Together Reimaged” was unmatched! As my very first time attending the conference, there was an incredible amount of comradery, knowledge, information, and tools that I now have under my belt while I explore my career trajectory as an ombuds. With so many sessions to choose from, along with the opportunity to revisit the recordings, there was no stone left unturned. Also, from the comments during the Q&A sessions, many participants were eager to communicate in the near future to explore more questions outside of a session’s timeframe.

I have two absolute favorites I would like to share:

  1. Being that my background is in financial operations, accounting, and reporting, my absolute favorite session was “D3 – Reimagining Ombuds Reporting: New Tools and Techniques for Better Data Collection”, hosted by Chuck Doran, Megan Winkeler, and Colin Rule. As an aspiring ombuds, I have learned of different tools that people use in their practices to make the reporting as efficient as possible. However, from what I gathered from the feedback from the attendees, not enough reporting tools have features that capture specific critical data with full security and encryption measures that are critical to the core of the ombuds role. This session mentioned some effective reporting tools with this functionality and more! If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend this session, then it is definitely worth checking out.

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All Things Internship Task Force: Call for Volunteers

By Roy Baroff, CO-OP® and Steven Goodstein

The IOA Board of Directors recently approved a plan to create an All Things Internship Task Force (ATI-TF) to explore all things related to organizational ombuds internships including, among other topics, the creation of such programs, identifying existing internship programs, and collecting and developing materials for internship programs. IOA members are invited to participate in the task force.

The ATI-TF Relates Closely to Two of IOA’s Strategic Goals:

  • Goal 4 - IOA has a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and engagement. The ATI-TF would be a member-driven project that could create significant engagement opportunities, especially for new and aspiring ombuds who now make up a significant portion of IOA’s membership. Members would be supporting the creation of new opportunities for organizational ombuds work.

Roy Baroff and Steven Goldstein on behalf of the Membership Committee have volunteered to lead the development of this task force. Participants in the Task Force will ultimately select co-chairs to lead the ATI-TF, with final approval of the IOA Board of Directors. The task force will report to the IOA Board of Directors via a Task Force Board Liaison.

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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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Members Needed for New Joint IOA & CO-OP® Taskforce

By Sue Diviney, CO-OP®, IOA Board Member and Mollie Berg, CO-OP®, CO-OP® President

We are pleased to announce the formation of a new Joint IOA & CO-OP® Task Force that will recommend a proposal to accredit organizational ombuds programs. This will clear the way to separate program accreditation from individual certification under CO-OP®.

The goal is to create a time-limited task force that brings together a variety of critical perspectives and experiences, that may ideally include (but not be limited to) many of the following:

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