February 25, 2010

Dilbert Update: Former UMass Ombuds Responds

An editorial by Alan Lincoln, the former Ombud for UMass and founding editor of the Journal of IOA, thanked cartoonist Scott Adams for bringing attention to the important work of Ombuds, but sought to clarify misperceptions.

Having worked for many years as a university ombuds, I do find the strips funny but perhaps a bit misleading. Organizational ombuds adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of procedure developed by the members and board of the International Ombudsman Association. [...] Visitors to our offices are offered a safe, independent, neutral and confidential opportunity to address their unresolved concerns. [...] We do not replace the recognized formal options for problem solving, but add to these. [...] We recognize that even the most frustrated members of the community tend to remain within the organization and attempt to provide both short term and longer term strategies for all parties to reach their full potential.

Lincoln retired from his position as Ombuds at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 2008, but continued as the editor of the Journal of IOA for another year. Apparently, you can take the person out of the Ombuds office, but not the Ombuds out of the person.

Related posts: First Ombuds at U. Mass. Lowell Set to Retire; Former UMass Ombuds and JIOA Editor Transitioning to Private Practice; Dilbert: The New Ombudsman.

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