Research Visit from Olomouc in Vienna: Exchanging Expertise, Enhancing Cooperation

Recently Michaela Antonín Malaníková, Ombudswoman at the Faculty of Philosophy of the František Palacký University in Olomouc in the Czech Republic, and Jaroslav Šotola, Ombudsman at the same institution, have been on a research visit within the ENOHE internship programme to the Office of the Austrian Student Ombudsman at the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research in Vienna.

Michaela and Jaroslav were both elected into their positions by the Senate of Faculty of Philosophy of Palacký University last year. Their main research interests were on how to set up Ombuds offices and where to anchor them within a higher education institution. Michaela and Jaroslav also investigated the special features of either central positions or faculty positions and the respective advantages of both.

Issues of reporting, how and when and to whom, were discussed as well. The same was interaction with e.g. Ethics Commissions and similar bodies, where this applies, as well as interaction with student representatives and external interest groups or stakeholders.

In order to learn more about functionalities and responsibilities of local Ombuds offices a site visit to the Ombuds Office of the Vienna University of Economics and Business was arranged. 

Michaela and Jaroslav were also interested in ways of creating a network of Ombuds and similar offices (with an increasing number of them in the last year) within the Czech Republic.

As far as international cooperation is concerned the Czech colleagues wanted to know more about the aims and intentions of ENOHE and how to get involved into its activities. It is planned to come up with joint proposals for this year’s ENOHE annual conference in Athens in June. Finally, a return visit to Olomouc was agreed upon.