Chance, Ignorance, and Human Behavior

Reading Jared Poley’s Luck, Leisure, and the Casino in Nineteenth-Century Europe: A Cultural History of Gambling (a fine book on the subject), a 125-year old observation struck me as relevant to those of us who have questions about the future, which I guess we all do, since future events will affect us in the future. […]

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informed informality

Stolen Time and Unexpectedly Friendly Cats

I recently saw a work of art that got me thinking quite deeply about communication. Nikita Gale’s TEMPO RUBATO (STOLEN TIME), consisting of a modified player piano, audio, and a lighting system, is currently exhibited as part of the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Gale describes the installation as “a player

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informed informality

Seeing from Above and Below by Listening

Have you ever read something that just pops? Like, you are amazed that you’ve never seen this concept explained in this way, and you’re a little miffed that you haven’t done it yourself? Or is that just me? I’m asking because I recently had an experience like that, and I’d like to share it with

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informed informality

The Oracle, the Prophet, and Wishful Hearing

The Pythia, or Oracle at Delphi, was sought out for her predictions. The high priestess of Apollo, the Greek god of music, prophecy, medicine, the sun, and assorted other odds and ends, she shared, on demand, prophecies divined from the god himself. The stories of her forecasts reveal a nearly universal human truth: we often

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informed informality

Interviewed on the History Behind News Podcast

I recently joined host Adel Aali on the History Behind News podcast to discuss the history of gambling. The podcast, which is available on several platforms, intends to make in-depth history researched and written by scholars enjoyable and accessible to everyone. It was a wide-ranging discussion, heading into places that surprised even me at time.

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interview

Do Expectations Push or Punish Us?

Early in my ombuds career, I was told that conflict, more often than not, is driven by unmet expectations. Talking with participants in dozens, if not hundreds of large and small conflicts through, I absolutely agree. Almost always, unsatisfied expectations, whether verbalized or not, are at the root of interpersonal and even institutional issues. One

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informed informality

Six Reasons to Think Twice Before Speaking Poorly of Others at Work

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCT. 22, 2021 Back in kindergarten, you might have been told that if you don’t have something nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. In many cases, you honor that precept, but sometimes, it is difficult. There may come a time when you feel an irrepressible urge to share bad news,

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Why the Ombuds Office Is Informal

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED FEB. 16, 2022   The International Ombuds Association’s Code of Ethics outlines four basic ethical principles: informality, independence, impartiality, and confidentiality. Each of these is necessary to the practice of an organization ombuds, and each offers benefits to both those who visit the office and the larger institutional community. I feel it will helpful to use

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Independence and the Ombuds

ORIGNALLY PUBLISHED MAR. 2, 2022   This is the second in a series of posts exploring the four ethical principles that serve as the foundation of the practice of an organizational ombuds: informality, independence, impartiality, and confidentiality. Today, I will share some thoughts on what independence means for ombuds and those who use their offices. Usually it

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From the Ombuds Archive, ombuds

Ombuds Impartiality and Multipartiality Explained

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED MAR. 8, 2022   This is the third in a series of posts exploring the four ethical principles that serve as the foundation of the practice of an organizational ombuds: informality, independence, impartiality, and confidentiality. Today, I will share some thoughts on what impartiality means for ombuds and those who use their offices. The International

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From the Ombuds Archive

A Matter of Perspective

Originally published MAR. 14, 2022 I want to take the risk of breaking from my recent subject matter—the somewhat abstract but nonetheless crucial importance of the principles that guide organizational ombudship—to share a more personal view of conflict resolution. We all know someone who seems to delight in wringing any possible drop of tragedy from

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Returning to Campus–and Conflict | From the Ombuds

Originally published OCT. 22, 2021 I was fortunate to attend the Faculty Senate Retreat yesterday morning as a guest. This was the first Faculty Senate meeting I’ve attended in person, if memory serves, since February 2020. Much of the discussion centered on the uncertainties around classroom instruction in the upcoming semester, enforcement of mask mandates,

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