February 29, 2012

Chevron Ombuds Announces Retirement

Albin Swenson, Manager of Chevron Corporation's Global Office of the Ombuds, has announced that he will retire later this year. Swenson was recently appointed to the on the Board of the International Ombudsman Association. He also has served on the Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners since its inception in 2009 and has chaired the CO-OP Eligibility Committee.

Ombuds Certification Exam Coincides with IOA 2012 Conference

The Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners will be administering its certifying examination from the week of April 13-20, 2012. Passing the exam is a necessary step in obtaining certification as a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner® (CO-OP®). For test takers who will be attending the International Ombudsman Association's annual conference in Houston, the testing center at Texas Southern University has testing times available April 15th -19th.

February 28, 2012

MD Anderson Cancer Center Loses Two Ombuds

According to its website, which was updated over the weekend, Anu Rao and Susan Park are no longer with the Ombuds Office at MDACC. Rao had been the director since February 2006 and Park joined in January 2011. The office remains staffed by Rita Burns and Bill Brock. (MDACC Ombuds Office.)

February 27, 2012

Job Posting: Strayer University

The private, for-profit educational institution is hiring a Student Financial Services Ombudsman. The position is primarily responsible for handling unresolved loan disputes between students and the university. (According to the U.S. Department of Education, the repayment rate of federal student loans at Strayer University is about 24%.) The position will be full time and based in Northern Virginia. 

Interview of DePaul University's Ombuds

Rev. Craig Mousin, has served as the Ombudsperson for faculty and staff at the private university in Chicago for the past 11 years. He is a minister with the United Church of Christ, a lawyer, and a law professor at DePaul. Before becoming an Ombuds, he was the director of the Center for Church-State Studies for the DePaul Law School.

February 24, 2012

Northern Illinois University Ombuds Announces Retirement

Tim Griffin, who has served as the NIU Ombudsman for 21 years, will retire this summer. Griffin said his retirement came as he is, “maxed out in the retirement system,” and seeking something new. “I’m at a point in life where I want to accomplish other things while I still have the strength to accomplish them,” he told the campus newspaper.  (Northern Star.)

February 23, 2012

Job Posting: Northeastern Illinois University

The public state university in North Park, Chicago is hiring its first Employee Ombuds. The full-time position will report directly to the University President and will serve approximately 2,500 staff, administrators, and faculty. The job posting moves the campus closer to establishing an Ombuds program that has been under discussion for at least five years. 

Job Posting: George Mason University

The Ombuds at GMU is hiring a temporary, part-time (30 hours/week), nonstudent wage Program Assistant for March until June 2012. The incumbent will assist in the preparation of the annual report, maintaining the web site, and outreach projects. In addition, the Program Assistant will be responsible for general office management duties.

February 22, 2012

Harvard Negotiation Law Review 2012 Symposium to Feature Ombuds

On Saturday, February 25, the Harvard Negotiation Law Review will offer a free symposium entitled, “Does ADR Work? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Alternative Dispute Resolution.” The first panel session, “Co-optation of ADR: Has it Become ‘Cheap Justice’?” will include Howard Gadlin, Ombuds at the National Institutes of Health. 

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Meeting Minutes Highlights New Office

CoFO has published the minutes of its January 2012 meeting, which included a presentation by Sheryl Brown-Norman at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. According to the summary, Brown-Norman is establishing an Organizational Ombudsman office which facilitates effective coordination among the intelligence community agencies.

New Conflict Resolution Job Site

A new job board for ADR positions include a section for Ombuds jobs. The Ombuds positions are all within the United States and come from all sectors and types of practice. (Conflict Resolution Jobs via Campus-ADR Tech Blog.)

February 21, 2012

Journal of International Ombudsman Association Calls for Papers

The peer-reviewed journal for Organizational Ombuds is planning a special issue on the subject of “One-Person Ombudsman Offices,” to be published in October 2012. The issue seeks to identify those elements of one-person practice that characterize the challenges and opportunities faced by solo practitioners. 

