December 17, 2012

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 4-7)

Part two of the top ten Organizational Ombuds stories of 2012. 

The list will conclude on Wednesday, December 20, with the top three stories.

7.  Internal Ombuds Programs Find Favor in India -- In response to a new requirement by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, India's colleges and universities began appointing Ombuds to handle grievances from students and applicants.  Also, a growing number of large Indian corporations are beginning to use Ombuds programs to handle internal and external grievances.  Traditionally, Ombuds in India served only external constituents, so the internal focus of these new programs is significant.

6.  Penn State Scandal Presents Challenges and Opportunities -- The child sex abuse scandal at Pennsylvania State University that broke in 2011 didn't involve any Ombuds (at least as far as publicly known), but the extensive misconduct triggered discussions about the Ombuds role.  In response to the scandal, Penn State alumni and faculty argued for a more robust Ombuds program.  (Penn State currently has an Ombuds network only for faculty issues.)  IOA also offered a specialized training program that addressed some of the issues Ombuds might face in a similar situation.

5.  Regional Meetings Draw More Ombuds -- The 40th annual California Caucus of College and University Ombuds conference and the 10th Annual Summer Meeting of Academic Ombudspersons had record numbers of attendees.  The Coalition of Federal Ombuds was expecting a large turnout for its 2012 Annual Conference, but the event was postponed by Hurricane Sandy.  In addition, programs about the Ombuds field were hosted by the District of Columbia Bar Association and the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators.

4.  New Ombuds at the American University in Cairo has a Rough Start -- AUC appointed Anthropology Professor Hanan Sabea as its first Ombuds in late 2011.  A few months later, she helped resolve a strike by the university's buildings and grounds staff.  Things did not go so smoothly in the summer, when she interceded in student protests linked to the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring.  During a confrontation between administrators and students at a university gate, she was overcome by heat and had to be hospitalized.  In October, AUC opened a search for a new 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).

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