Creating a respectful working and learning environment

Tom Sebok

Instructor: Tom Sebok, Director Ombuds Office, CU-Boulder

Noted organizational development expert and Appreciative Inquiry theorist, David Cooperider, believes what one focuses on tends to expand. So, rather than focusing on reducing or eliminating organizational problems (e.g., incivility or bullying) he encourages organizational leaders to: 1) identify what they really want (e.g., a climate of respect), 2) hunt for places within their organizations where what they want is already occurring, and 3) seek to increase the frequency of those behaviors within the organization. 

What would a working and learning environment in which everyone felt respected look like? How would people act toward one another? How would conflict be dealt with in such an environment? How can we recognize units where this is already happening and encourage even more of that – both there and elsewhere? What would it take to develop and maintain such an environment? These challenging and important questions will not be neatly answered in this highly interactive half-day workshop. But, participants will learn about successful proactive organizational change strategies and also discuss options available to leaders and to non-leaders for encouraging a more respectful working and learning environment here at the University of Colorado Boulder. This workshop is available to all UCB faculty and staff members.

Tom Sebok has been an Ombuds at the University of Colorado at Boulder since 1990 and Director of the Ombuds Office since 1992. He serves as associate editor for the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association and is a former officer on the Board of Directors of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). He is an instructor for the IOA Professional Development course, Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice. He chaired an IOA Task Force which developed a system to classify the issues with which all organizational Ombuds assist constituents. Tom is the author of numerous publications on Ombuds practice, mediation, workplace bullying, and restorative justice and he has presented on those topics at national and international conferences and webinars. He helped create the first restorative justice program in the U.S. in higher education and holds a master’s degree from the University of Delaware.

Date: Nov. 8, 2012
Time: ​9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Venue: Administrative Research Center building (ARCE), East Campus, Room 346

To register, please visit:, or email



Contact: Yee Chan, 303-492-8103

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