IOA 2020 Pre-Conference Foundations Course

Professional Development

Foundations Course: Friday 27–Sunday 29 March 2020

Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice Course Cancelled

The IOA Board of Directors has made the difficult decision that, due to unanticipated circumstances beyond its control, it must cancel the 15th Annual IOA Conference and as well as the pre-conference sessions and professional development courses scheduled in Portland, Oregon, 27 March – 1 April 2020.

Latest Updates

What Is a Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice Course?

The Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice Course covers the fundamentals of the organizational ombudsman role by emphasizing the principles of confidentiality, neutrality, independence, and informality. Learn how to work with visitors to the office as well as how to act as a change agent within your organization. Practice key ombuds skills of listening, asking questions, clarifying, generating options, and moving to actions throughout the ombuds process. In addition, an experienced and highly committed faculty of ombuds will share best practices around setting up an office and evaluating and communicating the effectiveness of the office.

This multi-day course is offered multiple times each year in various locations. Each course is three full days and limited to 35 participants or fewer, so be sure to register early!

Cancellation Policy: Notification of cancellation must be submitted in writing via email to [email protected]. Cancellations received by Monday, 9 March 2020 will be refunded, less a $75 USD cancellation fee. No refunds will be made for cancellations received after Monday, 9 March 2020. Substitutions can be made at any time before Monday, 9 March 2020, as long as both attendees are of the same registration type. If you have any questions, please contact the office at [email protected].

Updated Cancellation Policy: 
Notification of cancellation must be submitted in writing via email to [email protected]. Cancellations received by Monday, 16 March 2020 will be refunded, less a $75 USD cancellation fee. No refunds will be made for cancellations received after Monday, 16 March 2020. Substitutions can be made at any time before Monday, 16 March 2020, as long as both attendees are of the same registration type. If you have any questions, please contact the office at [email protected].

Registration - Sold Out:
The 2020 March Foundations Course is now full. You may join our waitlist and we will contact you if spots become available. You may also consider the new Pre-Conference Session Understanding the Ombuds Role: What It Is, How It Works, & Why It Helps Organizations Thrive

  • IOA Members: $1695 flat rate
  • Non-Members: $1995 flat rate
  • Bundle & Save: Foundations Course attendees can bundle and save on full conference registration. Get $100 off full conference registration by emailing the IOA office after you have signed up for the Foundations Course. Once you have registered for the Foundations Course you will receive a unique discount code to be used when completing your conference registration.
Join the Waitlist

*To receive the IOA member discount for this event, you must first become a member then proceed to event registration.


Why Take IOA's Foundations Course?

As a result of this program, you will learn:

  • How the role, scope, and duties of today’s ombuds began and evolved
  • The four basic principles of the organizational ombudsman role: neutrality, independence, confidentiality, and informality
  • Why confidentiality is essential to the practice and how to maintain confidentiality
  • How to listen as a neutral, including effective techniques for interviewing and inquiring, reflective listening, reframing, identifying issues, and providing options
  • How to manage and work with conflict by employing a battery of skills including listening, coaching, and negotiation techniques
  • How to decide which intervention would be most effective and how to provide feedback to management
  • How to set up and operate an ombudsman office, including the fundamentals of how to log concerns, report to management, and design reports to track issues
  • How to align the ombudsman function with the mission, values, and culture of the organization
  • How to promote the ombudsman role and function, including ways to gain and keep management support

This course applies to ombudsman programs in organizational settings. It does not address some features unique to other ombuds models such as classical, advocate, or legislative ombuds.

Who should attend?

The course will benefit the recently appointed ombuds, individuals interested in becoming ombuds, or anyone desiring to establish an ombuds function in industry, government, education, and public or private social services agencies.


Additional Pre-Conference Learning

Attendees also have the opportunity to take IOA's 2020 Pre-Conference Core Course. As with IOA's Foundations Course, core courses address fundamental knowledge and practice for new ombuds (those with less than three years of full-time practice) or for ombuds who desire to learn or refresh such fundamentals.

Learn More About Core Course