September 27, 2011

Job Posting: Shell Canada

Shell Canada is seeking a part-time, contract Ombudsman for Waterton in southern Alberta. The position will serve as a resource for community members who have unresolved concerns related to Shell operations. The Ombuds will be expected to complete IOA training and practice to IOA standards. The expected hours per week are uncertain although the successful candidate will be expected to work approximately 20 hours a week for the first four to six weeks to establish and communicate the role within the community.

Court Will Hear Case Against University of Washington Alleging Retaliation Against Ombuds' Visitor

The federal trial court in Seattle has rejected a motion by UW to dismiss an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by an assistant professor. Isabelle Bichindaritz, the plaintiff, has claimed that the university discriminated against her on the basis of sex and retaliated against her for a complaint she filed with the University Ombudsman. The court found that there was sufficient evidence to overcome the university's motion to dismiss the case.

September 26, 2011

Former Federal Prosecutor Envisions an Entirely New Type of Corporate Ombuds

In a post on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Blog, attorney Michael Volkov offers up proposal to make internal whistleblowing more attractive to companies and their employees. Volkov suggests an Ombuds reporting to senior leadership that would hear from potential whistleblowers. The 'Whistleblower Ombudsman' would investigate, make recommendations, and coordinate with the SEC, if the complaint was covered by SEC statutes and regulations.

Medical College of Wisconsin Appoints Professor to be First Ombuds

The private medical and graduate school in Milwaukee has named Peter Layde, MD, MSc, as its first Ombudsman. As a part-time Ombuds, Layde will work with faculty, staff physicians, postdoctoral fellows and staff--a population of about 6,700. The President of the Medical College said, “Our ongoing commitment to collaboration, cooperation and the highest standards of education, research and care will be strengthened considerably by the addition of a dedicated Ombuds position.”

North Georgia College & State University Opens Ombud Program With Two Appointments

The four-year public university in Dahlonega, GA has named its first two Ombuds. Mary Newburn will serve as the Ombuds for Students and the Faculty and Staff Ombuds is Elizabeth Combier. A website for the new Ombuds Office is already online and links to the IOA standards and code of ethics.

Southern California Mediation Conference Will Feature Ombuds Panel

The annual conference of the Southern California Mediation Association will feature a panel of Ombuds discussing their work.  Currently scheduled to participate are Betsy Decyk, the Ombuds for Cal State Long Beach, and Tom Kosakowski, an Ombuds at UCLA.  Other Ombuds are expected to join the panel.  

September 23, 2011

University of South Carolina Ombuds Reviews First Five Years

In his fifth annual report, University Ombudsperson Jim Augustine, looks back on the cases he has handled since establishing the Ombuds program at USC in 2006. In that time, the office has emerged as an important resource for faculty with concerns about evaluative and peer relationships and career issues.

Marquette University Ombuds Sponsors Whistleblower Program With Chuck Howard

On October 13, Kerry Egdorf, the Marquette University Ombuds and the MULS Dispute Resolution Society will present: "Blowing the Whistle on Whistleblower Laws and Policies," with attorney Chuck Howard. The program will explore how fear of retaliation limits the effectiveness of whistleblower laws and policies.

September 22, 2011

Cal Caucus Relaunches Journal

The California Caucus of College & University Ombuds has announced that its journal will be reconfigured for an online format. The Journal of the CCCUO, which has been published since 1987, will be edited by Lisa Neale, Associate Ombuds at the University of Colorado, Denver and Helen Hasenfeld, Emeritus Ombuds from the California Institute of Technology. The new format will be interactive in ways that a print journal cannot (e.g.: allowing for reader comments and dialogue with authors).

Silicon Valley Execs to Learn About Corporate Ombuds

The next meeting of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors will focus on the role of an Ombuds. Three panelists will "examine how the presence of a governance ombudsman can change this climate of non-participation and foster a culture of trust and candor": Pat Gnazzo, former chief ethics and compliance officer at UTC; Chuck Howard, attorney and author of "The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations--A Legal Guide"; and Jon McBride, a corporate governance consultant and advocate for the role of corporate Ombuds.

King County Ombudsman Reports Increase in Cases in 2010

The Classical Ombuds program for King County, WA reports that it handled 2,950 complaints and inquiries from County residents and employees last year. Nearly all cases were resolved within one month and a scant 3% resulted in a formal investigation. Most cases were resolved through information and direct assistance. Total cases have risen 113% from 1386 in 2003. (King County Ombudsman 2010 Report.)

September 21, 2011

Job Posting: Internal Revenue Service

The IRS is hiring a Director of its Proactive Resolution and Education Division, an new program that will engage in conflict prevention outside of the EEO complaint and union grievance processes. The position being filled will provide administrative oversight and serve as an Organizational Ombuds for IRS staff.

World Bank Appoints a Third Ombuds

David W. Talbot has been appointed as the newest Ombudsman for the World Bank Group. Talbot will spend a year in Washington, DC and then move to Bangkok, Thailand to set up the first WBG Conflict Resolution System Office outside of the bank's headquarters.

