Ombuds Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions

Resources About the Benefits of Ombuds & Information on How to Start an Ombuds Office

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) is committed to supporting organizational ombuds worldwide and those working in educational institutions. To supplement the poster presentation at the NASEM Action Collaborative Summit in November 2019 and to help support and promote the critical role ombuds play in the higher education ecosystem, IOA has created this toolkit of resources. The toolkit can be used to aid the consideration and establishment of such offices and to help existing ombuds become more effective.

Getting Started with the Ombuds Higher Education Toolkit:

  1. Still unsure about what an ombuds is? Learn more about how they can help.
  2. Want to learn how your organization can benefit from having an ombuds? Read about the benefits.
  3. Looking to establish a new ombuds office? Read our list of resources.
  4. We also wanted to provide a specific list of resources for higher education institutions.

How to Get Started with Establishing a New Ombuds Office

Here are some useful documents that will help you prepare for starting an ombuds office at a higher education institution.

  1. Before Implementing an Ombuds Office review this informational list of questions written by By Bruce J. MacAllister, JD, Howard Gadlin, Ph.D., and Mary Rowe, Ph.D.  This is a list of common and recurrent questions organizations address when assessing the value, design, and implementation of a successful organizational ombuds office.

  2. Review the document Best Practices: Ombudsman Office Charters which provides a general outline of the information that is typically included within ombuds office charters. This document may be useful for organizations that are considering establishing an office, ombuds in a newly created office who are collaborating with their institutions on developing a charter, or ombuds offices that are already established, but lack a charter.

  3. Learn about the basics by reading Nuts and Bolts: Establishing and Operating a College or University Ombuds Office.
    (This document is under review, a new version will be available soon.) 
    This document was originally written as a guide to establishing an ombuds office in a college or university setting and was part of the University and College Ombuds Association (UCOA) Handbook. However, it contains many useful instructions that are applicable to both academic and non-academic ombuds offices. 

  4. Review a few Generic Organizational Ombuds Position Descriptions:

    For Academic Ombuds Job Description - Members Only

    For Corporate Ombuds Job Description- Members Only

  5. Reach out to IOA’s Executive Director for additional information who can be reached at [email protected] or info@ or contact an ombuds consultant through our Outsourced Ombuds Directory.

  6. Consider posting an open position on IOA 's Job Board.

  7. Consider reading, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations - A Legal Guide or A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds:  How They Help People and Organizations.

Members-Only Resources for Higher Education

IOA's Commitment

The IOA is committed to providing relevant information on the organizational ombuds profession and related topics. Explore available resources in the Resources menu tab. Some resources are available to members only, as a benefit of membership. Learn more about joining IOA.

If you are aware of additional relevant resources that are available in the public domain or by permission, please contact the IOA at [email protected] about adding those resources to this collection.