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.

Cannabis Exec Says Industry Needs Ombuds to Shape Culture

Andy Williams, founder and CEO of Medicine Man and a thought leader in the legal cannabis space, says that his industry "has a unique opportunity to set itself apart from the many mainstream industries plagued by pervasive sexual harassment, bullying and gender disparities." Moreover, he says that it is up to executives like him to proactively create healthy workplace cultures. This includes creating Ombuds programs:

April 05, 2018

Seasoned Ombuds Moves to Baylor College of Medicine

Melanie Jagneuax, the former Ombuds for Baker Hughes, has been tapped as the next Ombuds for health sciences university in Houston, TX. She succeeds Laurel Hyle, who held the position for about a year. Jagneaux helped establish the O3 program at Baker Hughes and served as director for nearly six years. She is also the current Treasurer for the IOA Board of Directors.  (BCM Ombuds.)

Ombuds for University of New Mexico Reports on 2017 Activities

The UNM Office of Ombuds Services for Staff reports that last year it handled 288 individual cases, 15 two-party mediations, and 5 group/department matters.  Also included in the report are the results of a visitor survey that reflected high levels of satisfaction. (UNM Ombuds 2017 Report.)

ISKCON UK to Create Ombuds Program

There are reports that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is creating an Ombudsman program for devotees in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Dandavats, an independent website that chronicles Krishna activities and developments worldwide, posted the following update: 


April 04, 2018

Job Posting: University of Idaho

Idaho's primary research university has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. Reporting to the University President, the full-time position serves faculty, staff member, administrators, students, and groups -- a total population of almost 15,000. The search will fill the position held by Barbara Beatty, who left after less than two years to take a similar position at Metro State University in Denver. 

Registration Opens for 2018 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting


The University of Iowa is set to host the 16th Annual Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting on June 25-26. The Summer 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-intimate, informal setting. The conference is preceded by a workshop for new academic Ombuds. It is an absolute bargain for a professional development event.

Las Positas College to Create Ombuds Program

The public community college in Livermore, California expects to appoint its first Ombuds. Although an individual has been named, a new website for the office explains that the Ombuds "serve as a neutral and an impartial conflict resolution practitioner." Located within the office of the Vice President for Student Services, it appears that the Ombuds will work primarily with the nearly 12,000 students. (Las Positas College.)

April 03, 2018

Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción Appoints First Ombuds

On March 26, 2018, the traditional university in Chile named Patricio Merino Beas as its first Ombuds. In December, UCSC (Catholic University of the Most Holy Conception) decided to create an Ombuds program to act as an independent, impartial, and confidential resource for the campus community. The position directly reports to the UCSC Rector and will listen, offer advice or options, facilitate agreements or solutions, and mediate conflicts. Merino will serve an initial appointment of three years.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Invites Ombuds

In February 2018, the private research university in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia invited Wayne Blair (Ombuds for the Asia Development Bank) and Susan Casino (former Ombuds for the University of Phoenix) to present a week long seminar on conflict management. The training for KAUST administrators, faculty, and staff focused on an introduction to conflict management and practical applications. A full day was dedicated to facilitation techniques for leaders in a culturally diverse community. 

April 02, 2018

Job Posting: University of Louisville

The public university in Kentucky has reopened its search for an Ombuds. (Mindy Eaves, the Ombudsman for Jefferson County Public Schools had been announced for the post last September, but that has apparently fallen through.) The position reports to the provost and serves a student population of about 23,000 in addition to faculty and staff.  The search will fill a position held by the Acting Ombuds, Robert Staat, since July when the first permanent Ombuds, Tony Belak, departed.