April 28, 2017

ENOHE Announces Agenda for 2017 Annual Conference

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education has announced the agenda for its 13th Annual Conference in Strasbourg, France on June 28 - 30, 2017: "Higher Education Ombudsmen as Beacons: Towards a Fair and Transparent European Higher Education Area."

Job Posting: U.S. Army Medical Command

The large military hospital near Tacoma, WA is hiring an Ombudsman.  The position receives concerns about the Madigan Traumatic Brain Injury Program from patients, commanders, and senior leaders and uses "a variety of interpersonal. communication, problem solving and negotiation skills and techniques" resolve concerns.

April 27, 2017

IOA Honors Two Distinguished Emeriti

At its annual conference earlier this week, the International Ombudsman Association announced the recipients of its 2017 Distinguished Emeritus award: James Lee and Randy Williams. IOA has traditionally bestowed the award to retired Ombuds in recognition of their outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and profession.

British Lawmaker and Activist Urges Creation of National Sports Ombuds

Paralympian, parliamentarian, and BBC commentator, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson has completed a major independent report into athlete welfare in British sport. Her report lists seven priority recommendations for improving standards and the first is the creation of a Sports Ombudsman.

IOA Publishes Survey of Ombuds Practices

The International Ombudsman Association has published a report on the current practices of its members.  Here's the summary posted by IOA:

NPR Ombudsman Reports on Internal, Organizational Issue

In a break from her usual role investigating listener complaints about news stories, National Public Radio's Ombudsman Elizabeth Jensen has released a report about the diversity of the newsroom staff at the media organization.  

April 26, 2017

IOA Board Elects 2017 Officers

Today, at its 12th annual conference in Minneapolis, the International Ombudsman Association Board of the Directors selected its officers for the 2017-18 terms:

April 22, 2017

Job Posting: Iowa State University

ISU is hiring an Ombuds Officer to fill a position vacated by Elaine Newell , who opened the office in 2008. The Iowa State Ombuds reports to the University President and serves employees and graduate students -- a total population of about 12,000.  The initial appointment is for one year, beginning as soon as possible.

Job Posting: Louisiana State University

LSU has opened a search for an Ombudsperson to restart its shuttered office.  The public university in Baton Rouge had an Ombuds program from 2006 through 2011, when it was closed due to budget cuts. The LSU assists nearly 40,0000 students, faculty, staff, and administrators in dispute resolution through informal means, which includes consulting, negotiation, and mediation. 

April 19, 2017

Ombuds Head to Minneapolis for 2017 IOA Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will convene its 12th annual conference April 21-23, 2017 at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center.  For attendees' convenience, here are links to prior Ombuds Blog articles about the event:

Outreach Efforts Pay Off for University of Arizona Ombuds

Caitlan Hendrickson, who became the the Ombuds Program Director at UA in November 2015, says that the number of visitors increased 156% in 2015-16 after she focused on publicizing the service. A recent profile offers an overview of the UA Ombuds Office and Hendrickson's philosophy.

Meet the New Ombuds for Baylor College of Medicine

Last October, the medical school named Laurel Hyle as its first Ombudsperson for students, trainees, faculty and staff.  “I’m enjoying being a part of the Baylor family and excited that I have the opportunity to blend my past experience together,” she said. “My goal for the Ombuds Office is that everyone knows this resource is available and feels welcome to access it.”

April 18, 2017

IOA Surveys Higher Education Ombuds Confidentiality for Clery Act & Title IX Matters

The International Ombudsman Association's Government & Policy Committee has released survey data from over 120 academic Ombuds showing their reporting duties under the Clery Act and Title IX.  Kouang Chan, the Director of the Office of Student Ombuds at the University of Texas at Austin, lead the project and her summary, “Survey of Higher Education Ombuds Reporting Under Clery and Title IX” is available for IOA members.  

Survey Confirms Ombuds Report of Bullying at University of Wisconsin-Madison

More than a third of its faculty have been bullied in the last three years according to a new survey by the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute at Madison. The survey confirms feedback highlighted by campus Ombuds in an annual report issued in August 2016.  (Inside Higher Ed.)

