Aller au contenu

Valuing Ombuds 1: The challenge

Fairness is a shape shifter

EN | 2 min

Ombuds provide a high-value service within universities and colleges. While value has been a topic of conversation among higher education ombuds for a long time, as well as a key consideration in writing annual reports and recommendations, there aren’t many articles for Canadian HE ombuds about how to most effectively articulate value to their own institutions, e.g. best practices or key considerations guides. Why is it so challenging to communicate ombuds value? Is it because some of the most valuable work of an ombuds office is invisible by design? Does the nuanced and multifaceted nature of ombuds work makes it difficult to summarize without oversimplification? Grabbing and holding the attention of university leaders can require a creative, multi-pronged strategy.  

Ombuds are uniquely positioned to bring value to their institutions as they respond in 2021 (and into the future) to a range of financial, institutional, and social pressures. Fairness can foster efficiency, commitment, and contribution (See Chris M. Bell’s August 14, 2021 Toronto Star article). In their article, “COVID and the impact on higher education: The essential role of integrity and accountability” Bob Blankenberger and Adam Williams (June 2020), assert that “…institutional integrity and accountability and the importance of recognizing the role higher education plays in advancing social equity will be key for postsecondary institutions in the COVID era and post-COVID recovery.”  I welcome your insights and suggestions for additional articles or resources as we explore the ways in which ombuds explain the value of their offices in relation to what institutions might consider the benefits of ombuds offices.

– Heather McGhee Peggs