May 30, 2011

FCO Elects Officers for 2011-2013 Terms

At its biennial conference in Vancouver earlier this month, the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman elected a new board and officers.

International Conferences of Ombuds-Institutions for the Armed Forces Launches Website

Members of ICOAF are Ombuds and Inspectors General that protect and promote the human rights of armed forces of personnel. The association has created a website to provide more information about its activities and publications. ICOAF has held three annual meetings since its first in May 2009. The fourth ICOAF conference is planned for Ottawa in October 2012.

May 27, 2011

Job Posting: Kenyon College

The private liberal arts college in Gambier, Ohio is hiring an Ombudsperson. ​ The position will provide informal processes for Kenyon employees to manage and resolve workplace conflicts. Applicants must have at least a four-year degree and should also have mediation and facilitation training and experience, and an understanding of unique challenges to dispute resolution in a small college environment.

CERN Ombuds Explains His Duty of Confidentiality

In his most recent newsletter article, Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, explains how the duty of confidentiality affects his ability to work with a group of disgruntled employees. In his hypothetical example, Vuillemi believed that it was essential for the Ombuds to bring group's concern matter to the attention of senior management. However, because the employees had not given permission, the Ombuds was required to maintain confidentiality. Vuillemi's example is typical of cases many organizational Ombuds encounter. (CERN Bulletin.)

Save the Date for ACR Annual Conference in San Diego

The Association for Conflict Resolution will be hosting its tenth annual conference, "Many Paths, One Destination," October 12-15, 2011 at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel and Marina. Details will be announced later. (ACR Conf. Info.)

May 26, 2011

Job Posting: Ryerson University

The public university in Toronto is hiring an Assistant Ombudsperson for an 11-month appointment (August 2, 2011 - July 3, 2012). The posting seeks applicants with several years experience in conflict resolution and knowledge of the post-secondary education setting and student policies and services. Applications are due June 10, 2011. (Charity Village.)

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Irvine

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for their facility in Irvine, 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."

University of North Carolina Ombuds Declines Comment

A University of North Carolina housekeeper is pursuing an internal grievance arising out of an alleged sexual harassment by her supervisor. Her petition alleges that filed a case with the University Ombuds Office and was not advised of the full procedures, but was referred to the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office. UNC Ombudsperson, Wayne Blair refused to comment on specific cases when contacted by the campus newspaper. (Daily Tarheel.)

Class Action Lawsuit Against Bayer HealthCare References Ombuds

A class action suit againt Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals alleges the company discriminated against women employees, including female pharmaceutical sales representatives and all women in Bayer HealthCare’s Consumer Care unit. One plaintiff alleges that she sought help from an on-site counselor and then reported the incident to a company hotline, Bayer’s corporate Ombuds and human resources. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)

May 24, 2011

Job Posting: Asian Development Bank

The regional development bank is recruiting an individual with extensive experience and success in conflict resolution to become its first Ombudsperson. The position will report to the ADB President and will follow the Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the International Ombudsman Association.

ENOHE Publishes Proceedings of Joint Conference with ACCUO

In May 2010, the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education and the Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds held a joint conference in Vienna. The proceedings from the conference, "Common Objectives, Different Pathways: Embedding Ombudsman Principles and Practices into Higher Education Institutions" are now available online.

Emergency Medicine News: Sick of Complaints? Call the Ombudsman

The May issue of the independent news magazine says that Ombuds are an important resource for emergency medicine professionals who are often criticized from many sides.

May 23, 2011

International Franchise Association’s Ombuds Program Marks 10th Anniversary

In 2001, the IFA launched an Ombudsman Office as part of a two-year study into ways to improve and strengthen the association's Code of Ethics and Self-Regulation program. The IFA Ombuds is a confidential, neutral, independent, facilitative, informal, and free resource available to franchisors or franchisees. The success of the industry-wide program has prompted some franchisors to adopt their own Ombuds programs.

Asian Scientist Magazine: The Organizational Ombudsman Can Help

The latest issue of the magazine for the Asian scientific community, includes an article that explains how an Ombuds can help with these types of problems:
  • “My senior colleague wants to be co-first author on my paper, but I did 80 percent of the work!”
  • “My PI is not letting me graduate… I’m desperate.”
  • “I can’t stand my labmate who bullies me. I can’t do anything about it because I depend on him.”
  • “I hate my boss.”

Organization of News Ombudsmen Director Looks to the Future

Jeffrey Dvorkin, the Executive Director of ONO, takes stock of the organization at the conclusion of a successful annual conference in Montreal. He wonders how the value of Ombudsmen can be communicated more effectively to media management.

May 20, 2011

Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds Updates Website

ACCUO has unveiled a dramatically redesigned website that offers many resources for practitioners and others interested in the work of Ombuds in higher ed. The new website is available in English and French, and provides information about the association and its leadership, updated event listings, and other resources and tools. Much of the work was done by Anita Pouliot, the Assistant Ombudsperson at the University of Western Ontario, which hosts the site. Additional material is being developed and will appear soon. (ACCUO.)

Related posts: ACCUO Holds First Ever Mid-Year Meeting; FCO/ACCUO Post 2011 Conference Agenda

Registration Opens for ENOHE Annual Conference in Madrid

The European Network for Ombudsman in Higher Education has created a website for its ninth annual conference in Madrid, Spain on June 27-29, 2011. Registration for the meeting, which is hosted by the Universidad Europea de Madrid, is now open. (ENOHE Conf 2011.)

Related posts: ENOHE-ACCUO 2010 Conference Embraces Diversity of Ombuds Practice in Higher Education; ENOHE Annual Conference Slated for Madrid.

A New, Anonymous Ombuds Blog Launches

An unnamed Ombudsman at a large research-1 university has started a blog: "Higher Ed Ombuds" to ponder and discuss his/her observations of conflict in an academic system. (Followers of the OmbudsBlog Twitter feed may be able to sleuth out the blogger's identity, but the blog itself is reveals no identifying details.) The first post explains that the blog is not an exposé, a place to vent; a pronouncement of expertise; or a reflection/representation of the blogger's organization.

University of Missouri–Kansas City Ombuds Posts First Report

Nancy E. Day, the first Faculty Ombudsperson at UMKC, has published a report on her activities since she began work last September. Day summarizes the efforts to set up the office, including IOA training, campus outreach, and the creation of relevant materials and a charter.

May 19, 2011

Leading Canadian Ombuds, Suzanne Belson Retires

Last month, Suzanne Belson retired from her position as an Investigator with the Department of National Defense and Canadian Forces Ombudsman’s Office. Previously, Belson was the Ombudsperson at Concordia University in Montreal from 1978 to 1999. She was a founding member of both the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons. 

Arizona Ombuds Sought for Regional Meeting

The Apollo Group Ombudsman in Phoenix, Arizona is seeking contact information for all practicing Ombudsman currently positioned in the state of AZ to potentially participate in a Statewide Ombuds meeting. If you are currently Ombudsing in AZ and would like to be added to their list, please contact Elizabeth Hill by email (Elizabeth [dot] Hill [at-sign] Apollogrp [dot] edu).

IOA Adds Skills Course to Ombuds Training in Indianapolis, July 2011

IOA has updated information about a previously-announced specialized course and added another course to the professional development opportunities at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis on July 11-14, 2011.

May 16, 2011

University of California Berkeley Hires an Ombuds

After a six-month national search, the Staff Ombuds Office at Berkeley has hired Bridget Regan to be an Associate Ombudsperson. Regan has been on the faculty at the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University for the past five years and she has held academic appointments at Brooklyn Law School Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. From 2006 to 2008, Regan was the director of the Simon Wiesenthal: New York Tolerance Center, the east-coast educational arm of the Museum of Tolerance.

May 13, 2011

JPL Ombuds Will Retire

Lewis Redding, the Ombudsperson for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has announced he will retire at the end of May 2011. Redding has served in the role since 1996 and previously was the Ombudsman at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory and Northeastern University. When hired at JPL, he became not only that laboratory's first Ombuds, but also the first Ombuds at any NASA facility.

May 11, 2011

Idaho State University Shutters Ombuds Office Indefinitely

Earlier this week, ISU Faculty Ombudsman John Gribas, sent out an email stating that the university was suspended until new senate constitution and bylaws are enacted. A statement on the ISU Ombuds website explains that, "no ombuds office services will be available to ISU faculty during the summer 2011 session or through the 2011-2012 academic year."

University of British Columbia Ombuds Posts Second Annual Report

Shirley R. Nakata, the Ombudsperson for UBC, has published her a report on the activities of her office in 2010, the first full calendar year of operation. Nakata and Ombuds Officer Joy Coben serve a student body of more than 47,000 students and handled 175 cases. In addition to summaries of cases and other office activities, the report also includes the results of an on-line survey completed by 36% of visitors. (UBC Ombuds 2010 Report.)

