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In Tribute: An Open Letter of Reflection and Thanks
Dear CCCUO Colleagues, past, present and future,
In 1973, three ombudsmen from UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and Cal State University, Los Angeles, realized the importance of coming together to share skills and knowledge, and to support each other as effective ombuds practitioners. Their meeting at Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, California, was the seed that spawned the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds. This November we will recognize all those who have come before us as we gather in celebration of 40 years of ombuds learning with and from each other at Cal Caucus.
The California Caucus of College and University Journal, first published in 1988 for the 15th Anniversary CCCUO conference, represented an important extension of the work and values of Cal Caucus. As Ron Wilson, UCI Ombudsman and Conference Convener, recognized in his introduction to the 1988 Journal, “… ombudsmen need to share with each other their individual methods and techniques which they effectively utilize in implementing their role in the communities they serve.” He took the leadership responsibility to solicit and edit the papers that formed our first Journal. While Asilomar provided opportunity to gather and talk about shared experiences, The CCCUO Journal now provided a forum for sharing our knowledge and experiences beyond the conference boundaries of time and place.
The CCCUO Journals published from 1988 through 1997 represent the first collection of articles related to the practice of ombudsmanry in higher education settings; they form the roots of our current Journal. The articles remain as relevant today as when they were written, and provide significant perspectives of ombuds practitioners, shared for the benefit of their colleagues. We are fortunate they are available for current access at http://www.ombuds.uci.edu/cal_caucus_journals.shtml.
In 1997, Lois Price Spratlen, University of Washington Ombudsman and Ombudsman for Sexual Harassment, volunteered leadership in taking The Journal to the next level. With Ron as Co-editor, Lois invited other colleagues to join in forming the first CCCUO Journal Editorial Board. The 1998 Journal celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Cal Caucus, and was announced with “pride and a sense of accomplishment” as the first peer-reviewed issue of TheJournal. The CCCUOJournals from 1998 through 2007 collectively stand today as the first peer-reviewed publications for ombuds.
During this time period The CCCUO Journals were published from the University of Washington Ombudsman’s Office, so I personally saw the extensive work involved on the part of all editors and Editorial Board members who volunteered their service to Cal Caucus in support of this effort, and of the authors striving to share their methods and knowledge through the written word. The Journal invited as submissions any scholarship to “promote, advance, and celebrate the profession of ombudsing.” Editorial Board members established standards for review, then made themselves available for help and advice to would-be authors through constructive feedback in developing and submitting articles to meet those standards. This model collaborative approach to publishing remains a CCCUO Journal hallmark. These values of shared standards, peer review, and supported writing form the trunk that rises from our roots.
Now, as we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Cal Caucus, TheCCCUO Journal is progressing to a new level, moving from paper and print hard copy to electronic publication. This distribution method will allow for sharing our ideas and writings more broadly, reaching a larger audience of ombuds and others interested in our work. Our deep roots and strong trunk, formed by the good work of our earlier colleagues from 1988-2007, will hold The Journal strong as it branches out in new directions.
On the eve of the publication of the 2013 Journal, I believe I speak for many others within the Caucus and beyond, in offering thanks to the past authors and to past co-editors and Editorial Board members for embracing the Caucus value of volunteerism and creating this strong source of ombuds literature for all who will follow. Your efforts reaffirm Ron Wilson’s call to celebrate the ombuds concept by extending “written tribute” toward each other.
I also offer thanks to the current co-editors and Editorial Board members who have accepted the leadership mantle for our Journal. Along with many others who will volunteer time and energy, through authorship and other work necessary for the continuation of The CCCUO Journal, you will steward The Journal forward. Through your good work and considered effort we will all share the “pride and a sense of accomplishment” generated through this collective scholarship by and for ombuds.
With sincere appreciation and best regards,
Susan Neff University of Washington Ombudsman, Retired CCCUO 2013 Awards Co-Chair
Lois Price Spratlen died March 30, 2013, from multiple myeloma. She was my mentor and colleague, and I know if she were here today she would express pride in all that this Journal has been and will become through our collective good work. I expect she would challenge each of us to put our thoughts in writing and to constantly strive for increased professionalism in academic ombudsing. Lois’ challenges were a sign of deep caring; if she challenged you, you could know that it was because you were important to her, and she wanted you to be the best you could be.
Ron Wilson also died this year and is remembered elsewhere in this Journal. Both Lois and Ron have been wonderful role models of excellence in academic ombudsing, and we are fortunate that their legacy lives on for current and future ombuds in their Journal writings.
We can honor their memories by reading the interesting articles in previous Journals their efforts helped produce.