October 31, 2011

Ombuds of Texas Will Discuss Compliance and Ethics Programs at Next Meeting

The OOT meeting on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 will focus on the interaction between the Ombuds and three other organizational functions: compliance, ethics and employee assistance programs. The group will also consider adding new members to the leadership team.

Job Posting: U.S. Navy

The Navy is hiring an Ombudsman Coordinator for its Commander Navy Installations Command, Fleet and Family Support Program. Based in Washington, DC, the position will be responsible for providing program/policy analysis and management expertise, including resource planning and development of program initiatives for the Navy's Ombudsman Program.

Update: Court Approves Settlement Creating Ombuds Program for Pfizer

The federal court has approved the settlement of a shareholder lawsuit against Pfizer, Inc., and its subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company, Inc., that will require the company to create an Ombuds program for employees.

Court Dismisses Lawsuit Filed by Ombuds Against The City College

The federal trial court in New York has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Diane Sank against The City College of New York. Sank claimed that the College retaliated against her after she, in her capacity as Ombudsperson, opposed the removal of a former of an academic appointee.

October 28, 2011

Job Posting: Ontario Fair Practices Commission

The Organizational Ombudsman for the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is hiring a Fair Practices Commission Specialist to start December 1, 2011 in Toronto.

October 27, 2011

Canada's Largest Union Unveils Ombuds Program for Members

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (Syndicat Canadien de la Fonction Publique), which counts more than half a million service workers as its members, will unveil an Ombuds program at its national convention next week. The Ombuds program was announced earlier this year and aims to respond to complaints of inappropriate behavior at national CUPE events.

The Role of Ombuds in Franchise Disputes

An article in the latest issue of Canadian Business Franchise magazine explains how Ombuds can help resolve disputes between a franchisee and franchisor. Frank Zaid, a leading corporate attorney in Toronto, explains that a franchise Ombuds can be helpful when:

October 26, 2011

University of Pennsylvania Ombuds Recommends Program Update

Joan Goodman, University Ombudsman, chronicles the four-decade history of her office in her most recent biennial report. UPenn established one of the first university Ombuds programs in 1971 in response to student demonstrations and general unrest. Although the mix of issues and concerns has changed over the years, Goodman says that the focus of the office remains on “helping aggrieved visitors share their concerns, review options, and plan potential responses.” However, Goodman also raises the issue of whether her office has kept up adequately with changes in the profession.

Update: Four Ombuds will Speak at Southern California Mediation Conference

The 23rd  annual conference of the Southern California Mediation Association will feature a panel of four Ombuds discussing their work.  Joining Betsy Decyk, the Ombuds for Cal State Long Beach, and Tom Kosakowski, an Ombuds at UCLA will be David M. Richardson, Health Care Ombudsman-Mediator for Kaiser Permanente, and G. Michael Kilpatrick, Ombudsman for the California Pharmacist Association.

October 25, 2011

Robert Ackermann: Former Ombuds at UMass Amherst

Robert John Ackermann, a retired professor of philosophy and Ombudsperson at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, passed away on October 16, 2011 after a long illness. Ackermann joined the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1968 and retired in 1999. Beginning in 1996, he also served as University Ombudsperson. A memorial service is being planned. (Daily Hampshire Gazette.)

October 21, 2011

Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen Sets Tenth Annual Conference

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will host the tenth annual CoFO meeting on Wednesday, November 16, 2011. The all-day conference will feature a keynote address by John Palguta, Vice President of the Partnership for Public Service.

CERN Ombuds Posts First Annual Report

Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has published a report covering the first year of his office's operation. Vuillemi says that he handled 82 consultations, of which 76% were CERN staff, 10% were CERN users, and 6% were fellows. In total, he assisted about 2.7% of CERN's 2,328 staff members.

October 20, 2011

IOA to Offer Training at the Asia Pacific Mediation Leadership Summit

The International Ombudsman Association presents a specialized training course on December 1, 2011 in Bangkok: "Tsunamis at the Water Fountain, Navigating Workplace Disputes." The program will be held in conjunction with and preceding the Asia Pacific Mediation Leadership Summit.

Meet Brock University's New Ombuds

The public university in St. Catharines, has appointed Duncan McDonald as its Student Ombudsperson while Carole Moss is on leave. McDonald will serve a one-year term through September 2012. He introduces himself and provides an overview of his office in a short video on BrockTV.

October 19, 2011

American University in Cairo Ready to Appoint First Ombuds

A search committee at AUC says that it is nearing the end of its work and will make a selection  next month.  The 10-member committee, which includes the president and other senior administrators, staff and faculty members, and a student representative, has been reviewing applications and internal nominations for AUC's first Ombuds.

