December 21, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 1)

Here now is the first installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2018 and a few runners-up. The list will continue, Wednesday, December 26.

Almost Making the Top 10, But Nonetheless Notable:

  • "Let's go to the videotape" -- Six Ombuds offices posted videos this year; two from the University of Kansas including a great animation. In addition, IOA posted a teaser video for its next annual conference in New Orleans.
  • Drama continues at ETH Zurich -- Last year was full of controversy involving the Ombuds program at the Swiss university. Then, this spring, the Ombuds weren't reappointed because they were "too old." (A standard that would decimate the profession.) Although the university did not apologize, it did name two new Ombuds to continue the program.
  • Norway Moves to Mandate University Ombuds -- As the Norwegian legislature finalized a rule requiring Student Ombuds programs all universities, but most universities moved ahead without waiting for a legal mandate. Expect Studentombud to be universal in Norway in 2019.
  • Ontario's Ombuds Endorses University Counterparts -- In 2014, University Ombuds in Ontario were concerned about new broad powers granted to the provincial Ombudsman. This year, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé said that his office had referred many cases back to the complainants' campus Ombuds and also said that colleges and universities should have an Ombuds as a best practice.

10. United Nations Selects American as Next Ombuds -- In June, the UN selected Shireen L. Dodson, to lead the Office of Ombudsman and Mediation Services, a large office that serves nearly 75,000 people in locations around the globe. In addition the UN Ombuds (which carries the title of Assistant Secretary-General) wields significant influence in the ADR field. Dodson will serve an initial five-year term of office.

9. University of Maryland Backs Down From Move to Strip Confidentiality from Ombuds -- In May, the UM System abruptly issued a memo stating that any campus Ombuds would be required to document and report any matter covered by Title IX or the Clery Act. Quiet and firm push-back from insiders led the university to withdraw the edict.

8. ACCUO's New Website is a Goldmine of Info for Ombuds -- In January, the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudsperson moved to a new website that is loaded with valuable information about the Ombuds field: job openings, up-coming conferences, tools for opening an office, articles about Ombuds, and a list of members. 

serves as a platform for members and other interested in the field. And ACCUO's enjoy even more perks. It's a great resource.

Related post: Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Intro).

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