NYT Article -- Ombuds May Improve Sexual Harassment Reporting

An article in last week's New York Times explored the reasons why women do not report workplace sexual harassment. "Only a quarter to a third of people who have been harassed at work report it to a supervisor or union representative, and 2 percent to 13 percent file a formal complaint," according to one analysis. The Times offers some remedies and includes an Ombuds.

Meet Smith College's New Ombuds

Michael Stephens reopened the Ombuds Office at Smith College last fall.  He was recently interviewed by the campus newsletter and described his work with faculty and staff.

April 17, 2017

IOA 2016 Annual Report: Financial Success Supports New Programs

In its latest annual report, the International Ombudsman Association says that revised financial strategies allowed its professional staff and volunteers to reach several new goals.  Executive Director Rick Koepke, highlighted the following achievements:

Call for Submissions: 2017 Journal of Cal Caucus

The Journal of the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is seeking scholarly articles for its 2017 edition. Articles should be focused the varied aspects of Ombuds work in academia, The Journal publishes original theoretical and empirical articles dealing with national and international issues, case studies, op-eds, conference session abstracts, and book reviews.

Colloquium on Abrasive Conduct in Higher Ed 2017 Set for Cleveland

The fifth annual conference focused on bullying at colleges and universities will be keynoted by Mary Gentile, author of Giving Voice to Values and professor at the University of Virginia.  Lee Potts, Faculty Ombuds at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Kirsi Aulin, Director of the Ombuds Office at UC Boulder will lead participants in two sessions of interactive case studies applying the principles and strategies gleaned from Mary Gentile’s interactive presentations. (CACHE 2017.)

April 14, 2017

Job Posting: University of Kansas

KU is accepting applications for its next University Ombuds.  The search will fill the position vacated by Kellie Harmon, who retired earlier this year.  KU's Ombuds serves faculty, staff, and 30,000 students, and manages an office comprising two part-time faculty ombuds and a graduate assistant. 

April 11, 2017

Job Posting: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA, the non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets, is hiring an Analyst in its Office of the Ombudsman.  The position conducts analyses of case information to identify patterns, trends, and problematic issues. This is professional position, developing and refining skills and receives moderate supervision and regular direction from a manager.

April 10, 2017

Campus Ombuds Raise Profiles in Bid to Assist Stakeholders with Social Justice Issues

In addition to their work with the individual concerns of their visitors and surfacing systemic matters for administrators, many Ombuds will also help address topical issues that concern and affect their stakeholders.  Several recent news items show how Ombuds step forward to help facilitate dialog:

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Southern California

KP Southern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in Harbor City.  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."

April 07, 2017

University of New Mexico Ombuds Posts 2016 Annual Report

The UNM Office of Ombuds Services for Staff has published a report of its activities for 2016, which included 288 visits and 24 two-party mediations.  Case data is collected and reported according to IOA Uniform Reporting Categories.  A visitor survey showed high levels of satisfaction with the Ombuds services.

Ombuds at Gallaudet University Hires First Graduate Assistant

Liz Stone, Gallaudet's University Ombuds, has hired graduate assistant, Hanna Fermto assist with outreach, data analysis, trend identification, and office administration.  Ferm is a first-year student in the Master of Social Work program and the first assistant to work in the Ombuds Office.

April 04, 2017

Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training Publishes Article on Ombuds

A recent article in The Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training Report summarizes the work of Organizational Ombuds and is based partly on recent presentations in Japan.  In November 2016, Noriko Tada, the Ombudsperson with Guidea for Eisai Co., Ltd., arranged a series of informational events in Tokyo about Ombuds.  Nicholas Diehl, the Ombudsperson for the Asian Development Bank, presented to the directors of the JILPT, and to healthcare providers and mediators at Waseda University.

April 03, 2017

Columbia College Chicago Hires and Quickly Loses First Ombuds

On February 2, the liberal arts college introduced Connie Meyeran experienced local mediator, coach, and conflict management skills trainer, as its first Academic Ombuds.  Late last week, the college announced that she had resigned for undisclosed reasons.  College officials said that the position will be refilled as quickly as possible.  (CCC News; Columbia Chronicle.)

