December 28, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 3)


The annual recap of the top ten Ombuds stories concludes today. Next week, readers will have a chance to express their opinion and vote on the list.




December 27, 2018

Job Posting: World Health Organization, Congo

The UN agency that focuses on international public health is hiring a Regional Ombudsman to be based in Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo. The full-time position will serve an initial two-year contract. Issa Sanou has held the post since 2008.

December 26, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 2)


Here now is the second installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2018, numbers 7-4. The list will continue, Friday, December 28.




December 21, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 1)


Here now is the first installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2018 and a few runners-up. The list will continue, Wednesday, December 26.



Job Posting: Maricopa County

Arizona's most populous county is hiring its next Ombudsman's Office Director. This is an External Ombuds position that follows IOA standards. "This position is an opportunity to be a part of a collaborative and empowering team that supports the citizens of the 4th largest county in the nation by enhancing customer engagement with Maricopa County government and fostering public servant leadership principles across departments to improve service delivery, transparency, and public trust." Kathryn Garcia has held the position for the past two years. 

December 19, 2018

Job Posting: Frederick County Public Schools

The public school system in Maryland has opened a search for its first Ombuds. The position will be, "an independent, neutral entity to facilitate processes by which the Board of Education’s policies and FCPS regulations are implemented with fidelity, equity and consistency across the school system." It is expected to comply with IOA standards. 

Michigan State University Hires Assistant Ombuds

MSU has hired Ryan T. Smith for its open Assistant University position. Smith started earlier this month and reports to Shannon Lynn Burton, who was promoted to University Ombudsperson in June 2018. Smith comes to MSU after a five year stint as Assistant Director and Interim Director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at the University of Denver. He has worked in higher education since 2010. 

University of Washington Ombuds Offers Advice About Work Etiquette

Last week Chuck Sloane, the University Ombud at UW, was a guest on KUOW, the NPR station in Seattle. Host Bill Radke asked Sloane and Meghan Doherty, author of How Not To Be A Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide, some essential work etiquette questions. The leadin question was: "Is it OK for your boss to ask about your personal life at work?"  The full, 13-minute interview is available online. (KUOW.)

University of Tennessee Staff Ombuds to Retire

Elaine Wynn, who has served as UT Knoxville’s Staff Ombudsperson since December 2009, has announced that she will retire at the end of the year. Faculty Ombuds Bill Nugent step up to fill both roles on an interim basis. The university plans to consolidate the two position by the spring and will open an internal search shortly. (UTK News.)

December 18, 2018

UC Davis Hires Another Ombuds

The University of California Davis Ombuds Office (which also covers UC Davis Health in Sacramento) has hired Lindsey Dunning as an Associate Ombuds. Lindsey steps into this newly created position at UC Davis with significant mediation and conflict resolution experience.  She joins two other Associate Ombuds, Dana Hinojosa and Lauren Bloom, and reports to the Campus Ombuds, Katherine Greenwood.

American Economic Association Considering an Ombuds Service for Members

The professional association of American economists has appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on the Professional Climate in Economics to consider ideas that might improve the professional climate for women and members of underrepresented groups. In a report issued earlier this year, the committee made several recommendations, including the creation of an Ombuds program. The AEA committee recommended following the example of the American Philosophical Association:

New Law Would Require Ombuds at Every University in India

India's University Grants Commission, which set standards for higher education, has issued a draft regulation that would require grievance mechanisms for all institutions. The new law requires colleges and universities to have an Ombuds to hear from students with concerns about decision of the grievance redressal committees. 

December 17, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Intro)

This is the ninth annual summary of the most important news items about Organizational Ombuds. (The first year of this feature was a ten-year recap of 2000-2009.) The list comes in three installments and concludes on December 27.  In the first week of January, readers will have the chance to vote on what they thought of the year. 

Before the list of top ten stories starts next week, here are some other notable items from 2018:



December 14, 2018

IOA Announces New Board Members for 2019

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the results of the annual election for its 2019 Board of Directors. Following the Business Meeting at the annual conference in New Orleans in April, three directors will begin three-year terms on the IOA Board. Two directors were reelected and there was one new member elected:

December 12, 2018

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services has re-opened a search for a Chief of Service. The position reports to the new UN Ombudsman, Shireen L. Dodson. The position is based in New York and directs the work of seven regional Ombuds offices, in addition to working as an Ombuds. Significant travel is required. Gang Li is currently the Acting Chief of Office.  

