December 26, 2013

The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2013 -- Part Three

The top three stories about Organizational Ombuds in 2013 were...

3.  Universities Adopt Sexual Misconduct Policies that Protect Ombuds' Confidentiality -- In 2012, Ombuds in higher education were rightfully concerned about a "Dear Colleague" Letter from the U.S. Department of Education that seemed to change the rules for handling sexual misconduct.  Although the implications for Ombuds programs were not immediately clear, some Ombuds saw their programs undermined or limited.  (Yale was a disappointing example.)  In 2013, however, several institutions realized the importance of confidential resources for victims of sexual misconduct.  Existing programs at the UMass Amherst, UNC Chapel Hill, Michigan, Denver University, Pomona College, and Grinnell reaffirmed their Ombuds' confidentiality and/or brought their Ombuds into the conversation about responding to sexual misconduct.  The issues around the Dear Colleague Letter are still far from resolved, but many institutions are showing the way forward.

2. Cal Caucus Resumes Publication of its Journal  -- In December, the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds issued its first journal after a five year hiatus.  The periodical offers another forum for articles about Ombuds practices and serves as an important repository for the professions history.

1.  IOA Achieves Several Strategic Objectives  -- In terms of programs and operations, the International Ombudsman Association had an impressive year.  In March, IOA unveiled its Directory of Ombuds Service Providers, a a public list of consultants available for organizations looking to create Ombuds programs.  That same month saw the debut of IOA Radio, a teleconference-based “talk show” in for IOA members about practices and other topics relevant to practicing Ombuds.  In May, IOA issued an overhauled Annual Report that provided significantly more insight on the goals of the organization that prior years.  Moreover, the updated design of the report made it much more useful as an outreach tool.  In July, the IOA Standards of Practice were translated into Chinese, Russian, and Italian, thereby doubling the number of available languages.  Lastly, but most significantly, IOA revealed in December that it would be changing management companies and hiring its first executive director.  These changes are certain to improve the organization's operations and hopefully will trigger growth in key areas.

Related posts: The Ombuds Decade in Review; The Ombuds Year in Review: 2010The Ombuds Year in Review: 2011 (Part I); The Ombuds Year in Review: 2011 (Part II)The Ombuds Year in Review: 2011 (Part III); The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 8-10); The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 4-7); The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 1-3); The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2013 -- Part One; The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2013 -- Part Two.

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