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente

KP is seeking applications for four, full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator positions in the Bay Area cities of San Francisco, South San Francisco, San Jose, and South Sacramento. Kaiser's 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."

Meet Michagan State University's New Ombuds

Robert Caldwell was appointed as the Ombuds for MSU in January 2012 and inherited the oldest continuously operating college Ombuds office in the U.S. "The first thing I'm trying to do is really immerse myself in history, and immerse myself in the tradition we have established here at Michigan State University," Caldwell said. 

Update: IFFOR Names Ombuds

The International Foundation for Online Responsibility has announced that Business Excellence Solutions will establish and manage its Office of Ombudsman. IFFOR Chairman Clyde Beattie said of the decision: “I am very pleased to have filled this crucial role within IFFOR. I am confident that Business Excellence Solutions will serve not just IFFOR but also the broader Internet community well.” 

February 17, 2012

International Ombudsman Institute Opens Registration for 2012 Conference

IOI President Beverly Wakem has announced that the IOI 10th World Conference will convene in Wellington, New Zealand on November 12–16, 2012. The meeting will be a forum for Ombuds from around the world to meet to share their experience and expertise. The New Zealand Office of the Ombudsmen, where Wakem serves as Chief Ombudsman, will host the conference. 

University of Rochester Medical Center Creates Ombuds Office

The medical campus of the University of Rochester in Upstate New York has appointed Mary Berk as its first Ombudsman. Berk will work with hospital patients, families, and staff in a neutral, confidential, independent and informal role. “Adding an ombudsman for our hospital and ambulatory care clinics is a progressive move,” said Jackie Beckerman, director of UMRC's Office of the Strong Commitment, a service excellence program.  

February 16, 2012

International Foundation for Online Responsibility Unveils Ombuds Program

The non-profit administrator for the .xxx top-level domain has established an External Ombuds program. The IFFOR Office of Ombudsman will, "receive and respond to complaints and/or concerns about IFFOR policies and the IFFOR policy process." In addition, the office will conduct audits of into the handling of complaints related non-compliance with IFFOR Policies. 

Federal Reserve Staffer Provides Overview of Ombuds Program

In testimony before Congress earlier this month, Kevin M. Bertsch, an Associate Director in the Federal Reserve System's Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, addressed the role of the agency's External Ombudsman. In essence, he explained that the Federal Reserve System Ombuds provides an alternative dispute mechanism for bankers' concerns about the fairness of the Fed's supervisory process.

February 15, 2012

University of Arizona Ombuds Retires

Somehow, it escaped our notice that Claudia D'Albini, program director of the UA Ombuds Program, retired at the end of November 2011. The campus celebrated her 24 years of service, which included stints with the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of the President, and, since 2003, the Ombuds program.

February 14, 2012

FINRA Offers Summer 2012 Externship

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is offering an unpaid externship with its Office of the Ombudsman in Rockville, MD. The extern will work with FINRA Ombuds staff from May 21, 2012 through August 10, 2012 for up to 35 hours per week.

Meet the Ombuds for the University of California San Francisco

Randy Daron was appointed last summer as the first Ombuds for the UCSF. In a profile by the campus news center, Daron explains how he oversaw the evolution of UCSF’s Work~Life Resource Center into an Ombuds Office. As acting director of the Work~Life Resource Center, Daron provided a range of problem-solving services, including mediation, problem resolution and trainings and presentations on a variety of workplace topics, such as effective communication, emotional intelligence and conflict management. 

Laramie Schools Hire Ombuds for Bullying Issues

Laramie County School District, the largest school district in Wyoming, has hired an Ombudsman to work with school administrators, parents and students in cases of bullying. The district has contracted with Marvin Nash, who founded an anti-bullying program called Bullying Hurts, to act as an impartial third party in disputes. 

