The International Ombudsman Association (IOA) recently provided Board of Director election results. There were 6 seats open with a slate of 9 candidates. The candidates elected will step onto the Board at the IOA Annual Conference in late April. The newly elected Board members include Roy Baroff, NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds.
The full list, plus one other candidate who was appointed to fill a recently vacated seat, includes three academic, three corporate, and one government ombuds:
Roy Baroff CO-OP North Carolina State University
Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg Brown University
Jessica Kuchta-Miller CO-OP Washington University in St. Louis
Sana Manjeshwar CO-OP Chevron
Reese Ramos CO-OP Sandia National Laboratories
Elaine Shaw Pfizer
Ronnie Thomson Halliburton
Congrats to all!
The NC State Faculty Ombuds Office was profiled in a recent article jointly published by The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds and the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association -“Ombuds and Conflict Resolution Specialists: Navigating Workplace Challenges in Higher Education.” The article explores various ombuds practices and impacts on an organization based on research conducted by Nova Southeast faculty member Neil H. Katz and two of his graduate students Katherine J. Sosa and Linda N. Kovack.
The researchers identified three primary functions of an ombuds and/or conflict resolution office including (1) addressing constituent issues, (2) educational outreach, and (3) system review. In each area the ombuds sought to positively impact both the individual and the institution by providing ombuds services within a framework of independence, confidentiality, informality, and impartiality.
Overall the impacts were seen as positive and the researchers conclude that institutions that support ombuds and/or conflict resolution programs “are implementing ‘best practices.'” It’s certainly the goal of the NC State Faculty & Staff Ombuds office to support constructive engagement around conflicts or issues of concern. And, doing so, may help all utilize best practices and promote a vibrant workplace.
One of the hallmarks of an ombuds office is confidentiality. In ombuds terms, this means that all communication with the faculty ombuds office is off the record with two limited exceptions – if there is imminent risk of serious harm (to oneself or others) or if required by law ( if information of child or elder abuse or neglect). Otherwise the person contacting the office retains full control over what happens with the information shared.
Confidentiality also extends to not maintaining records with identifiable information and for providing a secure storage location for materials that are confidential and actively in use. For a period of time, I’ve carried such files with me; however, I’ve added secure storage to the faculty ombuds office in the form of a small safe. Check it out!
I hope this clarifies “confidentiality” at the NC State Faculty Ombuds and please contact the office if I can be of assistance.