USOA Sets 2019 Conference in Hawaii

The United States Ombudsman Association has announced that it will hold its 40th Annual Conference September 18-20, 2019 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu, HI.  Pre-conference workshops will be offered September 16-17, 2019.  Details of the 2019 Annual Conference will be posted as they become available. 

December 11, 2018

Job Posting: University of California Berkeley

The flagship campus of the UC system has opened a search for an Assistant Ombudsperson. The position is in the Ombuds Office for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees and reports to Director Marcia Gee Riley. The search will fill a position held by Sunny Lee, who has moved to the Dean of Students Office, and then on an interim basis by Amanda Dean since August 2017. 

Animation Explains Why Students Come to the KU Ombuds

A new animated video from the University of Kansas Ombuds explains, "How the Ombuds Office Can Help." This is the second YouTube post from KU's Ombuds DA Graham and Faculty Ombuds Maria Orive this year. (YouTube.)

December 10, 2018

University of Twente Plans New Ombuds Program

The public research university located in Enschede, Netherlands (Universiteit Twente) is working on introducing its first Ombudsperson. The announcement was made by at a meeting organized by the Female Faculty Network Twente. According to the independent UT campus newspaper:

Algonquin's Expanded Ombuds Office Manages Growing Caseload

Last year, Algonquin's Ombudsman, George E. Cole, brought on two new people to work with the growing student population across three different campuses in Ontario. Carley Davidson was hired in September 2017 as the Ombudsman Officer and Barbara Carswell joined the office in December 2017 as the Assistant Ombudsman. The Algonquin College Ombuds program handled 475 cases in 2016-17, a 4% increase from the prior year. Meanwhile, the college continues to report record enrollments.

December 07, 2018

IOA Seeks Applications for International Scholarships to 2019 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will sponsor aspiring Ombuds to attend its annual conference in New Orleans next April. Depending on the number of applicants, the IOA International Outreach Committee will award full or partial funding toward travel and accommodation to the conference and may waive registration fees for the pre-conference course “Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice.” 

Ithaca College Looking at a Different Kind of Ombuds

Members of the Faculty Counsel at the private liberal arts college in central New York have reached some decisions about the role of a new Ombuds position. The plan would create an Ombuds significantly different from the model adopted by the vast majority of U.S. colleges and universities, which have chosen to follow IOA standards. Most significantly, the Ithaca Ombuds would not be a neutral resource and would have oversight over some faculty programs. The current proposal would have the Ombuds be a tenured faulty member, serving on a part-time basis, appointed to a three-year term, and reporting to HR.

December 06, 2018

Job Posting: Villanova University

The private Catholic university in southeast Pennsylvania is hiring its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The part-time (8-10 hours/week), nine-month position will serve about 600 faculty with academic and workplace concerns. The position will practice to IOA standards and report to the Vice Provost for Academics, the Chair of the Faculty Rights & Responsibilities Committee, and, as needed, to the President. 

December 05, 2018

Job Posting: City of Seattle

As promised by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in September, the city has opened a search for a Director of a new Office of Employee Ombud. "The Office of the Employee Ombud (OEO) will operate beginning 2019 with the mission to support employees experiencing a workplace that conflicts with the City of Seattle's workplace expectations meant to create an inclusive, safe, and welcoming workplace environment." Reassuringly, the job duties including "preserving employee confidentiality," an ethical tenet of Ombuds practice that was notably missing from Mayor Durkan's first announcement.

IOA Posts List of Regional and Sector Ombuds Groups

The International Ombudsman Association has published a list of "Regional/Sector-Specific Ombuds Groups." Some of the groups have an IOA connection, but some of the other groups have a tradition and culture of being an alternative to IOA. Many Ombuds supplement their networking and professional development through one or more of these groups. 

