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.
8. IOA Expands Outreach Efforts -- The association accomplished several things this year including: the creation of Regional Advisory Committees for international members; approval of a trademark for certification; a major upgrade for its website; creation of international scholarships to its annual conference; its first webinar series (on bullying); and the translation of its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice into Spanish and French.
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.
6. Notable Ombuds Retire -- This year saw the retirement of many prominent Ombuds, including: Janis Schonauer (AllianceBernstein); Dorothy Graham (Kennesaw State University); Sandy McDermott (Portland State University); John Mather (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Stan Soffin (Michigan State University); Pierre Niedlispacher (Coca-Cola Refreshments); Lewis Redding (Jet Propulsion Laboratory); Suzanne Belson (Department of National Defense and Canadian Forces); Carolyn Noorbakhsh (National Renewable Energy Laboratory); John S. Carter (The Citadel).
5. New Offices Open in Africa -- In 2011, three African universities created Organizational Ombuds offices: University of Cape Town; University of KwaZulu-Natal; and American University in Cairo. (Previously, the only true Organizational Ombuds programs on the continent were within the African Development Bank and United Technologies Corp.) In addition, the African Ombudsman Research Centre was established at UKZN in South Africa.
3.  The Promise of Dodd-Frank Begins to Yield Opportunities for Ombuds -- In 2010, sweeping financial reform legislation promised to create incentives and specific Ombuds programs, and politicians and lawyers voiced their support. The Dodd-Frank Act paid off with two high profile programs, one in the private sector: Pfizer; and one in the public sector, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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.

1. Record Numbers of New Ombuds Offices Opened Their Doors -- On balance, it was a banner year for the Organizational Ombuds profession. The closure of five offices was more than offset by a record number of more than 30 new programs. The closed offices included: Ashford University; Portland State University; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Southern University.
On the other hand, new offices opened at: Kidsports; California Pharmacists Association; Jackson Community College; University of Cape Town; Florida International University; Ivy Tech Community College; Board of Realtors, Fort Collins, CO; Bauhaus-Universität Weimar; Northeastern University; California State University San Marcos; Prince George's County, MD Public Schools; Katimavik; Lake Superior State University; University of California San Francisco; Texas Southern University; University of Texas (Staff); Portland, OR Metropolitan Association of Realtors; University of Lethbridge; Universiti Sains Malaysia; North Georgia College & State University; Medical College of Wisconsin; Pennsylvania State University, College of Education; Palo Alto University; Minnesota Department of Transportation; Oakland, MI County Circuit Court; Goethe University; University of KwaZulu-Natal; University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee; Oregon State University; American University in Cairo; and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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