November 30, 2012

Ombuds Gather in Arizona for Regional Meeting

On Friday, November 9th, 2012, the Arizona Ombuds met at a luncheon hosted by the Maricopa County Community College District in Tempe.  The district's Ombudsman, Teresa Toney, an associate member of IOA, provided an overview of the Office of Public Stewardship, where the Ombuds function is located. Participants were presented with an on-line demonstration of the organization's 24/7 anonymous report hotline.

Leiden University Introduces New Ombuds

The Netherlands' oldest university has appointed Jacqueline van Meerkerk as its Ombudsperson for Students.  Van Meerkerk, who worked previously as Ombudsperson at the Vrije Universiteit and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, says that students are increasingly aware of their rights.  this trend is reflected in the caseload for her office: the number of complaints rose from 66 in 2007 to 99 in 2011.

November 29, 2012

Ombuds Approves Professor's Firing; Indiana Supreme Court Upholds

Last week the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by former University of Evansville professor.  The firing had followed a recommendation by a review committee that included the university's Faculty Ombuds.

Profile of Berkeley's Staff Ombuds

A recent campus newsletter introduces Sara Thacker, Director of UC Berkeley’s Staff Ombuds Office. The article reveals that Thacker is a “recovered” corporate litigator who left a successful career to become, first, a mediator, and then an Ombuds.

November 28, 2012

Ombuds to Address New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators

The General Meeting of the NJAPM next week will offer an "Intro to Ombuds: the Profession & the People." Organizers promise a panel of distinguished Ombuds featuring IOA President Nicholas Diehl. In addition, there will be briefing on the new ABA Ombuds Task Force. The event takes place at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:15 pm.

Kenyon College Ombuds Publishes Report

Carrie Knell, who became the Ombudsperson for Kenyon last fall, has published a report for the 2011-12 academic year. She says that she "had twenty-one unique contacts in 2011 - 2012, which is slightly less but comparable to 2010 and almost half from 2009. It is unclear why 2009 had more visitors than subsequent years but it seems that the past two years have had decreased issues reported."

November 27, 2012

Baker Hughes Opens Ombuds Office

The Fortune 200, oilfield services company headquartered in North Houston, Texas opened an Organizational Ombuds Office (“o3”) in September to serve employees in the U.S., and Trinidad and Tobago. The o3 team is led by Principal Ombuds Melanie Lewis, and includes Bonnie Bonnivier, Ombuds; Arianna Gazis, coordinator; and Michael Mayer, information specialist.

November 21, 2012

Journal of IOA Spotlights Solo Practice

The just-released issue of the Journal of International Ombudsman Association looks at the concerns and challenges of solo practice. Editor (and solo practitioner himself) David Miller explains:
As if it were not difficult enough being in the centre of other people's storms, holding fast to principled interventions when interests and positions generate vortices of confusion and distress, so many of us in the Organizational Ombudsman world, do so alone.  How do we manage?

November 20, 2012

Job Posting: UC Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position provides impartial, informal, independent and confidential conflict resolution services to all campus stakeholders. In consultation with the Campus Ombuds, Kirsi Aulin, the Associate Ombuds handles cases with little or no campus precedent, including bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

November 19, 2012

IOI Concludes World Conference with New Governance Structures

The International Ombudsman Institute convened a successful World Conference in Wellington, New Zealand last week. In addition to conference programs attended by 280 Ombuds and others, the IOI also adopted new by-laws, elected a Board of Directors, and appointed an Executive Committee.

Externship: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA's Office of the Ombudsman is offering an opportunity for a graduate student to extern in its Rockville, MD office. The extern must be earning course credit and be able to work at least 15 hours a week during the Spring 2013 term.

November 16, 2012

IOA Opens Election for 2013 Board

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the slate for the 2012 Board of Directors election. As it has in the past, the Ombuds Blog provides links to public information about the candidates to supplement the official ballot statements.

Job (Re-)Posting: Metropolitan State University of Denver

The public university in downtown Denver has reopened the search for its first Ombuds. The University Ombuds Officer will establish and run an office that operates according to the International Ombuds Association standards of practice. 

Was Paula Broadwell an Ombuds?

