The latest issue of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association takes up the theme of, “Fairness and Equity.” JIOA Editor David Miller says the idea was sparked by Associate Editor Tom Sebok, who asked, “How do we reconcile Ombudsman neutrality with being ‘advocates for fair and equitably administered processes’”?
March 31, 2011
The Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution at NIH has named David Michael as Deputy Ombudsman and Linda Myers and Lisa Witzler as Associate Ombudsmen. The new appointees join Howard Gadlin, Ombudsman and Director of the Center, and Associate Ombudsmen Linda Brothers, Samantha Levine-Finley, and Kathleen Moore.
March 30, 2011
Twitter users can post and follow updates from the International Ombudsman Association annual conference in Portland, OR from April 1 through 6, with the hashtag #ioa2011. (Clicking on the link will show tweets even for those without Twitter accounts.)
A committee appointed to review how UGA handles student and staff harassment complaints says that a flawed Ombuds Office established two years ago is not helping the campus. "By not providing a properly constituted (ombudsman program), UGA is failing to uncover and address the full extent of sexual harassment on campus," said the special committee appointed by UGA's University Council.
The International Ombudsman Association has announced that Anamaris Cousins has been elected to the Board of Directors. Cousins joins Sara Thacker (Director) and Brian Bloch (Associate Member Representative) who were elected to terms starting in April 2011.
Dolores Gomez-Moran, the Mason Ombudsman, says that her office received 182 visitors during the 2009-10 academic year, a 14% increase from the previous year and a 35% increase from two years ago. The report also marks the adoption of IOA unifirm reporting categories.
March 29, 2011
On March 22, 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office registered CO-OP as a trademark owned by the International Ombudsman Association. Consumers are now assured that the mark certifies that the Ombuds has demonstrated competency by meeting certain educational and experiential standards. The legal designation also provides IOA with additional remedies for unauthorized use of the designation. (USPTO Trademark Document Retrieval, US Serial No: 77827746.)
Labels: IOA News
On April 14, Ilene Butensky and Sophia Qiao will speak at the American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Section annual conference in Denver. Along with Chuck Howard, the two Ombuds for Eaton Corporation will discuss, "Implementing a Global Corporate Dispute Resolution Program."
Next week, several UC organizations will a join to support the national campaign to stop violence with a week of activities. A call to action will highlight Wednesday’s agenda on April 6 with a clinic on civility and mediation presented by the University Ombuds, Lillian Santa Maria and Jean Griffin. (RAPP: UC's Social Justice Forum.)
March 28, 2011
The private, for-profit coeducational liberal arts university owned by Bridgepoint Education has announced that it is closing the Ombuds Office it opened three years ago. To replace the Ombuds program, Ashford will open a Student Dispute Resolution Center on April 1, 2011. The new resource will provide, "expedited informal resolutions, confidential facilitated negotiation services and a formal grievance process."
Indiana's community college system, the nation's second-largest community college, has created an Ombudsman for student issues. Anila Din was appointed in early 2010, but the website for her office only went online last week. Din, the former Director of Academic Affairs Support for Ivy Tech, reports to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and serves a student population of more than 165,000.
In the wake of the Egyptian Revolution earlier this year, the independent and sectarian American University in Cairo plans several reforms to address concerns about the right of free expression on campus and labor standards. These initiatives include an Ombuds Office.
Scott M. Deyo, the Ombudsman for the Department of Defense IG employees worldwide, says he met with 325 individuals in fiscal year 2010, a 45% increase from the prior year. According to the annual report, issues about the agency's mission, strategy and organization became the top major category of concern.
March 24, 2011
Many American and Canadian Organizational Ombuds will meet up in Portland, Oregon for the sixth annual International Ombudsman Association conference. However, some Ombuds will not attend. (Last year, 55% of respondents cited "insufficient office budget" as the reason.) This week's poll asks why not this year?
The Coast Guard is hiring two Regional Ombudsman Coordinators to be stationed in Oakland, CA and Norfolk, VA. The positions will administer and develop all aspects of the CG Ombudsman Program, and provide feedback to the local Health, Safety and Work-Life Service Centers and the Ombudsman Program Manager.