University of North Carolina Ombuds Reports on Campus Trends

An update by the UNC University Ombuds to the Faculty Council last week highlighted several trending issues over the past two years.  Wayne Blair, the university's Ombuds, said that his office is seeing “a dramatic increase in what I’m going to [call] poorly managed conflicts and confrontations.” Other issues raised by Blair included job insecurity, race and diversity, immigration and international travel, and academic freedom.  

March 31, 2017

Mount Holyoke Announces New Ombuds

Mount Holyoke College has named Vivian Hsu, a local employment attorney, as its next Ombudsperson. For the past 22 years, Hsu has been in private practice, specializing in employment law counseling, training programs, and mediation for a wide range of clients. In her new, part-time position, she will provide Ombuds services for all members of the Mount Holyoke campus community.  

Meet MacEwan University's Ombuds

MaEwan has posted a video introducing its Student Ombudsperson, Cathryn Heslep.  She explains her role on campus and offers a glimpse into her office.  The video is captioned and includes graphics that highlight the ethical tenets of her practice.  (YouTube.)

March 30, 2017

Cal Caucus Seeks 2017 Speaker Proposals

The California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is soliciting session proposals for its 2017 conference on November 12-15, 2017. the 44th Cal Caucus will, "explore how the contexts and circumstances in which we serve as ombuds can transform challenges into opportunities. We welcome presentations inspired by this theme."

March 29, 2017

International Ombudsman Association Announces 2017 Board Election Results

The IOA has announced the results of its recent election for the Board of Directors.  The following will begin three-year terms beginning in April 2017:

March 27, 2017

Job Posting: Palliser Regional Schools

The rapidly growing public school district in southern Alberta will be appointing its first Ombudsperson. The system enrolls 8,100 students in a wide range of educational setting including: 15 community schools; 10 faith-based alternative schools; two alternative programs for Low German-speaking Mennonite families; four outreach programs; 17 Hutterian colony schools; a home schooling program and an online and international program. According to a request for proposals: 

Job Re-Posting: Meharry Medical College

The Methodist-affiliated, HBCU medical school in Nashville, Tennessee is still seeking applications for its first Ombudsman. The full-time position will work with Meharry's 700 students, plus staff, faculty, and administrators. The MMC Ombuds will be expected be a member of IOA, "in order to stay on the leading edge of critical ombudsman issues, such as confidentiality and privilege." 

March 24, 2017

UC San Francisco Selects an Ombuds

The University of California San Francisco's Office of the Ombuds has hired Darlene Weide as the new Associate Ombuds.  She has been the Executive Director of Community Boards, a mediation and conflict resolution non-profit provider in the Bay Area, for the past ten years.  

March 23, 2017

International Committee of the Red Cross Names Ombuds

John W. Zinsser has been appointed Chief Ombudsman for the international humanitarian organization.  Based in Geneva, he will lead an office that serves ICRC staff in Europe, Central Asia and the Americas.  Zinsser said, “ I am honored to lead the ICRC Ombuds Network and further advance the program’s alignment, embedment, and integration. Teaming with everyone at the organization is a pinnacle opportunity.”

March 20, 2017

Job Posting: Green Climate Fund

The UN-affiliated fund that assists developing countries counter climate change is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The position will report to the Fund’s Executive Director serve staff with work-related complaints, disputes and issues. The appointment will be as an international Consultant working part-time, remotely, for an initial period of 12 months. The Consultant will be required to visit the Fund’s offices in Songdo, South Korea, periodically. 

March 17, 2017

British Ombudsman Association Gets Introspective for 2017 Conference

The professional association for Classical Ombudsmen in the UK, Ireland, and British dependencies has posted the agenda for its annual conference. Set for May 25-26 at the Burleigh Court Conference Hotel at Loughborough University, the theme is, "Holding Up a Mirror."

