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US Title IX June 2022 Update

By Ellen Miller

On June 23, the US Department of Education issued proposed revisions to US Title IX. Once the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has been issued in the US Federal Register, all stakeholders will have 60 days to comment. 

Per the press release, the proposed new regulations would:

  • Clearly protect students and employees from all forms of sex discrimination.

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Updates from the IOA US Lobbying Meeting

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

IOA secured a Listening Meeting on 17 May 2022 with representatives of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB)/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), and the US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (ED/OCR). The meeting, known as an EO 12866 meeting, provides an opportunity for stakeholders to meet with US federal agencies prior to the release of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR). This meeting was held in anticipation of a NOPR for US Title IX changes. Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director along with Sarah Klaper and Mark Patterson, IOA Board Members and Co-Chairs of the Advocacy Committee, covered the following with a group of six officials:

  1. Explained the role of organizational ombuds in the US campus safety landscape and illuminated what a typical visit looks like for someone who has experienced or been accused of a Title IX issue.

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Hear From the President & Executive Director | Parts One & Two

By IOA

Watch Part One and Part Two of the 2022 Good Day IOA interview between Ronnie Thomson, IOA 2022-2023 President and Ellen M. Miller, IOA Executive Director. Learn about their roles and what's on the horizon for IOA. 



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Who Are Your Champions?

By Ellen M. Miller, IOA Executive Director

IOA Is Looking to Talk to Ombuds Allies

Many ombuds have allies who understand and promote the value and effectiveness of the ombuds office. Whether they are general counsel, Title IX or Clery coordinators, risk managers, HR or compliance professionals, CEOs, presidents, chancellors, or superintendents (just to name a few), these allies help advocate for the ombuds role within an organization.

In alignment with Goal 2 of our Strategic Plan, "Organizational leaders in key sectors understand and value the ombuds function, and IOA," we would like to gain additional insight into the perspectives of these allies and see if they can help us tell your story, especially to their peers.  Are you willing to make an introduction?  If you have a champion in your organization, please reach out to me via email at [email protected] or give me a call at +1 (619) 943-0792.

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Message from the Executive Director

By Ellen Miller, IOA Executive Director

Greetings IOA Members & Supporters,

Thank you for the very warm welcome and the many kind messages I have received. I am now well into my third week at IOA, learning about the organization’s many committees, task forces, and projects, and attending the March Virtual Foundations course this week. One thing is very clear: I am so impressed with the tremendous energy and engagement of our members.  

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2022 President's Message to IOA Members

President, Melanie Jagneaux

By Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP®, IOA President

IOA begins the new year strong. Steadily growing over the past two years, IOA has surpassed its 1,000 member milestone! Even as the impacts of the COVID pandemic continued, we ended 2021 in a prosperous financial position, closing the year with an approximate net surplus of more than $35,000.

We, the members of IOA, accomplished a great deal in 2021! I think it is important to pause and celebrate our successes because our efforts in 2021 will bring even more value to our membership and the ombuds profession in the years to come. If you volunteered your time and talent on an IOA Committee or Task Force, IOA has greatly benefited from your investment. If you provided valuable feedback on proposals in surveys, you helped IOA leaders make better decisions. If you shared viewpoints in town halls or member meetings you contributed to our collaborative culture. We stayed well focused on our goals, engaged openly, collaborated well, met challenges with confidence and persistence, and made important changes to ready the organization for the future.

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Announcing Chuck Howard's New Book

A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds: How They Help People and Organizations

Chuck Howard

The wait is over! After more than a year of research and with the participation of many IOA members, Chuck Howard’s new book, A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds: How They Help People and Organizations, is going on sale this month.

It is the second book by IOA’s executive director and follows his seminal work, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations - A Legal Guidepublished in 2011, which has since become an essential resource for ombuds, dispute resolution professionals, in-house counsel, corporate executives, university administrators, compliance officers, and human resources personnel.

Where his first book provided a history of the evolution of the role of an organizational ombuds and explained the function, Chuck’s new release is a practical guide for anyone with questions about what ombuds programs are and how they operate.

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Executive Director Search Update and Request to Membership

By Lee Twyman, Executive Director Search Team Co-Chair

In late September, the IOA Executive Director Search Team began our search for IOA’s next Executive Director. The Search Team values members’ perspectives as we meet the goal of selecting a new ED that represents you, our members, and we wish to share the following update and give you the opportunity to provide input. Our next ED will be a full-time position and work in collaboration with membership, the Board, and our staff to advance the goals of the IOA and the Organizational Ombuds profession. As a reminder, the Search Team includes the following members: Marcia Gee Riley, Juan Lattanzio, Suzanne Diviney, Marcia Martinez-Helfman, Lindsay Jennings, IOA Managing Director, and Co-Chairs Willem Kweens and Lee Twyman. Please view the IOA Board-approved ED position description for reference.

