May 30, 2012

IOA Training Explores Ethical Dilemmas in Ombuds Work

At its next training session, the International Ombudsman Association will offer a course specialized course: "Examining Professional Ethical Dilemmas in Organizational Ombudsman Practice." The one-day course will take place on July 19, 2012 in conjunction with other Ombuds trainings near Orlando, FL.

FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Ombuds Reports 11% Jump in Cases

Virginia L. Behr, the Ombudsman for the Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, says that her office handled 461 inquiries in 2011. The majority of inquiries, 60%, originated from industry, with consumers accounting for 23%, healthcare providers 7%, FDA employees 5%, and other 5%. 

May 29, 2012

Gainesville State College Opens Ombuds Office

The University System of Georgia college in Gainesville has appointed Melinda "Doc" Hawley as its first Ombuds. Hawley will follow IOA standards and serve as a resource for about 9,000 faculty, staff, and students. 

British and Irish Ombudsman Association Rebrands as the Ombudsman Association

The professional association for Classical Ombudsmen in the UK, Ireland, and British dependencies has changed its name to the Ombudsman Association.  Along with the name change, BIOA is moving to a new web domain: 

First Video from CERN Ombuds Addresses Social Exclusion

Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has created a video that examines social exclusion. Vuillemi says that social exclusion can create a toxic work environment and illustrates the problem with vignettes. The video also shows the CERN Ombuds Office. (CERN Ombuds Corner.)

May 25, 2012

Update: Toronto Catholic District School Board Defers Decision on Ombuds

Yesterday, TCDS trustees put off making a decision on creating an Ombuds program and referred the matter for further investigation by staff. (Globe and Mail.)

May 24, 2012

Toronto Catholic School Board to Consider Ombuds

Tonight, the trustees of the Toronto Catholic District School Board may vote to appoint its first Ombudsman. The publicly-funded Catholic school system, which serves over 91,000 students and is one of the largest in Canada, has been criticized for conflicts of interest and spending abuses by some trustees. Jo-Ann Davis, who was elected to the School Board after the controversy broke, proposed the Ombuds position. 

Michigan State University Extension Appoints First Ombuds

The extension program at MSU has named Richard A. Wooten as its new Ombudsperson. The MSUE ombuds is a neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to staff within the organization. 

Workplace Dignity Blog: Long Live the Ombudsperson!

Kendall D. Isaac, a former HR and employment law litigator, is a law professor teaching dispute resolution at Appalachian School of Law and publisher of the Workplace Dignity Blog. His most recent post is: "Long Live the Ombudsperson!" Isaac explains why Organizational Ombuds programs present an important benefit for organizations. 

May 23, 2012

Job Posting: American Red Cross

The Red Cross Office of the Corporate Ombudsman in Washington, DC is hiring a full-time Associate Ombudsman. The position provides neutral, confidential, and informal dispute resolution assistance to the American Red Cross community, including employees, volunteers, service recipients, donors, suppliers, partners, and the general public. 

May 22, 2012

The Ombuds Blog Needs Your Help

Keeping the directories of Ombuds Offices current is time consuming, but does not take priority over newsworthy posts.  As a result, the directory links are often out of date.  I'm hoping you can help me out.  Corrections may be made by email (tom [dot] kosakowski [at-sign] gmail [dot] com) or by commenting on this post.  Thanks!

May 21, 2012

IOA Launches Professional Development Series for Organizational Ombuds

The International Ombudsman Association has announced a new professional development series for Organizational Ombudsman practitioners that will begin at its July training near Orlando, FL. The multi-topical series is entitled “Organizational Ombudsman Knowledge and Skills Series” and will focus on strengthening practitioners’ understanding of various theoretical concepts and practical techniques that are utilized to effectively perform the role of an Organizational Ombudsman in adherence to IOA Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. The series is intended for active and experienced Organizational Ombudsman practitioners. 

