June 27, 2017

FCO Elects 2017-19 Board

At a general meeting held during its biennial conference last month, the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman elected new board members for two-year terms.  Johanne Savard, the Ombudsman for the City of Montreal, will serve as the Board Chair.

June 23, 2017

CBA Magazine: Does Your Law Office Need an Ombuds?

The latest issue of official periodical of the Canadian Bar Association, National, features an article explaining why law firms need an Ombuds. The bottom line: "Having an ombudsperson is a signal to lawyers and staff that conflict resolution is a priority." This is particularly important in hierarchical organizations where individuals are not conflict averse.

June 22, 2017

Yeworkwha Belachew: Former Oberlin College Ombuds

Oberlin's founding Ombuds and Director of the campus dispute resolution and restorative justice center, Yeworkwha ("YB") Belachew passed away this week after a long illness.  

June 21, 2017

Holder Report Suggests Ombuds for Uber

In his report to the Uber Board of Directors last week, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recommended the creation of an Ombuds program to improve internal control mechanisms.  The board subsequently adopted all of the recommendations contained in the report.  There are few details about the proposed Ombuds program and there have been no further announcements from the company.  

June 20, 2017

ACGME Launches Ombuds Program

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education -- the not-for-profit that sets educational accreditation standards for US graduate medical education (residency and fellowship) programs and the institutions that sponsors them -- has established an Office of the Ombudsperson. The office offers residents and fellows, "an opportunity to report issues about residency programs and institutions without impacting their accreditation or Recognition status."

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Appoints Ombuds

The FDIC has named M. Anthony Lowe has been appointed the FDIC Ombudsman and Director of the Office of the Ombudsman, effective July 2, 2017. Lowe will be based in Chicago and replaces Cottrell Webster, who retired last year.  

June 19, 2017

International Ombudsman Association Releases 2015 Compensation Report

IOA has published the results of a survey of Ombuds compensation, including salary, bonus, and budget information.  The report is meant to supplement a survey of Ombuds practices released earlier this year.  Members of the professional association were queried in 2016 about compensation rates in 2015.  

Princeton Ombuds Launches Project to Help Women Share Their Stories

In 2014, Wokie Nwabueze, the Ombuds Officer at Princeton University, started interviewing women to collect their wisdom and share their stories.  The effort matured into the Seen & Heard Project which launched earlier this year.  In an interview with author Jennifer Brown, Nwabueze talks about the project and what she sees as the biggest challenges and obstacles for women when it comes to sharing their voice.  Nwabueze also reveals how her own experiences have shaped her ability to become more sensitive, empathetic, and observant.

June 15, 2017

Longtime Ombuds at University of Cincinnati Retires

Lillian Santa Maria, who has served as the Director of the UC Ombuds Office for 23 years, has retired.  She became the University Ombuds in 1994, shortly after the university changed the name from Ombudsman.  During her tenure, the office created several new programs, including student mediation training, and she was honored by the campus for creating a more just climate.  

Ombuds Office at Michigan State University Celebrates Half Century

MSU's Office of the University Ombudsperson is marking fifty years of continuous service. “Being the first office to reach the 50-year milestone really speaks volumes to Michigan State’s commitment to student well-being, student safety and student rights and responsibilities,” said Robert Caldwell, who serves as MSU’s fifth ombudsperson. 

June 13, 2017

Tech Strategist Suggests Ombuds as a Fix for 'Broken' HR System

Writing for Backchannel, the online magazine about the tech industry, Karen Wickre explains why 'HR is broken.' Notable failures include the treatment of Anita Hill and Ellen Pao. She writes, "The stories that have emerged show HR departments that ignore or penalize employees when they complain about harassment." The problem is worse in the tech

June 12, 2017

Faculty Seek Ombuds Programs Across University System of Maryland

The Council of University System Faculty for the University of Maryland will resubmit its recommendation for Ombuds offices for all faculty, staff, and students. Currently, the University System of Maryland has Ombuds programs on just three of its eleven campuses: UM College Park, UM Baltimore (including the schools of nursing and dentistry), and Frostburg State University. 

