November 28, 2022

Job Posting (RFP): American Psychiatric Association

The primary professional organization for psychiatrists in the U.S. has issued a Request for Proposals for the services of an Ombudsperson. The APA Ombuds will work as an independent contractor for the organization's 200 staff members following IOA standards. Most services will be provided virtually as early as January 5, 2023. Applicants will preferably have a related Master's degree, Ombuds and other ADR, at least four years of experience in a similar Ombuds role, and Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP) status. Proposals will be reviewed after December 10, 2022. (LinkedIn Posting.)

Metropolitan State University of Denver Contracts with MWI to Revive Ombuds Program

MSU Denver has announced the launch of a outsourced, remote Ombuds program for its faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees. MWI in Boston will provide the services with two designated Ombuds: LaCrisia “Cris” Gilbert and Roy Baroff. With the announcement, MSU is reviving an Ombuds program that was established in 2013 by Michael Kilpatrick and then transitioned to Barbara Beatty in 2018. 

Ombuds for American Finance Association Shares Aggregate Report

Francine Montemurro, AFA's Ombudsperson, has released a report summarizing her work for the academic organization since she created the program in December 2019. Over the nearly three year period, Montemurro assisted 23 AFA members. Faculty comprised over three quarters of the "inquirers" and the top concerns were policy/practice and integrity issues. Montemurru will be on site for AFA's 2023 annual meeting. (AFA Ombuds Report.)

November 25, 2022

Job Posting: European Central Bank

The ECB has opened a search for its first Organisational Ombuds and Mediator. Based at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, the new position will establish an independent organizational unit providing informal ADR services to staff and identifying systemic issues, trends and patterns. The position will report directly to the bank's President. 

IOA Announces 2023 Conference Scholarships to Support International and New/Aspiring Ombuds

The International Ombuds Association is offering scholarships for its annual conference, "Ombuds as Change Agent? ReEngaging and Transforming Conflict," which is set for April 3-5, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Scholarships will provide funds for Ombuds practicing outside the U.S. and new/aspiring Ombuds who do not have sufficient organizational support. Scholarship applications are due by January 9, 2023.

November 23, 2022

Ombuds for Asian Development Bank Releases 2021 Annual Report

Wayne Blair, ADB's Ombudsman, says that his office handled 540 cases in 2021, a 4.9% increase from the prior year. Recently, the office also underwent an external review. Among other things, the external review found that 16.1% of the ADB population sought assistance from the Ombuds Office in 2019, “a proportion of staff usage significantly higher than anticipated levels … based on international practice norms.” As in previous years, the report also includes “Odibles” — audio versions of case studies. (ADB Ombuds.)

November 22, 2022

MWI to Bridge Staff Ombuds Office at Washington University in St. Louis

In response to the recent departure of its first Ombudsperson for Staff, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, WashU has turned to MWI to provide interim services. MWI is a nationally recognized dispute resolution firm based in Boston that has provided Ombuds services to a range of organizations, including Iowa State University, Common Cause, and CVS. Two experienced MWI Ombuds panelists, LaCrisia "Cris" Gilbert and Roy Baroff, are already providing services for WashU staff, postdocs, and graduate students.

Prince William County Public Schools Ombuds Provides Annual Report

In her first annual report as the Ombudsman for the Virginia public school system, Monique Bookstein says that cases rose 13% in the 2021-22 school year. Although visits from employees fell, the number of family and community visits more than tripled as the school district resumed operations after the first pandemic year. Bookstein identified several trends in visitor concerns. The full report is available to the public. (PWCS Ombuds 2022 Report; WTOP.)

November 21, 2022

Job Posting: West Virginia University

The public land grant research university in Morgantown will hire its first Graduate Student Ombudsperson. The part-time (approximately 10 hours per week or 25% FTE) position will report to the Provost and provide assistance to about 5,900 graduate student at WVU. The new Ombuds will supplement the work of the Faculty Ombuds Christine Schimmel and also practice to IOA standards.

Job Re-Posting: Colorado College

The private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs has re-opened its search for an Ombuds. The search will fill a position held by Paul Kuerbis since 2015. The full-time (30 hrs/wk for 9 months and 20 hrs/wk for 3 months) reports to the Executive Committee of the College's Board of Trustees. The qualifications are not significantly changed from the earlier search that ended in June.

University of Oklahoma Adopts Ombuds Charter

In September 2022, Jeffrey Harp was named as Oklahoma's next University Ombudsperson with a mandate to expand the program to the entire campus. Now a new charter for the office ensures that Harp will practice to IOA standards (including confidentiality for Title IX matters). The University of Oklahoma Ombuds Office Charter was endorsed by President Joseph Harroz, Jr. on November 1, 2022. (OU Charter.)

November 17, 2022

Job Posting: California State University, Monterey Bay

The public university in Central California has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The CSUMB Ombuds will serve faculty, staff, and students at the mid-size university. Generally, the position will practice to IOA standards. However, a Cal State University system policy requires Ombuds to report sexual misconduct and gender discrimination to the campus Title IX officer. 

Canadian Journal of Bioethics Highlights Role of Ombuds

The current issue of CJB, a peer-reviewed open-access academic journal published by Université de Montréal, includes several articles relevant to Ombuds. Authors include: Brent Epperson (Ombuds at the University of Luxembourg); Julie Boncompain (Ombudsman at Polytechnique de Montreal and Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute); Heather McGhee Peggs (Patient Ombudsman for Toronto); and Shirley R. Nakata (Ombuds at the University of British Columbia).

City of Ann Arbor Exploring Ombuds Program

The city outside Detroit and home to the University of Michigan is investigating the establishment and funding of an Ombuds office. Last week, the Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution directing the City Administrator to begin researching and evaluating an Ombuds program to serve residents and users of City services. The resolution specifically referenced USOA and IOA, as well as the Ombuds in place at the cities of Flint and Detroit, and the University of Michigan. The City Administrator is expected to report back on findings prior to the finalization of the City's 2023-24 budget. (City of Ann Arbor Resolution.)

November 16, 2022

IOA Seeks Authors for First Book

The International Ombuds Association is calling for authors for its first book. Led by Shannon L. Burton (Ombuds at Michigan State University) and Loraleigh Keashly (Professor of Communication at Wayne State University), the book aims "to be a comprehensive handbook that addresses the interdisciplinary and nuanced history, theory and practices found within the field."