Cal State San Marcos Publishes Ombuds Office Charter

Last month, the California State University campus north of San Diego finalized a Charter for the Office of the University Ombuds. The document, which was executed by CSUSM President Karen S. Haynes on April 12, 2012, states that the office will generally follow IOA standards of practice. There are some significant exceptions, however.

Job Posting: Union County College

The public community college in New Jersey is hiring an "Ombudsman/Affirmative Action Officer." The college has previously employed an AAO, but never an Ombuds. The job description is somewhat contradictory. The position "is a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner [that will] provide confidential and informal assistance to constituents [and also] to adjudge cases wherein individuals believe they have been treated outside of College policy." 

Oregon State University Interviewing Assistant Ombuds Candidates

Today, the OSU University Ombuds Office is hosting "an open forum presentation by three finalists for the Assistant Ombuds position." It's not clear from the short blurb in the daily campus update whether the three candidates will be appearing together. (OSU Today.)

May 18, 2012

Washington University in St. Louis to Open Search for First Medical School Ombuds

In March 2012, a faculty committee overwhelmingly approved a proposal to create an Ombuds program for the WUSTL School of Medicine. The new Ombuds will provide faculty with, "a mechanism for voluntary, informal, neutral, confidential, third-­party assistance in resolving work-­related issues, concerns, or conflicts." 

May 17, 2012

Job Posting: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

The federally recognized tribe in northeast Washington is hiring its first Ombudsman.  The contract position will have the responsibility of providing neutral, confidential and informal assistance to Tribal employees located throughout the reservation with potential or actual conflict with other employees. The reporting structure is not indicated.

British and Irish Ombudsman Association Holds Annual Meeting in Belfast

BIOA is holding its 19th Annual General Meeting today and tomorrow. The meeting--which brings together Ombudsmen and Commissioners from across the world including representatives from Europe, the UK and Ireland--is being hosted by Northern Ireland for the first time. 

May 15, 2012

Videos Welcome Two New Cal State San Marcos Ombuds

The President of California State University San Marcos, Karen Haynes, has posted a YouTube video introducing the new Office of the University Ombudsman. Derrick Crawford, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Educational Equity, also serves as University Ombuds, primarily for administrators and faculty. In addition, CSUSM recently appointed Michelle Hunt as Assistant Ombuds for Staff and Students. 

May 14, 2012 Opens Archives for One Week

The leading mediation website is offering open access to its 8,000 articles, 4,000 news items, and 500 videos during the week of May 11-18. Ordinarily, the content is reserved for's Premium Members and Subscribers. Although the materials are concentrated on mediation, there are articles about ombudsing, coaching, and other types of ADR. 

Ombuds to Speak at Society for the Study of Social Problems Conference

Northern Arizona University Ombuds Phoebe Morgan will be a speaker at the SSSP 62nd Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Morgan will present a paper, “The Organizational Ombudsman as Improv Artist: An Auto-Ethnography of Informal Justice in Bureaucratic Settings,” during a panel on crucial conversations on August 17, 2012. Morgan is also member of the SSSP Board of Directors. (SSSP 2012 Conf Info.)

Michigan State University Appoints Assistant Ombuds

Shannon Lynn Burton has been hired as an Assistant Ombudsperson working with MSU University Ombudsperson, Robert Caldwell. Burton has worked in higher education for 15 years and as an Academic Advising Specialist for over ten years at Michigan State. 

May 11, 2012

Medical University of South Carolina Appoints First Ombuds

The small private medical school in Charleston has named Dr. John Waller as its first Ombuds for faculty and post-doctoral fellows. Waller joined the MUSC faculty in 2002 as Professor and Chair of Anesthesia and Perioperative Medicine. In a previous appointment at the Emory University School of Medicine, he handled high-level disputes and conflicts. 

Job Posting: County of Santa Clara

The Silicon Valley county is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. The one-year contract position will provide Ombuds services to individuals and groups vis-à-vis the Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children’s Services and to assist in the conflict resolution activities of the County’s Dispute Resolution Programs. The Ombuds will also provide policy analysis and feedback. 

