August 31, 2016

Brandeis University Makes Ombuds Office Permanent

Elena Lewis and Susan Parker have been appointed as the permanent University Ombuds for Brandeis.  They take over from the initial trio of interim Ombuds, Elena Lewis, Erika Smith and Brian Koslowski. Smith and Lewis have been moved into new administrative positions at the university. 

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Southern California

KP Southern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in Baldwin Park.  The Kaiser 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."

August 30, 2016

Job Posting: Eastern Michigan University

The EMU Office of Ombuds has opened a search for a full-time Case Manager. It is not clear from the posting whether the position reports to Chiara Hensley, who has served as the Ombuds since 2014.  

Survey of Higher Ed ADR Programs Reveals Prominence of Ombuds for Students

A study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Conflict Management surveyed 100 colleges and universities with regard to their alternative dispute resolution resources for students.  The authors, Professor Neil H. Katz and Researcher Linda N. Kovack at Nova Southeastern University, paid particular attention to Ombuds and mediation programs that serve students. 

August 26, 2016

Ombuds Blog Poll: IOA Bylaws Changes

On September 29, 2016, the Board of the International Ombudsman Association will convene a special meeting for members to vote on changes that would: 1. Change IOA's membership categories; and 2. Restructure the eligibility for the IOA Board of Directors.  Whether or not you are an IOA member, do you support the proposed changes to the IOA bylaws?

August 25, 2016

ENOHE Convenes First Webinar

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education will offer a virtual meeting on September 29, 2016 at 2:00 pm BST. The event is an opportunity to discuss and explore ideas with colleagues from across the ENOHE network on topics that are being developed.  (ENOHE News.)

University of North Carolina School of the Arts to Create Ombuds Program

The public arts conservatory in Winston-Salem is setting up an Ombuds Office for faculty, staff, and administrators. An all-faculty meeting on August 31 will review a proposed charter and select faculty representatives for a search committee. UNCSA already has a full website (including pages for Ethical Principles & Standards of Practice, Structure & Guidelines, and Ombuds Role) for the new office. (UNCSA Announcement; UNCSA Ombuds.)

International Ombudsman Institute Sets Conference in Bangkok

The IOI will hold its World Conference in Thailand’s capital on November 13-19, 2016. The theme for the eleventh annual meeting is “Evolution of Ombudsmanship” and will provide a forum for Classical Ombuds to meet and share their experience and expertise. As usual, the Conference will be preceded by meetings of the IOI Board of Directors, meetings of the IOI Regions and the IOI General Assembly.  (IOI 2016 Conf Info.)

August 24, 2016

California State University East Bay Opens Ombuds Office

The public university east of San Francisco has created an Office of Ombuds Services for faculty, staff, and administrators and has appointed Silvina Ituarte to establish the program. Ituarte, a Professor of Criminal Justice, says she is eager to incorporate restorative justice principles into the work of the Ombuds Office. 

University of California Berkeley Names Assistant Ombuds

The Staff Ombuds Office at Berkeley has hired Julia Horvath as an Assistant Ombudsperson.  Most recently, Horvath was Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico Office of Ombuds Services, where she studied the costs of workplace conflict and the value of constructive conflict management, and developed regarding the effectiveness of Ombuds services. 

Job Posting (Pending): Executive Office for Immigration Review

Mark your calendars. The U.S. Department of Justice office that oversees immigration courts will be hiring its first Ombudsperson. As Program Manager, the position will head the Office of the Ombudsperson/Dispute Resolution within the EOIR Office of the Director. 

Update: University of North Dakota Re-evaluating Ombuds Program

An article in today's Grand Forks Herald says that UND released Ombuds Henok Elias at the conclusion of his six-month probationary period.  A university spokesperson said administrators are reviewing the Ombuds role.  "We're still trying to figure out exactly what's the best fit for the university in terms of how to provide the kinds of services," the spokesperson said.  (GF Herald.)

August 23, 2016

Job Posting: LaGuardia Community College

The public college in the borough of Queens, New York is hiring a College Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Vice President of Student Affairs, the full-time position will work with a student body of about 18,000. For the past several years, Maria Riggs has served as the "Student Advocate/Ombuds Officer" so the posting may reflect a slight change in the position. 

Tempe Schools Appoint First Ombuds

Kyrene School District, a K-8 district that serves parts of Tempe and four other communities in Maricopa County, AZ has named Rosalie Hirano as the first Ombudsperson. Jan Vesely, the district’s newly-hired superintendent decided to appoint an Ombuds and follow the lead other school districts and government agencies. “The Governing Board and I felt it was important to provide our parents and community members with a dedicated resource for addressing their concerns,” said Vesely. 

Ombuds May Help Internal Branding Efforts

A study by Baylor University finds that efforts to help employees understand and embrace a company's values, strategy and goals — ‘internal branding — are very important for competitiveness. Prominent companies that ‘walk the walk’ they advocate may help reduce turnover, improve performance.

August 22, 2016

Ombuds at University of North Dakota Unexpectedly Departs


Sources at UND report that Henok Elias, who became the  full-time Ombuds in November 2015, is no longer at the university.  An email to the entire campus offered little explanation:


New Chair of ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Has Ties to Ombuds

Dickinson Law School professor Nancy Welsh has been selected to lead the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution for 2016-17.  In a statement, she acknowledged Ombuds as an important constituent group.

Ombuds for Bishop's University Posts Second Annual Report

Shawn Malley, who became the first Ombudsperson at the university in Sherbrooke, Quebec in October 2013, published his second annual report this week. He reports handling 45 cases in the 2014-15 academic year, most of which were about academic issues. 

Holocaust Claims Conference Appoints Ombuds

The Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has named Ayelet Metzger as its next Ombudsman.  She will be the second person to hold the position.  Metzger was hired after a lengthy international search and has been Deputy CEO of the Second Authority for Radio and Television, a media regulator in Israel. 

August 18, 2016

UC Davis Names New Associate Ombuds

The University of California Davis has announced that Lisa Brodkey has been named as the Associate Ombuds. Brodkey, reporting to Katherine Greenwood, will be conducting trainings and seeing visitors on both the UC Davis campus and the UC Davis Health System campus in Sacramento. Since 2012, Brodkey has served as the Director of the Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program at UC Davis and will fully step into the Ombuds role in October.

August 17, 2016

Job Posting: University of Florida College of Medicine

The state medical school in Gainesville is hiring its first Ombuds for faculty -- a group of about 1,700. This position will be a part-time (.30 FTE) adjunct faculty position at the rank of Professor. Applicants must have an MD, DO or PhD and have at least ten years' experience working as a faculty member in higher education, including experience as an administrator.

University of Oregon Names New Ombuds

UO has announced that Brett Harris, will become the next University Ombudsperson on August 22, 2016.  Harris has been the Ombuds for Staff at Ole Miss since she opened the office in July 2015.  (She was briefly named as the first permanent Ombuds for the University of North Dakota in 2015.)  She takes over a program established by Bruce MacAllister in 2014 and lead on an interim basis by Jennifer Reynolds since early this year.

August 16, 2016

Job Posting: Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

The public research university that is affiliated with both Indiana University and Purdue University, is hiring a Student Advocate. Despite the title, the position serves primarily as an Ombuds for graduate and undergraduate students, and faculty/staff (e.g.: "neutral third party," "present a range of options," "opening channels of communications, and making referrals," "providing conflict resolution coaching and mediating").  This is consistent with an internal study in 2001 that recommended the Student Advocate evolve into a role more similar to a University Ombuds.

August 15, 2016

Special Meeting May Reshape International Ombudsman Association Rules

The Board of the International Ombudsman Association announced a special meeting to vote on a proposal to change its membership categories and restructure the election of Directors.  IOA Members and Associate Members may vote in person or by proxy at the meeting in Chicago on September 29, 2016.  (IOA Special Meeting Notice.)

Howard Schachman: NIH Ombudsman

Howard Schachman, a UC Berkeley biochemist who served as the National Institutes of Health Ombudsman in the 1990's, passed away on August 5, 2016 at the age of 97. He was appointed by NIH Director Harold Varmus and served in the position for six years. Schachman was the first NIH Ombuds to solicit feedback on NIH policies.

August 12, 2016

TE Connectivity Names New Ombuds

Last month, Jennifer Prisco became the Ombudsman for TE Connectivity Ltd (formerly Tyco Electronics). Reporting directly to the Audit Committee of the TE Board of Directors, Prisco serves as an independent, impartial, and confidential resource for employees, suppliers, investors, customers, and stakeholders. TE Connectivity employs about 72,000 in locations around the world. 

Texas A&M Commerce Names First Ombuds

The public university just west of Dallas has appointed Madeline C. Justice to serve as its first Academic Ombudsman Officer. She will provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty in addition to her work as Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership.

August 11, 2016

Earthjustice Seeks Bids for Ombuds Program

The non-profit public interest law organization headquartered in San Francisco is seeking proposals for a new Ombuds program. The program would serve over 200 staff members in California and eight other regional offices for a six-month trial starting on or about September 26, 2016. The Request for Proposals specifically seeks an IOA-compliant program. The service can be provided from a remote location with monthly reports to the organization's president. 

University of West Florida Opens Ombuds Office

In February of this year, the mid-sized public university in Pensacola appointed Ron Belter and Tom Westcott as its first-ever Faculty Ombudspersons. Together and on a part-time basis, they work with an academic staff of less than 500. Lusharon Wiley, Senior Associate Dean of Students, has served as the Student Ombudsperson since 2013. 

August 10, 2016

Georgetown University Appoints Two Ombuds

Georgetown has named Jo Ann Moran Cruz as Faculty Ombuds Officer and Stacey Kaltman as Ombudsperson for the School of Medicine. Cruz works with about 2,200 academic staff and was appointed earlier this month. Kaltman works with all members of the medical school (about 4,000 stakeholders) and was appointed in February this year. Georgetown's medical school Ombuds program was re-established this year pursuant to a charter that was included in the Student Handbook.

Ombuds for UN Funds and Programmes Post 2015 Report

The Office of the Ombudsman for the United Nations Funds and Programmes (which serves employees of UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and UN-Women) has published a report covering its activities in 2015.  Recently-appointed Ombuds, Giuseppe de Palo and Alayne Frankson-Wallace, report that their office handled 458 cases in the last calendar year, 80% of which came from field offices.  

August 09, 2016

Job Posting: Howard University

The private university in Washington, D.C. has opened a search for its first Faculty Ombudsperson.  The full-time position will work with nearly 1,000 faculty and reports to the Faculty Senate and Office the Provost and Chief Academic Officer. It is unclear how the Faculty Ombuds will work with the Student Ombudsman, Calvin Hadley, who was appointed in September 2015 and who appears to have more of an advocate role.  

North Carolina State University Names Student Ombuds

After serving in an interim capacity, Michael Giancola was named the Student Ombuds for NCSU earlier this summer.  He has held a variety of administrative positions on campus and continues as the Assistant Vice Provost.  He will work with a student population of over 34,000 and complement the work of Faculty Ombuds, Roy Baroff.  

August 04, 2016

Job Posting: San Antonio Housing Authority

The public housing program in Texas's second largest city is hiring a full-time Ombudsman.  The position works with over 70,000 residents, staff, individuals and groups to explore and assist in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns. In addition, the SAHA Ombuds is responsible for bringing systematic concerns to the attention of the Chief Operating Officer. 

Louisville Schools Ombuds Authors Book on Self-Care

Mindy Eaves, the founding Ombudsman for Jefferson County Public Schools, is one of three authors of The A-to-Z Self-Care Handbook for Social Workers and Other Helping Professionals. As Eaves explained at an IOA conference session last April, self-care is critical for Ombuds, an imperative for the ethical practice of social work, and other helping professions. The book outlines strategies to help build a self-care plan with specific goals and strategies.

USDA Ombuds Seeks Data Analysts

Joanne Dea, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's first Organizational Ombuds is looking for two to five experienced statisticians/economists, data scientists, or data analysts. The part-time, unpaid positions (4-8 hours a week) will analyze social and economic data and assist with data presentation, all while practicing to IOA standards.   

August 03, 2016

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is hiring two Program Specialists. It appears that this is a new Ombuds program.  The position serves as an Ombuds for employees with work related issues and concerns. 

Politecnico di Milano Appoints Student Ombuds

Politecnico di Milano, Italy's largest technical university in Italy, has opened a Student Ombuds Office for its 40,000 students. The Difensore degli Studenti receives, investigates, and attempts to resolve only non-anonymous complaints. If unsuccessful, the matter will be referred to an appropriate university administrator.

August 02, 2016

Job Posting: International Committee of the Red Cross

The international humanitarian organization has opened a search for its next Chief Ombudsperson.  Based in Geneva, the position administers the four-person program, represents the program internally and externally, and serves as the Ombuds for ICRC personnel in Europe, Central Asia and the Americas.  Helmut Buss has held the position since early 2015.

Ombuds Office at Texas Woman's University to Remain Gun Free

As colleges and universities in Texas implement procedures to comply with new state law that allows concealed weapons starting this month, Texas Woman's University in Denton has decided that the office of the Faculty Ombudsperson will be a "gun-free zone."  

August 01, 2016

Job Posting: Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Department Of Homeland Security agency has posted a vacancy announcement for the FEMA ADR Corps. These "Reservist ADR Advisors" are temporary, intermittent, on-call Federal employees who are deployed on short notice for 30-60 days to large presidentially-declared disasters. Using a variety of ADR techniques, they work to resolve workplace conflicts and inform senior disaster management about trends and areas of concern.

Coalition of Federal Ombudsman Weighs In on Clery Act

The interagency association that advocates for and supports Federal Ombuds has sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Education responding to a recent handbook that classifies Ombuds as mandatory reporters of crime statistics under the Clery Act.  The letter from COFO Chair Scott Deyo explicitly outlines concerns about confidentiality, which mirrors similar concerns in a recent letter from IOA on the same issue.  Although Federal Ombuds are not affected by the Clery Act, COFO shares the concern the change would undermine to professional duty of confidentiality that applies to all Ombuds.

Hamline University Shutters Ombuds Office

After five years of service to faculty, staff, and students, the Obmudsman Office at Hamline University has been closed.  The University has not make a public explanation of the decision made earlier this year.  Molly McAvoy served as the University Ombudsman from 2011 to 2016.  

IOA Floats Plan to Revise Membership Categories and Board Eligiblity

The Board of the International Ombudsman Association has sent out an update to its members on a proposal to change its membership categories and restructure the election of Directors.  IOA members will have an opportunity to vote on the proposal at a special meeting in the fall.