May 24, 2018

Job Posting: Global Green Growth Institute

The international organization headquartered in Seoul is looking for an External Ombudsman to establish a Respectful Workplace Advisors program and to Ombuds/Mediation support services. The part-time consultancy is expected to require 40 work days and can be performed remotely. The position reports to GGGI's Head of Human Resources. The one-year contract begins June 2018.

May 23, 2018

University of Southern California Renews Promise to Create Ombuds Program

After the revelation of another high profile scandal that led 200 faculty to call for the removal of the university president yesterday, USC has reiterated its promise to appoint its first Ombuds. The latest unfolding scandal involves the university's response to sexual-misconduct allegations against a longtime student health center gynecologist. In recent years, USC has also dealt with two medical school deans accused of misconduct, fundraising executive accused of sexual harassment, and arrest of an assistant basketball coach on fraud charges. In an open, 20-page letter, USC President Max Nikias said that the university was moving ahead with plans to create an Ombuds program.

University of Cincinnati Names Associate Ombuds

Alicia Booker has been appointed as the Associate Ombudsperson for the public research university in Ohio. She will report to Kim Fulbright and provide Ombuds services to UC's 55,0000 students, staff, and faculty. 

University of California Berkeley Hires Assistant Ombuds

Earlier this year, Evan Lutz was hired by the UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Office as an Assistant Ombudsperson for a one-year contract. He reports to Director, Sara Thacker, and works with Assistant Ombuds, Julia Horvath, to provide Ombuds services for all non-senate employees.

May 22, 2018

Job Posting: National Reconnaissance Office

The U.S. Department of Defense agency and one of the "big five" U.S. intelligence agencies is hiring an Assistant Ombuds. Located in the NRO Office of the Ombuds and Grievance Officer, the position serves as an impartial, neutral, independent and confidential channel for informal conflict transformation. The job is based in Chantilly, VA and some travel is required.

Job Posting: Austin Community College District

The community college system in Central Texas has opened a search for its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The position is open only to current full-time faculty members. The AC C Ombuds will report to the provost and provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty members and students with concerns about a faculty member. (ACC enrolls over 60,000 students.) The appointment is for three years, subject to an annual review and renewal. It is not clear whether it will be full-time or something less.

New Ombudsmen to Gather in Netherlands for Annual Conference

The Organization of News Ombudsmen will hold its 2018 conference in the Netherlands, June 3 to 6.  The theme of this year’s conference is Building Trust – Tools and Ideas for Ombudsmen, Public Editors and Standards Editors to rebuild public belief in news media.  (ONO Blog.)

May 21, 2018

Job Posting: United Health Services

The regional not-for-profit health care system based in Binghamton, New York, is hiring a Talent Management Specialist. The position has many characteristics in common with an Organizational Ombuds. In addition to organizational development work and training responsibilities, the position also, "serves as a confidential, neutral, informal resource for employees with work-related concerns; analyzes and assists and/or refers, as appropriate."

University of Toronto Expands Ombuds Services to All Campuses

Following the recommendation of its Ombudsperson, Ellen Hodnett, the University of Toronto’s Ombuds Office will expand its physical presence campuses at Mississauga and Scarborough. “Nothing takes the place, or offers the fundamental value, of face-to-face meetings,” says Hodnett, who is completing her initial three-year term at the end of June and has just been re-appointed for an additional one-year term. 

Australian and New Zealand Meet in Wellington

100 Ombudsmen and staff will come together in Wellington this week for the biennial conference of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association. With a theme of 'Checks and Balances', the ANZOA conference will focus on six benchmarks—accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

May 16, 2018

University System of Maryland Strips Ombuds of Most Confidentiality

Yesterday, the twelve institutions that comprise Maryland's public university system, were notified that its Ombuds programs cannot keep confidential any matter that may fall under Title IX or the Clery Act. A memo to the USM Presidents said that any Ombuds proram must follow guidelines recently approved and adopted by USM administrators and the State Attorney General. In addition to mandatory reporting of gender discrimination, crimes, and safety issues, University Ombuds now are required to notify visitors of the limits of confidentiality and maintain a record of that disclosure in their files.  

May 14, 2018

Office of Attorney General of Texas Appoints Ombuds

Katie Manderson has been hired as the next Employee Ombudsman for the Texas OAG. The will be based in Austin and provide conflict management and dispute resolution services for over 4,000 employees statewide. For the past five years, Manderson has been an Associate Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of State. 

