February 29, 2016

ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Devotes Newsletter to Ombuds Issues

The Ombuds Committee has sponsored the latest edition of the ABA DRS Just Resolutions newsletter. An introduction by Ombuds Committee Chair Chuck Howard explains, "[W]e have assembled six articles for your review that will give you a better sense of the breadth and utility of ombuds programs. These articles reflect the good work that is being done by our committee members and are worth reading by everyone with an interest in dispute resolution."

February 26, 2016

Academy of Management Creates Ombuds Program

The professional association for scholars of management and organizations has appointed an Ethics Ombuds Committee to assist its 20,000 members with "issues related to professional ethical conduct occurring within the Academy’s domain." The Ethics Ombuds Committee practices to IOA standards and was announced in October 2015. 

February 25, 2016

University of Maryland School of Dentistry Appoints First Ombuds

The only dental school in the state and the first dental college in the world has named Laurelyn Irving as its first Ombuds for faculty and staff. Irving has been the Ombuds for the UMB School of Nursing since November 2014. She has has more than 20 years of experience training university staff how to help others resolve conflict on six different university campuses. 

UC San Francisco Ombuds Departs

According to an email sent by a Vice-Provost, Randy Daron has left the University of California San Francisco and his position as Director of the Office of the Ombuds effective February 22. The email said that Daron, "made the decision to pursue his independent Psychology practice" and that Maureen Brodie, the Mediation Officer and Associate Ombuds, will serve as Interim Director during a search for the Director position. 

Canada's Veterans Ombuds Posts 2015 Annual Report

Guy Parent has submitted a report for the year ended March 31, 2015 summarizing the operations and key activities of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. He says that the past year saw more progress on Veterans' issues than in all the previous years of his mandate and was highlighted by the New Veterans Charter which is improving the fair treatment of Canada's Veterans and their families.

February 24, 2016

Cal Caucus Invites 2016 Proposals

The Planning Group and Program Committee of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is soliciting proposals for its conference at Pacific Grove on November 13-16, 2016.  


February 23, 2016

Catalan Biomedical Research Institute, IDIBELL, Appoints First Ombuds

Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge in Barcelona has named F. Xavier Bosch as its first Ombudsman. Bosch will serve as a mediator for research conflicts, help to ensure the integrity of research, and act as confidential adviser for workplace and career concerns. The position is independent and is mandated to respect the anonymity and confidentiality of identities and other other information.

February 22, 2016

Student Organization Seeks Ombuds for Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Therese Eia Lerøen, President of the National Union of Students in Norway (Norsk studentorganisasjon or NSO) says that there is no reason for the public research university in Trondheim further delay the appointment of its first Student Ombuds. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has delayed the creation of a Ombuds for student issues while it completes a merger with the University Colleges of Sør-Trøndelag, Ålesund and Gjøvik.

February 19, 2016

IOA Announces Election Results for 2016 Board


The International Ombudsman Association has announced the results of its recent Board of Directors election. The following Ombuds were elected or re-elected to the IOA Board with terms beginning at the annual conference in April 2016:

University of Minho Appoints First Student Ombuds

The public university in Braga, Portugal, has named Paula Cristina Martins as its first Student Ombudsman. She works with a student population of nearly 20,000 across two campuses. A website for her office emphasizes that she is independent, neutral, and confidential. 

February 18, 2016

University of South Florida System Names First Ombuds

The USF System--which includes three universities: USF Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee--has appointed Steven Prevaux as its first Ombuds Officer. Prior to taking the position in January, Prevaux had been USF's General Counsel for over a dozen years. 

Job Re-Posting: Oberlin College

The private liberal arts college in Ohio has re-opened a search for its next Ombuds. The full-time position (with "significant commitments on nights and weekends"!) reports to the Office of the President and serves students, faculty and staff -- a population of almost 5,000.

February 17, 2016

Cal State Chico Opens Ombuds Office

California State University, Chico, the second-oldest campus in the 23 campus California State University system, has appointed its first two Ombuds. Suzanne Miller and James Morgan will serve faculty, staff, and students -- a combined population of nearly 20,000. According to a website for the new office, the Ombuds will follow IOA Standards with one significant exception. Confidentiality is not provided in "situations that involve imminent risk of serious harm or Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation based on gender or sexual orientation."

New Ombuds Appointed for United Nations Development Programme

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services has named two new Ombudsmen for UN Funds and Programmes, the global development network. Giuseppe de Palo and Alayne Frankson-Wallace were both appointed recently. Based in New York, they will complement the work of UNOMS and handle issues raised by staff and related personnel of the Funds and Programmes.

February 16, 2016

Job Posting: University of Alabama at Birmingham

The public university (and the state's largest employer) is hiring its first Faculty Ombudsperson.  The part-time position will report the the University Provost and serve a faculty population of almost 2,500.  The position has been under consideration by the UAB Faculty Senate for at least a year.

U.S. Department of Energy Names Associate Ombuds

The DOE Office of the Ombudsman has appointed Patrick Holman as an Associate Ombudsman. Holman was an internal hire and had previously been the Chief Business Operations Officer and Undersecretary for Science and Energy. Holman joins Associate Ombudsman Felicia Bunns and reports to Director Rita R. Franklin. The DOE Office of the Ombudsman is an independent, neutral, confidential and informal resource available to all Department employees. 

Job Re-Posting: United Nations, Uganda

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a full-time, fixed-term Regional Ombudsman for its office in Entebbe.  The position will manage the office, which provides conflict resolution services to resolve workplace concerns for staff in the area.

February 12, 2016

IOA Offers Range of ADR Training Programs in Seattle

As a prelude to its eleventh annual conference, the International Ombudsman Association will offer several training programs in Seattle, April 8-10.  The trainings are open to anyone and are not limited to Ombuds or conference attendees.


February 11, 2016

SUNY Potsdam Appoints Ombuds in Partial Response to Student Protests

The State University of New York near the Canadian border has yielded to some of the demands made by a student group seeking to improve treatment of ethnic minorities. In addition to firing Dean of Students William G. “Chip” Morris, SUNY Potsdam President Kristin G. Esterberg appointed Anthropology Professor Alan L. Hersker, as the first Ombuds for the campus.

February 10, 2016

IOA Seeks FUNdraising Donations

The International Ombudsman Association is asking for donations to its annual FUNdraiser raffle. Participants can win some great prizes and lasting memories. Last year, donations included gift cards, themed baskets, books, university gear, photography and handmade crafts that helped offset costs for onsite activities during the conference. ALL raffle prize contributions are welcome!

Meet the Ombuds at Washington State University

WSU has published an introduction to their two current Ombudsmen: Tena Old and Max Kirk.  Old has served in the role since April 2011 and Kirk began in July 2015. Old’s background is on the staff/administrative professional side. Kirk, who started in the ombudsman office in 2015, is an associate professor in the School of Design and Construction. 

February 09, 2016

Job Posting: West Virginia University

The public land grant research university in Morgantown, has opened a search for its first Faculty Ombuds. The part-time (approximately 10 hours per week or 25% FTE) position will report to the Provost and provide assistance to all faculty members of the university community, "with preference given to those faculty members not holding administrative positions." 

Job Posting: Beacon Health Options

The managed behavioral health organization is hiring an Ombudsperson to provide confidential, neutral assistance to members from its offices in Cypres, CA. "The Ombudsperson advocates for fairness, serves as a source of information and support, acts as a liaison among stakeholders, and supports risk management for Beacon." The duties are primarily those of an Organizational Ombuds, but also incorporate some duties that are similar to those of a Classical Healthcare Ombuds. 

Ombuds at University of Ottawa Publishes Fifth Annual Report

Lucie Allaire, the U of O’s first Ombudsperson, said that most of the recommendations she has made over the past five years have been implemented by the university. In addition to the specific issues that have been addressed and remain an issue, Allaire also said that her office had responded to over 1,800 matters between January 2010 and the end of May 2015. 

February 08, 2016

Job Posting: University of Colorado

Colorado's flagship public research university in Boulder is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position reports to the newly hired director, Kirsi Aulin, and will work with students, staff, faculty, and administrators. The posting says, "We are looking for an expert mediator with a deep understanding of conflict resolution, who is excited about the opportunity to set strategic direction and precedent for our campus."

Mary Rowe on Microinequities and Ombuds

Rowe, the retired MIT Ombuds and adjunct professor at MIT Sloan, was interviewed by the on-campus newsletter about systems for mitigating discrimination and conflict in organizations. In the conversation, she explains how Ombuds are a critical part of a broad approach to microinequities:

February 04, 2016

IOA Seeks Nominations for Distinguished Emeriti Ombuds

The International Ombudsman Association is seeking nominations for potential Distinguished Emeritus honorees. IOA has traditionally awarded the distinction to retired Ombuds in recognition of their outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and profession.

Ryerson University Ombuds Reports on 2014-15 Activities

Nora Farrell, the Ryerson Ombudsperson, reports that her office received 520 concerns in the last academic year, a rebound of nearly 8% from 2013-14.  The focus of Farrell's annual report is not on the numbers, but on the recommendations for system-wide improvements, including updates from stakeholders on past recommendations.

February 03, 2016

Meet South Dakota State University's New Ombuds

Nicole Picconi has been appointed as the first Ombuds for students, faculty and staff at SDSU. (Previously, the university had a dean of students who also served as a part-time Ombuds for students.) “This hire is the result of years of research and advocacy on the part of members of the Academic Senate who looked in particular at the ombuds personnel and processes in place at Iowa State University,” said long-time professor, Ruth Harper. 

IOA Compiles Title IX Resources


The International Ombudsman Association's Title IX Committee has pulled together materials for Ombuds at U.S. colleges and universities seeking guidance on the evolving legal issues around sexual misconduct.  The materials are generally not produced or written by IOA, but permission has been granted to share them with members. 

Studentombud at Lund University Publishes First Report

Petra Holst, the Studentombud at Lund, has issued an annual report covering the 2014-15 academic year, the first year of her office. She reports receiving 490 inquiries from students. Holst chose to highlight a case of bullying (where a student was ostracized by group members in a group project) to illustrate the significant number and problems the behavior causes. She recommended changes in university programs to better assist students who face bullying. (Lundagård.)

February 02, 2016

Responding to Rape Allegations, Baylor University Promises Ombuds for Athletes

Multiple women have come forward claiming that the private Baptist university in Waco, Texas failed to respond appropriately to complaints of rape by a football player. According to a published report, one female student "reported the assault to Baylor's ombudsman office and were sent to meet with the school's chief judicial officer." A spokesperson for the school announced on Monday that an investigation is on-going and that Ombuds will be created for the athletic department.

Job Posting: Life University

The small private university in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta is hiring an Ombudsman/Employee Relations Officer. The position "is responsible for coordinating the investigation and resolution of internal complaints including but not limited to discrimination, sexual harassment, employee misconduct, Title IX, mediation requests, or requests for accommodations" -- so a combination of confidential-informal-neutral duties and investigatory-formal-aligned duties

February 01, 2016

Year-Long Study of U.S. Federal Ombuds Launches

In June 2015, the Administrative Conference of the United States engaged chiResolutions to conduct a year long study of Federal Ombuds programs. In January, after months of designing a mixed-method survey and identifying Federal Ombuds, chiResolutions invited over 175 Federal Ombuds offices to participate in the survey.

VU University Amsterdam Ombuds Posts Annual Report

Lies Poesiat, Student Ombudsman at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam reports that 125 were brought to her office in 2014, and all but one had been dealt with by the end of the year. Proportionately, the greatest number of cases handled by the Student Ombudsman in 2014 came from students in the faculties of Medicine and of Psychology and Education.

Students at University of Hawai'i Back Return of Ombuds Office

The Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i have passed a resolution supporting the establishment of an Ombuds office at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. The move is likely to bolster on-going efforts by administrators, faculty, and the state legislature to restore the program that closed in 2009. (Kaleo.)