Concordia University Ombuds Welcomes Back Students

Concordia's Ombudsperson Kristen Robillard was interviewed by the campus newspaper to highlight the services she provides to students. According to the article, Robillard helps students deal with everything from grade re-evaluations to issues with an academic supervisor to tuition fee complaints. Although she also works with Concordia faculty and staff, students accounted for about 85 percent of her cases.

Staff Ombuds at University of Texas Debuts Website

Jennifer Graf Sims, who was appointed as the first Ombuds for Staff at the public university in Austin, has unveiled a website for her office.  The new page explains why individuals may want to consult her and how the office operates. 

September 16, 2011

Externship: United Nations

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is offering multiple internships in its NY headquarters and regional offices around the world. The two-month, full-time, unpaid internships offer the chance to support the office in several areas, including: mediation services; identification of systemic issues; outreach and advocacy; and preparing data and reports.

Ombuds for Students at Baylor University Reports Further Declines in Caseload

Martha Lou Scott, the Ombuds to Students at the private university in Waco, TX, reports that contacts to her office declined for the fourth straight year. In total cases fell slightly to 61 from 62 in 2010 and from 84 in 2007. Scott also said that the trend in parents contacting the Ombuds for assistance for their students remains steady. Baylor's student Ombuds program has been in place for six years. (Baylor Student Life.)

Washington State University Starts Year With All New Ombuds Staff

The school year started at WSU with entirely new personnel in the Office of the University Ombudsman. The four-decade old program is staffed by Ombuds Tena Old, who started in April, and Cathy Claussen, who was appointed in August. Janet Herrlinger, Principal Assistant to the Ombudsman, was also hired this summer. (WSU News.)

September 15, 2011

Job Posting: United Nations

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services in New York is hiring a Conflict Resolution Officer. The position provides informal conflict resolution services to UN staff members and other personnel, including staff in peacekeeping missions. This includes advice, identification of options, conflict coaching, shuttle diplomacy and other informal mechanisms that lead to the informal settlements of disputes.

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Hayward

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for their facility in Hayward, CA. The Kaiser HCOM, "functions as a trained alternative dispute professional offering patients, family members, staff & providers a conflict management program to resolve patient/provider healthcare disputes early thereby improving patient safety & reducing the costs of health care dispute resolution."

Western Michigan University Honors Past UCOA President

On Friday, September 16, Dr. Thomas C. Bailey will receive WMU's 2011 Distinguished Service Award. Bailey is a professor of English and environmental studies, and had been WMU ombuds from 1994 to 1999 and then again in 2007 through 2008. Bailey was also president of the University and College Ombudsman Association in 1999. 

September 14, 2011

World Bank Ombuds Reports Record Caseload in 2010

The World Bank office of Ombuds Services reports that it saw 458 new visitors in 2010—its highest caseload and a 33 percent increase over the prior year. Ombuds Thomas Zgambo and Constance Bernard believe the increase may be due to greater awareness of the Conflict Resolution System and a challenging year with a decreasing budget and increasing staff workload. In addition to the jump in visitors, the World Bank Ombuds also participated in a record number of interventions in 2010. 

Former Ombuds Returns to Stanford University

Stanford has hired Martha McKee to serve as the Ombudsperson for the School of Medicine--a position she previously held from 1996 to 2007. As the Ombuds, McKee reports directly to the Dean of the Medical School. Before serving as the Ombuds, McKee worked as an attorney for the Office of the General Counsel, Risk Management Department.

University of Pennsylvania Names English Professor as Ombuds

UPenn President President Amy Gutmann has appointed Thadious M. Davis, PhD, a Professor of English, as the University Ombudsman, effective on September 1, 2011. , President Gutmann announced recently. Gutmann said, “Dr. Davis’ excellent judgment and exemplary record as a University citizen and mentor will be employed to very good effect on behalf of the Penn community. I am delighted that she has agreed to take on this important role.”

Navy Celebrates 41st Ombudsman Appreciation Day

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick D. West and his wife, Bobbi West, Navy Ombudsman-at-Large, released the following message to the fleet marking Ombudsman Appreciation Day on September 12.

September 13, 2011

Kenyon College Names New Ombuds

The private liberal arts college has appointed Carrie A. Knell as its next Ombudsperson. Knell graduated from Ohio University and earned a JD at the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. In addition to her quarter-time position as Kenyon's Ombuds, Knell also works as a Staff Attorney and Mediator for the Knox County Common Pleas Court.

Corporate Organizational Ombuds Roundtable Teleconference

COOR, the group of Organizational Ombuds who practice in a corporate setting will hold a conference call on Thursday, September 15, at 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST. Sean Banks of Shell and Anamaris Cousins Price of Halliburton will lead a discussion on the future of this group: its purpose, direction and structure.  The conference call will provide an opportunity for corporate Ombuds to participate in the roundtable even if they are unable to attend in person.

