The Ombuds at UI, Cynthia Joyce and Susan Johnson, were somewhat surprised by a record number of visitors, 517, during the last academic year. After the two prior years which saw a campus flood and budget impacts from the worldwide financial crises economic collapse, the 2009–10 academic year seemed calmer to the Ombuds. But cases were up 6% nonetheless.
Joyce and Johnson highlighted four areas of concern in their report: cross-cultural challenges, especially those related to the Midwestern “indirect” style of communication; feedback problems, exemplified by differences between written and verbal evaluations; e-mail and its negative impact on conflict; and social media sites as a conflict source. Full details are available in the UI Ombuds' 24th annual report. (University of IowaFYI, Ombuds Report 2009-10.)