June 09, 2017

Senator Wants U.S. Parks Ombuds to be More of a Resource for Sexual Harassment Matters

In response to growing complaints of sexual harassment and a lack of leadership on employee misconduct, the National Park Service implemented a range of reforms in 2016, including the creation of an Ombuds Office.  This week, Acting NPS Director gave an update to the Senate and received some credit for the new Ombuds program.  One senator, however, thought that the Ombuds' website was not explicit enough in offering services for employees with sexual harassment concerns. 

Caribbean Ombudsman Association Convenes 9th Annual Conference

The Caribbean Ombudsman Association will hold its 2017 conference in Bonaire next week.  CAROA has 15 members who are mostly Classical Ombuds.  

Here are details from a press release:

June 08, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Endorses Ombuds

In a statement to Department of Energy employees last week, Secretary Rick Perry gave his full support for workplace ADR programs and the DOE Office of the Ombudsman.  Perry said that he, "expect[s] all employees, including managers, to incorporate alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques in daily interactions so that workplace conflicts do not escalate and become destructive." Rita Franklin been the DOE Ombuds since the role was established in 2012.

MIT Adds an Experienced Ombuds

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has named Nick Diehl to fill the position held by Toni Robinson since 1998. Robinson will retire later this summer and makes up half of the MIT Ombuds with Judi Segall

June 07, 2017

Job Posting: Asian Development Bank

The regional development bank headquartered in Manila is hiring its next Ombudsperson. The position reports to the ADB President and functions as an informal grievance resource for all staff members with work place concerns.  The appointment is for a three-year term and may be renewed once. Nick Diehl has served in the position since late 2013 and Angelica ("Gigi") Alejandro is the Programs Officer. 

A Virtual Tour of the Ombuds Office at University of Calgary

UCalgary Ombuds, Kevin Wiens, has raised the bar with a 360° tour of his office.  The short is intended to introduce the Board of Governors to the office.  It was shot in one take.  (YouTube.)

June 02, 2017

Job Posting: African Development Bank Group

The multilateral development finance institution based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire has opened a search for its next Ombuds. The AfDB Office of Ombudsman and Mediator is a designated neutral responsible for impartial, confidential, independent and informal assistance in all staff grievances and complaints related to work place issues.  Amabel Orraca-Ndiaye served in the position from 2009 through 2015.

June 01, 2017

Harvard Students Provide Consulting Services to Two Different Ombuds Programs

Gradaute students with the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program completed clinical projects in the Fall 2016 term that involved Ombuds offices.  

Authors Summarize ACUS Report on Ombuds

In December 2016, the Administrative Conference of the U.S. concluded a year-long review and adopted updated recommendations for Federal Ombuds.  Two of the authors of the report, "The Use of Ombuds in Federal Agencies," Carole Houk and Lauren Marx, have written their own summary.

May 31, 2017

Job Posting: University of California San Francisco

The UCSF Office of the Ombuds is seeking experienced applicants for a full-time Associate Ombuds job. This position will join a four-person collaborative team and provide Ombuds, mediation, group facilitation, and training to faculty, staff, students, and trainees at the premier academic healthcare institution. 

Oberlin College has a New Ombuds

Late last year, Kimberly Jackson Davidson became the Director of the Yeworkwha Belachew Center for Dialogue and Ombudsperson for Oberlin. She had previously served as the position on an interim basis when the founding Ombuds, Yeworkwha Belachew, retired due to health issues. Previously, Davidson was an Associate Dean of Students.

May 30, 2017

Navajo Technical University Debuts Ombuds Program

The tribally controlled land grant university in Crownpoint, New Mexico has opened an Ombuds for administrators, faculty, and staff (but not the 2,000 students). Anne Seagrave Fullerton is the program administrator and she is assisted by Reese Fullerton, Kathy Isaacson, and other individuals as needed. Future plans include the integration of the Navajo Peacemaker Court services and training. 