March 23, 2011
The European Network for Ombudsman in Higher Education will hold its ninth annual conference in Madrid, Spain on June 27-29, 2011 at the Universidad Europea de Madrid. ENOHE coordinator Josef Leidenfrost points out that Spain was the first European country to appoint University Ombudsmen by law, under “Ley Orgánica 6/2001” and has become a model also for Ombuds in higher education.
An ad hoc committee of the Emory Faculty Council has started a review of the university's grievance policies. Professor of Law William Buzbee, who is chairing the committee, indicated that the committee should examine the possibility of an Ombuds for the campus. Information on other universities’ analogous structures or procedures and best practices will be collected as part of the process. (Emory Faculty Council Concerns.)
Ombuds may be interested in an online course by the American Arbitration Association, "Workplace Bullying: The Role of Policies and ADR Systems," on March 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm Eastern. One of the two instructors, Loraleigh Keashly, is Academic Director for the ADR program at Wayne State University and wrote about her research on bullying in the latest issue of the Journal of IOA.
March 22, 2011
The latest biennial report from the University of California Berkeley Staff Ombuds Office says that visitors in 2008-10 declined 15% from the prior two-year period. Sara Thacker, Director and Ombudsperson, attributed the decrease to campuswide staff reductions — which led to “increased fear, conflict avoidance and workload demands” — and to staff reductions in the office itself, which resulted in “substantially reduced outreach activities.”
March 21, 2011
The medical center in Galveston is seeking again accepting applications for its first Faculty Ombudsman. The 20% position will serve as a confidential and informal resource for the faculty. Applicants must have a PhD or MD, and have held a faculty appointment in an academic institution. Preferred qualifications include formal training in conflict management or alternative dispute resolution; experience at a university medical center; record of prior contributions in providing institutional service in a private of public sector health care setting.
Legislation introduced by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) has the potential to change the features of the existing Ombudsman Office at the Transportation Security Administration. HR 1165 would amend Title 49 of the U.S. Code, "to establish an Ombudsman Office within the Transportation Security Administration for the purpose of enhancing transportation security by providing confidential, informal, and neutral assistance to address work-place related problems of ... employees...."
Cornell University President David J. Skorton announced that Professor Emeritus Walter Lynn is stepping down after serving for 12 years as University Ombudsman. The university has called for nominations for internal candidates to lead the office that includes Linda B. Falkson, Associate Ombudsman, and Adam B. Kleinberger, Assistant Ombudsman.
March 20, 2011
Africa's leading university has appointed Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa as its first Ombud. Makamandela-Mguqulwa says that her office will provide a safe and informal space to be heard and an alternative to the other formal modes of dispute resolution at the university. Moreover, she will practice to IOA standards, thereby becoming the only University Ombuds on the continent to do so.
The annual ranking of the best law school ADR programs by US News & World Report was populated by familiar names. The only surprise for 2011 was Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law, which had not ranked in the top ten in the past few years, appearing at number six on the list.
Labels: Professional Devt.
March 17, 2011
Nancy Harazduk is the director of the Georgetown University School of Medicine Mind-Body Medicine Program and has served as the Ombuds for Georgetown medical students student since 2006. She says that her personal mission of “healing the healers,” one person at a time has been a perfect fit for her Ombuds work.
The Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ottawa expects to open a 110,000 square-feet, LEED certified building for non-academic offices in Fall 2012. In addition to a theatre, student club offices and a store, the Student Commons will include a new home for the Ombuds office. Hervé Depow has served as Algonquin's Ombudsperson since 2003. (Algonquin College Student Commons.)
The International Network of Financial Services Ombudsman Schemes will hold its sixth annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia on September 19-22, 2011. Canada’s Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments is serving as host organizer for the event. An additional day of professional development day is being offered in Whistler, BC on September 23. (INFO 2011.)
March 16, 2011
The four-year public university in Dahlonega, GA is accepting applications from internal candidates for its first Ombudsperson. NGCSU faculty approved the proposal for an Ombuds based on IOA standards on August 24, 2010. The new Ombuds will serve only faculty and staff and reports directly to the president. The proposal is being shepherded by Associate Professor Elizabeth Combier, who recently joined the Georgia State University Ombuds Network.
Earlier this week, the University of Iowa launched an investigation into complaints that supervisors at at a medical clinic used a hidden baby monitor to eavesdrop on employees to determine whether they were talking too much. The situation was initially reported to the university's police and Ombuds, and the employees' local union.
