January 31, 2018

ACCUO Publishes Study of Ombuds' Impact

In 2016, the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudsperson commissioned, "a project to explore and portray in its various guises the work carried out by ombuds offices, with the aim of achieving some clarity on its impact on Canadian colleges and universities." A report on the project by Jayson MacLean and Lucie Allaire was published by ACCUO earlier this month. 

Think Piece on How Ombuds Refer to Parties in Sexual Misconduct Cases

Mediators and trainers at MWI, Chuck Doran and Megan Winkeler, have published a provocative article, “How Should Ombuds Refer to Parties in Sexual Harassment Cases?” They point out that the traditional labels, “complainant” and “respondent” or “accuser” and “accused” come from a litigation context and set the wrong tone for an Ombuds. Doran and Winkeler suggest shifting the frame from blame to impact and using “impacted” and “actor.” They are hoping for a conversation around this issue, so read the full post and let them know what you think. (MWI Blog.) 

Yale Grad Students Renew Call for Ombuds

Yale University’s Graduate Student Assembly is reviving efforts to create a university-wide Ombuds office. The school is the only Ivy without an Ombuds program for all stakeholders. Currently, Yale has only an Ombuds for the School of Medicine: Merle Waxman.

January 30, 2018

Ombuds at Metropolitan State University Minneapolis Serves Students [Updated]

At the public university in the Twin Cities (not to be confused with Metro State in Denver and as erroneously reported here in a prior version of this post), Renee Beaulieu-Banks serves as the Ombuds Officer and school's American Indian Student Success Coordinator.  Beaulieu-Banks has worked at Metro State for the past ten years. 

U.S. Ombudsman Association Sets 2018 Conference in Portland

The national organization for public sector Ombuds ombudsman professionals will hold its 39th annual conference at the Courtyard Marriott in Portland, Oregon September 26-28, 2018. The conference is preceded by two days of training programs. Founded in 1977, USOA is North America’s oldest national Ombuds association with members from local, state, and federal governments. More details about the conference will be posted when available. (USOA Conf Info.)

January 29, 2018

Job Posting: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC's has opened a search for its next University Ombuds. The search will replace Wayne Blair, who established the program in 2005.  The position reports to the university chancellor and directs an office that serves over 40,000 students, staff, faculty, and administrators following IOA standards and practices.

Law Firm Ogletree Deakins Appoints New Ombuds

In a press release touting the law firm's promotion of women, Ogletree Deakins revealed that it has appointed its first Ombudsperson. The announcement said, "In 2017, the firm appointed its first Ombudsperson (a senior female shareholder and former member of the board of directors) to serve as a dedicated resource for the firm’s lawyers to assist them in resolving workplace issues and fostering a positive work environment, including with respect to diversity and inclusion." The Ombuds is not identified in any public materials.

ACCUO's New Website Offers Resources for Canadian Higher Ed Ombuds

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudsperson has moved to a new website that serves as a platform for members and other interested in the field. (Previously, ACCUO's pages were hosted by Western University.) The new website limits some information to paying members, but a significant number of items are freely available. For example, ACCUO posts job openings, up-coming conferences, tools for opening an office, articles about Ombuds, and a list of members.

January 26, 2018

Bastyr University Appoints First Ombuds

Leslie Kellogg will be the first-ever Ombudsperson for the alternative medicine university near Seattle.  Kellogg will create an Ombuds program for students, faculty, and staff at locations in Kenmore, WA and San Diego, CA, and report to the university president. 

College of William & Mary Names New Ombuds

Mark Patterson has been appointed the next Ombudsperson for the public university in Williamsburg, VA.  He succeeds Tatia Granger, who recently became a Clinical Associate Professor in Organizational Behavior at the W&M's School of Business. As the full-time Ombuds, Patterson will serve nearly 2,500 campus employees and report to the Provost's office.  

January 25, 2018

Green Climate Fund Names Experienced Ombuds to Open Office

Donna Douglass Williams will be the first Ombudsperson for the UN-affiliated fund that assists developing countries counter climate change. Williams has held a number of Ombuds positions and most recently has been the Director of the Ombuds Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center since 2012.  In her new role, Williams will serve staff with work-related issues for an initial appointment of one year. 