Job Posting: Grantham University

The for-profit, on-line university based in Kansas City, MO is hiring a Compliance Officer/Ombudsman. According to the posting, the position is responsible for "ensuring consistent compliance with all federal, state and accreditation statutes, rules, regulations and standards" and "will also serve as the designated dispute resolution officer (ombudsman) to provide assistance in resolving student grievances." 

February 13, 2012

Corporate Secretary Magazine: The Role of an Ombudsman in Supporting a Company's Compliance Efforts

The online version of the periodical for corporate secretaries, general counsel, and governance professionals recently interviewed Jon McBride on the benefits of an Ombuds program. McBride told Aarti Maharaj, Deputy Editor at Corporate Secretary Magazine, why Ombuds are an important complement to formal corporate reporting mechanisms. 

Minneapolis Schools May Create Ombuds Program

A story on the long-running contract negotiations between the Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers notes that both sides have agreed to the creation of an Ombuds program. The Twin Cities Daily Planet said, "The district has agreed to MFT’s request to have an ombudsperson to deal with problem solving, and supports MFT’s Problem Solving Protocol." No other details on the Ombuds proposal have been made available. (Daily Planet.)

February 10, 2012

Job Posting: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

The FDIC is hiring its first "Internal Ombudsman."  The position reports to the Chairman of the FDIC and will serve as a neutral and independent third party dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informational assistance to managers and employees of the FDIC. The position is thus quite different from the existing FDIC Ombuds program that serves local customers of banks taken over by the agency. 

Columbia Adds Course on Advanced Ombuds Practice

John Zinsser will be the instructor for "Advanced Ombuds Practice and Organizational Change," a spring 2012 offering for the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Columbia University.

February 09, 2012

Society of Women Engineers Magazine Article on Ombuds

The winter issue of the SWE periodical includes an article: "A Fresh Look at the Organizational Ombudsman." The piece is based partly on interviews with attorney and author Chuck Howard, Ilene Butensky, Ombudsman for the Eaton Corp., Marsha Wagner, Ombuds at Columbia University, and Mary Rowe, Ombudsman at MIT. The article explains that Ombuds are an important resource for women who continue to face gender bias in the engineering profession.

February 08, 2012

Harvard Medical School Ombuds to Speak at UMass Boston

Melissa Brodrick, the Ombudsperson for Harvard’s Medical School and its affiliate institutions, will explain the role of an Organizational Ombuds at the University of Massachusetts Boston on February 14, 2012. The event is offered as part of the Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies program in conflict resolution. UMass Boston does not have an Ombuds office, but UMass Amherst and UMass Dartmouth do. The Ombuds Office at UMass Lowell closed in 2008.  (UMB Events.)

Job Posting: United Nations

The Office of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services in New York is hiring a Director of Mediation. The position has responsibility for the mediation activities under the overall direction of the UN Ombudsman and shall consult with the Ombudsmen of the Funds and Programmes and of UNHCR on matters relating to these agencies. 

International Ombudsman Institute Publishes 2010-11 Annual Report

In the last fiscal year, the IOI General Secretariat reports that membership increased to 135 from 122 in 2009-10. The report highlights IOI initiatives, including training programs and investment projects. The IOI updates its research work and reports that it is currently implementing the first comparative study of independent ombudsman institutions in the Asia–Pacific region.

February 07, 2012

IOA Offers Training Programs at 2012 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will offer several training programs before its annual conference in Houston on April 15.

February 06, 2012

Drexel University Names New Ombuds

David H. Flood, PhD, has been appointed as the next Ombuds for the private research university in Philadelphia. Flood has been a faculty member at Drexel since 1976. In addition to his primary appointment in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Flood has a secondary appointment in Drexel’s College of Medicine. he teaches courses in medical and healthcare humanities and healthcare ethics. 

Job Posting: McKesson

McKesson Corporation, the largest health care company in the world and 15th largest company in the United States, is hiring a "Director Employee Relations\Ombudsperson" for its Specialty Care Solutions and US Oncology division in Texas. According to the posting, the position is...