May 02, 2017

Registration Opens for 2017 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting

Michigan State University is set to host the 15th Annual Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting June 26-27 at Michigan State University. "The Summer Meeting provides an opportunity for academic ombuds to become better acquainted, to share concerns unique to our professional environments, and to support and learn from each other’s experiences in a relatively-intimate, informal setting." The conference is preceded by a workshop for new academic Ombuds.

New Academic Ombuds Workshop

Monday, June 26, 2017
Presented by Dave Carver, Kerry Egdorf, and Rosa Garner



Overview of the Ombuds Role

Standards of Practice: Application to Academic Setting


Fishbowl Role Play: Small Group Discussions

Setting the Stage for a Productive Ombuds Interview


Role Plays

Questions/Parking Lot/Resources/Wrap-Up

2017 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting
Monday, June 26th, 2017 – Day One

Welcome – Dr. Robert Caldwell, Ombudsperson, MSU

Hot Topics SessionShannon Lynn Burton, Associate Ombudsperson, Michigan State University

Do you have questions about the current climate for ombuds practitioners in education? Are you curious about ombudsing in a post-truth era? Do you continue to have concerns regarding Title IX and confidentiality? Are you in multiple roles within your organization and are concerned about how these dual roles impede your abilities as an ombuds? Do you want to know more about the IOA Standards of Practice? Join a panel consisting of experienced members of the academic ombuds community as we discuss "Hot Topics" and provide an open forum for you to share your experience and propose ideas that can be implemented at your own campuses


Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 – Day Two


Welcome - Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon, President, MSU

Session 1Historical Panel on Ombuds at MSURobert Caldwell, Ombudsperson, Michigan State University; Joy Curtis and Stan Soffin, Ombudsman Emeritus, Michigan State University
As Michigan State University’s Office of the Ombudsperson celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of our founding in 1967, a panel of three former and current Ombuds reflect on the history we have witnessed and helped fashion. The story of our creation, an introduction to the first two Ombuds to have held the office (James Rust and Carolyn Stieber), and personal reflections of the third (Joy Curtis), fourth (Stan Soffin), and fifth (Robert Caldwell) will be offered. The development of the MSU Ombuds Office will be connected to the contemporaneous developments in the profession. Major themes and issues facing the Ombuds Office in each of the five decades will be identified. The panel will respond to questions from the audience.


Session 2A—Insights and Implication arising from IOA Practice Survey, Timothy Hedeen, PhD, Ombudsman, Kennesaw State University
Over 100 academic ombuds practitioners responded to the 2016 IOA Practice and Compensation survey, providing a rich overview of the state of our field. New to this survey are findings about not only caseload trends and reporting lines but frequency of important functions and services, detailed information about constituencies, and even ombuds office accomplishments. This session will balance presentation and discussion, allowing participants to glean valuable insights and identify opportunities to enhance their work.

Session 2BExamining the Unique Challenges Facing Academic OmbudsChinyere Ukabiala, JD, CO-OP, Ombudsperson, Grinnell College
What Are the Unique Challenges Facing Academic Ombuds. How Are Those Challenges Amplified or Influenced by the Size, Culture and Leadership of the Institution?
Academic Ombuds face a variety of challenges unique to the university and college structure – Student unrest with attendant explosive, media coverage; Complaints resolution between students and faculty; Unprecedented financial constraints and budget cuts; Increasing state and federal regulations; Wide and distinctly different constituent groups, whose interests vary exponentially. Academic Ombuds are pulled into the community life of a university in ways in which Organizational Ombuds in other settings are not. Yet, the structure of colleges and universities does not easily lend itself to the resolution of the typical complaints and disputes arising in these unique settings.
Each Academic Ombuds practitioner must fit the particular needs of its student body, faculty, and staff. How do practitioners navigate these challenges while working competently and effectively within these systems?

Session 3APolitics & The Ombuds: Navigation the Post-Election ClimateCaitlan Hendrickson, Director Ombuds Program, The University of Arizona
This session provides an opportunity to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that the current post-election climate has presented to us individually as Ombuds, and as a profession. To what extent has the election and related events affected your Ombuds identity and/or your Ombuds practice? What issues or questions has it raised for you as an Ombuds? How do you see it influencing your work and our profession? We will explore these questions and more in this engaging facilitated discussion.

