IOA 2020 Pre-Conference Core Course

"Conflict: Theory & Application for the Organizational Ombudsman"

Core Course: Friday 27– Saturday 28 March 2020

What Is a Core Course?

As with IOA's Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice 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. The core courses form the basis of a curriculum for organizational ombudsmen and are based upon a set of knowledge domains derived from the CO-OP® job analysis of organizational ombudsmen. Ombuds will be expected to successfully complete core courses before taking advanced courses. The Professional Development Committee plans for all core courses to be replicable courses.

Course Description

This interactive course provides participants with a broader and deeper understanding of the full range of research and theory regarding human conflict, application of this fuller understanding to conflict in organizations, and practical applications for both working with specific disputes and helping to improve the organization’s systems and culture for addressing conflict.

Register for the Core Course

Why Take IOA's Core Course?


As a result of this program, you will:

  • Become familiar with seminal theories and research in conflict management across various disciplines.
  • See how concepts from these various fields come together to inform the role and work on the organizational ombuds.
  • Acquire specific new conceptual tools for facilitating dispute resolutions in the context of broader, sometimes counterproductive conflict management systems.
  • Generate insights and ideas for how the ombuds can play a central role to developing optimal systems for organizational conflict management.

Registration Information:

  • IOA Member Registration:
    • $1100 Early Bird Rate (Through 14 February 2019)
    • $1200 Regular Rate (Starting 15 February 2020)
  • Non-Member Registration
    • $1200 Early Bird Rate (Through 14 February 2019)
    • $1300 Regular Rate (Starting 15 February 2020)
  • Bundle & Save: Core 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 Core Course. Once you have registered for Core Course you will receive a unique discount code to be used when completing your conference registration.
Register for the Core Course

Who Should Attend?

This course is useful for all working ombuds who already have a working knowledge of the ombuds role and standards of practice, and who have begun to experience some of the challenges posed by the organizational system within which they practice.

Pre-requisite: IOA Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice course.

Course Instructors

Sue Theiss (MA, Communication) has been an Ombudsperson for more than 20 years. As a volunteer Ombud at the University of Arizona, and co-chair for that committee, she worked with the program director to develop, coordinate, and offer training in ombuds work and conflict management to volunteers.  As the Director for the Ombuds Office at the University of Arkansas, Sue provided training to employees and students on conflict management. While at Arkansas she developed and co-taught a university course on conflict and anger management for five years. She also developed and was the primary trainer for a 32-hour mediation course.  At Oregon State University, Sue provides an average of 25 application-based trainings on conflict management each year to faculty, staff, students, and administrators.

Sue co-presented with Dr. Dues on Conflict Climate at the 2012 IOA conference and provided a full-day workshop “Creating a Roadmap to Address Workplace Bullying” for IOA in 2015. This presentation, and many others on workplace bullying, were based on her thesis work, current research, and best practices related to addressing systemic conflict.

Michael Dues (PhD, Communication and American Studies) has been teaching students and helping organizations improve how they handle conflicts for more than 40 years. During his 20 years at The University of Arizona, he taught courses in organizational communication and conflict management and served as Head of the Department of Communication. He has authored several books on organizational communication. His recorded “Great Courses” lecture series on The Art of Conflict Management, offered by The Teaching Company, has reached more than 40,000 learners. He is currently senior partner in conflictclimate.com, helping organizations assess and improve conditions for effectively managing conflict.

Long active in ombuds work, Dr. Dues served 10 years as a University of Arizona ombuds and as co-chair of the university ombuds committee. He provided training in managing conflict climate at the annual conference of University and College Ombuds Association, Atlanta, 2005; delivered a keynote address on “Ombudsing at the Margins” at the 2012 annual IOA conference; and delivered a keynote address and training at the 2012 Cal Caucus Conference.


Additional Pre-Conference Learning

Attendees also have the opportunity to take IOA's 2020 Pre-Conference Foundations CourseThe Foundations course covers the fundamentals of the organizational ombudsman role by emphasizing the principles of confidentiality, neutrality, independence, and informality. 

Learn More About the Foundations Course