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Appoints Ombuds

Wendy Kamenshine has been appointed as the first Ombudsman for the federal agency that holds primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in the U.S. Kamenshine has been serving as the Acting Ombudsman since the office opened in late 2011.

May 10, 2012

University of Victoria Ombuds Publishes 2011 Report

Martine Conway, the Ombudsperson at UVic, reports that her office handled 390 cases in 2011, a decline from the record high of 444 in the prior year. Conway said while the total cases decreased from recent years, the number of students seeking confidential advice remained high. In addition to statistical data, Conway also provided three case summaries to illustrate the types of matters that come to her office and how she provides assistance.

May 09, 2012

IOA to Offer Ombuds Training at Disney Resort

The International Ombudsman Association will present its next training program at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL, the week of July 16-20, 2012. Courses include:

Savannah State University Opens Ombuds Office

The historically black university in Georgia has named Brittney D. Diggs as its first Ombudsman for students. When first posted the position was titled "Student Ombudsman & Advocate" and did not conform to IOA standards (e.g. it was expected to advocate for students and to "maintain permanent and pertinent records). Now the position follows key IOA tenets of confidentiality, independence, neutrality, and informality. 

May 08, 2012

MD Anderson Adds an Ombuds

The leading cancer research and treatment center in Houston has appointed Janet M. Bruner, MD, to the staff of its Ombuds Office. Bruner has been a faculty member at MDACC for 28 years, including 12 years as Pathology chair and continued service as deputy head of the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. She will serve as a part-time Ombuds and joins Bill Brock and Rita Burns in the MDACC Ombuds Office. 

Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers Boosts Ombuds Budget

ICANN's proposed FY2013 budget shows that operating expenses for its Ombudsman Office will increase 28.3% from the 2012 forecast. The draft budget of $422,000 for the ICANN Ombuds reflects additional administrative cost for renting an office and associated expenses. The current ICANN Ombuds, Chris LaHatte, works from his home in New Zealand. ICANN is accepting comments on the budget through May 24, 2012. (ICANN Draft FY13 Operating Plan and Budget.)

FAIR Canada Endorses IOA Standards

The Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights (FAIR), a non-profit watchdog for shareholders and individual investors, says that banks in Canada should not be allowed to choose and hire their own external dispute resolution provider. FAIR recently stated its support for the standards and principles set by the International Ombudsman Association and other non-governmental and professional organizations.

May 07, 2012

International Organization for Migration Names Next Ombuds

Frank Fowlie will become the Ombudsman for the International Organization for Migration in Geneva starting September 2012. IOM is a United Nations affiliated agency that promotes international cooperation on migration issues. The IOM Ombudsman position reports to the Director General and serves as a resource for employment-related problems of staff members.

Externship: United Nations

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is offering a two-month, full-time, unpaid internship in its New York offices.  The position offers the chance to support the office in several areas, including: mediation services; identification of systemic issues; outreach and advocacy; and preparing data and reports.

University of California Draft Response to Campus Violence Recognizes Role of Ombuds

The University of California has published a draft report by General Counsel Charles Robinson and Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley in response to clashes between university police and campus demonstrators. The Robinson-Edley Report aims to provide guidance to campuses for facilitating robust discourse while also protecting the health and safety. The draft report recommends the adoption of formal mediation programs, but  excluded Ombuds from this role. 

May 04, 2012

Ombuds of Texas Meeting to Focus on Mental Health Issues

At its next meeting on Wednesday, May 9, 2012, the Ombuds of Texas will be joined by Valerie Taylor, founder of South Texas Alternative Choice and an expert in the field of aging and mental health. Taylor will give a presentation on "Older Adults with Dementia and Mental Illness: What an Ombuds Needs to Know."

Job Posting: Judge Rotenberg Center

The special needs school in Canton, Massachusetts is hiring an Ombudsman. The full-time position will provide confidential and neutral conflict resolution assistance to staff and students. No salary or other details posted or available from the organization's website. 