The biographer of former CIA Director David Petraeus says that she was once an Ombudsperson at Harvard. On October 26, 2012, Broadwell gave the keynote address at the University of Denver's Alumni Symposium. In a video posted to YouTube this week by DU, Broadwell says:

November 09, 2012

Job Posting: UC San Diego

The southernmost University of California campus is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Director and UCSD Ombudsperson, Judy Bruner, the position provides informal dispute resolution services, including responding to confidential complaints and inquiries, assessing concerns, and consulting with the university community.

Ombuds Gather in Northern California

On November 5, the Northern California Ombuds Roundtable gathered at the Stanford Ombuds Office.  About a dozen local Ombuds convened for the one-day event hosted by David Rasch.

Bob Jones University Appoints Ombuds

The private, for-profit, Protestant university in South Carolina has retained an independent organization, GRACE, to serve as an Ombudsman, "to review past instances in which it is alleged that the University underserved a [sexual abuse] victim or did not comply with the law in handling reports of abuse."

November 08, 2012

Strong Demand May Prompt Brown University to Expand Ombuds Service

When Brown restored its Ombuds Office in February 2012, its Ombudsperson Ruth Rosenberg was hired on a part-time basis.  The demand for her services were surprising.  “The Ombuds Office has had more visits in the last six months, including over the summer, than the last ombudsperson had in one year,” Rosenberg said.  The University is not considering whether Rosenberg should be transitioned to a full-time appointment.

November 07, 2012

Society of Women Engineers Conference Includes Session on Ombuds

Attorney Charles Howard will speak at the 2012 SWE annual conference tomorrow in Hoston. Howard's session is titled "Building A Better Workplace through the Organizational Ombuds" and is part of the Inclusion and Cultural Awareness track at the meeting that will draw 5,000 women engineers and technologists.

November 06, 2012

Union Theological Seminary Considering Ombuds Program

In a letter to the Union community on October 11, 2012, Michael J. Kelly, Chair of the Trustees' Audit Committee, announced the formation of an Ombudsperson Selection Committee. Trustees of the progressive, independent seminary in New York City have retained Xan Raskin of Artixan Consulting Group to make a recommendation regarding the issue. 

November 05, 2012

University of Toronto Ombuds Posts Annual Report

UToronto Ombudsperson Joan E. Foley reported that her office responded to 282 requests for assistance during the 2011-2012 academic year. Her report summarized systemic issues; details on the office's caseload, and other professional and outreach activities. The most significant systemic issues from the last year included international fee exemptions, program fee refunds, academic integrity matters, discrimination, grading policies, student health plans and graduate supervision.

Related Job Posting: Baker Hughes

The oilfield services company has an opening for an o3 (Organizational Ombuds Office) Coordinator in North Houston, TX. The position work with visitors during the intake process and help market the o3 program to managers and employees under the supervision of o3 Principal/Ombuds.

November 02, 2012

Grinnell Close to Hiring First Ombuds

The private, liberal arts college in Iowa is near the end of its search for an Ombuds.  According to the campus newspaper, three finalists are visiting the campus to give presentations to the search committee.  The candidates are: Susan Park, an ADR practitioner for FEMA and former Ombuds at the University of Hawaii and the University of Texas; Annie Tucker, a professional mediator and the executive director for Mediation Services of Eastern Iowa; and Chinyere Ukabiala, an adjunct faculty member at Drake University Law School and pro-bono attorney/mediator.

University of Kansas Ombuds Office Marks 35 Years of Service

Today, the KU Ombuds Office celebrates 35 years of service.  Kellie Harmon, who has been the Ombuds since 2007, says that the office has addressed more than 10,000 concerns in the past three and a half decades.  The anniversary will be celebrated at a reception with past KU Ombuds and staff.

November 01, 2012

ACR Calls for 2013 Conference Proposals

The Association for Conflict Resolution is now accepting proposals for its 13th Annual Conference. The conference theme is "Making Peace Happen: New Normals" and is set for October 9-11, 2013 in Minneapolis, MN.  The event regularly features Ombuds as presenters.

Sandy Forces Closure of IOA Offices

The IOA administrative offices in Hillsborough, New Jersey are currently closed due to a power outage caused by Hurricane Sandy. A notice on the association's homepage says that any messages will be returned as quickly as possible.