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.)

November 12, 2018

IOA Opens Voting for 2019 Board

The International Ombudsman Association is holding its annual election for members of its Board of Directors. The timing is earlier than usual and the out-going management company will complete the election process before a transition. The election will fill three seats from a slate of four nominees for three-year terms starting in April 2019.  

FCO/Osgoode Adds a Spring 2019 Ombuds Certificate Program

Due to popular demand, the Professional Development Program at Osgoode Hall Law School and the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and Osgoode Professional Development at York University will offer a course next spring, February 25 to March 1, 2019. The Essentials for Ombuds is a five-day intensive training collaboration in the heart of Toronto.

November 09, 2018

Job Posting: University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The public research university at the southern tip of Texas is hiring its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The full-time position will serve about 1,200 academic employees and practice to IOA standards. UTRGV has been considering an Ombuds for faculty and staff since at least 2014.

November 08, 2018

Kavli IPMU Designates an Ombuds

The Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, an international research institute affiliated with the University of Tokyo, has named Mark Vagins as its first Organizational Ombudsman. In a recent announcement to Kavli IPMU members, Institute Director Hitoshi Murayama said that the new Ombuds would help address internal conflicts and concerns:

Weber State University Opens Internal Search for Next Faculty Ombuds

The public university in Ogden, Utah will select a current, tenured professor to serve as its next Faculty Ombuds. The position serves a three-year term starting July 2019 and will fill a position currently held by History Professor, Kathryn L. MacKay. The new Ombuds will report to Weber's Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, and practice to IOA standards. (Weber Ombuds Announcement.)

November 06, 2018

Meet the New Ombuds at the University of Montréal

In June, Caroline Roy was appointed to a five-year term as the Ombudsman of the University of Montreal. Her mandate is to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all university stakeholders by the university administration, of all situations experienced by each member of the university community. She works with the Advisor to the Ombudsman Monique Laforest, who served as Interim Ombudsman before Roy was appointed.

November 05, 2018

Job Posting: Virginia Tech

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the public, land-grant, research university in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech is seeking applications and nominations for the inaugural director of its University Ombuds Office. The new position will establish a program that follows IOA standards and serves faculty, staff, students, and other university stakeholders. Currently, VT has only a Graduate School Ombuds, Bryan Hanson.  

Ombuds at University of Toronto Posts 2018 Annual Report

UT Ombudsperson, Ellen Hodnett, reports that her office saw a 10% increase in cases in 2017-18 (a total of 374 compared to 339 in the prior year). The most remarkable change was a 25% increase in the number of graduate students cases. Hodnett made three recommendations regarding which all have been adopted by the university's administration.