IOA Core Courses & Specialized Courses

Advanced Training for Ombuds

Core Courses

A Core Course addresses fundamental knowledge and practice for “new” ombuds (less than three years of full-time practice) or for ombuds who desire to learn or refresh fundamentals. Core Courses form the basis of a curriculum for organizational ombuds. 

Examples of Core Courses:
    • Mediation Theory and Skills for the Organizational Ombudsman
    • Conflict: Theory and Applications for the Organizational Ombudsman
    • Effective Communication

Specialized Courses

Specialized Courses are offered once per year and explore a variety of subjects. Some courses focus on emerging topics of interest to ombuds, while others teach diverse skillsets that can enhance an ombuds’ practice. Given their narrow focus, specialized courses appeal to ombuds with a range of experience levels.

Examples of previous Specialized Courses:
    • Understanding and Managing High-Conflict Visitors
    • When the Conflict is Within: Motivational Interviewing Skills for Ombuds
    • Helping People Get Unstuck: Mindsets that Generate Responsibility and Possibility

Find an Upcoming Course

Core Course Development

Share your knowledge and expertise!

IOA’s Professional Development Committee (PDC) initiated a new sustainable process for the development of core course offerings that are essential to new and experienced organizational ombuds.

Core Course addresses fundamental knowledge and practice for organizational ombuds that utilize the set of knowledge domains (KDs) necessary to organizational ombudsmen. KDs were derived from previous Job Analysis initiated by the IOA Board and CO-OP® and currently constitute the basis for the CO-OP® assessment. IOA members who have content expertise are invited to develop these new replicable core courses.

The intent of the core course development process is three-fold:  

  1. To develop a set of core course curricula that can be offered repeatedly and utilizing a variety of trainers
  2. To provide a consistent and inclusive process for all core course development
  3. To provide a stipend for core course designers.

Core courses are designed to be taught by a variety of instructors, for an average class size of 30 participants, and will be offered on an annual basis.

Core Course topics are intended for new ombuds and address fundamental knowledge and practice. New ombuds are defined as practicing full-time for less than three years.

Core Courses topics will include: Effective Communication; Measuring Effectiveness and Value; Addressing Issues; Psychological, Sociological and Systemic Theories; Cultural Understandings, Legal and Ethical Considerations; Conflict Management; Outreach and Education; Policies, Procedures, and Organizational Culture; Mediation Theory and Skills for Ombuds.

Get Involved!

We hope that you will consider submitting a proposal to design and test teach a core course. Request for proposal (RFP) for core courses will be sent out via email to IOA’s current members throughout the calendar year. Please visit the Course Proposal Steps page for more details.

Or consider volunteering for the PDC Curriculum Committee (PDC-CC) to help review core course proposal submissions. Both opportunities provide a chance to positively influence the quality of IOA’s trainings, the expertise of its practitioners and to collaborate with other IOA members towards these goals.


The PDC recognizes that the labor intensity in creating a replicable course is substantial. While we will be offering a stipend, we know that this does not adequately compensate the effort which will be involved. This is to acknowledge that we are also appealing to developers’ desire to strengthen IOA’s educational efforts, reputation, and overall success. The PDC-CC will collaborate with the chosen developer(s) to make the course development process as efficient and successful as possible.

The stipend is subject to contract and will provide specific details, including the developer’s right to adapt and teach the course in settings separate from IOA. A $4,200 stipend is offered for the development of a two-day core course and a $2,500 stipend is offered for the development of a one-day core course. If two or more individuals submit a joint proposal that is accepted, the stipend will be divided based on their individual agreement. In some cases, non-stipend contracts for materials use may be negotiated.