In Febraury, University of Calgary Ombuds Robert Clegg and Mount Royal University Ombuds Judy Collins hosted the first mid-annual conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons. Ombuds from the University of British Columbia (Shirley Nakata), Camosun College (Carter McDonald), University of Alberta and the University of Victoria also attended.
Herb Waye, the Adjunct Ombuds for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers for the past five years, is ensuring the Office of the Ombudsman continues operations while a search for a permanent Ombudsman continues. Waye has been handling Ombuds cases and is attending the ICANN Silicon Valley meeting this week. Waye continues to serve as the Ombudsman for the Council of Country Code Administrators. (ICANN Ombudsman Blog; CoCCA News.)
In 2009, Google began a study of its managers' performance reviews, feedback surveys and nominations management awards. Like most social science research, Google's results confirm what people know intuitively. What was most surprising, especially given the technical nature of the work at Google, was that technical expertise was the least important characteristic for a good manager. Ombuds may want to use this list as part of their conflict coaching or organizational feedback.
March 15, 2011
As part of its coverage of the Town of Chapel Hill's plan to create an Ombuds program, a local radio station interviewed UNC's Ombudsperson, Wayne Blair. The town has committed to creating an Ombuds program for its employees, who number fewer than 1,000. Although Blair has agreed to assist local officials, there is no timetable for implementation of the Ombuds program. (1350 WCHL News.)
Earlier today, the African Ombudsman and Mediators Association opened the African Ombudsman Research Centre at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The center will study, support and archive information on issues related to the ombudsman institution in Africa.
March 10, 2011
The IOA Standards of Practice assert that Ombuds should have, "access to all information and all individuals in the organization." For many Ombuds, this means being able to access employee and academic records when relevant to the resolution of a case. But many Ombuds also use the Web or an intranet to access additional information about their visitors, parties and situations that may or may not be necessary for a resolution of the presenting concern. Background information is available from departmental webpages, Facebook, LinkedIn, employee newsletters, and local media. So how often do you look up information online as part of your case work?
ISU Ombuds Officer Elaine Newell and librarian Jeff Kushkowski are the co-creators of a new online resource for employees. The guide was built with software designed for creating class resource guide contains information about university resources and conflict resolution.
Later this month, a PhD candidate at the George Mason University's Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution will defend her dissertation examining the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Cindy Mazur argues that future emergency response activities would benefit from the inclusion of an Ombuds be in the management of large scale disasters.
March 09, 2011
An article in the latest issue of State, the US Department of State Magazine, features the work of Shireen Dodson, the Ombudsman for Civil Service Employees. She explains that Congress established her office in 1987, but the position was not filled on a full-time basis until she was appointed in July 2009.
March 08, 2011
Dorothy Graham has announced that she will be retiring on May 1, 2011, after 15 years as the University Ombuds at Kennesaw. Graham said that the Associate Ombuds, Bernard Anderson, will continue in the office, and that the university administration may be considering another faculty member to fill her position.
Carol Gonzalez, the Student Ombudsperson at UTSA, is the subject of an interview posted by the school's office of student affairs. In the two-minute piece, Gonzalez explains her role and offers some advice for other university employees who interact with students. Gonzalez established the UTSA Ombuds Office in September 2005 and she currently assists more than 300 students a year. (USTA Student Affairs Spotlight; Paisano Online.)
The IOI North American Region Newsletter highlights the work of Vice President and Ontario Ombudsman, André Marin. The newsletter lists the 14 current institutional and 8 individual IOI members in North America. It also reveals that IOI is planning a "World Conference" in Wellington, New Zealand for November 2012 to coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the Ombudsman institution in New Zealand. (IOI North American Newsletter Feb. 2011.)
March 07, 2011
After a failed search for its first Ombuds two years ago, the liberal arts college has reopened discussion of the issue. According to a statement by the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity, “One of the reasons the search was not successful is that there were different understandings among community members/groups as to the role of an ombudsperson.”
The Appropriate Dispute Resolution Center at Oregon Law is presenting a symposium featuring presentations by former Ombuds and conflict management systems designer Carole Houk and University of Illinois Professor Jennifer Robbennolt on "Apology, Settlement and Systems Design: Learning from Medical Mistake Cases."