September 29, 2020

Appalachian State University Taps Insider for Ombuds Role

On September 15, 2020, Tandrea Carter was appointed as the University Ombuds for public university in Boone, North Carolina. She succeeds Professor Bob Hill. Carter is a trained mediator and clinical psychologist who has worked at Appalachian State in a variety of roles for the past decade. She is the Director of Counseling for Faculty and Staff and also lectures in the Department of Psychology. As the Ombuds, she serves over 25,000 faculty, staff, and students. 

Job Posting: University of Minnesota

The U of M is hiring a part-time Ombudsperson. The position is located in the Student Conflict Resolution Center (headed by Jan Morse) and works primarily with undergraduate students. Due to training requirements, the posting seeks a one-year commitment.

September 28, 2020

Job Posting: Carnegie Mellon University

The private research university in Pittsburgh, PA is hiring a Staff Ombudsperson which will be part of HR. The position "will serve as a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to CMU staff members and staff supervisors." This appears to be a new role at Carnegie Mellon (graduate students in some science departments are served by faculty, senior staff, or students volunteering as Ombuds, and there are multiple references in CMU policy to a "University Ombudsperson," but there is no dedicated person and any active links redirect to a external ethics reporting hotline.) The new Ombuds will be expected to create and manage an Ombuds Community of Practice to develop IOA-based standards for other Ombuds at the university.

September 25, 2020

Austria's NEOS Party Creates Ombuds Program for Members

In June 2020, the New Austria and Liberal Forum (Das Neue Österreich und Liberales Forum) appointed its first two Ombudspersons: Michael Schiebel and Arlette Zakarian. Together, they serve for anyone with a conflicts related to the liberal political party. The NEOS Ombuds are neutral, confidential, and voluntary. They will also serve as mediators. NEOS is thus the second political party with an Ombuds program and joins Germany's FDP, which has had an Ombuds program since 2014. (NEOS Ombuds.)

University of Beira Interior Opens Internal Search for Next Ombuds

The public university in Covilhã, Portugal is seeking its next Student Ombudsman. Internal applicants will be considered for the two-year appointment, which begins November 6, 2020. The UBI Ombuds serves a student body of nearly 7,000, "through independent, impartial and confidential action." The search will replace, Júlio Martins, Professor of the Department of Sports Sciences. (UBI NoticiaUBI Student Ombudsman.)

September 23, 2020

FDP is the First Political Party with an Ombuds

Six years ago, Christopher Gohl was chosen to serve as the first Ombudsperson for the Free Democratic Party, Germany’s liberal party. FPD (Freie Demokratische Partei) holds about about 10% of the seats in paliament. In this volunteer position, Gohl serves about 66,000 members. He also serves as FDP's Head of Political Planning, Program and Analysis, which involves implementing resolutions from party conventions. Although professional associations (especially in the U.S.) have been creating Ombuds programs for their members, this is the Ombuds serving a political party.

Negotiation Journal Opens Access for Mary Rowe's Articles

The academic journal produced by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School is offering free access to its a collection of articles by Mary Rowe, former MIT Ombuds, Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and thought-leader in the Ombuds profession. The articles will be free through September 2021.

September 22, 2020

Digital Games Research Association Names First Three Ombuds

The international professional association for digital gaming academics and researchers has selected its first three Ombuds: Diana Mosonyi; Lauren Marx; and Chris LaHatte. There wrk will be supported by two DiGRA insiders who will serve as Ombuds Secretaries, Madeleine Antonellos and Christine Tomlinson. The three Ombuds will practice to IOA standards and serve as a resource for DiGRA community members, conference attendees, and listserv participants.

September 18, 2020

Conflict Between OAS and IAHCR Involves Upward Feedback by Ombuds

Two years ago, the Organization of American States hired an outsider, Neida Perez as the Organizational Ombudsperson for all of its personnel. (Her predecessors were former ambassadors and had been political appointees.) Last month, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro decided not to renew the appointment of Paulo Abrão as head of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR is an autonomous commission of OAS and the region's most prominent human rights watchdog). Almagro rejected IACHR's unanimous support of Abrão apparently because of upward feedback by the Ombuds, Perez. Now, human rights organizations are accusing Perez of exceeding her authority to report mistreatment of OAS personnel.

Job Posting: Armed Forces Retirement Home

The facility for veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces in Washington, DC, is hiring an Ombudsman. The position has attributes of both an Organizational Ombuds and a Long-Term Care Ombuds. The congressionally mandated position will, "Conduct studies and projects that involve the collection and analysis of a wide variety of data pertaining to complaints and disciplinary hearings/actions in order to make recommendations for changes in processes, procedures and policies" and "Provide residents with confidential, informal and impartial assistance and serve as an advocate for fairness."

American Society for Aesthetics Opens Internal Search for Ombuds

Two years ago, the philosophical organization selected long-time member and Chartered Mediator, Jeanette Bicknell, to serve as its first Ombudsperson. The ASA Ombuds is the primary resource and point of contact for members with concerns about discrimination, including sexual harassment. Bicknell's first term is coming to an end and ASA has opened nominations for the position. Bicknell is, however, eligible for a second term. 

Jackson State University's New Ombuds to Lead NACADA Equity Effort

Janelle Hannah Jefferson, JSU's first Ombudsperson, was recently appointed to serve as co-chair for the the National Academic Advising Association Taskforce Training Committee on Race, Inclusion, and Ethnicity. She will work with other professionals to plan, design and facilitate training sessions for the leadership of NACADA as it relates to issues of race and inclusion. Jefferson became the Ombudsperson and Special Assistant to the Provost at Jackson State in November 2019. She earned her MA and PhD at the university and has worked there since 2014 in a variety of administrative positions. (JSUM News; LinkedIn.)

September 17, 2020

Job Posting: University of Alabama

Alabama's flagship public research university in Tuscaloosa is hiring an "Associate Director of Title IX Programs and Equal Opportunity Ombudsperson." This position is clearly outside the norm for university Ombuds and covers a range of formal and informal duties: 

University of South Carolina Aiken has a New Ombuds

Earlier this year, USCA appointed Melencia Johnson as its next Student Ombuds, refilling a position held most recently by Brittney D. Alls. Johnson serves about 3,300 students at the public university in the Central Savannah River Area of South Carolina. Johnson practices to all four tenets for Organizational Ombuds and her website has unique language about neutrality. She explains that she "is impartial, serving as neither advocate nor apologist for any members or offices of the USC Aiken community."

September 16, 2020

Universidad San Francisco de Quito Creates Ombuds Program for Students

The private liberal-arts university in Quito, Ecuador, has appointed Valentina Alejandra Lucio-Paredes Aulestia as its first-ever Ombudsperson. She assumed her duties in October 2019 and a website for her office debuted this week. The Office of the Ombudsman handles all student, parent, or members of the university community's complaints or concerns in a confidential and impartial manner. This office also provides advice on University policies, processes, and regulations. This is also the first university Ombuds in Ecuador.