March 27, 2020

Colorado Ombuzz Blog Offers Virtual Work Pointers

Two recent posts in Ombuzz, the University of Colorado Ombuds blog, provide some timely suggestions for people working at home. The posts are by Liz Hill, the Associate Director of the Ombuds Office at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Colorado College to Host Virtual Meeting of Colorado Ombuds

Colorado College Ombuds Paul Kuerbis will facilitate the Colorado Ombuds Group Spring 2020 Meeting on Friday, April 17, 2020 via Zoom. This is the group's first attempt at a virtual meeting and they are hoping to engage with more Colorado ombuds. The agenda includes case discussion, a presentation by Teresa Ralicki on Conflict Theory and the good, the bad and the ugly of virtual ombudsing. If you are an ombuds/ombudsman in Colorado and are not on the roster contact Liz Hill (elizabeth dot hill at colorado dot edu) for more information.

Trendspotting: Ombuds Virtual Open Houses


In response to coronavirus shutdowns, some Ombuds offices are hosting regular, virtual open houses to reach constituents. Here's a list, which will be updated:



March 26, 2020

Brigham Health's Coaching, Mediation, and Ombuds Program Goes Online

Earlier this month, Brigham Health debuted a website for its new Office of Mediation, Coaching, Ombuds and Support Services. The integrated office is headed by Donald Proby and managed by Pamela Galowitz, a long-time program manager at Brigham, but no staff are identified on the new website. It is also notable that the office debuted as a remote service, due to the COVID-19 crisis. (BWH OMCOSS; Linkedin.)

March 24, 2020

Ombuds Moves to UC San Francisco

Jon Lee, CO-OP, is the new Associate Ombuds at the the UCSF Office of the Ombuds. He had been in a similar position at the University of New Mexico and fills a vacancy left by Jeff Anderson. He joins Director, Maureen Brodie (who will retire this summer), and Ombudsperson, Ellen Goldstein. Lee gave the Mary Rowe Honorary Keynote Address at IOA's 2019 IOA Conference and has been an active advocate for the profession, especially through his volunteer work on the ABA Ombuds Committee.

Offer to Promote Regional Ombuds Meetings

The Ombuds Blog will help local Ombuds groups organize and advertise virtual meetings. Email or DM me with questions and details.

Related posts: IOA Posts List of Regional and Sector Ombuds GroupsUSC to Host Southern California Ombuds Group.

March 23, 2020

USC to Host Southern California Ombuds Group

The Office of the Ombuds at the University of Southern California will host a virtual meeting of the Southern California Ombuds Group on Friday afternoon, April 3, 2020. USC University Ombuds Katherine Greenwood and Tom Kosakowski will facilitate the meeting, which is still being planned. Please RSVP by email [kosakows at usc dot edu] for a link to the Zoom conference and more details. 

Student Protesters at SCAD Post Recording of Ombuds Meeting

An ad hoc student group, "A Choice SCAD," is protesting some of the pandemic responses by the Savannah College of Art and Design. Last week, a student leader met with SCAD's Ombuds, Sophia Alletto, recorded the conversation, and posted an excerpt. (Alletto has been the Ombuds since 2008.) A follow-up post by A Choice SCAD explained that the recording was legal under Georgia's wiretapping law, which follows "one-party consent" rule. SCAD's Dean of Students later requested the group take down the recording of the Ombuds. They refused and threatened to release the full recording. The situation continues to develop. (Twitter; LinkedIn.)

NEIU Ombuds Offers Conflict Management Tips for a Pandemic

Tyler Smith, the Northeastern Illinois University Ombuds has posted a video with "basic ideas for conflict prevention and management during a time of remote work/teaching/learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic." In his introduction, Smith predicts that the uncertainty and anxiety that come with the pandemic response may lead to new conflicts. His advice is intended is to help people prevent and manage conflict in a range of settings. (YouTube.)

March 20, 2020

JIOA: Article Traces the U.S. History of Student Ombuds

A new article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Ombudsman Association surveys the development of Student Ombuds in the United States. The author, Ryan Smith, serves as the Assistant University Ombudsperson at Michigan State University. The full article, "A Brief History of the Student Ombudsman: The Early Evolution of the Role in US Higher Education," is now available online.

March 19, 2020

IOA to Hold 2020 Annual Business Meeting Online

Although the International Ombudsman Association has cancelled its conference, it will convene its annual members-only business meeting virtually on April 1, 2020. In addition to the association's business, the meeting will host a open "community dialog" for participants to talk about the future of the profession.

Here is the full announcement: 



March 18, 2020

ACCUO/ENOHE 2020 Conference is Postponed

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds and European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education announced that their 2020 conference will be rescheduled. Organizers are considering October 2020 at the earliest, but plans are still unclear. (ENOHE Conf Info.)

NC State Ombuds Opens Virtual Open House for COVID-19 Response

Today, North Carolina State University Faculty & Staff Ombuds Roy Baroff launched a weekly virtual open house. Dubbed "Ombuds-19," the Zoom conference provides for NC State employees a place for engaging with conflict. The open house will run from noon to 12:19 pm (just 19 minutes long) for the next 10 Wednesdays.(NCSU Faculty Ombuds Blog.)

JIOA: A Plan for a National Ombuds for Consumer Dispute Resolution

The latest article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Ombudsman Association promotes the use of Ombuds as an alternative to the widespread mandatory arbitration in consumer dispute. The author, Mala Sharma, is a consultant and attorney and PhD candidate at the School of Law, University of Surrey. The full article, "A Fair Alternative to Unfair Arbitration: Proposing an Ombudsman Scheme for Consumer Dispute Resolution in the USA," is now available online.

March 17, 2020

Four-Part Series on Virtual Ombudsing

Teresa Ralicki, the Ombuds for the University of Colorado Denver and former IOA Board VP, is publishing a series of articles on how to Ombuds virtually. The first two installments have been posted to LinkedIn: