February 13, 2007

Trendspotting: Ombuds Not Exempt From Influence of Internet

I came across two seemingly unrelated, but positive items on the web today: a clandestine recording of a firing at the University of Iowa (link) and a blog by a student at the University of Victoria (link). In the first situation, the HR director advised the terminated employee that she could consult the ombuds office. In the second case, the student explained why he was satisfied with assistance from the ombuds. These are both examples of information that would not have been widely disseminated just a few years ago. Now, the growing availability of information is making institutions and the work of ombuds more transparent. Ombuds should embrace this trend by: 1. Becoming adept at finding relevant information for visitors; and 2. Exploiting the Internet to promote the profession in new ways.

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