Winthrop University Moves to Establish an Ombuds Office

Faculty at the public liberal arts university in Rock Hill, South Carolina are considering a proposal to create an Ombuds Office for its 850 faculty and staff. An advisory committee has drafted IOA-compliant terms of reference and charter for the program. A draft of the proposal was presented to Faculty Conference for feedback at it's regular meeting in April 2018. 

New Brandeis Ombuds to Speak at CADR Conference

Don Greenstein, who joined the Ombuds Office at Brandeis University earlier this year, will speak at The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution's 2018 Annual Conference. Greenstein will present a concurrent session on “Collaboratively Creating an Organizational Ombuds Office.” CADR's 30th annual event,  “Managing Conflict and Removing Barriers to Collaborative Decision Making,” is set for June 21-22, 2018 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, MD. (CADR Conf Agenda.)

May 09, 2018

University of Delaware Faculty Vote to Create Ombuds Program

Last week, faculty at Delaware's largest university voted in support of an Ombuds program for all campus stakeholders. The proposal came out of a coalition of faculty groups promoting a more inclusive environment led by the Women’s Caucus. A report from an ad hoc faculty senate committee made detailed recommendations about the services and features of an Ombuds program, but did not reference IOA standards. (Although confidentiality and informality were highlighted, there was no mention of the need for independence or neutrality.)

May 08, 2018

IOA Offers Training in Irvine, California

The International Ombudsman Association will offer two training programs for Organizational Ombuds in Orange County in July 2018. The Foundations course provides the primary training for new Organizational Ombuds. The second course is designed for Ombuds who have have completed Foundations but have not been trained as mediators.

May 07, 2018

Ombuds Program at ETH Zurich Roiled After Controversy

Last year, the leading Swiss engineering and technology university, dramatically closed its Institute of Astronomy after the Ombudspersons raised issues of bullying by a prominent professor.  This spring, ETH announced that the two Ombuds, professors Maryvonne Landolt and Wilfred F. Gunsteren, would not be reappointed because they were "too old" at ages 70 and 72. The two Ombuds, however, openly questioned that the decision had more to do with the scandal. They also revealed emails showing that university administrators had pressured them last year not to surface the complaints.

National Institutes of Health Initiates Lecture Series to Honor First Ombuds

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman kicks of a lecture series in honor of its first Ombudsman, Howard Gadlin, who retired in 2015. The inaugural NIH Gadlin Lecture will be given by renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal on Thursday, May 10, 2018. 

May 04, 2018

Job Posting: World Health Organization

The UN agency that focuses on international public health is hiring a Regional Ombudsman. The three-quarter time position will be based in Copenhagen for a two-year contract.  The Regional Ombudsman practices to IOA standards and reports to the WHO Ombuds, José Martínez-Aragón.  

May 03, 2018

New Ombuds Serves Trainees at Northwestern University's Medical School

Last summer, Lisa Rone, became the first Ombudsperson for the students, residents, and fellows at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Rone is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She was chosen "because she is a neutral, third-party physician who is not otherwise involved with the academic promotion or evaluation of Feinberg students, residents and fellows and who is committed to ensuring that students, residents and fellows are treated fairly and equitably." 

Internship: International Organization for Migration

The IOM Office of the Ombudsperson is seeking an intern for a six-month position in Geneva. Reporting to the Ombudsperson, Rogelio Bernal, the intern will support work with other colleagues in the Field Missions and IOM Headquarters. The intern will provide case management and assistance with the intake and follow-up of cases, including the compilation of statistics and the preparation of regular reports.

May 01, 2018

Save the Date: Ombuds Day 2018

Organizers of the very first "Ombuds Day" are seeking help: with an in-person launch in DC; coordination of an online campaign; and/or creating shared materials for Ombuds to use for their own events. The goal is for all Ombuds to create their own synchronized celebrations or events worldwide.

Eötvös Loránd University to Create Ombuds Program

The four-century old public research university in Budapest, Hungary, is in the process of appointing its first Ombuds. Administrators creating the office hope the Ombuds will "support the development of a tolerant and inclusive university environment and the effective handling of complaints for university stakeholders." Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy, ELTE's Rector of Student Affairs is leading the effort and was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the IOA conference in Richmond, Virginia. The appointment of the first ELTE Ombuds is expected later this year. (ELTE News; ELTE Ombuds.)