Internship: United Nations Funds and Programmes

The Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes is accepting applications for an unpaid internship in its New York headquarters. The position is full-time and will last four to six months. Duties will depend include supporting the office's mediation training, and outreach and advocacy.

May 25, 2017

Job Posting: University of Ottawa

The bilingual public university in Ontario is hiring an Ombudsperson, to lead an office that serves the entire campus, including nearly 42,000 students. The uOttawa Ombuds is not a university employee of the University nor affiliated with any student associations. The Office of the Ombudsperson is funded jointly by the student associations and the University.  The position has been held by Lucie Allaire since 2010.  

May 23, 2017

Job Posting: UC Davis

The University of California Davis is hiring two full-time Associate Ombuds.  One will replace an employee who recently left, Lisa Brodkey, and the other position will be designated primarily to the UC Davis Medical Center.  Both will report to the Campus Ombuds, Katherine Greenwood

May 22, 2017

Job Posting: University of Oregon

UO has opened a search for an Assistant Ombuds and Director of Conflict Resolution Services. The full-time position will provide Ombuds services, primarily to students, and direct a conflict resolution program. This position works under the direction and supervision of the University Ombudsperson, Brett Harris, with dotted line reporting to the Office of the Dean of Students. When filled, the position will increase the size of the Ombuds Office and move the student conflict resolution program away from the Dean of Students office.

May 19, 2017

Job Posting: National Lawyers Guild

The progressive public interest association is hiring its first Ombudsperson for a two-year appointment. According to an internal announcement, "The National Lawyers Guild has recently decided to appoint an Ombudsperson to assist the organization with managing complaints and unresolved conflict that arises in Guild spaces." Although the NLG Ombuds is independent, neutral, and confidential, it is designated as an agent for notice and has a contractual duty to notify leadership of complaints within five days.

The New School Names Ombuds

The private university in New York City has appointed Ann-Louise Shapiro as its next Faculty and Staff Ombuds. Shapiro has been a professor at The New School's Lang College and also served as dean. Previously, she was a professor at Wesleyan University where she taught social research. She is a specialist in the social and cultural history of modern Paris. 

May 18, 2017

Wheelock College Opens Ombuds Office

The small, private, liberal arts college in Boston has appointed Elaine Markoff as its first Ombudsperson.  Markoff provides services to all members of the Wheelock College community, including about 1,200 students.

IOA Ombuds Training Returns to San Diego

The International Ombudsman Association will offer three training programs for Organizational Ombuds in San Diego, CA in July 2017.  The offerings are aimed at aspiring and novice Ombuds.


May 17, 2017

Registration Opens for Fifth Annual FCO/Osgoode Ombuds Certificate Program

The Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and Osgoode Professional Development (of Osgoode Hall Law School, York University) will offer their certificate program, Essentials for Ombuds, September 25-29, 2017 in downtown Toronto. 

May 16, 2017

Job Posting: Beacon Health Options, Florida

The managed behavioral health organization is hiring an Ombudsperson to provide confidential, neutral assistance to members from its office in Miami. "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. 

Internship: New Jersey Courts

The New Jersey Judiciary Ombudsman Program is seeking an unpaid intern for a one-semester commitment. Interns will assist the Ombuds explaining how to complete court forms and explaining court procedures, referring court users to services and resources, and helping litigants utilize with various Family Court matters, Landlord/Tenant issues, Small Claims matters and/or criminal expungements. The position is open only to students. (GovernmentJobs; NJ Courts Ombuds.)

Montgomery College Ombuds Starts Bi-monthly Column

Montgomery College's Ombuds, Julie Schwartz Weber, has started a regular column in the campus newsletter.  She aims to provide conflict resolution and Ombuds information, and will respond to reader suggestions. The first column focuses on the parameters of her confidentiality (which follow IOA standards). (Inside MC.)

May 15, 2017

Job Posting: Utah Valley University

The public university in Orem is hiring a full-time Ombudsperson. The position will serve as the Ombuds for the campus community, including about 33,000 students.  Previously, the position was part-time and served only students.  Maren Turnidge has been the UVU Ombuds since 2013.  

