CQUni Ombudsman Dr Robert O'Sullivan (centre in light blue) with conference participants Photo Contributed
CQUni Ombudsman Dr Robert O'Sullivan (centre in light blue) with conference participants Photo Contributed Contributed

Student ombudsmen conference at CQUniversity

OMBUDSMEN by nature are solitary creatures so a gathering of 25 of them, hosted in Rockhampton, is a special event indeed.

CQUniversity Rockhampton North campus recently hosted a conference for student ombudsmen and complaints managers from universities throughout Australia, ranging from Darwin to Tasmania. It was the first gathering of its type for at least three years.

Event convenor, Dr Robert O'Sullivan is the student ombudsman based at CQUniversity. He says the delegates heard a keynote address by Assistant Queensland State Ombudsman Peter Cantwell.

"The level of enthusiasm from delegates was great and we were pleased to have delegates from sandstone metropolitan unis as well as regional unis," Dr O'Sullivan says.

"The conference heard about legal implications for ombudsmen and complaints managers and culminated with an open forum where delegates could talk about the conduct of their portfolios and problems faced while sharing solutions."

CQUniversity staff presenting at the event included Deputy Vice-Chancellor Jenny Roberts, Head of Program for Communications Dr Celeste Lawson, University Solicitor Wayne Jones and Senior Student Counsellor Mark Kennedy.

The term 'ombudsman' is an English translation of the Swedish word umbuds man from the Old Norse word umboosmaor, meaning representative. Nowadays the role acts as a defender against maladministration by institutions and governments.

In Australian universities, such terms as Ombud, Ombudsman, Student Ombudsman and Dean of Students may be taken as covering broadly similar duties and concerns.



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