December 18, 2014

The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2014, Nos. 7-10

This is the fifth annual retrospective of the most important stories about Organizational Ombuds.  The list starts with numbers seven through ten.  The list continues in the next two weeks.

(drumroll please...)

10. Notable Retirements -- Two notable Ombuds retired in 2014.  Mary Rowe, considered by many to be the matriarch of the profession, retired after four decades of conflict resolution at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and leadership within the Ombuds profession.  In addition, Mary Childers retired in June after serving as the founding Ombuds at Dartmouth since 2007. 

9.  New Programs Continued Apace -- Ombuds offices were created at a pace that outstripped the few closures.  The new programs were (in approximate date order):

The notable closures were few:
8.  American Universities Continued to Defend Ombuds' Confidentiality in Sexual Misconduct Matters -- After the U.S. Department of Education muddied the waters regarding the rules for handling Title IX complaints in 2012, Ombuds were on edge.   In 2013, several universities reaffirmed their Ombuds' confidentiality and/or brought their Ombuds into the conversation about responding to sexual misconduct.  The trend continued with some prominent schools endorsing Ombuds' confidentiality, including: Grinnell CollegeColorado College; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of California Irvine; University of Oregon; and Stanford.

7.  ABA Ombuds Committee Defined its Role -- In December, the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee outlined its vision mission and goals. If the Committee reaches its objectives for next year, it will have, "Distributed an information packet describing ombuds programs suitable for consideration by law firms, their clients, law schools, and other organizations." This would be one of the most aggressive and targeted outreach campaigns for Organizational Ombuds.
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; The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2013 -- Part Three.


  1. Tom,

    Thank you for the year end summary.
    Especially good to see all the offices which opened in 2014!


  2. Do not see the Merck program represented here in the closings.
    The program was distinctly a hybrid, but they did away with the whole function and title.

    John W. Zinsser
    Partner and Co-founder Pacifica Human Communications, LLC.
    Ombuds Lecturer Columbia University Masters Program in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution