November 30, 2010

USOA to Hold 2011 Annual Conference in Jacksonville, Florida

The United States Ombudsman Association has announced that its thirty-first annual meeting will take place at the Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 through Friday, October 28, 2011. As usual, there will be two days of pre-conference workshops on Monday, October 26 and Tuesday, October 27. Additional details will be forthcoming. (USOA.)

November 29, 2010

American University of Beirut Receives Funding for New Ombuds Office

The secular, private university in Lebanon has received a grant that will fund, in part, a proposed Ombuds program for the medical campus. An Ombuds program has been under consideration at AUB since at least 2004, when female faculty lobbied for an "an ombudsman office for addressing faculty concerns anonymously." In a November 2009 report to the University's trustees, AUB President Peter F. Dorman backed an Organizational Ombuds program for faculty, staff and students as a supplement for a updated grievance and harassment policy.

OO Blogger Predicts Growing Work for Ombuds in 2011

In his latest post at the Organizational Ombudsman Blog, Clayton Gilman finds reason to be optimistic about the Ombuds field next year. He believes the current economic conditions provide opportunity and a demand for Ombuds working with individuals, groups and small organizations.

November 23, 2010

Job Posting: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

ICANN has opened a search for an experienced professional Ombudsman. The winning candidate will have the responsibility of managing the Ombudsman conflict resolution program, fielding and resolving issues and complaints arising from the Internet community, and acting as a functional partner to augment and enhance the mission and goals of ICANN.

Ombuds at University of Western Ontario Explains Conflict of Interest Policy

A recent article in the UWO newspaper explains the University's conflict of interest policy. Jennifer Meister, Acting UWO Ombudsperson, offered her own example of dealing with a conflict:

Tips for Handling Defensiveness In High Conflict People

Ombuds regularly deal with and coach others to deal with high conflict people (HCPs). Attorney, therapist and mediator, Bill Eddy says HCPs are driven primarily by unconscious defensiveness. Understanding this will avoid frustration and prompting more bad behavior. Eddy says that HCPs' behavior is rooted in a Mistaken Assessment of Danger. The HCP perceives a threat and is trying to protect him or herself.

November 22, 2010

Cleveland State University Names Permanent Ombuds But Fails to Allocate Resources

Engineering professor Rama Gorla, PhD, has been appointed as Ombudsperson for CSU Ohio. The announcement completes the process of restoring the the Ombuds Office promised earlier this year by CSU President Ronald Berkman. Gorla will be paid a modest stipend to assist faculty, staff and students part time, but has no budget or staff.

Video Interview With Cornell Ombuds

Cornell has posted a lengthy interview with Linda Falkson, who has served as Assistant Ombudsman for 2½ years. The 19 minute video covers a wide range of topics including Falkson's career path and personal interests, the ethical tenets of her practice, the history of Cornell's Ombuds Office, and the types of cases she handled.

November 19, 2010

Job Posting: Columbia University

Columbia is accepting applications for an Associate University Ombuds Officer. The position works with the University Ombuds Officer and provides confidential complaint handling and neutral, informal conflict resolution to all Columbia University students, faculty, and employees.

November 18, 2010

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The TSA is hiring an Ombudsman Customer Representative for its office in Arlington, VA. The position will report directly to the TSA Ombuds or designee and will assess the primary interests of parties in a workplace disputes and develop options for resolution based on those interests. The position is open only to US citizens or nationals, and requires up to 25% travel.

Team Canada Ombudsperson to Speak at Brock University

Rachel Corbett, the Ombuds for Canadian athletes at the Commonwealth Games in India, will give a talk at Brock University on November 23 at 5:00 pm. Corbett will describe her experiences at the games working with the Canadian delegation of 400.

November 15, 2010

University Of Michigan Names Ombuds for Students

Tom Lehker, who has served as Michigan's Interim Ombudsman since the retirement of Robert B. Holmes earlier this year, has been appointed as the next Ombuds for the 41,000-student campus.

Externship: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA is offering unpaid externships for graduate students in its Washington, DC office. The externs will work with FINRA Ombuds staff in the Spring 2011 semester for 15-20 hours per week.

Friday is Deadline for Second Annual IOA Writing Competition

Entries for the student writing contest sponsored by the International Ombudsman Association are due Friday, November 19, 2010. The competition is open to graduate students in ADR or law programs and papers must be on the topic of how Ombuds can avoid being deemed as agents for notice for their organization.

November 14, 2010

Chuck Howard Will Speak at Princeton

The author of The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations-A Legal Guide will present a talk titled "Bridging the Gap ... Creating a Fair and Impartial Culture" on November 23, 2010. The event is sponsored by the Princeton University Ombuds, DA Graham, and will focus on how people in large organizations and the organizations themselves report misconduct and resolve conflict.

Coastal Carolina University Ombuds Issues Report

Charmaine Tomczyk, CCU's first Faculty Ombuds, reports that campus demand for her services has continued through the end of her second year in the position. She said that, "The range of workplace concerns and questions has expanded as Coastal Carolina continues to transform into a larger institution with more employees, more opportunities and more challenges."

November 11, 2010

Journal of IOA Seeks Corporate Ombuds for Editorial Board

David Miller, the Editor of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, is recruiting IOA members from the corporate sector for the editorial board.

William Mason: JHU Laboratory Ombuds

William T. Mason III, the Laboratory Ombudsman at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, passed away November 1, 2010. A memorial service will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Highland, MD. Mason helped patent a high altitude reconnaissance vehicle in 2006. (Washington Post; USPTO.)

November 10, 2010

Ombuds Summarize Workplace Bullying Concerns

In the September issue of the Labor and Employment Relations Association newsletter, Lydia Cummings and Mary Rowe write about what they have heard -- directly and from other Organizational Ombuds -- about bullying at work. Cummings and Rowe report on words used to describe people perceived as bullies; behaviors of (alleged) bullies; what (alleged) targets feel; and experiences reported by (alleged) targets.

Video Introduces University of Cincinnati Ombuds Office

A one-minute music video recently posted on YouTube shows UC Ombuds, Lillian Santa Maria and Jean Griffin, and their offices. There is no dialog, but the video includes superimposed words that define the Ombuds practice and services.

November 03, 2010

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Will Hold Open Meeting

CoFO is inviting any federal ombuds or anyone interested in the work of a federal ombuds to an all-day conference on November 9, 2010. The meeting will be hosted by the Ombuds at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, DC and will feature leading Ombuds and experts from the federal sector.

CERN Ombuds Begins Series of Articles for Employees

Vincent Vuillemi, the recently appointed Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has started writing a series of articles to better explain his role at the Swiss research laboratory. Vuillemi says that he, "will publish practical examples of situations of potential misunderstanding that could have been resolved by the Ombuds if he had been contacted earlier."

University of Cincinnati Ombuds Office Marks Four Decades of Service

On November 17, 2010, the UC Ombuds Office will celebrate its fortieth anniversary with a reception. According to the invitation to the campus, "For 40 years the UC Ombuds have worked to create dialogue, informal and often elegant resolutions to conflicts, and help build a sense of community."

Kansas State University Ombuds Submit Ninth Annual Report

The University Ombuds at K-State -- Michael Dikeman, Rebecca Gould and Todd Simon -- reported that they handled 40 faculty and staff cases in the 2009-10 academic year. The caseload was up from 32 in the prior year, but was within the range reported over the past nine years.

November 01, 2010

Washington State Education Ombuds Offers Insights on School Bullying

Steve Zuber, an Ombuds with the Washington Office of the Education Ombudsman, says that school bullying has not changed much since his prior career as a high school teacher and counselor. Statistics from the State of Washington bear this out and show no decline of bullying in the last 10 years.

New Zealand Ombuds Elected to Lead IOI

The International Ombudsman Institute board of directors has elected New Zealand's Chief Ombudsman, Beverley Wakem, to be its next president. Wakem said under her presidency, she would work to see membership of the body extended to some countries not now eligible.