A study conducted by Mary Newhart, a masters candidate at the IRL School at Cornell University, identified 201 ombuds currently practicing at U.S. colleges and universities. Prior published estimates ranged from 120 to 150. In addition, 42% of survey respondents said their offices had been established after 2000. Newhart's research supports anecdotal observations that ombuds in higher education are moving from more traditional advocacy roles to conflict management specialists conforming to IOA standards. A full copy of her thesis is available for download. (Ecommons@Cornell.)
This sort of research is long overdue. The data will surely be useful for institutions considering creating an ombuds office and established ombuds defending their existence.