Byer identified the following areas in which Ombuds’ experiences and perceptions of their jobs diverged:
- Their degree of personal isolation, how it affects them, and how they manage it;
- Whether or not and how they cultivate campus relationships;
- The structure of their role within the institution (e.g., Is the Ombuds role their sole responsibility? Do they come from within that institution or were they hired externally?);
- Whether or not they see the Ombuds office as necessary or essential to the university's functioning; and
- The role of informality in their practices.
- The terminology that defines the job: practitioners disagree about the usefulness of the term “Ombuds,” for example;
- The role of neutrality and the challenge of maintaining it;
- The value of IOA certification;
- The most appropriate methods for evaluating the effectiveness of an Ombuds office; and
- How Ombuds make recommendations for institutional improvement.
Byer is a mediator and housing stabilization coordinator at Just-A-Start Corporation in Cambridge, MA. The full article is available online from Wiley. (Harvard Law School Negotiation Journal.)
Related posts: IOA Posts Agenda, Opens Registration for 2016 Annual Conference; Landmark Study Compares University Ombuds Internationally.