Deadline for 2012 IOA Conference Proposals is Friday

The deadline to submit proposals for the International Ombudsman Association's seventh annual conference is September 16, 2011.  Submissions to the IOA Conference Committee can be made at SurveyMonkey.  Questions and concerns may be directed to IOA staff at 908-359-0246 or

September 12, 2011

Job Re-Posting: U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard has reopened its search for a Regional Ombudsman Coordinator to be stationed in Oakland, CA. The position 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.

September 09, 2011

Longtime Ombuds at The Citadel Retires

John S. Carter, who founded the Ombuds program at The Military College of South Carolina in 1997, retired earlier this summer. In addition to his service as Ombudsperson, Col. Carter was a professor and head of the Department of Health, Exercise and Sport Science, administrator, faculty advisor, and building supervisor. In May of this year, he was named as the top undergraduate educator at the Citadel for the second time.

Concordia University will Review Ombuds Office

Pursuant to its terms of reference, the Concordia Ombuds Office will be reviewed by a committee of the University's Board of Governors. The  committee will: 1. review the operations of the office; 2. make recommendations with respect to the office; and 3. make a recommendation with respect to the renewal of the Ombudsperson.

Savannah College of Art and Design Ombuds Teaches Self Defense

Sophia Viola, who has served as the Student Ombudsman at SCAD for the past three years, is also a Rape Aggression Defense Systems instructor. In October, Viola will offer the training for all female students, faculty and staff at the Atlanta campus. The two day course concludes with a simulation of the physical techniques that participants learned. Viola says, “Simulation really seals the confidence level in doing this personal training.” (SCAD Connector.)

Asian Ombudsman Association Resets 2011 Conference in Japan

The 12th annual AOA conference, postponed due to the earthquake in Japan, has been rescheduled for December 5-8, 2011 in Tokyo and Numazu, Shizuoka. The theme of the event is “Challenges for the Ombudsman in a Changing Socio-Economic Environment.” Conference host, Hideo Arai, the Ombudsman and Director-General of the Administrative Evaluation Bureau in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, noted that 2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Administrative Counselors System, the Japanese version of the Ombudsman system.

September 07, 2011

Is the University of Hawai'i Planning to Reopen its Ombuds Offfice?

In September 2009, UH-Manoa closed its Ombuds Office, which had been established just three years earlier. At the time, UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw explained that the decision was prompted by budget cuts affecting the entire university system. A recently released organizational chart for the UH-Manoa Office of the Chancellor indicates that a new Ombudsperson position is pending approval.

Who Are the Ombuds at Lecuyer & Associates?

LinkedIn lists eight people working with the title of 'Ombudsperson' at Lecuyer & Associates, Inc. in New York.  This would make it one of the largest employers of Ombuds ... except it appears to be a sham

September 02, 2011

New Blog for Classical Ombudsmen

On August 19, Michael Reddy launched News of the OmbudsmanWorld -- a blog focused on Classical Ombuds. The site curates articles, blog posts, videos and photos shared on social media. Reddy says the new site, "aims to publish stories about ombudsman issues from the UK and from around the world."

Chuck Howard: Audit Standards Should Prompt More Knowledge of Ombuds

In an article for the Hartford Business Journal, attorney Charles Howard points out that Auditing Standard 314 mandates that an auditor have a sufficient understanding of an entity and its environment to assess the risk of material misstatement of financial statements. Howard argues that auditors therefore should know more about how Organizational Ombuds help an entity surface and resolve workplace issues that might not otherwise get reported.

Job Posting: Federal Reserve Board

The governing board of the US central bank is hiring a Directors Program Assistant Manager and Ombudsman Specialist. The non-Ombuds part of the dual role position helps the Board appoints and coordinate directors and chairs. The balance of the work is in the FRB's Ombudsman Office, an Executive Ombuds program.

Daniel Rainey Recalls Instigating Army Ombuds Program at Walter Reed

The closure of the Walter Reed medical center prompted Daniel Rainey to remember how conditions at the aging hospital lead to the Army MEDCOM Ombudsman Office. In 2007, Rainey (now the Chief of Staff for the National Mediation Board) and a few colleagues finagled a meeting with the new Deputy Commander at Walter Reed. They were able to convince General Michael S. Tucker that an Ombuds program, "would help the Army address more than broken air conditioners and peeling paint."

September 01, 2011

World Bank Ombuds to be Featured at ACR 2011 Conference

Thomas Zgambo, the Ombudsman for The World Bank Group, will be a featured panelist at the Association for Conflict Resolution's annual meeting in San Diego, CA on October 12-15, 2011. At the plenary session that starts the second day of the conference, Zgambo joins other experts to discuss, "Diversity of Practice: What is the Future of
Dispute Resolution?"

University of Louisville Ombuds Kicks Off Monthly Column With Career Advice

In his first monthly article for the UofL faculty and staff newsletter, Tony Belak discusses the importance of emotional intelligence as a job skill. Belak explains that emotional intelligence ("EQ") impacts our ability to understand and motivate ourselves and others and to have productive interactions with other people – all of which can affect career success. He says that everyone can benefit by developing EQ, regardless of work circumstances.