December 04, 2018

University of Michigan Names First Staff Ombuds

U-M has selected Jacqueline Bowman to open and lead its new Office of the Staff Ombuds starting in early 2019.  Bowman will serve non-academic employees on the Ann Arbor campus and from Michigan Medicine, and report to the university's Executive VP and CFO.  Bowman has worked at the University of Michigan since 2008; she is currently the Lead Counselor and Program Specialist in the Center for the Education of Women.

Syracuse University Promises Ombuds Appointment by Year End

Interim University Ombuds Samuel Clemence says that a permanent director will be in place by the end of December. A search for the full-time position opened in February. Clemence says that he has worked on 60 cases since he started on February 13, 2018. (Daily Orange.)

December 03, 2018

Group Forms for Ombuds in Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Chinyere Ukabiala, the Ombuds at Grinnell College in Iowa has founded OSLAC - a group of Ombuds in Small Liberal Arts Colleges across the nation, to share best practices and innovative ideas. The group was established to connect Ombuds practitioners with each other, and meet the unique needs and challenges of ombuds practicing solo in small liberal arts institutions. 

November 30, 2018

International Ombudsman Association Selects New Management Company for 2019

The IOA Board of Directors has awarded a contract to SBI Association Management for professional services, effective the first of the year. SBI is located in Seattle and serves 38 clients, including nine other international associations. SBI has 32 employees and is accredited through the AMC Institute.

Budget Cuts Lead to End of Pasadena Schools Ombuds Program

After just two years, the public school district in Southern California has shuttered its Ombuds office due to budget cuts. It was one of a relatively few IOA-compliant public school programs. Esther C. Salinas, who was the inaugural PUSD Ombuds Officer has become the HR director for the school district in Yuba City California. (LinkedIn.)

New Handbook Surveys Public Sector Ombuds


The just-published Research Handbook on the Ombudsman, edited by Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham, looks at Public Sector Ombudsman and their work as important administrative justice institutions in many countries around the world. The publisher's blurb says: 

November 27, 2018

Halliburton Adds an Ombuds

The Halliburton Dispute Resolution Program has hired Jai Calloway as an Dispute Resolution Analyst to perform Ombuds work. Calloway is new to conflict resolution, but has a background in legal support, qualitative research and training development. 

Confederation College Ombuds Recaps 2017-18

In her annual report, College Ombudsperson Kim Morgan said that the past academic year, "was marked by a five-week long academic strike which impacted not only students and their families but funders, faculty and staff." Despite the strike and the disrupted academic calendar, Morgan's caseload rose slightly to an all-time hige of 136, up about 2% from the prior year. The number of non-traditional students declined significantly, and was offset by an increase in the number of students ages 21-25. She also noted an increase in the number of telephone appointments.

Ombuds and the Exit Interview

A recent article in the U.S. News & World Report mentions Ombuuds as possible resource for confidential exit interview. However, the article points out that some other exit interview processes may not be as confidential. The article also quotes Vik Kapoor, an Ombuds with FEMA, who also works as a career coach. He recommends employees prepare for an exit interview so they can be honest, but constructive. 

November 26, 2018

Job Posting: Safer Care Victoria

The Department of Health and Human Services agency that oversees and supports health services is hiring its second Independent Facilitator. Based in North Eastern Victoria, the position is an "independent, neutral and confidential resource for employees of designated Victorian health services, providing informal assistance and support to employees regarding workplace issues, concerns or complaints." The job practices to IOA standards. 

November 23, 2018

Job Posting: Rhode Island School of Design

The top-ranked fine arts and design college in Providence has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The part-time position will provide services to students, faculty and staff who have concerns arising from or affecting their work and studies at RISD. It is located within the Office of Social Equity & Inclusion, but few other details about the Ombuds program have been publicized.

Job Posting: County of Santa Clara

The county in Silicon Valley, California is hiring a Senior Mediator with significant Ombuds duties. In addition to providing ADR services (including Ombuds work), the Senior Mediator also provides professional training and development efforts in the fields of ADR and/or Ombuds. 

