September 11, 2017

Ombuds' Presence Grows at 2017 ACR Conference

Ombuds will be a prominent part of the Association for Conflict Resolution's 2017 annual conference, "Professionalize Your Passion." Set for October 11-14 in Dallas, TX, the event includes networking events for Ombuds, and Ombuds as plenary speakers, workshop leaders, and honorees. Virginia Tech Ombuds Bryan Hanson is ACR's current president.

Here are items for and featuring Ombuds:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
All Day Session

Developing Your Toolkit: From Technology to Practice Skills, ACR’s Workplace-Ombuds Section
This full day program will begin with an informal networking event to help us embark upon an enriching learning opportunity. Six featured experts will offer an interactive opportunity to adopt and adapt various tools they use to effectively manage workplace and organizational disputes. Bring your smartphone, laptop, pen and notebook and be ready to engage with the speakers and each other about new tools that help you better serve your clients/organization.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Professionalizing Your Profession [Plenary]
Sharon Press [Professor and Director, Dispute Resolution Institute, Mitchell Hamline School of Law]; Tom Kosakowski [Associate Director and Ombudsperson, UCLA]; Donzell Robinson [Director at Key Bridge Foundation Center for Mediation and Educational Research]
The skills and expertise acquired and refined to succeed in our field are beyond the capacity of the average citizen, but a passion that drives many of us is to facilitate the empowerment of individuals to engage in conflict in the most constructive manner. Furthermore, whether we are mediators, facilitators, conflict coaches, ombuds, or any combination of the many roles that fall within our field there are specific standards and guidelines that we follow to practice in an ethical and effective way. The plenary panel aims to inspire thought, dialogue, and direction regarding core questions related to the professional nature and scope of the conflict engagement field. We will reflect upon the attributes of a profession as we consider the needs of our field to achieve a level of professionalism that maintains the passion each of us uses as a driving force.
Lunch and Section/Committee Meeting: Workplace-Ombuds
[Angela Dash, Ombuds, Northeastern Ohio Medical University, is Co-Chair of the section.]

Friday, October 13, 2017

Institutionalizing Ombuds Practice in Higher Education: Embracing Conflict Resolution as a Means for Institutional Growth [Concurrent Session]
Julia Heck [Associate Director, Office of the Ombuds, Eastern Michigan University]; Sean Woolf [Case Management Coordinator, Office of the Ombuds, Eastern Michigan University]

Have you ever felt confused about where the ombuds “fits” within your institution? This session introduces and explores ways in which ombuds can institutionalize themselves through embracing conflict resolution as a means for fostering institutional growth. During this session, the presenters will share their experience in reinventing, rebuilding, and rebranding the Eastern Michigan University Office of the Ombuds in a way that has institutionalized the office and allowed for growth. This workshop will provide ombuds with tools to help build innovative services, foster constituent relationships, evaluate institutional contributions, and enhance marketing of the ombuds.
Navigating the First Year of Ombuds Practice [Concurrent Session]
Laurelyn Irving [Ombudsperson, University of Mayland, Baltimore]; Julie Weber [College Ombuds, Montgomery College]; Delicia Perdue [Ombudsperson, Weatherford International]; Dawn Bedivy
Navigating the first year of ombud's practice is exciting, meaningful, and full of challenges. It is because of the uniqueness of the first year, that we have gathered a panel of relatively new ombuds from academic, corporate, and governmental settings to discuss various first year challenges and their lessons learned. Panelists will address topics including: educating the community about the role of the ombuds; the importance of learning about the culture of our environment; navigating relationships; self care; finding mentors; managing the workload; starting a new office; and much more.
Also, Daniel Rainey will be honored with ACR's Mary Parker Follett Award for his career of work in alternative dispute resolution. Although not mentioned in his ACR profile, Rainey Co-Chaired the Ombudsman Committee of the ABA, helped create the Army MEDCOM Ombudsman Office, consulted with the International Organization for Migration for the creation of its Ombuds Office, served as the Ombudsman and Director of the Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services for the National Mediation Board, and has written for the Journal of IOA. 

Registration is now open. (ACR 2017 Conf. Info.)

Related posts: 2009 ACR Conference Features OmbudsTenth ACR Conference Will Highlight Ombuds IssuesACR [2011] Conference to Feature Several Ombuds2012 ACR Conference to Feature Work of OmbudsOmbuds at the 2013 ACR ConferenceACR Conference Presentation on Ombuds in ADR Spectrum2014 ACR Conference Includes Two Sessions About Ombuds; 2015 ACR Conference Expands Ombuds OfferingsACR 2016 Conference Includes Ombuds Workshop


  1. Thank you for sharing info regarding the ACR program. We are looking forward to another engaging and meaningful conference this year. It will be great to see a strong presence of Ombuds professionals.

  2. Hi Tom and Bryan- Im going and would love to meet up! Anyone else?
    Jen Sims- UT Austin

    1. I would, but unfortunately will be there only as a head on a screen. (California has banned state employees from traveling to Texas on public funds.) I really wish I could attend the conference. It does look good!

    2. Hi Jen, I am looking forward to seeing you there and it would be great to see if we can find a time for ombuds to gather. There will be a workplace session all day on Wednesday. That could be a good forum to connect.

  3. ooh no Tom! Only TX is banned? What did we do now? I can only guess!