March 16, 2017

Academy of Management Ombuds Explains Independence

In a blog post for the AOM Ethics Education Committee, Ombuds Greg Stephens discusses the meaning and relevance of 'independence.' After introducing the concept and acknowledging the IOA standards, Stephens offers an explanation relevant for his organization: 

March 14, 2017

Cal State San Bernandino Names Ombuds

CSUSB has appointed Twillea Evans-Carthen as its next Ombudsperson for faculty, staff, and students.  She has worked at the university for nearly three decades and was, most recently, the Manager of Programs and Employment in the Human Resources Department. “I’m delighted that Twillea has accepted this very important job as our university’s ombuds officer,” said university President Tomás D. Morales. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone with such extensive experience, institutional knowledge and professional integrity to fill this vital role.” 

March 10, 2017

Facing Class Action Arbitration, Jewelry Giant to Establish Ombuds for Workers

Sterling Jewelers, an American jewelry conglomerate headquartered in Akron, Ohio will create an Ombuds as a partial response to widespread claims of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. A private arbitration case includes claims by 69,000 women that they were subject to abuse and lower pay at Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry stores from the 1990s to 2005. The parent company is planning a range of initiatives to improve workplace fairness.

March 09, 2017

Job Posting: University of California Merced

The UC campus in Northern California is hiring an Assistant Ombudsperson. The position "serves as the initial, and sometimes sole, contact for students [about 8,000 and growing], staff and faculty seeking assistance from the Office of Ombuds Services," and provides conflict resolution services on cases of moderate complexity. 

Job Posting: United Nations, Austria

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a Regional Ombudsman for a temporary position.  The position will provide Ombuds and other conflict resolution services to UN staff in Vienna and some travel may be required.   The position can last up to one year.

March 07, 2017

Stellenbosch University Names Next Ombuds

The public research university, the oldest in South Africa, has appointed Rina Meyer to serve as its next Ombud. Her role will be, "to attend to problems and complaints of students, parents or staff in cases where the University structures are inadequate or unable to provide satisfactory solutions."  She succeeds Julian Sonn, who served for the past two years.  

Internship: United Nations, New York

The Office of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services is accepting applications for an unpaid internship in its New York headquarters. The position is full-time and will last just two months (as opposed to the usual three to six months). Duties will  depend on the intern's experience and needs of the program, but may include: outreach and advocacy; support preparing data and reports; and conducting research.

Save the Date: U.S. Ombudsman Association 2017 Conference

USOA has announced that its 38th annual conference will take place to be held on October 4-6, 2017 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.  (USOA Conf Info.)

March 06, 2017

University of Florida Medical School Creates Faculty Ombuds Program

The UF College of Medicine announced the appointment of Dr. Keith Stone as its first Ombuds. Stone, a professor emeritus in the department of obstetrics and gynecology, will establish the Office of the Ombuds for Faculty on a part-time basis. Dr. Michael L. Good, Dean of the College of Medicine said, “I have full confidence in Dr. Stone’s ability to help faculty address problems through impartial listening, understanding and respect.”

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Southern California

KP Southern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in Panorama City.  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."

Northwestern University Faculty Seek Campus Ombuds Program

The NU faculty senate has passed a resolution backing the establishment of an Ombuds program for students, faculty and staff. Senate president Prof. Laurie Zoloth noted that Northwestern's volunteer Ombuds program, which is just for faculty, is not on par with other universities. “I don’t feel entirely comfortable asking people to work for free through the University,” Zoloth told the Daily Northwestern. “At other universities this is a paid service. … It just seemed part of my impulse in being president of Senate to hold Northwestern University’s governing structure up to the standards (of other institutions).”

March 03, 2017

Consultants Explain Why an Ombuds Could Have Helped Uber Steer Clear of Sexual Harassment Crisis

ADR consultants Amanda Dean and Seanan Fong offer their insights on the recent sexual harassment crisis at Uber in an article published earlier this week. Dean and Fong point out four organizational design failures at Uber: The signal ceiling; Fairness and empathy failure; No way to challenge existing conventions; and Perverse effects of well-intentioned cultural values. They explain that an Organizational Ombuds would, "connect the dots, identify trends, and report those upward to the highest level."