March 31, 2008
Related posts: Profile of Gallaudet's New Ombuds; Red Cross Ombuds Unveils Video
Although the technology is cutting edge (for Ombuds), the effect is warm and welcoming. Singleton's video comes shortly after the debut of a video featuring Beverly Ortega Babers, the Red Cross Ombuds. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend.
March 30, 2008
Related post: IOA Annual Conference Keynote Speakers
March 28, 2008
The Ombuds profession is in the same situation. If Ombuds do not demonstrate a positive cost benefit, it will be difficult or impossible to rebut a contrary assumption. While it will be hard to prove return on investment, it is up to Ombuds to do so.
With respect to Ombuds, Nye says:
On an everyday level, whistle-blowers can play a disruptive but useful role in large bureaucracies, and a smart leader will find ways to protect them or channel their information into institutions such as through ombudspersons.
(Christian Science Monitor.)
March 27, 2008
March 26, 2008
Clearly, this is a situation in need of neutral and independent dispute resolution expert who can provide confidential and informal assistance to a variety of stakeholders, someone who can facilitate conversation, de-escalate tensions and help surface issues. Kudos to the mediator and participants who were savvy enough to recognize the circumstances call for an Ombuds. Who ever is selected will find ample resources and support from colleagues across the country who deal with similar issues every day.
The research looked at the effect on job, co-worker and supervisor satisfaction, workers’ stress, anger and anxiety levels, workers’ mental and physical health, job turnover and emotional ties. Employees who experienced bullying, incivility or interpersonal conflict were more likely to quit their jobs, have lower well-being, be less satisfied with their jobs and have less satisfying relations with their bosses than employees who were sexually harassed. (APA Media Information; Forbes.)
Related post: NYT Career Couch: If Bullied, Visit Ombuds
Although still under-appreciated, Ombuds remain one of the most effective resources for addressing workplace bullying.
March 25, 2008
Related post: Profile of New Staff Ombuds at William & Mary.
March 24, 2008
- Statement by UGA President Michael Adams:
The University will appoint and train three ombudspersons to ... help guide people through the sometimes confusing process of resolving conflicts or reporting violations at this large, complex research institution. [T]hese individuals, ... will be trained in University, University System, state, and federal policies and procedures, ... to provide informal and confidential assistance to persons with issues or concerns, advising members of the community about where to turn and what procedures to follow should they wish to advance a complaint.
- Feature article on the role of Ombuds, quoting University of Virginia Ombuds, Brad Holland, and discussing programs at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Arizona.
- And an editorial endorsing IOA Standards:
We hope the University uses professional associations, such as the International Ombudsman Association, to choose who will fill the impartial third party roles.
Related Ombuds Blog posts on UGA Ombuds.
- Expanded Communication Skills;
- Enhanced Persuasive Skills;
- Appreciation of the Role of Perceptions;
- Appreciation of the Human Dynamic; and
- Expanded Problem Solving Ability.
This advice applies equally to Ombuds who often coach individuals through the dispute resolution process. It is not surprising, therefore, to see that many Ombuds offices have specialized lending libraries: UC Berkeley; University of Kansas; Caltech; and Georgia State University.
Related reading: The Power of Nice.
March 23, 2008
Related post: Gallaudet Appoints Ombuds.
March 21, 2008
Related post: William & Mary to Employ Staff Ombuds.
Prior posts: University of Georgia Petitions for Staff Ombuds; UGA President Agrees to Consider Ombuds for Staff and Students.
The speed with which UGA's President embraced an Ombuds program is stunning and commendable. It has been less than two months since an Ombuds was suggested and many campuses wrestle with the concept for years. Moreover, President Adams's plan goes beyond his initial agreement of an Ombuds for students and staff, and will include an Ombuds for faculty. On the downside, there is likely to be some concern that UGA is choosing to disregard widely-accepted standards for Organizational Ombuds as implemented by other large, public American universities. Although UGA's recent problems have been newsworthy, there is no reason it should reinvent the wheel when it comes to an Ombuds office.
March 20, 2008
March 19, 2008
The Staff Union's beef for Barkat's resume is that while they say he claimed to have been ombudsman for 2000 staffers at Pace University in New York, that school only has some 300 staffers. All of the rest are part-time or adjuncts, so they say the use of the number is misleading.
A UN spokesperson said she didn't know what will happen next, if anything. (Kisambira Letter; Inner City Press; UN Press Briefing.)
