December 02, 2021

Central Michigan University Names Next Ombuds

CMU has selected Deborah Dodge as its next University Ombudsperson, succeeding Erica Lynn Peters. In this full-time position, Dodge will serve a student body of 27,000 following IOA standards. Introducing herself at a student government meeting earlier this week, Dodge said, “I truly care deeply about individual experiences within their organizations.”

Khazar University Introduces New Ombuds

In March of this year, Aytaj Ibrahimli was selected as the Ombudsman for Xəzər Universiteti, the private university in Baku, Azerbaijan. Along with a new website, she has initiated a number of steps to build awareness among the 2,000 students on campus. Ibrahimli has been meeting with each of the university's colleges and is conducting an anonymous survey to gauge students' concerns. The goal of her office is "to provide a confidential space for students to express their problems, find solutions and solve problems ... in a confidential, informal and impartial manner to ensure accountability and fair treatment." [Google translation.] (Khazar University Ombuds; News.)

Lynda Dunham-Wilke: Former Ombuds at University of Victoria

Lynda Ann Dunham-Wilke passed away on November 26, 2021 after a brief illness. Born and raised in Victoria, she graduated from the University of Victoria. Later, she went back to school to study law, graduating and being called to the Bar in 1987. After graduation, Dunham-Wilke served as the Ombudsperson for the UVic Students Society in 1988 and 1989. (Obituary; UVic Ombuds Special Anniversary Report, 2008.)

December 01, 2021

Pfizer Ombuds Office Marks 10-Year Anniversary

The Office of the Ombuds at Pfizer is celebrating ten years of service to the American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation. The office has posted a celebratory video that includes thanks and encouragement from five of Pfizer's Executive Leadership Team members including the CEO, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer. Sue Diviney is the Office of the Ombuds Lead and her team includes: Lourdes Delgado-Cheers, Global Ombuds; Tara Hunter, Specialist; Adam Learman, Global Ombuds; Elizabeth Lopez, Ombuds; and Sophia Qiao, Ombuds APAC. (Pfizer Video.)

November 30, 2021

Job Posting: African Union Commission

The administrative branch of the AU is hiring its first Ombudsman and Mediation Division Head. Based at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the position manages a department that provides a range of conflict management and employee relations functions. Duties include providing "services that are impartial, objective, neutral, independent, and fully confidential." The appointment is contracted for three years, including an initial one year period. 

November 29, 2021

Job Posting: Development Bank of Latin America

CAF, Corporacion Andina de Fomento – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, is hiring its first Ombudsperson. CAF is one of the main sources of multilateral financing for the region and has offices in13 cities. The position will provide Ombuds services to CAF personnel from the bank's office in Panama and report to the Executive President and Board of Directors. The position is described as "autonomous in a structural, operational and performance sense," and strictly confidential. 

WADA Reforms to Include First-Ever Ombuds

After two-days of meetings last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board agreed to a range of governance reforms including the appointment of the organization's first Ombuds program. WADA President Witold Bańka promised that an Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds Program will be piloted next year. Although WADA did not specify any standards for the new Ombuds program, in October WADA's Athlete Committee recommended "a neutral or impartial dispute resolution practice whose major function will be to provide confidential and informal assistance to athletes bound by anti-doping rules under the World Anti-Doping Code." (WADA News: 8 Oct 2021; 25 Nov 2021.)

IOA Offers 10 Scholarships for 2022 Virtual Conference

The International Ombuds Association is offering a total of ten scholarships for its virtual conference, "Belonging Together: Reimagined," on April 4-6, 2022. Five scholarships will be available for Ombuds from outside the U.S. and five will be available for new and aspiring Ombuds. (Last year, IOA also offered scholarships for its virtual Foundations training, but that course has been oversold for months.) The deadline to apply for either scholarship is December 31, 2021.

November 23, 2021

Brandeis University Names Associate Ombuds

Esther Lin has been selected as an Associate Ombuds Officer at Brandeis, joining Don Greenstein and Mike Rozinsky. She comes to the position after working as a mediator and organizational consultant for The Mediation Group (where she completed a year-long fellowship and continues as a panelist) and MWI in Massachusetts.

Texas A&M School of Engineering Names Next Staff Ombuds

Todd Cottrell has been named the Staff Ombudsperson for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. In this role, he "serves as a neutral, independent and confidential resource" for staff. He supplements the work of Anastasia Muliana, who is serving a two-year term the College's Faculty Ombudsperson. 

Ombuds at University of Massachusetts Amherst Posts 2021 Annual Report

Martha Patrick, CO-OP, the University Ombudsperson at UMass Amherst, reports that her office provided services to 430 visitors during the 2020-21 fiscal year. The office serves the entire campus and students comprised more than half of the visitors. As a share of visitors, staff declined significantly, which Patrick attributed to remote work and staff reductions.

November 22, 2021

IOA Seeks Nominations for Two Board Cohorts

The International Ombuds Association is asking for nominations for its Board of Directors. The election process is restarting after a delay to update the election process and other provisions of the bylaws. Now, there will be 15 IOA Director positions, with one seat reserved for an international member and a maximum limit of two seats available to candidates who are not currently practicing Ombuds.

Job Posting: University of Northern Colorado

The public university in Greeley has opened a search for its first University Ombudsperson. The full-time position will report to UNC's President and serve only faculty and staff. (The university's division of student affairs is considering a separate Ombuds for the 12,000 students.) The University Ombuds is expected to practice to IOA standards. 

MIT Digitizes Mary Rowe's Papers

An initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has preserved the work of Mary Rowe, one of the early leaders of the Organizational Ombuds profession. Rowe, who served as MIT's first Ombuds, donated her professional papers to the institute's library as part of initiative to archive the contributions of women. “We’re thrilled to be able to make this collection available,” says Alex McGee, project archivist for Distinctive Collections at MIT Libraries.

November 18, 2021

Job Posting: Jeffco Public Schools

The public school system for Jefferson County, Colorado is hiring a District Equity Ombudsperson. This new position will serve primarily the 14,000 employees of the state's second largest school district, which is headquartered near Golden. The full-time Ombuds will, "Serve the District as an independent, confidential and neutral intermediary support role; navigating informal complaint resolution and the formal existing complaint procedures/processes, as appropriate, to encourage a positive culture and climate in Jeffco Public Schools."