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dc.contributor.authorOlver, Valerie
dc.descriptionThe first session that I attended covered that areas of self awareness – identifying what we bring to the table in regards to dealing with student complaints and concerns, technical knowledge – discussed the various type of dispute techniques, desirable interpersonal skills needed in the area of human relations management and identifying how the University is seen as an enabling or frustrating component in dispute resolution. I found this information to be similar to what I have learned by dealing with student complaints and appeals. The student experience can be complex and often we act as brokers for the various resources that ultimately support the student in their academic pursuit. These resources often include, financial aid, counselling services, access to students with disabilities etc. In addition, in dealing with complaints administrative staff often step in to additional roles of researcher, mediator, educator or advocate. I found the session relating to the importance of the use of language, terms and titles in higher education to be very educational. Signals, signs and messages that we give out and receive can be in various forms. Dress, language, words, titles can affect the message. Language is important and can be seen as formal or casual. We need to take this into account and balance expectations. As an Institution we must decide and be conscious of the methods of messages we choose to utilize. How is this achieved with in the University's culture? What is acceptable to students and staff. Another factor is the type of communication methods used. ie. formal - policies, letters and documents. casual - posters, leaflets, facebook, chat rooms etc. How do these methods of messages affect the student’s willingness to bring forward issues? Are students intimidated by the styles used and therefore reluctant to bring forth legitimate complaints? A key message delivered was, if we can treat legitimate complaints as a ‘gift’ we can identify areas requiring improvement and better the University experience for many of our learners. The focus on conflict management was insightful. Students want and need assistance with information processing. They need help deciphering detailed University policy. They are often stressed and overloaded with confusing information. We have a responsibility to establish a culture of conflict resolution. We should ask ourselves 'How are conflicts going to be resolved at our Institution"? A coordinated effort would be appropriate. Often 2 or more areas/departments are addressing similar situations. This can be problematic because the similar conflict may end up with opposing results. Could end up be viewed as unfair and inequitable. The affect of this may be that student’s will likely 'grumble' without taking further action. This stream aligned with the problem of issues that appear to have no resolution because of systemic issues. A directly related session for me, as administratively it is important to take the necessary steps to identify systemic issues that cause problems for students. The reality of this is an ongoing battle. We need policies and we need students to follow policies. What happens when exceptions are requested, how to we ensure that students seeking exceptions are treated in a fair and equitable manner. How appropriate is it to amend a policy that just doesn’t seem to work for students, although it’s critical for the administration of the University. Finally the session on the topic of cross cultural diversity was valuable. Different cultures see conflict and conflict resolution very differently and it is important to acknowledge that very fact when entering in to a request for an exception or complaint situation. In addition to the specific topics covered, I found the international conference experience enlightening. To hear different viewpoints and yet at the same time very similar viewpoints from staff at worldwide Universities, tells me that ultimately the pursuit of higher education is global and the problems that some students experience are global as well.en
dc.description.abstractThis conference is an opportunity to explore the richness of ombudsman principles internationally in different higher education settings so as to improve individual practice and gain insight into alternative approaches for resolving disputes fairly. May 19, 2010 will feature pre-conference workshop and training day. The two-day May 20-21 conference will be divided into 4 half-days, each organized around a sub-theme and featuring plenary presentations to be followed by concurrent workshops and reports back to the plenary. Sessions will combine contrasting approaches and best practice ideas. They can include panels, presentations and case-studies.en
dc.subjectombudsman principlesen
dc.subjectContrasting approachesen
dc.title2010 Joint Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (ACCUO) & European Network for Ombudsmenen

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