March 31, 2014

Journal of IOA Publishes Seventh Volume

The latest issue of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association delves into the source of the Ombuds' professional value. JIOA Editor David Miller explains, “I am an Ombudsman because I value — indeed, I am proud to occupy — a role in which I may serve others, and which is founded on principles and standards. It is more than just a job because, in its appropriate execution, Ombudsmen embody values underlying those principles and standards that I find admirable.”

March 28, 2014

ENOHE Posts Agenda for 2014 Conference

The Eleventh Annual Conference of the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education  promises a range of speakers and topics. Here is the agenda for the meeting to be held at the University of Warsaw, Poland on May 15-17, 2014.

University of Washington Ombuds Releases Annual Report

Chuck Sloane, the UW Ombud appointed last summer, has published an annual report that provides an overview of who his office has worked with and how they approach their cases. This is the first public annual report that the UW Ombud has provided to the university community since the 1970’s.

March 27, 2014

Chris Christie's Legal Team Calls for Appointment of Gubernatorial Ombuds

An investigation by the New York governor's lawyers cleared Christie of wrongdoing in connection with the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and also recommended the appointment of an Ombudsman. A report by by lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher called on Christie to appoint an Ombuds and a Chief Ethics Officer within his office to prevent similar situations in the future.

Department of Homeland Security Hiring Whistleblower Ombuds

The DHS Office of the Inspector General is conducting a search for a Whistleblower Ombudsman. Although the duties are ostensibly those of an Organizational Ombuds, the job also: "oversees matters pertaining to the [Office of Integrity and Quality Oversight] Hotline, Whistleblower Protection and Ombudsman programs; investigative cases files; compliance and quality assurance; and audit and inspections report quality." 

Southern California Ombuds to Meet at LA World Airport

Irene Sae Koo, the new Ombuds at the Los Angeles World Airport, is coordinating and hosting the Southern California Ombuds Caucus on May 22, 2014. The group meets once to twice year and provides an excellent opportunity for professional networking as well as discussing the challenges and issues facing Ombuds. 

March 26, 2014

Job Posting: University of Florida

Florida's "Public Ivy" has opened a search for an Associate Ombuds in the Faculty Ombuds Office. The part-time position will provide informal, impartial, and confidential assistance for 5,100 UF faculty.

Michigan Tech Appoints Ombuds

Michigan Technological University has named Susanna Peters, a lecturer in law and society as its new Ombuds Officer. Her appointment takes effect on April 15.   Peters earned her MS from the University of California at Davis and then a JD at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She teaches a variety of legal issues and has been the faculty advisor to MTU's Mock Trial Team. (MTU News, Faculty Bio.) 

March 25, 2014

International Committee of the Red Cross Appoints Two New Ombuds

With the appointment of two new members, the Ombuds Office of the Swiss humanitarian organization has expanded significantly.  The new Ombuds also will be posted closer to many of ICRC's 12,500 worldwide employees.  

Save the Date for 2014 Summer Meeting of Academic Ombuds

The 12th summer meeting of college and university Ombuds will take place on July 20th and 21st at Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI. This annual gathering provides an opportunity for academic Ombuds to become better acquainted, share concerns unique to their professional environments, and to support and learn from each other’s experiences.

March 24, 2014

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The Department Of Homeland Security agency is hiring a Program Specialist for its Office of the Ombudsman in Arlington, VA. Located in the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement Office, the position serves as an Ombuds, providing confidential, neutral, independent and informal assistance to TSA employees, managers, and stakeholders. Significant travel may be required.

Faculty Ombuds at Washingt University in St. Louis Posts Office Charter

The new website for the WUSTL Faculty Ombuds includes and Office Charter.  The document includes a mission and principles of practice that conform to IOA Standards.  Notably, the section on confidentiality includes no exceptions that deviate from IOA best practices.  Therefore, visitors to the office may safely discuss, "any concerns about the university’s compliance with laws, regulations or policies; or any questionable practices at the university"

Interview With St. Bonaventure Ombuds

Gary Ostrower has been the University Ombuds Officer at the private, Franciscan Catholic university in New York since 1997. He told the student newspaper that his work covers a broad range of issues. “I have seen students, faculty members, staff members and on occasion administrators who will seek out my services,” Ostrower said. “They will do so for varied reasons; from an individual having a conflict with a supervisor to people complaining about the food service.” (The Bona Venture.)

March 20, 2014

Participate in a Survey About Ombuds and Mediation

Tyler Smith is a Graduate Intern at the National Institutes of Health’s Office of the Ombudsman, Center for Cooperative Resolution, with aspirations of becoming an Ombuds. Coming from a mediation background, Smith is specifically interested in learning more about how an Ombuds’ academic and professional backgrounds may or may not influence various aspects of their mediation practice. 

Save the Date for Cal Caucus 2014

The 41st Annual Conference California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is set for November 16-19, 2014 in Pacific Grove CA.  Planning for 2014 is in full swing and a call for presentation proposals will be issued soon.  Meanwhile, registration is already open.  The co-convenors for the 2014 Caucus are Susan Neff and Michael Dues. (2014 at Asilomar.)