Ethics Resource Center Says Ombuds Have Role Under Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Twenty years after the U.S. Sentencing Commission implemented the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for Organizations, the Ethics Resource Center has issued an independent assessment of the the Guidelines’ effectiveness. Among its recommendations, the ERC said that the Guidelines should explicitly recognize that Ombuds are important and appropriate component for corporations to meet the requirements.

University of Missouri–Kansas City Ombuds Recommends Expanding Her Office

In her second annual report, UMKC's part-time Faculty Ombudsperson Nancy E. Day renewed her advice that the university consider hiring a full-time Ombudsperson for all constituents and consolidating separate ADR functions. In addition to these recommendations, Day reported on the activities of her office, which included handling 14 visitor matters, a significant increase from 6 in her first year.

Kent State Student Ombuds to Retire

Sheryl E. Smith, the Dean of Students and Student Ombuds at Kent State University, will retiring in August 2012. She was honored at a reception last night for her many years of service. The university opened a search for a new Ombuds last month, but an appointment has not been announced. (Kent State eInside.)

May 03, 2012

Job Posting: University of Connecticut

The public research university in Storrs, CT is hiring its first Ombuds Officer for faculty and staff. "Under administrative review and reporting to the University President, this position is responsible for designing, implementing and coordinating all aspects of a university Ombuds Office and its operation." The full-time position will practice to IOA standards. The new Ombuds Office will serve the main UConn campus and regional campuses. 

University of Alicante 'Defensor' Serves as Organizational Ombuds

The university in southwest Spain has updated the website for its 'Defensor Universitario.' The office, which has been in existence since the 1990's, is now described as an 'Ombudsman' with decidedly Organizational Ombuds characteristics. According to the new website:

University of Oregon Exploring Ombuds Program

Last summer, the research university in Eugene appointed an ad hoc committee to look at respectful workplace policies and practices. According to a report recently presented to the UO Faculty Senate, the committee is focusing on the creation of Ombuds Office for the campus.

May 02, 2012

Outreach Efforts Pay Off for African Development Bank Ombuds

Amabel Orraca-Ndiaye, the Ombudsman for the international development banking group, reported handling a record number of cases in 2011. According to her latest annual report, the AfDB Office of the Ombudsman handled 196 cases, an increase of 86.7% from 2010.  Orraca-Ndiaye said that the increase was largely as a result of contact with field office staff following outreach and sensitization efforts that began two years ago. 

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Begins Plans for 2012 Conference

CoFO has posted the minutes from its meetings in March and April 2012.  The group is planning its annual conference to be held in early November, although a date has not been set. Organizers are soliciting ideas for topics and speakers (including a keynote) and working on a venue. As usual, the minutes offer a wide range of insights on the activities of Ombuds at federal agencies.

Emory University Faculty Endorse Ombuds Proposal

At its most recently meeting, the Emory University Faculty Council voted unanimously to endorse the recommendations of the ad hoc committee on faculty grievance policies and procedures. The committee had recommended an Ombuds Office to “provide a listening ear for faculty ... and also serve as a resource to train university personnel in conflict resolution and about university venues for resolution of various sorts of faculty workplace problems.”

May 01, 2012

Canada Games Appoints Three Ombuds for Summer 2013

Sherbrooke 2013, the Host Society for the Canada Summer Games, has announced the formation of an Office of the Ombudsman--a first in Canada Games history. The new office will, "provide volunteers and others with a forum to have their disputes and complaints heard and addressed in a fair and equitable manner." Three have been named as Ombudsmen: Jean Brousseau, Jean De Francesco, and Ralph D. Farley

Pomona College Creates New Ombuds Office

After years of effort and two national searches, the private liberal arts college in Claremont, CA has hired Conchita Franco Serri as its first Ombudsperson. Serri, who recently attended the IOA annual conference, will begin work May 7.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Ombuds Offers Confidentiality for Sexual Assault Victims

In response to recent sexual assaults on campus, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo formed a task force that has released its first report. At the same time, Cal Poly administrators reaffirmed the traditional role of the Ombuds Office as one of the few confidential resources for students.