April 30, 2010

First Report From Standard & Poor's Ombuds Raises Questions About Usage

S&P's Ombudsman, Ray J. Groves has published the first annual report summarizing the activities of his office. The report does not provide the total number of cases handled in 2009, but says that 85% were from external sources; 85% were from the U.S.; 50% concerned S&P's ratings; and only 12.5% requested anonymity.

April 29, 2010

Job Posting: Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI is hiring a Supervisory Ombudsman to work in Washington, DC. The GS-15 position serves as the Chief Ombudsman and consultant to the Director and FBI Executives, and as an expert advisor to managerial, supervisory, Special Agent and professional staff personnel throughout the Bureau.

April 28, 2010

Indian Software Lobby Urges Companies to Create Ombuds Programs

The National Association of Software and Services Companies, the Indian trade group for software and outsourcing industries, has just released a report on corporate governance practices that includes an endorsement of Ombuds.

Werner Institute Opens Portal for ADR Community

The Werner Institute for Negotiation & Dispute Resolution at Creighton University has created a site for ADR-related news, events, and information: ADRhub.com. Jeff Thompson, who blogs at Enjoy Mediation, is force behind the portal, which is open to academics, practitioners, students, and others interested in dispute resolution. The site is emerging as a great resource for the field. (ADRhub.)

OO Blogger Reviews Online Dispute Resolution Technology

Clayton Gilman's latest post at the Organizational Ombudsman Blog explains that all of his clients to date have used ODR. After trying several applications, he now endorses Juripax "because of its emphasis on proper preparation at the time of intake and focus on ethical and transparent procedures." (Organizational Ombudsman Blog.)

April 27, 2010

Summer Institute on Conflict Management in Higher Ed Will Feature Ombuds

Dorothy Graham, the Ombuds for Kennesaw State University, will lead a workshop at the retreat sponsored by the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. The tenth annual institute takes place July 26-30, 2010 at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Georgia and includes a range of programs for college and university administrators.

April 26, 2010

Congress Must Resolve Ombuds Issue Before Passing Financial Reform Bill

As the U.S. Senate grapples with legislation that would overhaul financial regulation, two proposed Ombuds programs could become an issue. The recently approved House bill would create Ombuds programs for the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. As currently drafted, the Senate bill does not.

Expert Calls for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Create Internal Ombuds Program

Mary Giovagnoli, Director of the Immigration Policy Center, says that ICE could substantially improve its performance by appointing an ombudsman "to serve as an internal conscience, taking in reports on individual cases, making sure that policy is followed and serving as an internal watchdog." 

April 25, 2010

Hood College Implements Discrimination Policy That Requires Ombuds to Report

The private liberal arts college in Frederick, Maryland has instituted a new policy for the prevention and resolution of discrimination and harassment. Policy 55 designates the College Ombuds as one of several resources for complainants and outlines the type of advice the Ombuds must dispense.  However, Hood's policy also requires the Ombuds to "inform the Executive Director of Human Resources or her designee of the complaint." (Hood College HR.)

Google Map Shows California Ombuds Offices

A Google map created several weeks ago shows the locations of 26 colleges and university Ombuds offices across California.  The map was apparently created to supplement an article about the new program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  (Google Maps; Mustang Daily.)

April 22, 2010

André Marin’s IOA Keynote Inspires Columnist

The keynote address by the Ontario Ombudsman at the IOA conference on April 8, prompted Toronto Star columnist Jim Coyle to urge that Marin be reappointed to another five-year term. 

April 21, 2010

IOA Training Returns to Southern California, June 2010

The International Ombudsman Association will offer its primary training courses at Pepperdine University in Malibu on June 10-12, 2010.

Eight Rules for Framing

Mediator and trainer of mediators, Zena D. Zumeta, has released a beautiful and succinct presentation on framing that Ombuds will find relevant. She posits eight rules for framing an issue. 

April 20, 2010

Los Alamos National Lab Opens Search for Ombuds

The Department of Energy laboratory in New Mexico will be hiring an internal candidate for its Ombuds Office. In addition to handling Ombuds cases, the position will be responsible for managing the lab's volunteer mediation program.

African Ombuds and Mediators Association Selects Leader

At the AOMA general assembly in Angola last week, members elected Thuli Madonsela as the Executive Secretary. Madonsela has served as South Africa’s Public Protector since October 2009.

