Overall, the past year has been a positive one for Organizational Ombuds profession. Here are the top stories of 2011.
10. In Memoriam -- Several notable Ombuds passed away in 2011, including: Walter R. Lynn (Cornell University); Florence Boroson (SUNY Stony Brook Ombudsman); John Wanjala (Portland State University); Robert John Ackermann (University of Massachusetts Amherst); Lee Preston (University of Maryland). Their contributions to the field and to their organizations were invaluable, and they will be missed.
9. Post on New UCF Ombuds Draws Record Views -- A post on October 17 described a YouTube video by Shreya Trivedi, who was appointed the University of Central Florida Ombuds earlier in the year. Although the video has been viewed just a few hundred times, the Ombuds Blog post has been viewed more than 5,200 times. Go figure.
7. NY Ombuds for Developmentally Disabled Breaches Confidentiality -- Ombuds and others were appalled to learn that New York State's Ombudsman for the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities had been revealing the names of whisleblowers routinely. The ethical breach undermined confidence in Ombuds of all types.
2. University of Iowa Ombuds Becomes a Lightening Rod for Bullying Issues -- The UI Ombuds have been outspoken on issues of civility and bullying, so it was a shock when an Associate Press story said the campus Ombuds Office had been “failing” to resolve bullying complaints. The AP report omitted details about the UI Ombuds’ work over the years and presented only a review of a small number of cases produced in response to a public records request. The current UI Ombuds did not address the matter, but fortunately the past Ombuds and the University president spoke out in support. The situation will no doubt be discussed by within the profession for many years.