Latest Newsletter from Georgia State University Ombuds Offers Wide Range of Advice for Students

The GSU Office of the Ombudsperson publishes a periodic newsletter for students.  The latest issue concludes an article about micromanagement (including tips for the micromanager and micromanaged) and delegation. The newsletter advertises upcoming workshops on bullying and mobbing, and conflict coaching for teaching assistants.

May 10, 2011

Texas Ombuds Will Hold Spring Meeting in Austin

Austin Community College will host the Ombuds of Texas on May 11, 2011. Osvaldo “Ralph” Osio, SPHR, who has worked for the state of Texas for over 27 years as a trainer, recruiter, and HR specialist, will speak on “Diversity Under the Scope.” “Communicating Negative Messages” will be be the topic for Travis Fowler of Alliance Work Partners, an expert in corporate training and customer service. (Ombuds of Texas.)

CERN Ombuds Explores Workplace Rumors

Vincent Vuillemin, the Ombuds for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, writes a regular article for the employee newsletter. In the latest "Ombuds' Corner," he discusses a fictional case of workplace rumors that began to affect workplace relationships. In his example, Vuillemin concluded that the case was not up to the level of harassment, although there was clearly a breach of the CERN Code of Conduct.

May 09, 2011

Lake Superior State University Opens Ombuds Office

The small public university in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, has appointed Sally Childs, PhD, as its first Ombuds. Childs will serve the student population of 2,500 following IOA standards of practice. Childs is a professor in the Department of Recreation Studies and Exercise Science. She graduated from Eastern Michigan University and earned an MS from Northern Michigan University and PhD from Ohio State University. (LSSU Student Ombudsman; Provost's Report; Faculty Bio.)

Petrobras Ombuds Discusses Religion in the Workplace

In his latest column, Paul Otto, the Ombudsman for the semi-public Brazilian energy company, responds to a recent email from an employee wishing coworkers a good Easter. Otto observes that benign intent does not make the message appropriate for the workplace. Instead he concludes that religious statements should be discouraged, even when they reflect the majority sentiment.

University of Wisconsin Ombuds Declines Comment for Story on Campus Resources

Last week, the Badger Herald, the largest fully independent daily campus newspaper in the U.S., published a feature on resources for equity complaints. The story highlighted the services of the Division of Student Life, Office for Equity and Diversity, and Ombuds Office at the UW–Madison. The piece included information from the Ombuds website and annual report. Surprisingly, however, "The ombuds contacted by The Badger Herald declined to comment." (Badger Herald.)

May 07, 2011

Coca-Cola's Canadian Ombuds Retires

Pierre Niedlispacher, the Ombudsman for Coca-Cola Refreshments in Canada since 2003, announced his retirement at the end of April. Niedlispacher has been a member of the International Ombudsman Association Board of Directors for the past three years and was co-chair of the Montréal Conference in 2009. He has been an active member of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsmans and also served on the Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners.

Ombuds Serves Canadian Service Corps

In January 2010, Katimavik created an Ombuds program to serve its 1,200 teenage Canadian volunteers and other stakeholders. Louis Haeck was appointed as the first Ombudsman for the Montreal-based nonprofit and a webpage for his office recently went online. Haeck serves as an independent, impartial, informal, and confidential resource for Katimavik's volunteers, volunteer alumni, employees and trainees, partners and the parents, guardians and legal guardians of minor volunteers.

May 04, 2011

International Society for Krishna Consciousness Adopts Ombuds Terms of Reference

At its annual general meeting earlier this year, ISKCON's Governing Body Commission adopted terms of reference for its Ombuds Office, ISKCONResolve. The terms of reference are based on the terms of reference for the Ombuds Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and state that ISKCONResolve Ombuds adhere to the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. (ISKCON GBC Annual Meeting Minutes, ISKCONResolve Terms of Reference.)

Ombuds Training Comes to Indianapolis, July 2011

IOA will offer three professional development opportunities at the Hyatt Regency Indianapolis on July 11-14, 2011.  Programs to be offered are:

May 03, 2011

Concordia University Ombuds Office Posts Report for 2009-10

In an annual report submitted to the University's Board of Governors, Kristen Robillard said that her office handled 531 cases in the last academic year. Cases from students totaled 419 -- reflecting a usage rate of 1.0% of all enrolled students. In breaking down the visitor statistics, Robillard noted when usage by a particular group was proportional to their share of the population.