The search process and timeline includes:

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Call for Proposals: LERA & SHRM Conferences

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director

I would like to make members aware of two upcoming opportunities to submit proposals to present at conferences of associations in related professions. IOA members have presented at these and other conferences in the past to help promote the value and increase knowledge and understanding of the ombuds profession, and I have as well. Our membership has a wealth of knowledge and insight to share and I encourage you to consider participating as a presenter or attendee at these conferences. 


LERA 74th Annual Meeting

June 2-5, 2022 – Virtual Conference
"Elevating Voice and New Voices in the Workplace and Beyond"

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Executive Director Position Announcement

IOA Launches Search for New Executive Director

We are pleased to announce the launch of our search for IOA’s next Executive Director. This full-time leadership opportunity will soon be posted to a number of job boards and will remain open until 31 October 2021

The IOA Executive Director (ED) is the champion and public-facing representative for our association, its members, and the Organizational Ombuds profession. The ED is an advisor to and a leader of strategic initiatives for IOA. The ED builds relationships and networks, working across all representative sectors to promote and further the strategic goals of the organization while advancing IOA’s diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts. The ED has a primary focus on the overall growth of the organization, including membership expansion and revenue generation. The ED works in partnership with IOA’s association management staff and reports to the IOA Board of Directors.

View the Full Position Description & Application Instructions


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Comments on Bylaws Revisions from Chuck Howard

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director

Photo of Charles HowardI am not an ombuds, but I have been a member of IOA in whatever category I was allowed to be since its inception. I have represented and worked with ombuds for more than 30 years, and I hope that my advocacy and admiration for ombuds and the work that they do has been apparent.

For the past two years, I have been privileged to serve as the Executive Director of IOA, and I have worked very hard to expand awareness of the ombuds role externally; and also, within IOA, I have tried to help it become a more effective association for the ombuds profession. I am keenly aware of the strong history of voluntarism within IOA but also keenly aware of the need for more professionalism in how IOA operates. Over the years, since IOA was so small, much of its work and decision-making has been conducted much like a committee of the whole. As IOA has grown—and especially if it wants to continue to grow—as a profession, that model of collective decision-making does not always serve the organization well. There is a Board of Directors for a reason—to provide leadership and guidance on difficult questions. 

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Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools Article Share

IOA Member Feature

by Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director

IOA members Armando Peri and Dawn Clement, ombuds with the Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools, recently shared an article on the valuable role they serve in connection with the special education process, which is subject to federal legal requirements.

These K-12 ombuds engage in extensive outreach efforts to help parents and others learn more about the special education process and are often asked to explain in understandable language the various legal requirements and procedures. They also serve as an informal resource for parents to share their concerns and to help them develop options for special education strategies. 

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Our Role in Building Greater Unity: Reflections on Recent U.S. Political Events

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director

Americans—and much of the world—watched in horror at the violence and insurrection at the United States Capitol on 6 January 2021. However, this spectacle was only one of the most visible manifestations of the toxicity of intolerance that has leached into our politics and society over many years.

Not since the War of 1812 has the United States Capitol been under such an attack. As shocking and damaging as this outpouring of anger and retribution was, it is only one of the crises that we—collectively—are facing.

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IOA Executive Director Spotlight: 2020 Year in Review

by IOA

Chuck by the Numbers Graphic

With September 2020 marking the one-year anniversary of Chuck Howard’s appointment as IOA’s first-ever Executive Director, we thought the start of 2021 would be a good time to reflect on Chuck’s leadership and accomplishments over the past 16 months.

With 30 years of experience as an attorney representing ombuds nationwide, and author of the definitive history of the ombuds profession, IOA had high hopes for the impact Chuck would make on our organization—and he didn’t disappoint!

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IOA Statement in Response to Caferra/University of Mississippi

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director and Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) continues to monitor the actions of the University of Mississippi regarding Paul J. Caffera in connection with a purported investigation into allegations of a hostile work environment, stemming from the disclosure of anonymous emails from university officials to the press. 

IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard spoke yesterday with Ashton Pittman, the reporter from the Mississippi Free Press who has written many of the articles concerning events at the University of Mississippi and the university's actions against Mr. Caferra. In particular, Chuck noted that the process apparently used by the university in appointing an interim ombuds—while Mr. Caferra is still the ombuds and on administrative leave—was flawed. Not only is it not clear why the appointment of an interim ombuds was necessary while the investigation is pending, the appointment of someone on an interim basis (with no disclosed search process) who is the Chair of the Academic Discipline Committee, regardless of any personal qualities of the person appointed, is not consistent with the core principles of independence and impartiality recognized both in the University of Mississippi Ombuds' Charter and in the IOA Standards of Practice. Chuck also explained the chilling effect that this interim appointment would have on the interim ombuds' ability to actually perform the job. It is clear from previous reporting that there appears to be widespread fear of retaliation among the faculty. Even if the interim ombuds were to recuse himself in matters in which he might have a conflict of interest, this misses the main point: Faculty members and graduate students will likely be reluctant to even contact him given his other responsibilities, especially since he was appointed while Mr. Caferra is still the ombuds and the investigation into the source of the disclosure of anonymous emails by university officials is still pending.   

