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Straus Institute Features Alumni to Celebrate Ombuds Day 2020

On October 8, 2020, the Straus Institute celebrated Ombuds Day 2020, an initiative started by the American Bar Association's Section on Dispute Resolution to raise awareness about the growing profession. The ABA defines ombuds as, "confidential, impartial, and independent conflict management professionals in universities; federal, state, and local governments; healthcare facilities; and a variety of other organizations." These individuals often advance organizational change through their ability to bring institutional challenges to the attention of management in a safe and confidential way, especially when the issues may be sensitive or controversial in nature.

Straus welcomed three distinguished ombudswomen to the event, including two alumnae, Dana Hinojosa (MDR '17) who serves as Associate Ombuds at UC Davis and LaCrisia Gilbert (MDR '97) who serves as the Ombuds for National University. Ms. Hinojosa and Ms. Gilbert were joined by the Campus Ombuds for UC Santa Barbara, Caroline Adams. The three panelists discussed how they joined the profession, dispute resolution skills that advance their work, how their work has shifted during COVID, and where they see the ombuds field growing. Ms. Hinojosa shared some of her favorite Straus courses with students and Ms. Gilbert and Ms. Adams discussed the various certification programs available for students interested in the field. They were joined by excited students, faculty and staff members, who asked insightful questions at the end of the program. The event may be accessed using the link here and the case-sensitive password: #2zLKfP.

Additionally, on October 16, the ABA held an additional program commemorating Ombuds Day titled, Embracing Conflict: Organizational Ombuds on Campus, which also featured two Straus alumnae, Dawn Osborne-Adams (Cert '13) who serves as University Ombuds at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and Elizabeth Hill, Associate Ombuds at the University of Colorado, Boulder who took Straus' Mediating the Litigated Case program in 2015.