March 19, 2014

IOA Announces New Board Members

The International Ombudsman Association recently held elections for open board position.  Results were announced recently.

Survey of Conflict Resolution Systems in International Financial Organizations Notes Importance of Ombuds Programs

An article in the most recent issue of Global Policy Journal surveys the informal dispute resolution systems within financial NGO's and highlights the growing role of Ombuds offices and the importance of IOA.  Here's the abstract:

University of Toronto Ombuds Reflects on Career

Joan E. Foley, has served as the U of T Ombudsperson since 2007, but her career with the university began in 1963 as a lecturer in psychology. She explains that the attractive thing about being the Ombuds is the great diversity of matters and the clientele – who can be students or faculty or staff.  

March 18, 2014

UC Davis Ombuds Office Expands to Students

The newest University of California Ombuds Office has now opened its doors to students. The office, which opened last June, previously served only UC Davis faculty and staff. 

Save the Date for 2014 USOA Conference

The United States Ombudsman Association's 35th Annual Conference has been set for Lincoln, Nebraska on October 15-17, 2014. Pre-conference courses will be offered October 13-14. Lin Quenzer, the Ombudsman for the City of Lincoln, is the conference host. (USOA Conf Info.)

Collaboration Opportunity in South Africa

A consultant in Cape Town is seeking an associate with experience in setting up conflict management systems and would like to meet Ombuds at the IOA conference in Denver. Mervyn Malamed is in the process of building a project consulting practice that specializes in the establishment of Integrated Conflict Management Systems in large organizations/ corporations in Southern Africa. 

March 17, 2014

Job Posting: University of Alberta

The public research university in Edmontonis hiring a Graduate Student Ombudsperson for a four month contract (April 15 – August 15, 2014). Reporting to UA's Director of the Student OmbudService, Natalie Sharpe, the position will work with graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and medical residents.

Sports Conflict Institute TV Explores How an Ombuds Might Help in Sports

Last week, John Zinsser joined SCI TV to discuss ways in which professional and intercollegiate athletic programs manage conflict and how an Ombuds model might work as a viable alternative.  Joshua Gordon, Founder of the Sports Conflict Institute, conducted the interview and also solicited input from SCI Practitioner & Researcher, Ken Pendleton. 

New Ombuds at Florida Atlantic University

In late 2013, the public university in Boca Raton appointed Angie Gifford as its Ombudsperson.  Gifford had served previously as a Victim Advocate at FAU for 13 years.  She has a master's in education.  (FAU Ombuds; LinkedIn; FAU University Press.)

March 13, 2014

Internship: United Nations, Austria

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is offering a full-time, unpaid internship in its Vienna office.  The six-month internship will start in April 2014.  The intern may have the opportunity to conduct research on topics related to informal (alternative) dispute resolution in the UN, help identify systemic issues, and assist with outreach activities.

Student Union Calls for Ombuds at Dalhousie University

A report from the Dalhousie Student Union recommends that the Nova Scotia university establish an Ombuds office comparable to those at Canada’s other U15 institutions.  The report highlights the practices of other Canadian universities and concludes that Dalhousie's Ombuds program--which was staffed part-time by a student and which closed in 2013--was ineffective and underutilized because it lacked resources, funding, and authority.

Austrian Student Ombudsman Presents First Annual Report

A report by the Austrian Student Ombudsman provides information about how the Ombuds carries out his statutory duties as an appeal body for 390,000 students and how he provides information and other services to the higher education community.

March 12, 2014

Columbia University Appoints Ombuds

After a year-long search, New York Ivy has appointed Joan C. Waters as the University’s Ombuds Officer.  Columbia's president made the announcement in a email to the campus yesterday.

Job Posting: University of Miami

The private, non-sectarian university in Florida has opened a search for its next University Ombudsperson and Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs.  In addition to coordinating student affairs operations, the position works with students, faculty and staff in resolving grievances and complaints, and provides impartial and confidential guidance to students.

March 06, 2014

Calculating the Return on Investment in an Ombuds

In latest episode of his "Conflict Specialists Show," Dave Hilton interviews John Zinsser, Principal and Co-Founder of Pacifica Human Communications, LLC based in Charleston, SC.  In the 40 minute piece, Zinsser talks about:

March 05, 2014

Maryland Judiciary Closes Ombuds Program

After eight years as the Ombudsman for the Maryland Judiciary, Ed Modell learned that the new Maryland Chief Judge decided the program would not continue after restructuring.  Modell was awarded the first contract to create an Ombuds program for judiciary employees in 2006.  In 2010, his role expanded to include serving as the Ombudsman for court users. 

March 04, 2014

Job Posting: Career Education Corporation

The for-profit, postsecondary education provider is hiring an Ombudsman for its Career Schools division. The full-time position in Schaumburg, IL will serve as, "an impartial advocate whose job it is to find equitable resolutions to student complaints before they are escalated outside of CEC." 

March 02, 2014

IOA Announces 2014 Writing Competition

The International Ombudsman Association sponsors an annual writing competition designed to invite fresh academic insight on the role of the Organizational Ombuds, foster cross-pollination with other professional and academic communities, and endorse talent in the next generation of Organizational Ombuds.