Pfizer Ombuds Ready to Address #MeToo Claims

Last month, Pfizer Ombudsman Timothy Shore recorded a podcast for Jackson Lewis, the American workplace law firm, and participated on a panel for the firm's conference. Shore explained how Ombuds help solve some of the issues around harassment claims in the wake of the #MeToo movement. 

Ombuds Program at Colorado State University Uncertain

Lanai Greenhalgh, who led the CSU Ombuds program since 2009 has announced that she is leaving this week to be with family out of state. Diana Prieto, associate vice president for human capital said, “She has been a key player in all the consult teams across campus, and she will be sorely missed.” Greenhalgh has also been the director of the campus Employee Assistance Program.

April 30, 2018

ENOHE and ACCUO Announce Agenda for 2018 Conference in Scotland

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education and Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons have announced the agenda for their joint conference on June 6-8, 2018 at the University of Edinburgh. 

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente San Francisco

KP Northern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in San Francisco.  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 27, 2018

Job Posting: State Bar of Texas

The administrative agency of the Texas Supreme Court is hiring an Ombudsman for the Attorney Discipline System. The first-of-its-kind position serves the public with concerns about the attorney discipline system, especially the filing of attorney grievances, but does not draft complaints or act as an advocate for members of the public. The position was created by amendments to the Texas State Bar Act in 2017

Experienced Ombuds Moves to University of Ottawa

Martine Conway has been named the new Ombudsperson for the University of Ottawa in Ontario. Previously, she had been the Ombuds for the University of Victoria, in British Columbia for nearly two decades. Conway will lead an office at uOttawa that serves the entire campus, including 42,000 students. 

April 26, 2018

Job Posting: University of Michigan

The large public university in Ann Arbor has opened a search for its first Staff Ombudsperson.  The position will establish an Ombuds program to serve nearly 20,000 UM non-academic employees.  The full-time position reports directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. 

Job Posting: San Jose State University

The California State University campus in Silicon Valley seeks applications for its next University Ombudsperson. The full-time, solo position serves as a conflict resolution resource for 33,000 students and is administratively located within the Division of Student Affairs. For the past two years, Evelyn Castillo Ramos has been the SDSU Ombuds. 

April 24, 2018

IOA Board Elects 2018 Officers

Today, at its 13th annual conference in Richmond, Virginia, the International Ombudsman Association Board of the Directors selected its officers for the 2018-19 term:

April 23, 2018

Scholarships Brings Two International Recipients to 2018 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association sponsored two individuals to attend its annual conference in Virginia to support their work that is advancing the Ombuds profession outside the U.S. and Canada. The recipients this year were:

IOA Honors 2017 Distinguished Emeriti

At a short ceremony on the first day of its annual conference, the International Ombudsman Association honored four former Ombuds who retired in 2017 or earlier. The award recognizes outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and Ombuds profession. This year's recipients are:

April 21, 2018

University of California Santa Barbara Onboards Two New Ombuds

David Rasch, who recently retired after 14 years as the University Ombuds at Stanford, has joined the staff at UCSB on an interim basis as an Associate Ombuds. In addition, Megan DeBrito has been hired as an Assistant Ombuds. (Shauna Shea, who joined the office in February 2017, has departed.)

April 20, 2018

Job Posting: Pfizer, Latin America

The Pfizer Office of the Ombudsman is hiring a part-time, contract Ombuds to support their office in Latin America region. The position preferably will be based in Brazil or Mexico, and works with the four Pfizer Ombuds: Sue Diviney, Elaine Shaw, Elizabeth Lopez, and Adam Learman.

April 19, 2018

IOA 2018 Conference Nutshell

The International Ombudsman Association holds its 13th annual conference next week at the Richmond Marriott in Virginia. Here are links to prior Ombuds Blog posts about the event:

April 18, 2018

Dartmouth to Leave Ombuds Position Unfilled

The private Ivy League college in New Hampshire is giving up on its effort to recruit an Ombudsperson. The part-time position, which served non-union staff and faculty, has been vacant since the departure of Sean Nolon last summer. The search committee said that the main duties of the position could be provided by a new outside EAP contractor.

April 17, 2018

Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles Creates Ombuds Program

DSA-LA, one of the largest chapters of the national organization, has created a conflict resolution team, "to ensure members have the support they need to constructively work through organizational conflict, and that our chapter addresses misconduct thoughtfully and consistently." The new program includes "Ombudspersons [who] are available for voluntary appointments with members to provide support, coaching, and mediation aimed at navigating conflict." 