November 21, 2018

Public Service Commission of Canada Appoints Ombuds

The government agency that safeguards diversity and bilingualism in the Canadian public service has named Maria Tsourounakis as its Ombudsman. The new program was created in response to a report by the Privy Council Clerk that reviewed the civil service culture and handling of harassment harassment are handled, and which recommended the creating of an Ombuds program. Tsourounakis will serve as a confidential, neutral, independent, and informal resource for PSC employees with workplace issues. 

November 20, 2018

Columbia University Ombuds Reports Healthy Increase in Visitor Traffic

Last week, Columbia University Ombuds Officer Joan C. Waters presented her annual report to the faculty senate. Although the report is not published, the Columbia Spectator provided this summary:

Job Posting: Austin Community College District

The community college system in Central Texas has re-opened its internal search for its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The position is open only to current full-time faculty members. The ACC Faculty Ombuds will report to the provost and provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty members and students with concerns about a faculty member. An early search ran in May 2018 and coincided with an external search for a Staff Ombuds, which has not been announced yet.

November 19, 2018

Job Posting: United Nations, Uganda

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a Senior Conflict Resolution Officer to be based in Entebbe.  This position heads the Regional Ombudsman's Office and supervises three Conflict Resolution Officers and one Administrative Assistant. The position is currently held by Youssoupha Niang.

UC Riverside to Host Southern California Ombuds

University of California Riverside Ombuds Andrew Larratt-Smith is hosting a meeting of the Southern California Ombuds Group on Monday, December 3rd.  Geared towards members of the Ombuds community and those interested in Ombuds work, the event starts at 8:30 am with breakfast (the program starts at 9 am) and run until about 3 pm. Immediately following, UCR will be hosting a lecture and reception to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ombuds Office. 

November 16, 2018

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a full-time Conflict Resolution Officer for a permanent position. The position will provide Ombuds and other conflict resolution services to UN headquarters staff in New York, but some travel may be required. 

Conference at The Hague to Consider Ombuds for International Aid Organizations

On November 21, 2018, the International Institute of Social Studies and the Platform for Humanitarian Knowledge Exchange in the Netherlands will hold a symposium to present their report on the need for an International Ombuds. The presentation will be followed by a debate.

November 15, 2018

University of Nebraska-Lincoln to Reopen Faculty Ombuds Program

According to a report in the Lincoln Journal Star, the state's flagship public university soon will appoint a Faculty Ombudsperson. UNL ended the position years ago because of budget constraints and has only Ombuds programs for staff and students. The decision to reappoint a Faculty Ombuds came from the Faculty Senate, which has pointed out that the university's bylaws require the position.

Video Features Ohio University's Ombuds

In a new video posted by OU's communications department, Mac Strickland explains his role as the University Ombudsperson. He explains what he does, who he works with, and more. (OU Compass.)

November 14, 2018

IOA Brings Ombuds Training Course to New Mexico


The International Ombudsman Association will offer its signature training program on January 28-30, 2019 at the Hotel Albuquerque. "Foundations" provides the primary training for new Organizational Ombuds.


Ombuds Blogger Chris LeHatte on Restorative Justice

In his latest blog post, Chris LaHatte delves into the topic of restorative justice and how the practice relates to the work of Organizational Ombuds. Because he works in New Zealand, where Classical Ombudsmen predominate, LaHatte takes time to explain fully the standards for Organizational Ombuds. He concludes that restorative justice is a natural fit for the role.

November 13, 2018

UC Riverside Ombuds Marks Half Century

The Office of the Ombuds at the University of California Riverside is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  University Ombuds Andrew Larratt-Smith is inviting people to a commemorative party on December 3, 2018. There will be opening remarks by the Provost followed by a brief history of the office as well as where the office fits in currently at UCR.  Items of historical importance to the office will also be on display. (UCR Events.)

University Corporation for Atmospheric Research to Expand Ombuds Office

The nonprofit university consortium in Boulder, Colorado, is looking to add a third person to its Ombuds program. Currently, UCAR has two Ombuds, Jeff Weber and Cindy Bruyere, who also have other staff duties. The organization is hoping for a volunteer from its lab in Mesa to provide geographic balance. The application period closes at the end of the month so that the new Ombuds can be sent for training. (UCAR Announcements.)