IOA to Offer International Scholarships to 2018 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will sponsor aspiring Ombuds to attend its annual conference in Virginia this spring. 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.” 

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 temporary position is full-time and will last just two months 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.

January 22, 2018

Ombuds Head to Virginia for 2018 IOA Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will hold its 13th annual conference April 23-25, 2018 at the Richmond Marriott in Virginia. The event follows a now familiar format of keynote events from Ombuds and others professionals, plenary and concurrent sessions, and opportunities to hear from association leaders. An agenda for the conference is now available and registration is open.

January 19, 2018

IOA Defends United Nations Ombuds After Report of Complicity in Sexual Harassment Claims

An article in the Guardian today, "points to culture of impunity as UN employees allege offences including rape." The newspaper reports that dozens of UN employees have described a culture of silence and a flawed grievance system, including an ineffective Ombuds program, that seems biased against victims. In response, the International Ombudsman Association posted a series of tweets that defended the UN Ombuds program and explained how the program could have been misunderstood by visitors or the newspaper.

January 18, 2018

Al Akhawayn University Debuts Ombuds Program

According to a new webpage, the independent university located near Fez, Morocco established an Ombuds Office in November 2016. The mission of the Al Akhawayn University Ombuds Office is, "to promote a culture of understanding, respect, and fairness to resolve conflicts and deal with concerns that arise within the university community [and provide] a confidential, independent and impartial process to facilitate the informal resolution of differences among students, staff, and faculty." The Ombuds office reports directly to the university president.

Stanford Ombuds Retires

David Rasch, who has been the Ombuds for Stanford University faculty since 2002, has retired. Meanwhile, he continues as one of two Ombuds for a two-year pilot program at the American Political Science Association. Ellen Waxman, Director of Faculty Relations at Stanford School of Medicine and former Stanford Ombuds (1995-2002), is currently the interim Ombuds pending a permanent appointment. (Stanford Ombuds; LinkedIn.)

January 17, 2018

Drexel University Names New Ombuds

On January 1, the private university in Philadelphia appointed Kirk Heilbrun as its Ombuds. Heilbrun has been a member of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty since 2002 and he is a Professor of Psychology. He has held a variety of administrative positions, including department chair and editor in chief. He succeeds David Flood, who served in the role for six years.

January 16, 2018

Brandeis University Expands Ombuds Service

The private university near Boston has appointed two new Ombuds and expanded the service to faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders. Don Greenstein and Cathy Burack are joining Elena Lewis (who has been the Student Ombuds for two years) as campus Ombuds.   In an email to the campus, Chief Diversity Officer Mark Brimhall-Vargas said that the new Ombuds “will make it possible for all members of the Brandeis community — students, faculty, staff, alumni and others — to access conflict-resolution assistance for situations they might encounter at the university.” (Brandeis Justice.)

January 15, 2018

Job Posting: University of California Santa Barbara

The fifth largest University of California campus is hiring an Assistant Ombuds/Office Manager. The full-time position provides reception and intakes, and serves as the initial, and sometimes sole, contact for visitors with cases of moderate complexity (usually students).  In addition, the position is responsible for most of the administrative and business functions of the small office. 

Internship: United Nations Santiago

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking a full-time intern to be posted with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Chile.  The unpaid internship will last three to six months and offers the opportunity to support outreach and advocacy, prepare data and reports, and conduct research.  The position reports to the Regional Ombudsman, Francisco Espejo Elgueta.

January 11, 2018

Call for Proposals for 2018 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting

The Planning Committee for the 2018 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting is seeking proposals. The annual meeting will be held on June 25-26, 2018 in Iowa City, Iowa. "This meeting provides an opportunity for Academic Ombuds to become better acquainted, to share concerns unique to our professional environments, and to support and learn from each other’s experiences in a relatively small and very collegial environment."

University of British Columbia Reopens Satellite Ombuds Office

Michael Jud is the new Ombuds for UBC's Okanagan. campus early in the year.  The office, part of the UBC Ombuds Office headed by Shirley Nakata, operated from 2016-2016 and was closed for financial reasons.  Jud joined the office in late 2017.