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Updates Regarding the University of Mississippi Ombuds

By Chuck Howard, IOA Executive Director and Melanie Jagneaux, JD, MBA, CO-OP

As many of you know, the University of Mississippi campus Ombuds has been placed on administrative leave. IOA leadership is aware of this situation and has been in contact with IOA member Paul Caferra, the University of Mississippi Ombuds, and his lawyer. It appears that the university has not honored its obligation to respect the confidentiality of its ombuds communications with visitors, an issue which is of great concern to IOA and all of its members. Please be assured that IOA leadership has offered to provide Paul any support it can in this matter and will continue to monitor this situation.

As a reminder to our members, if you ever have a need for consultation and support for a matter such as this, Chuck Howard, as our Executive Director, may be able to assist you. Our IOA Ombuds, Elaine Shaw, also is available to offer confidential, informal, impartial, and independent support and guidance to all IOA members.

Happy Ombuds Day & Chuck Howard's Speech

By IOA Executive Director, Chuck Howard

Happy Ombuds Day 2020

 

Today, on this 3rd Annual Ombuds Day, IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard was honored to speak during the virtual event Ombuds Day – A Recognition of the Ombuds Profession & the Value of Ombuds, presented by the ABA Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Day Committee.

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A Note from Chuck: Request for Ombud Stories

IOA Executive Director, Chuck Howard, Wants to Share Ombuds' Stories

Submit Your Story by 31 August 2020

I have exciting news—I am writing a new book! It is a follow-up to my original, The Organizational Ombudsman. My new book will take an even deeper dive into how ombuds work and will feature real examples of the types of issues ombuds encounter every day.

To help complete the book and educate ombuds and non-ombuds alike, I am asking for your help in sharing ombuds stories.

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Read Chuck Howard's Ombuds Day Keynote Address

IOA Executive Director Chuck Howard gave the keynote address at the Ombuds Day event held on 10 October 2019 in Washington DC. Read on for the full transcript of Chuck's speech.Chuck Howard Speaking at 2019 Ombuds Day in Washington DC

This is the second year of Ombuds Day celebrations. Last year, the inaugural Ombuds Day event was held here in Washington to an overflow crowd with a waiting list. This year, there are three main Ombuds Day events—here, in Chicago, and in Boulder, Colorado—as well as an Ombuds Day event in Connecticut on October 15th, with the delay necessitated by lack of space for it on the 10th. We have several state proclamations—from the governors of Colorado, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia, as well as proclamations from the Mayor of Washington, D.C. and from at least 8 local governments. There are also numerous events being hosted by ombuds offices at companies, universities, and other organizations.  I think this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.


Before I turn to my main remarks, however, l would like to give a bit of background on what the ABA DRS Ombuds Committee is, what it has tried to accomplish, and how Ombuds Day celebrations came about.
I don’t know when the first ABA Ombuds Committee was organized, but one existed in the early 2000s, as it was very instrumental in helping to achieve ABA adoption of two important ombuds resolutions by the ABA House of Delegates in 2001 and 2004. These resolutions help standardize the terminology for the different types of ombuds programs—classical, advocate, and organizational. They also set forth standards for the creation and operation of these programs. These have been foundational documents in the growth of the ombuds field in the United States. this is remarkable progress for only the second year, and I hope next year’s celebrations will be even bigger and more numerous.

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A Message from IOA's Executive Director

By Charles L. Howard, Executive Director of IOA 

As I near the end of my first month as the new Executive Director of IOA, I want to give everyone a brief update of what I have been up to. Even before I officially started, I met with Marcia Martinez-Helfman and Lee Twyman in Philadelphia to get a lay of the land and make sure that we were aligned on what our goals are for this new position. Since the first of September, I have been primarily engaged in a learning and listening tour—having orientations with leadership and SBI on finances and operations and participating in the monthly meetings of various committees and task forces. I have also had my first Executive Committee and Board meetings. Along the way, I have helped respond to external inquiries and have been engaged in planning for my role as the keynote speaker in the Washington, D.C. Ombuds Day event and a subsequent Ombuds Day event at Quinnipiac Law School here in Connecticut on October 15th. I have been making plans for presentations later in October to university risk managers and to participate with Jessica Kutcha Miller in attending the public hearing and having a poster presentation at the Action Collaborative sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. I am still excited to be a part of IOA and look forward to finding ways to be useful in expanding the reach of this important profession.  

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