April 18, 2010

Southern California Ombuds Group Will Meet in May

Frank Fowlie, the ICANN Ombuds, will host the next caucus of Southern California Ombuds on May 19, 2010, in Marina Del Rey.  The theme for the spring event is “Navigating Challenging Times -- Professional Strategies for Staying Afloat in the Tumultuous Economic Environment Affecting Our Organizations And Our Visitors.”

Changes to KBR Dispute Resolution Program Include IOA Standards

In response to the "Franken Amendment" passed earlier this year, the Houston-based engineering and construction company has updated its dispute resolution policies. The changes include KBR's employee Ombuds program.

April 17, 2010

Congress Needs an Ombuds

A letter to the editor of the Washington Post today argues that Congress should appoint an Ombuds to prevent workplace problems like the Eric Massa incident. Writer Geoff Drucker points out that complaints from Massa's staff went unheeded for a full year. "If staff members had been able to lodge anonymous complaints with an ombudsman, senior leaders would have gotten a heads-up the same day."

April 16, 2010

Pepperdine Stays Atop List of Best Law School ADR Programs

US News & World Report has released its annual list of the "best" law school dispute resolution programs and Pepperdine University remains in the first position.  The balance of the top ten are the same as last year, with some minor adjustments (Harvard drops from third to fourth, Hamline jumps from fourth to tied for second, etc.).

UT Staff Council Develops Ombuds Proposal

Tweets from yesterday's meeting of the Staff Council at the University of Texas Austin reveals that a proposal for an Ombuds position is being finalized. Earlier this month, UT President yielded to long-standing calls for a staff Ombuds program and asked the Staff Council for suggestions.

Kent State Staff Ombuds is Promoted

Karen Watson, who has served as the staff Ombuds at Kent State University since 2004, has been named as the Employee Relations Manager for the campus. She will now serve in both capacities.

April 15, 2010

Binghamton University Hires Ombuds

The 14,000-student State University of New York has selected Dawn M. Osborne-Adams as its next Ombuds. She will fill the vacancy left by Binghamton's first Ombuds, Francine Montemurro, who moved to Boston University last summer.

Leading Classical Ombudsman Set to Retire

Iowa State Ombudsman Bill Angrick has announced that he will accept an early retirement offer and retire at age 64. Angrick was 32 when he was appointed by the Iowa legislature in 1978 and he became one of country's leading Classical Ombuds.

April 14, 2010

FCO Institute to Offer First Ombuds Training in September

The Forum of Canadian Ombudsman has announced the first offering of the FCO Institute -- a course on Ombuds fundamentals. The training is designed for new and intermediate-level Classical Ombuds staff and complaint-handlers and will focus on: Ombuds theory; intake procedures; inquiry and fact-finding; and investigation techniques and analysis.

UMass Appoints New Associate Ombuds

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has named Martha Nelson Patrick as Assistant Ombuds. Patrick will join UMass Ombuds Catharine Porter and fills the position previously held by Mary E. Wardwell, who passed away last year after two decades as the Assistant Ombuds. Her transfer to the Ombuds office was part of a major reorganization prompted by Chancellor Robert C. Holub's larger, multi-year plan to raise the profile of the state's flagship campus.

DC Ombuds Group Finds New Host, Sets April Meeting

The DC Ombuds Discussion Group will meet for a brown bag lunch at the American Red Cross 1730E St. NW, on Tuesday, April 20th, 12-2 pm. The event is open to anyone interested in Ombuds work in the DC area.

April 13, 2010

Cleveland State University Reinstates Ombuds Program

Last week, CSU President Ronald Berkman announced that he had reinstated the university's Ombuds Office and appointed Richard F. Rakos, PhD, to fill the position. The decision came in response to student demands, but it was not clear when the university last had an Ombuds for the general campus.

Los Alamos National Lab Posts Interactive Ombuds Report

The Ombuds office for the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory in New Mexico has created an interactive website summarizing its work with visitors. For the year ended April 2010, the office reported handling 476 cases from the population of about 13,000.

