November 25, 2022
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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."
November 15, 2022
The State University of New Jersey has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. The position has been held for many years by Sybil James, who recently became the Dean of Students. The Rutgers Ombuds single-handedly serves a student body of nearly 70,000. (A separate Ombuds Office serves students and house staff at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.) The position reports to the university chancellor.
The private college in Western Massachusetts is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The part-time position will serve all faculty, staff, and students—a total population of nearly 7,000. The new Ombuds will report to the Director of Human Resources with oversight by the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The position is expected to practice to IOA standards.
KP is hiring a full-time HealthCare Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in Downey, California. The Kaiser HCOM, "functions as a trained alternative dispute professional offering patients, family members, staff & providers a conflict management program to resolve patient/provider healthcare disputes early thereby improving patient safety & reducing the costs of health care dispute resolution."