Prior post: Barkat Appointed U.N. Ombuds
The letter and article raise more questions than they answer. Most significantly, it is curious that the letter does not mention the allegation about Barkat's resume. It is also concerning and surprising that staff would have been omitted from the selection process. Finally, there are some discrepancies with regard to the staff numbers referenced. According to the Pace website, the university employs 1,448 staff (963 full-time and 485 part-time). In addition, 460 full-time and 730 part-time faculty work at Pace. While these issues may blunt the staff's complaint, no doubt Barkat will be mending bridges from the outset.
Related post: Former ICE Director to be New Immigration Ombuds.
March 18, 2008
At present, there are about half a dozen public-sector Organizational Ombuds working in Iowa, who presumably would be covered by this amendment. If the law were to provide a clear protection for a government employee's personal, temporary notes on a specific matter, this would enhance their ability to ensure confidentiality. Since open records laws are under scrutiny around the county, this particular issue bears monitoring by Ombuds.
- Separate the good from the bad -- differentiate between constructive and destructive gossip;
- Learn to deflect -- respond to destructive gossip in as neutral a manner as possible;
- Set a time limit -- protracted gossiping can lead to paralysis at the expense of efforts on a productive response to concerns;
- Don’t overshare -- limit your number of confidants and the personal nature of conversations; and
- Never gossip by e-mail -- leaving a paper trail increases vulnerability for a libel suit.
March 16, 2008
Related post: Spate of Nonconforming Job Postings.
March 15, 2008
In addition to helping organizations and communities avoid problems, Ombuds can be critical in helping individuals cope with the stress and conflicts that follow tragedy. After 9/11 for example, Ombuds around the U.S. helped visitors deal with personal anxiety, cultural misunderstanding, and uncertainty. NIU is certainly fortunate to have Griffin, an experienced and compassionate Ombuds, as a resource during its recovery.
Related post: Profile of Northern Illinois University Ombuds.
March 14, 2008
Related posts: UN Budget Increases Funds and Scope of Ombuds Office; Pace Ombuds Office Profiled.
March 13, 2008
Prior posts: Peek at the Long Playing Effort to Create an Ombuds Office at Auburn University; Auburn Faculty Revives Effort to Create Ombuds.
March 12, 2008
Related post: Peek at the Long Playing Effort to Create an Ombuds Office at Auburn University.
March 11, 2008
Prior post: IOA Announces Board Nominees.
March 06, 2008
Prior post: UMass-Amherst Ombuds to Coordinate Impartial Observers.
March 04, 2008
March 03, 2008
I was a lawyer for many years, and ran into my share of bullies who were particularly skilled at terrorizing associates and staff. * * * Well, that’s all behind me. Sort of. I’ve become an ombuds for a university, and have been surprised to find that academia has more than its share of bullies. * * * In fact, I’m in the process of designing a workshop on bullying in an attempt to begin addressing the problem at my institution. [¶] Although I could detail some ways I have dealt with bullies on my own account or for others, that would miss the point. It is not a simple problem with a one-size-fits all solution. * * * I don’t think this is the place to go on at length about solutions, but I’m glad the discussion has begun.My own story is the same. Wow. (ABA Journal Question of the Week.)
Ashford University, a subsidiary of for-profit Bridgeport Education, Inc., is seeking an Ombuds for its San Diego location. The position reports to the Vice President of Compliance, and is responsible for ensuring that all student complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely manner. This appears to be a new position and has been posted for several weeks. (Ashford Jobs via Monster.)
Both of these positions require the Ombuds to be involved in formal processes and thus do not conform to IOA Standards for Organizational Ombuds.
Related post: Spate of Nonconforming Job Postings.
March 01, 2008
Apparently, the new immigration shares a name with another Michael Dougherty and the foregoing information is incorrect. A full post with clarification will be provided shortly.
For several years, Dougherty was responsible for targeting illegal immigrants as Director of Operations for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Early in 2007, he formed a private company, Valiant Systems, to acquire and build companies in the homeland security, defense, law enforcement support and forensic advisory industries. Now, he'll be responsible for resolving individual and employer problems. ( Testimony before House Cmte on Judiciary, 5/8/03 ; Testimony before Senate Caucus on Intl Narcotics Control ; Huron Capital Partners Press Release .) Mr. Dougherty may have some problems being perceived as a neutral advocate for immigration reform.
Related posts: Another Federal Court Relies on Immigration Ombuds' Report to Rule Against Government; Immigration Ombuds Tenders Resignation.)