April 16, 2018

Investment Firm PIMCO Appoints Ombuds for Staff

Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC , one of the world's largest investment management firms, has appointed its first Ombuds. The move appears to come in response a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed in state court. In an email to industry newspaper Pensions & Investments, a PIMCO spokesperson said that the company had named its first Ombuds: 

University of Nebraska Omaha Seeks Internal Ombuds

Shereen Bingham, the UNO University Ombuds, will be hiring a part-time Ombuds to join the three-person team. Only current staff members are eligible. The UNO Ombuds Services works with faculty, staff, and 15,000 students. Bingham will be leading a session at the IOA conference next week. (UNO News.)

April 12, 2018

Student Ombuds for Austria Posts 2016-17 Report

The Austrian Student Ombudsman, Josef Leidenfrost, has published his annual report for the 2016-17 academic year.  The summary--which is submitted to the Federal Ministry for Science, Research and Economy, and to the Parliament--covers issues from about 70 public and private colleges, universities, and institutes, and 409,000 students.  The report said the Ombudsman received 487 cases and directly resolved 74% and just 13% could not be settled.

University of Iowa Selects Faculty Ombuds

UI has named Rachel Williams as its next Faculty Ombudsperson, filling a position that will be vacated by the retirement of  Susan Johnson this summer. Williams is an Associate Professor with a joint appointment the School of Art & Art History and Gender Women's & Sexuality Studies. She will serve as Ombuds part time and joins Cynthia Joyce, the University Ombudsperson, and Kristal Gibson, Associate Ombudsperson (who joined the office in July 2017).

April 11, 2018

Job Posting: Fairfax County Public Schools

The large public school system in northern Virginia is hiring its first Family & Student Ombudsman. The position, "Serves as an independent, confidential resource, assisting students, families, and community members by providing formal and informal assistance in seeking to resolve concerns, problems, complaints, and other student-related issues." The district operates nearly 200 schools, employs 24,000, and enrolls nearly 190,000 students. 

International Ombudsman Association Offers Whova App for Conference Activities

For the second year, IOA will provide the meeting app Whova to assist attendees at the 13th annual conference April 23-25, 2018 in Richmond, Virginia.  With this app, users can browse the conference schedule, create a personalized itinerary, network with other attendees, and even live tweet from their mobile device.

April 10, 2018

Louisiana State University Reopens Ombuds Office

After a lengthy search, LSU has named Retha Niedecken as its next Ombudsperson. She is restarting a program that served the public university from 2006 to 2011 with Kirsten Schwehm as the first and only Ombuds. The office has been reconfigured somewhat and Niedecken reports to LSU's general counsel.

Resolution of Student Protest at Howard University May Lead to New Ombuds

A nine-day long protest by students at the private university over a financial aid money scandal was resolved when administrators agreed to most of the students' demands. Among the concessions was an agreement to student input on the selection of an Ombuds. However, it is not clear what this means for the current Student Ombuds.

April 09, 2018

Study Examines Gender Pay Disparity for British Ombuds

Researcher and ADR expert Margaret Doyle has published the results of a study examining the relative pay for women and men working as Ombuds and complaint handlers in Britain. The compensation data came the four different Classical Ombuds programs in the UK: the Legal Ombudsman; Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman; Financial Ombudsman Service; and Ombudsman Services. Doyle found there were some gender pay differences, though smaller than national averages.

Recap of 2018 ABA Dispute Resolution Conference

The American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Spring Conference in Washington, DC last week saw a full table at its Ombuds Committee meeting and picked up some more members. Highlights included Senator Tim Kaine’s lauding of “ombudspersons,” and Section Chair Ben Davis’ announcement of an annual Ombuds Day, inaugurating on October 11, 2018, as well as program on Federal Ombuds with Scott DeyoCarole Houk, and Lauren Marx.

April 06, 2018

German White Paper on Scientific Practices has Fostered University Ombuds Programs

In 1997, following a scientific scandal, the German Research Foundation (DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) provided recommendations to its member organizations to safeguard scientific best practice. An update was published in July 2013. This document, "Proposals for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice" ("Sicherung guter wissenschaftlicher Praxis") was the impetus for the appointment of Scientific Ombuds in many German universities. Moreover, DFG has offered the services of its own German Research Ombudsman (Ombudsman für die Wissenschaft) since 1999 to supplement the work of university Ombuds.