University of Calgary Ombuds Creates Grad Student Bill of Rights

Ombudsperson Robert Clegg has written a document as a guideline to graduate students' rights and responsibilities at the University of Calgary. Specific rights, many of which touch on the student-professor relationship, are enumerated with links to university policies. (uCalgary GSA News.)

October 18, 2011

Former Ombuds Receives Fulbright Award

The former Ombuds at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Alan Jay Lincoln has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist grant at Ashesi University College in Accra, Ghana, during the 2011-2012 academic year. Lincoln, who was also the founding editor of the Journal of IOA, will work with Ashesi administrators to consider changes to the university's student judicial processes and sexual harassment policies.

Ombudsman Serves Stakeholders and Leadership at Joint Base Andrews

The Public Affairs office at the US military facility in Prince George's County, Maryland has implemented an Ombuds program for any kind of concerns about operations at the base. Staff Sgt. Kris Levasseur, 11th Wing Public Affairs NCO, explained, “Through this program, members here are able to ask questions from Andrews’ senior leaders and receive a response in a timely and accurate fashion most within 24 hours.”

University of Central Florida's New Ombuds Posts Video Welcome

Shreya Trivedi, who became the UCF Ombuds Officer in May 2011, has created a video introducing her office. Trivedi served as the Ombuds Assistant 2001 to 2006 and then moved to the UCF International Services Center as a Recruiter and later as Immigration Advisor and Assistant Director of Admissions and Registration.

October 17, 2011

Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County to Create Ombuds Program

CEDA, one of the largest private non-profit community organizations in the country, is hiring its first part-time Ombudsman. According to a job description on the CEDA website, the position, "will act as a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function it is to provide confidential assistance to the clients of CEDA by way of investigating and/or attempting to resolve client complaints."

October 14, 2011

2011 Corporate Organizational Ombuds Roundtable Described as Successful

Organizers of the latest Corporate Organizational Ombuds Roundtable (COOR) at M.D. Anderson say the event was a big success. Hoping to generate more interest and attendance at next year's event, COOR has released an Agenda Supplement with presentation descriptions from the roundtable on September 15-16, 2011 in Houston.

Minnesota ADR Conference Will Feature Session on Ombuds

The Minnesota State Bar Association's Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference on October 14-15, 2011, will feature a breakout session on Organizational Ombuds. Attorney Chuck Howard will be the speaker for "Resolving Workplace Conflict: The Role of the Organizational Ombudsman."

Interview with New Princeton Ombuds

Just two weeks into her new job as the University Ombuds Officer, Wokie Nwabueze is the subject of an interview published by The University Press Club at Princeton. When asked, "What are your goals as university ombuds officer?" she responded:

Faculty Ombuds at University of Colorado Boulder Publish 2011 Report

The Faculty Ombuds at CU Boulder, Lee Potts and Larry Singell, handled 46 cases involving 70 people in 2010-2011. Although the number of cases declined from the prior year, Potts and Singell engaged with significantly more people, a total of 344, through service and outreach activities.

October 11, 2011

IOA Offers International Scholarships to 2012 Conference

The International Committee of IOA has announced the availability of financial support to sponsor members or prospective members living outside of North America to attend the annual conference on April 15-18, 2012, in Houston, Texas. The scholarship is targeted at Organizational Ombuds working outside the US or Canada who would otherwise not be able to attend the conference.

Book Will Serve as Reference for News Ombuds

Jeffrey Dvorkin, the Executive Director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, will soon publish the Handbook for News Ombudsmen. On his personal blog, Dvorkin provides a short excerpt that explains why Ombuds are important for media outlets.

October 10, 2011

Job Posting Reveals Brown University Will Reopen Ombuds Office

Brown is hiring a half-time Faculty Ombudsperson. The move will reestablish an office that was closed in 2009. The position reports to the University President and serves members of the faculty and postdoctoral fellows or research associates.

University of Georgia Names New Faculty Ombuds

UGA President Michael F. Adams has named Cathy M. Jones, a Professor of French and Proven├žal to the position of Faculty Ombudsperson. "As a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, she is one of our truly exemplary faculty members, and she brings both integrity and care to this important position," said Adams. He did not, however address the recent criticisms of the UGA Ombuds Office or any changes to the university's sexual harassment response program -- which has included the Ombuds Office for the past three years.

October 07, 2011

IOA Board of Certification Announces New Officers


The Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners has elected the following officers for one-year terms beginning this month:

National Association of Realtors Will Train Ombuds at Annual Conference

When NAR holds its annual meeting in Anaheim, CA next month, attendees will be able to take a course in creating an Ombuds program for real estate disputes. A two hour session titled, "How to Develop a Local Ombudsman Program" will be offered on November 13.

