About the SAA Annual Meeting Ombuds

For the 2021 Annual Meeting, the SAA has chosen two ombuds to serve as informal, independent, neutral, and confidential resources for meeting attendees. The ombuds can assist meeting attendees with determining options to address issues such as harassment, free speech, academic integrity, conflicts of interest, safety, diversity, or any other concern related to the SAA Annual Meeting. The ombuds will listen to understand issues from the perspective of individuals and provide support, coaching, strategies, options, and useful resources. All issues, including sexual harassment, can be discussed confidentially and independently of the Society. Appropriate administrative channels will be offered to individuals who desire to register formal complaints. 

In addition, the SAA ombuds may, with the permission of the individuals who come to them, make recommendations to the SAA President and Executive Director about specific actions that might enhance the safety and well-being of the individuals attending the Annual Meeting. The ombuds will be on-site and accessible during the Annual Meeting starting at 2:00 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, April 14 and ending at 12:00 noon Western  time on Sunday, April 18, 2021. The ombuds will be available by e-mail (saaombuds@gmail.com), phone (512-766-6455), and for face-to-face meetings at the San Francisco Hilton. 

We invite you to read more about our ombuds below. 

Please read our FAQ. If you have a question that has not been answered, please don't hesitate to tell the ombuds at the gmail above so we can answer it for you.

David, University of California, Santa Barbara 

David RaschDavid Rasch is an associate ombuds at the University of California, Santa Barbara. David received his BA in philosophy from Colgate University and a PhD in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He recently retired from Stanford University, where he served as university ombuds for 14 years. Prior to his work as an ombuds, he was director of Stanford’s Faculty/Staff Counseling Center. David served for six years on the board of directors for CO-OP®, which oversees the testing and certification process for the organizational ombuds profession. In addition to his ombuds work, David also consults and teaches on topics related to writing productivity and overcoming procrastination. He served as the conference ombuds at the 2017 and 2019 American Political Science Association Annual Meetings and at the 2020 APSA Teaching and Learning Conference. He lives in California.

Elaine, Retired Corporate Ombuds

Elaine ShawElaine Shaw works now as a contract ombuds and general civil mediator after a long career with several large U.S. corporations. She recently retired from Pfizer Inc., where she spent six years as a global ombuds and 12 years in human resources (HR). Elaine held a variety of roles in specialist and generalist roles in HR, including five years as an HR investigator. She holds a master’s certificate in conflict resolution from Kansas State University, an MA in labor relations from the University of Illinois, a BA in psychology from Illinois Wesleyan University, and she studied law at Michigan State University College of Law. Elaine served on the board of directors for the International Ombudsman Association as well as the board of directors for the Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP®) credentialing program. In addition to her ombuds work, Elaine coordinates small claims mediation for several district courts in Michigan and volunteers as a registered yoga teacher. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  • April 15, 2020

    Submission System Opens

  • September 17, 2020

    Submission Deadline 3PM EDT

  • November 10, 2020

    Meeting Payment Confirmations Sent

  • November 15, 2020

    Membership Join Deadline for Nonmember Participants

  • December 01, 2020

    Withdrawal Deadline

  • December 06, 2020

    Participation Decision Letters from Program Committee

  • December 15, 2020

    Preliminary Program Posted Online (hardcopy mailed early January 2021)

  • January 30, 2021

    Membership Renewal Deadline for Current Member Participants