June 14, 2024

Job Posting: Carnegie Mellon University

The private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will hire its first Student and Faculty Ombudsperson. The posting seems to imply that the new position will work closely with the inaugural Staff Ombudsperson, Jennifer Pablonis, who was hired in 2001. The full-time Student and Staff Ombuds will report to the Provost.

June 13, 2024

Job Re-Posting: Coastal Carolina University

The public university near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has reopened its search for a Faculty and Staff Ombuds (An earlier posting sought in have someone in place by November 2023, but there are no public details about the outcome of that search.) The part-time position (about 30% FTE) position reports to the President and practices to IOA standards.

UC Irvine Selects Associate Ombuds

Sequoia Hill has joined the Office of the Ombuds at the University of California Irvine. She joins Campus Ombuds Jennifer Moumneh and Senior Associate Ombuds Shawn Hutchens, and will assist in providing services to all campus stakeholders including members of the UCI medical center in Orange.

NACUA Hosts Ombuds Session at 2024 Conference

Shannon Burton will speak at the 2024 conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the influential professional association of attorneys working in higher education. This is just the third time that NACUA has heard from a University Ombuds and the first conference session. (In May 2023, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, Ellen Miller, and Steve Prevaux gave a webinar, and in June 2023, Sarah Klaper and Chinyere Ukabiala represented IOA at NACUA's annual meeting.) Burton, the University Ombudsperson at Michigan State University, will speak at the conference in Columbus, Ohio later this month.

Ramapo College Ombuds Named to World Bank Arbitration Panel

Earlier this week, President Biden appointed Ramapo College of New Jersey's Ombuds, John Woods, Jr., to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators. Woods will serve a six-year term through 2030 on the panel, which arbitrates disputes between investors and countries. Woods has been the Ombuds at Ramapo, a public liberal arts college in Mawhaw, since establishing the program in 2008. (ROI-NJ.) 

June 12, 2024

Job Posting: Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana's flagship public university has opened a search for its first Graduate Ombudsperson (Student Support Specialist). The full-time position will establish an Ombuds office to serve about 11,000 graduate students on the Bloomington campus and also work closely with regional graduate programs. According to the position, the Ombuds will be part of the University Graduate School.

June 11, 2024

Job Posting: Austin Independent School District

Austin ISD, the public school district for the capital of Texas, is seeking an an Associate Ombudsperson for Special Education. The position will report to the District's newly-appointed Ombudsperson, Dawn Spinozza, and will serve as a confidential, informal, impartial, and independent resource to support families with students who have or may have a disability. Local travel will be required.

Thomas Jefferson University Names Ombuds

The private research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has appointed Stephen Weinstein as its next Faculty Ombudsperson. He follows Michael Vergare and will assist about 3,200 full and part-time faculty with workplace concerns. Weinstein is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry. He joined the faculty in 1977 and his research had focused on addiction treatment. In addition, he served in several administrative positions, including division director. Weinstein graduated from Brooklyn College and he earned his PhD at Temple University. (TJU Ombuds.)

ENOHE Webinar to Explore AI and Ombuds Work

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education In its series of online events for members and non-members and as part of its annual working program, ENOHE is offering a special interactive webinar on AI and ChatGPT and ombuds offices. The two-hour online program, "Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT and Ombuds Offices: Overhyped or Overlooked?," is set for June 21, 2024 at 1400-1600pm CEST.

June 10, 2024

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. According to a recent presentation the OWCP Ombuds serves "as an independent, impartial and confidential resource that receives and helps to resolve inquiries and concerns from OWCP claimants and other external interested parties." The full-time position reports to OWCP Ombudsperson Shalonda Cawthon and will be based in a DOL office (Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Lakewood, Long Beach, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.). 

MWI Roundtable will Highlight Ombuds

MWI, a global provider of outsourced Ombuds and other ADR services, hosts regular virtual events for its mediators and guests. On August 28, 2024, the topic will be "The Organizational Ombuds; What a Mediator or Other Dispute Resolution Professionals Might Want to Know About This Unique Role." This presentation explores the role of an Organizational Ombuds and the various benefits they can bring to the organizations they partner with. Dana Hinojosa and Elise Ramos will be the speakers. (MWI Mediator Roundtables.)

June 06, 2024

Ombuds Blog: New Policy on Comments

To date, I have approved about 3,700 comments on the Ombuds Blog. For the first several years, no one really commented. But that eventually changed and now comments are frequent and there is even some dialog. I find it deeply rewarding to provide a forum for our profession. 

Managing the comments takes some time as I personally approve each and every comment. This is primarily to weed out spambots, which post multiple times the number of legitimate comments. But I often have to evaluate authentic comments. Sometimes, I face a difficult choice when deciding how to handle an anonymous comment. A legitimate point can be embedded in a longer, inappropriate comment. Without knowing the author, I am unable to engage in a dialog and I have been uncomfortable editing someone else's viewpoint. So, I have had to chose between approving or rejecting the entire comment. 

Some have urged me to reject all anonymous comments, especially those critical of IOA. The reasoning is that people should feel comfortable raising issues directly with IOA leadership or going to the IOA Ombuds if they are concerned about retaliation. But I feel it is important to provide an independent public space for dissent. Moreover, anonymous comments can promote free speech by separating the content of the comment from the identity and status of the commenter.

With all of these thoughts in mind, I have decided on the following guidelines for comments on the Ombuds Blog. My hope is that these will make my work more transparent and promote healthy commentary.

June 05, 2024

Czech and Polish University Ombuds Gather for First Meeting

On March 8-9, 2024, the national Czech and Polish University Ombuds networks held their first joint meeting. Members of the two associations executive committees met symbolically on both sides of the Olše River: the Polish Academic Network for Safety and Equality (Akademicka Sieć Bezpieczeństwa i Równości) and the Czech School Ombuds Platform (ŠOP). The meeting was hosted on the campus of the Silesian University in Katowice first ever meeting took place in Szczecin, Poland,

June 04, 2024

Job Posting: Duke University

The private university in Durham, North Carolina is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position will report to the University Ombuds, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, CO-OP, and serve all faculty, staff, and students (with the exception of unionized employees and employees of Duke Health System). The Duke Ombuds Office practices to IOA standards.

Call for Papers: JIOA Special Issue on Power, Politics & Polarization

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association has issued a call for submissions for a special issue on: "Power, Politics, and Polarization." Papers should be submitted by May 1, 2025. 

Here are more details from the Journal: