February 12, 2016

IOA Offers Range of ADR Training Programs in Seattle

As a prelude to its eleventh annual conference, the International Ombudsman Association will offer several training programs in Seattle, April 8-10.  The trainings are open to anyone and are not limited to Ombuds or conference attendees.

February 11, 2016

SUNY Potsdam Appoints Ombuds in Partial Response to Student Protests

The State University of New York near the Canadian border has yielded to some of the demands made by a student group seeking to improve treatment of ethnic minorities. In addition to firing Dean of Students William G. “Chip” Morris, SUNY Potsdam President Kristin G. Esterberg appointed Anthropology Professor Alan L. Hersker, as the first Ombuds for the campus.

February 10, 2016

IOA Seeks FUNdraising Donations

The International Ombudsman Association is asking for donations to its annual FUNdraiser raffle. Participants can win some great prizes and lasting memories. Last year, donations included gift cards, themed baskets, books, university gear, photography and handmade crafts that helped offset costs for onsite activities during the conference. ALL raffle prize contributions are welcome!

Meet the Ombuds at Washington State University

WSU has published an introduction to their two current Ombudsmen: Tena Old and Max Kirk.  Old has served in the role since April 2011 and Kirk began in July 2015. Old’s background is on the staff/administrative professional side. Kirk, who started in the ombudsman office in 2015, is an associate professor in the School of Design and Construction. 

February 09, 2016

Job Posting: West Virginia University

The public land grant research university in Morgantown, has opened a search for its first Faculty Ombuds. The part-time (approximately 10 hours per week or 25% FTE) position will report to the Provost and provide assistance to all faculty members of the university community, "with preference given to those faculty members not holding administrative positions." 

Job Posting: Beacon Health Options

The managed behavioral health organization is hiring an Ombudsperson to provide confidential, neutral assistance to members from its offices in Cypres, CA. "The Ombudsperson advocates for fairness, serves as a source of information and support, acts as a liaison among stakeholders, and supports risk management for Beacon." The duties are primarily those of an Organizational Ombuds, but also incorporate some duties that are similar to those of a Classical Healthcare Ombuds. 

Ombuds at University of Ottawa Publishes Fifth Annual Report

Lucie Allaire, the U of O’s first Ombudsperson, said that most of the recommendations she has made over the past five years have been implemented by the university. In addition to the specific issues that have been addressed and remain an issue, Allaire also said that her office had responded to over 1,800 matters between January 2010 and the end of May 2015. 

February 08, 2016

Job Posting: University of Colorado

Colorado's flagship public research university in Boulder is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position reports to the newly hired director, Kirsi Aulin, and will work with students, staff, faculty, and administrators. The posting says, "We are looking for an expert mediator with a deep understanding of conflict resolution, who is excited about the opportunity to set strategic direction and precedent for our campus."

Mary Rowe on Microinequities and Ombuds

Rowe, the retired MIT Ombuds and adjunct professor at MIT Sloan, was interviewed by the on-campus newsletter about systems for mitigating discrimination and conflict in organizations. In the conversation, she explains how Ombuds are a critical part of a broad approach to microinequities:

February 04, 2016

IOA Seeks Nominations for Distinguished Emeriti Ombuds

The International Ombudsman Association is seeking nominations for potential Distinguished Emeritus honorees. IOA has traditionally awarded the distinction to retired Ombuds in recognition of their outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and profession.

Ryerson University Ombuds Reports on 2014-15 Activities

Nora Farrell, the Ryerson Ombudsperson, reports that her office received 520 concerns in the last academic year, a rebound of nearly 8% from 2013-14.  The focus of Farrell's annual report is not on the numbers, but on the recommendations for system-wide improvements, including updates from stakeholders on past recommendations.

February 03, 2016

Meet South Dakota State University's New Ombuds

Nicole Picconi has been appointed as the first Ombuds for students, faculty and staff at SDSU. (Previously, the university had a dean of students who also served as a part-time Ombuds for students.) “This hire is the result of years of research and advocacy on the part of members of the Academic Senate who looked in particular at the ombuds personnel and processes in place at Iowa State University,” said long-time professor, Ruth Harper. 

IOA Compiles Title IX Resources

The International Ombudsman Association's Title IX Committee has pulled together materials for Ombuds at U.S. colleges and universities seeking guidance on the evolving legal issues around sexual misconduct.  The materials are generally not produced or written by IOA, but permission has been granted to share them with members. 

Studentombud at Lund University Publishes First Report

Petra Holst, the Studentombud at Lund, has issued an annual report covering the 2014-15 academic year, the first year of her office. She reports receiving 490 inquiries from students. Holst chose to highlight a case of bullying (where a student was ostracized by group members in a group project) to illustrate the significant number and problems the behavior causes. She recommended changes in university programs to better assist students who face bullying. (LundagÄrd.)

February 02, 2016

Responding to Rape Allegations, Baylor University Promises Ombuds for Athletes

Multiple women have come forward claiming that the private Baptist university in Waco, Texas failed to respond appropriately to complaints of rape by a football player. According to a published report, one female student "reported the assault to Baylor's ombudsman office and were sent to meet with the school's chief judicial officer." A spokesperson for the school announced on Monday that an investigation is on-going and that Ombuds will be created for the athletic department.