Session 3BThe Ombuds Leader as Change Agent: Purpose, Passion and PerseveranceCarolyn MacNeil, Ombudsperson, Boston Public Schools
In July of 2015 the Boston Public School District embarked on a Strategic Implementation Plan which would guide our work for the next three years. There was a recognition that if we were going to create and undertake a bold vision for the future of public education in Boston that building relationships and great customer care would be critical to our success: Purpose. Through the Office of the Ombudsperson, which serves as a resource for our most challenging issues and our most vulnerable customers, we set about creating the standard of putting people first. We strongly believe in being responsive to every person we serve and that all customers have access to the highest level of service in our District. I want our customers to be wowed: Passion.
We have created a set of standards and protocols that builds trust and confidence, fosters loyalty and creates stronger relationships. We believe that our greatest assets are the parents and the students we serve. The key to our success and the very bright future for the Boston Public School District relies on creating a Culture of Care, a Culture of We: Perseverance.


Common Reading DiscussionShannon Lynn Burton, Associate Ombudsperson, Michigan State University
Join your colleagues at the Academic Summer Ombuds Meeting to discuss the article titled “Prepared to be Valuable: Positioning Ombuds Programs” written by Andrea Schenck and John W. Zinsser and published in the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association (JIOA). As put forth by the authors, the article’s purpose is to “stimulate discussion, advance new actions, and consolidate a lexicon for the broadly defined arena of organizational Ombuds program value.” In an era when educational institutions are being held to greater accountability through accrediting bodies, the federal government, and their constituents, how should academic ombuds articulate their value within the accountability conversations? How should academic ombuds programs align with the mission and vision of their organizations? If at all? This Common Reading dialogue will offer a space to address these questions and more through the lens of scholarship and promotes new opportunities to impact the institutions served. Please add your voice to the dialogue!

Session 4ACompelling Metaphors or Analogies to Explain the Ombuds RoleTimothy Hedeen, PhD, Ombudsman, Kennesaw State University
Ombuds offices and their functions are often unfamiliar to students, staff, and faculty constituents. To broaden awareness of, and comfort with our services, ombuds conduct extensive and ongoing outreach efforts—while we may not recognize this as ‘branding’ or ‘marketing’, such work relies on making an impression. This interactive session will entail discussion and sharing, interspersing small- and full-group conversations about meaningful and effective descriptions of ombuds practice. Please bring your compelling metaphors or analogies to share, and expect to gather many more… (one of my favorites arises from a Nobel laureate’s analogy between mediators and midwives).

Session 4BCommunicating ValueTahirih Varner, Ombuds, University of West Georgia
Many ombuds are challenged with communicating the value of their work, while simultaneously safeguarding the confidentiality of their visitors. We might think, “If you only knew… you wouldn’t be asking me!” However, we are charged with communicating the value of our work to a variety of stakeholders. Using the World Café model of meaningful conversations, this workshop will facilitate an engaging and efficient cross-pollination of ideas amongst practicing ombuds on how to adequately communicate value while safeguarding the integrity of our work.


Session 5Best Practices Panel and Discussion, Shannon Lynn Burton, Associate Ombudsperson, Michigan State University
Join a panel of experienced members of the academic ombuds community as they present a case study involving students, faculty and staff. The case study will present the background and the context of the case. Then, you will have an opportunity to discover how you would address it and compare notes with ombuds colleagues, as well as ask questions of the panel. More information to come on case specifics.

Closing Remarks

The Registration Fee for the 2017 New Academic Ombuds Workshop is $80.00. The Summer Academic Meeting is $85.  (Summer Academic Conf Info.)

Related posts: DePaul University Will Host 2013 Summer Meeting of Academic OmbudsRegistration Opens for 2014 Summer Meeting of Academic Ombuds
Registration Opens for 2015 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting; Midwestern Accreditation Body Endorses Ombuds for Higher EducationUniversity of Kansas to Host Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting (2016); Call for Proposals: 2017 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting.

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