Task Force Report Moves Syracuse University Closer to Implementing Ombuds Office

Last week a task force appointed by the Syracuse University Chancellor on Friday released a report making 18 recommendations to improve campus diversity and inclusion.  One recommendation called for the implementation of an IOA-compliance Ombuds program:


May 12, 2017

Job Posting: United Nations, Uganda

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a temporary Conflict Resolution Officer in Entebbe.  The position will provide Ombuds and conflict resolution services to UN staff in the region including UNMISS, UNAMID, UNISFA, and RSCE. (The posting does not state the duration of the appointment.)

May 11, 2017

Job Posting (Request for Proposals): UN Development Programme

The United Nations' global development network seeks proposals for Conflict Resolution On-Call Expert.  The position reports to the Office of the Ombudsman for UN Funds and Programmes and provides Ombuds and dispute resolution services to staff members and non-staff personnel of the UN Funds and Programmes (including UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and UN Women).  The contract position is "home based" for for up to three years and starts June 15, 2017.  Some travel is required.

Job Posting: Rogers Bank

The Canadian financial services company and wholly-owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications is hiring a Deputy Ombudsperson for a 12-month maternity leave coverage. Reporting to Rogers Ombudsperson, the position works with customers and regulators, and "ensures that the integrity of the office is maintained through independence, fair process, neutrality, impartiality, confidentiality and timely attention to resolution of issues." 

Wake Tech Ombuds Posts an Introductory Video

Wake Technical Community College's new Ombuds, Jerry Nuesell, recently wandered the campus with a video crew to ask students if they knew what he does.  The short piece is humorous and engaging and includes a good overview of the Ombuds Office.  (YouTube.)

May 10, 2017

Job Posting: South Carolina Department of Education

The state education agency is hiring an Education Associate (Ombudsman) to work with parents of students with disabilities and school districts and other state agencies. According to the SCDE Ombuds website, each case is handled, "with confidentiality, neutrality, informality, and independence." (Wanda Davis established the position last spring.) The position is located in the Office of Special Education Services in Columbia, SC.

Organization of News Ombudsmen Sets 2017 Conference in Chennai

The international non-profit organization for News Ombuds and Readers' Representatives will hold its annual conference in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India October 22-25, 2017. David Levy, Director of the Reuters Institute for the study of Journalism at Oxford will offer a keynote on public trust in the media.  (ONO Conf Info.)

May 09, 2017

Job Posting: Metropolitan State University

The public university in downtown Denver has opened a search for an Ombuds Officer.  The position reports administratively to the Associate to the President for Diversity and practices to IOA standards. The MSU Ombuds serves faculty, staff, administrators, student-employees and external stakeholders. 

Halliburton Adds an Ombuds

Becky Killgore has joined the Halliburton Dispute Resolution Program as a Corporate Ombudsman.  Previously, she was an Ombuds/Conflict Coach at Texas Tech University for six years.  She is also a graduate of Texas Tech. (LinkedIn.)

Caseload Manager Adds IOA Database Categories

The commercial case management system for ADR programs has added IOA reporting categories to increase the utility for Ombuds offices.  Caseload Manager says that it is used by over 140 ADR programs, including the Ombuds offices at ICANN and South Texas College.  The cost for Caseload Manager is $1,750 for multiple users, plus a monthly or annual subscription that depends on the number of new cases.   (Caseload Manager for Ombuds.)

May 08, 2017

UC Merced Hires Assistant Ombuds

The University of California Merced has hired Henok Elias as its an Assistant Ombudsperson. Elias was previously the Ombuds at the University of North Dakota and he joins Callale Concon and serves a fast-growing campus.  (UCM Ombuds.)

University of Texas Medical Branch Names Faculty Ombuds

The academic health center in Galveston has appointed Cary W. Cooper as its next Faculty Ombudsperson.  Cooper is an Adjunct Faculty member, having retired in 2013 as Vice President and Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  As Ombuds, he will work with faculty on a part-time basis.