April 12, 2010

Job Posting: Algoma University

The postsecondary institution in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is searching for an Organizational Ombuds to serve faculty, staff and students. Previously, the university had only an Ombuds for students. This is an initial four-month contract for a pilot project from mid-August 2010 to mid-December 2010.

World Bank Corporate Responsibility Report Acknowledges Ombuds Program

The latest report from international financial NGO highlights the Ombuds program for its 7,000 staff as evidence of its social responsibility.

Tweets Offers Perspective on 2010 IOA Conference

This year, a Twitter hashtag (#IOA2010) for the IOA conference in New Orleans offered attendees and non-attendees a way to follow tweets about the event. Several IOA conference goers tweeted their impressions, including DA Graham (daspokesman), Lisa Witzler (PONLisa) and Andre Marin (Ont_Ombudsman). Although they did not attend, John Zinsser (ConBenAlchemist) and Lynn Connley (LynnConnley) also joined in the conversation.

April 09, 2010

Ohio State University Names First Faculty Ombuds

OSU President Gordon Gee has appointed Jack A. Rall, PhD, as the first Ombuds for faculty. Rall was an easy choice because he has served as sort of an unofficial ombudsman for the College of Medicine for more than three decades. 

Bridgepoint Education Hires Associate Ombuds

The parent company of Ashford University and University of the Rockies has hired Jen Graf as an Associate Ombuds. She joins Ombudsman Michael Kilpatrick, who set up Bridgepoint's Ombuds office last year.

April 08, 2010

IOA Elects Officers at 2010 Conference

At the annual business meeting of International Ombudsman Association, out-going Board President Gary Yamashita announced that directors have been elected as officers for 2010-2011:

April 06, 2010

New York Co-Op Market Adopts Ombuds Program for Customers

GreenStar Cooperative Market, a consumer-owned, democratically-run cooperative corporation in Ithaca, NY, has created an Ombuds program. According to GreenStar's blog, the new program will facilitate the communication of questions, concerns, problems or complaints from members and nonmembers.

Update: Patent Office Approves Ombuds Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office received for its proposed Patents Ombudsman Pilot Program. After considering the written comments from the patent community, the USPTO has decided to implement the Patents Ombudsman Pilot Program for a period of one year.

April 05, 2010

Journal of IOA Publishes Latest Issue in Time for Annual Conference

The Journal of the International Ombudsman Association has published its third issue. Editor in Chief David Miller has collected several articles that bear on the effectiveness of Ombuds programs:

IOA Conference in New Orleans Starts Wednesday

The International Ombudsman Association's fifth annual conference starts April at the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans.  A day of pre-conference training will be followed by two and a half days of sessions, meetings and networking events. 

April 04, 2010

Area Around New Orleans Abounds With Ombuds Offices

Within driving distance of the Crescent City, you will find many organizations with Ombuds programs:

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara

KP is hiring a Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for Homestead Hospital in Santa Clara, CA. 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."

April 02, 2010

Idaho State University Ombuds Had Role in Controversial No-Confidence Vote

As faculty efforts to unseat the ISU provost became public, it was revealed that the University Ombuds helped count ballots. 

There should be some guidance for Ombuds pulled into these sorts of governance disputes.

Micro-Affirmations as Antidote to Workplace Inequities

In the 1970's Mary Rowe, defined micro-inequities as “apparently small events which are often ephemeral and hard-to-prove, events which are covert, often unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator, which occur wherever people are perceived to be ‘different.’”

April 01, 2010

Update: University of Texas President Asks for Recommendation on Staff Ombuds

After several years of interest in an Ombuds to “represent” staff, UT Austin President Bill Powers has asked Staff Council Chair Ben Bond to review the subject and make a recommendation. 

Washington State Schools Ombuds Facilitates Resolution for Seattle Families

The Washington Office of the Education Ombudsman has initiated a series of clinics at community sites for families with questions about the education system, or are experiencing concerns about their children’s education. Participants at the first clinic hosted by a local YWCA and the housing authority included Somali, Cambodian and Vietnamese residents.

UMDNJ Social Responsibility Report Touts New Ombuds Office

The report from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey highlights the the Office of the University Ombuds, which opened in 2009. The office moved the university closer to UMDNJ President William F. Owen, Jr.'s goal of creating a culture where every member of the University community could feel free to discuss issues of great concern and sensitivity.