Ombuds Toolkit for Higher Education Institutions

The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) is committed to supporting organizational ombuds worldwide and those working in educational institutions. To supplement the poster presentation 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 our list of 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, PhD, and Mary Rowe, PhD.  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 OfficeThis 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:
  5. Consider reading this book, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations - A Legal Guide. Written by Charles L. Howard and ublished by ABA Book Publishing in  2010 this book is a helpful resource and provides a history of the role of organizational ombudsmen. " View the book's brochure for more details.

  6. Review IOA's Best Practices Guide: A Supplement to IOA’s Standards of Practice. This document is intended to provide further guidance to organizational ombuds who are practicing according to IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics

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

Resources for Higher Education Institutions

  1. Read this article Why an Organizational Ombuds? by Bruce J. MacAllister, JD, Howard Gadlin, PhD, and Mary Rowe, PhD to learn more about how an ombuds can help an organization.

  2. Concerned about diversity and inclusion? Read How an Ombuds Office Can Serve Women in STEM in Higher Education by Bruce J. MacAllister, JD, Howard Gadlin, PhD, and Mary Rowe, PhD.

  3. Review a set of Title IX Resources that was compiled by IOA's Title IX Task Forse.

  4. Review IOA's 2016 Wilmer-Hale Memo on Campus Ombuds as Confidential Resource for Purposes of Title IX and Clery Act ReportingThe IOA Title IX Task Force sought approval from the IOA Board to identify a highly regarded, nationally renowned law firm, Wilmer Hale, with attorneys known for their deep and broad practice in higher education, to review and author a memorandum regarding the role that a confidential ombuds plays on a campus.

  5. Check out our list of higher education Institutions with ombuds offices. This document showsthe name of the institutions as well as their focus, whether or not they follow the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, follow the Cleary Act, are a Title IX Reporter, have an ombuds website, and have an ombuds charter.

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.