As many institutions and industries — such as higher education — find themselves reacting to and resolving a variety of conflicts in their communities, the role of an ombuds is becoming more important and more prevalent.

Shannon Lynn Burton, named university ombudsperson in July 2018, finds herself part of a trend nationwide where many educational associations and organizations are calling on ombuds to ensure their annual meetings and conferences run smoothly and participants have a third-party resource available to them to address conflicts and concerns.

Last spring, Burton served as one of the inaugural co-ombuds for the American Educational Research Association. The association created the program to support and strengthen its commitment to fostering an inclusive, supportive and respectful environment at its annual meetings. During

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