University of Ottawa Ombuds Publishes First Annual Report

In her first report on the office she opened in September 2010, uOttawa Ombudsperson Lucie Allaire says she handled 174 cases in nine months. Academic and financial concerns topped the list of issues, reflecting the fact that majority of visitors were undergraduate students.

Confederation College Ombuds Posts Third Annual Report

Kim Morgan, who founded the Ombuds program at Confederation in 2008, reports continued strong demand for her services. In the 2010-2011 academic year, she handled 131 student matters, a 40% increase from the first year of the office. In addition to several pages of graphs and data, Morgan's report also includes 14 specific recommendations, mostly for enhanced communication by staff. (Confederation Ombuds 2011 Annual Report.)

October 06, 2011

University of Iowa Ombuds Reports Growing Incivility Problem

The annual report from the UI Office of the Ombudsperson shows a slight decrease in the number of cases, but a persistent problem with disrespectful behavior on campus. UI Staff Ombudsperson Cynthia Joyce told the Iowa City Press-Citizen, "A pattern we are very concerned about is the number of visitors concerned about respective behavior that has been inching up over the last number of years." According to the annual report by Joyce and Faculty Ombudsperson Susan Johnson, a quarter of visitor complaints involved disrespectful behavior and another six percent were about about workplace bullying.

Gallaudet Ombuds to Mark 2011 Conflict Resolution Day

Suzy Rosen Singleton, the Ombuds at Gallaudet University, will participate in the annual International Conflict Resolution Day by sponsoring a discussion, "No More Bullying: Resolving Academic and Personal Incivility" on October 20. Singleton promises an interactive session with a dynamic panel of students to discuss bullying and solutions. (Gallaudet Daily Digest.)

October 05, 2011

Lafayette College Looking at Ombuds Program

In response to a recent campus climate survey, College President Daniel H. Weiss said that he is considering the establishment of an Ombudsperson’s office among other proposals to improve diversity, inclusion and mutual respect. The private liberal arts and engineering college in Easton, PA has not previously had an Ombuds program. Additional details have not been made public. (Lafayette News.)

October 04, 2011

Penn State Names Ombuds for College of Education

Pennsylvania State University has appointed Bill Carlsen to serve as Ombudsperson for the College of Education. It appears that this is a new program for the College (one of 14 at Penn State). The position is authorized and elected by Senate Faculty action, and primarily serves faculty.

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente San Diego

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its facility in San Diego, 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."

National Institutes of Health Profiles Three New Ombuds

A recent article in the NIH employee newsletter introduces three new members of the Office of the Ombudsman/Center for Cooperative Resolution, David Michael, Linda Myers and Lisa Witzler. They report to Director Howard Gadlin and join Associate Ombuds Linda M. Brothers, Kathleen Moore and Samantha Levine-Finley.

Cal Caucus Calls for Service Excellence Award Nominations

The Organization of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is seeking nominations for its annual award honoring professional service which will be given during the 2011 meeting at Asilomar on November 6-9. 

October 03, 2011

United Nations Promotes Regional Ombuds to Office Director

The UN has announced the appointment of Kyoko Shiotani as the Ombudsman and Director of Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services. Prior to her appointment, Shiotani served as the Regional Ombudsman in Vienna since November 2009. She has worked at the UN since 1992 in a range of other positions, including an 11-year stint as a Political Affairs Officer in the Asia and Middle East Division of the Office of Operations in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Job Posting: University of California Berkeley

The UC Berkeley Student Ombuds Office is hiring an Assistant Ombudsperson. The half-time position serves as the first point of contact for the office and provides assistance to all students, post-doctoral appointees, and members of the campus community who interact with students.

Congressional Budget Office Releases Cost Estimate for New TSA Ombuds Program

The federal agency that provides economic data to Congress has estimated the costs of implementing the Transportation Security Administration Ombudsman Act of 2011. The bill, HR 1165, would revise the Transportation Security Administration Ombuds program. Based on the appropriation figures contained in the bill, the CBO estimates that implementing HR 1165 would cost $1.725 million over the 2012-2014 period. Meanwhile, the bill itself languishes in the House Committee on Homeland Security. (Congressional Budget Office.)

Princeton Names Corporate Mediator to Serve as Next University Ombuds

Princeton University has hired Wokie Nwabueze, a vice president for ethics and employee resolution programs at Prudential Financial, as its next Ombuds Officer. Provost Christopher Eisgruber said Nwabueze, "has a demonstrated ability to work with individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, and she has a profound appreciation for the ethical role of an ombuds officer."