University of Mississippi Ombuds Contest Awards Parking Space

Paul Caffera, who became the Ole Miss Ombuds in February 2017, recently ran a contest to increase awareness of his office.  His normally quiet website saw a huge increase in traffic during the trivia contest which garnered 1,200 entries.  Runners-up received gift cards and the big prize was a free campus parking spot paid for by the UM Foundation.  

January 10, 2018

Article Profiles Role of Higher Ed Ombuds as Workplace Conflict Experts

An article published simultaneously by the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association and the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds examine the work of Ombuds and other conflict resolution experts. The article was written by Neil H. Katz, Katherine J. Sosa, and Linda N. Kovack at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale.

January 09, 2018

IOA Opens 2018 Board Elections with Large Slate of Candidates

The International Ombudsman Association has opened voting for its 2018 Board of Directors. Nine candidates are on the ballot, which will fill six open seats on the board. This is the greatest number of candidates since 2009. 

As it has in the past, the Ombuds Blog provides links to prior posts about the candidates to supplement the official ballot statements, but does not endorse any candidates in particular:

January 05, 2018

University of Michigan Opens Search for Faculty Ombuds

The University of Michigan is accepting applications from tenured and emeriti professors to serve as the next Faculty Ombuds.  The Ann Arbor campus has about 4,500 instructional employees. Bruno J. Giordani, Professor of Psychiatry, has served as UM Faculty Ombuds since September 2013. (UMich Careers; UMich Record.)

January 04, 2018

Job Posting: Saint Louis University School of Medicine

The private medical school in Missouri is hiring a Director of Professional Oversight, a position which is essentially that of an Ombuds. According to the job posting, the "Director of Professional Oversight is responsible for neutral and impartial gathering and distribution of information resulting from potential unprofessional behavior between colleagues and for providing confidential and informal assistance to constituents of the SLUSOM community, including students, residents, and faculty." 

Politecnico di Milano Appoints First Student Ombuds

The largest technical university in Italy has opened a Student Ombuds Office. Professor Gerardus Janszen will serve as the Ombuds for the school's 42,000 students. According to a new website for the office,

Former Ombuds Recounts Insights at Harvard Symposium

As part of its bicentennial celebration, Harvard Law School hosted a summit in October 2017 featuring alumni whose practice and work has focused substantially on negotiation, mediation, and dispute resolution. One of the speakers was Jennifer Reynolds, who talked about serving as the interim Ombuds at the University of Oregon in 2016.

January 03, 2018

Job Posting: University of Cincinnati

The public research university in Ohio is hiring an Associate Ombudsman. "Serving as a designated neutral third party, the Associate Ombuds will assist the Ombuds Office as a source of information in an accessible, independent, impartial and confidential office (outside of mandated Title IX reporting) through which students, staff, and faculty may pursue informal conflict resolution of any university-related concern." 

ENOHE and ACCUO Announce 2018 Conference in Scotland

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education will partner with the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons for its annual conference at the University of Edinburgh, June 6-8, 2018. The event will be coordinated by the Investigation Manager for the Vice Principals of Edinburgh University and the ENOHE Secretariat in Norway. The theme of the 14th annual conference “Resolving Conflicts on Campus: Strategies for Enhanced Policies and Effective Operations.”

NASA Ombuds Serve Stakeholders at Ames Research Center

Three Ombuds provide civil servants, contractors and students at the NASA lab near Silicon Valley, California with a supplemental, confidential and informal channel of communication to raise significant issues and concerns. John (Jack) Boyd, Lisa Lockyer, and Jim Arnold comprise the Ames Ombuds Office. All hold other positions at the research center. Their power "rests on their reputation for confidentiality, fairness, objectivity, tact and respectful concern for the welfare of all individuals of the NASA community and for the well-being of the agency."

January 02, 2018

United Nations Begins Search for Next Ombudsman

The UN Secretariat has asked its 193 member states to submit nominations for the next UN Ombudsman. The Assistant Secretary-General position manages the Office of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services, headquartered in New York and with regional branches in Bangkok, Entebbe, Geneva, Kinshasa, Nairobi, Santiago, and Vienna. American Johnston Barkat has served in the role since April 2008.  The initial appointment is for five year and may be renewed once.