June 30, 2011

Over 70 Attend ENOHE Conference in Madrid

More than 70 colleges and universities sent representatives to the ninth annual conference of the European Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education in Madrid this week. Participants came from across Europe and Canada, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. for the meeting at the Universidad Europea de Madrid. (El Economista.)

June 28, 2011

ENOHE Newsletter Highlights 2011 Conference

With the start of its ninth annual conference in Madrid, the European Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education has published its latest newsletter. In addition to an overview of conference activities, the newsletter includes the following articles:

Job Posting: Halliburton

The Halliburton Dispute Resolution Program is recruiting a Senior Ombudsperson. According to the posting, the position will be, "responsible for conducting hearings on disputed issues, assessing information gleaned from those hearings and relative to industry standards, and formulating options to best resolve those issues."

ICANN Interim Ombuds Reports to Board

As ICANN continues its search for a permanent Ombudsman, the Interim Ombuds Herb Waye, presented a report at the most recent board meeting in Singapore. Waye said that he had handled 10 complaints in the first half of 2011, compared to 33 in the same period last year. He also noted that there have been no outreach activities since the departure of the founding Ombuds, Frank Fowlie, and that as Interim Ombuds he has chosen to focus his efforts internally rather than externally. Waye is expected to continue in his interim role until the search process is completed. (ICANN Ombudsman Blog.)

Pacific Ombudsman Alliance Annual Conference Starts Tomorrow

The organization for Ombuds and allied institutions of countries that are members of the Pacific Islands Forum holds its annual meeting June 29-30 in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands. The conference is expected to attracted 35 participants from New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu Papua New Guinea, Niue, New Caledonia, Nauru, Palau, and Timor Leste. (Solomon Star.)

June 27, 2011

CERN Ombuds Considers the Dangers of Email

In his latest newsletter column, Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, looks at the fallout from an employee's careless email and the role of Ombuds in remediating the situation.

American University of Beirut Moving Ahead with Ombuds Office

As part of an overall effort to update institutional integrity policies, the secular, private university in Lebanon has taken steps to create an Ombuds program first promised last year. According to UAB Provost, Ahmad Dallal, the Harassment and Discrimination Policy Committee has created a document to charter a new office:

June 24, 2011

Job Posting: U.S. Army Medical Department

The U.S. Army's healthcare organization is hiring several Ombudsmen. The MEDCOM Ombudsman Program functions as an independent, neutral and impartial mediator for soldiers and their family members, and is located throughout the country. Applicants must have at least one year of experience working with health care or military issues. The full-time, GS-12 positions pay $68,809-100,859 and applications are due June 26, 2011. (Federal Government Jobs.)

June 23, 2011

Journal of IOA Seeks Articles for Issue on Confidentiality

David Miller, Editor of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association, has issued a call for submissions for the peer-reviewed publication. The next volume of the Journal will look at the issue of "Confidentiality and its possible exceptions." The editorial board is especially interested in experiences of Ombuds who may have responded to "imminent risk of serious harm" by breaching confidentiality.

June 21, 2011

Job Posting: Brock University

The public university in St. Catharines, Ontario is hiring a Student Ombudsperson for a one-year appointment from September 2011 to September 2012. The full-time position serves a student population of 17,000 following IOA standards.

ACR Conference to Feature Several Ombuds

At the Association for Conflict Resolution tenth annual conference in San Diego, CA on October 12-15, 2011, several Organizational Ombuds will be speakers.  The preliminary session schedule includes the following presenters and topics:

June 20, 2011

Federal Trial Court Holds That TSA Ombuds is Not Agent for Notice

Last week, the U.S. District Court in Portland, OR dismissed a employment discrimination suit filed by a former employee of the Transportation Security Administration. Regulations establish several pre-filing administrative prerequisites including that the plaintiff show contact with an equal employment opportunity counselor. In this case, however, the plaintiff called only the TSA Ombudsman, the EEOC, and the TSA Human Resources department. The court found that was insufficient and dismissed the case.

Interview With Hamline University Ombuds

Molly McAvoy has served as the Ombudsman at the private university in Saint Paul, MN since 1998. “This position really makes a difference for people,” she said. “People leave here feeling like they can address their issues, which is rewarding for me as well.” McAvoy, who reports to the University President, started in a part-time capacity and became full-time in 2005. In addition to an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public administration, she also earned a certificate in dispute resolution from the Hamline University School of Law. (Hamline News.)

UK's Office of the Independent Adjudicator Reports Record Complaints Against Universities

Rob Behrens, the Independent Adjudicator and Chief Executive of OIA, issued his annual report last week and reported that complaints against universities in England and Wales jumed 33% in 2010. The share of complaints upheld in full or in part also rose from 14% to 20%. In another first, the student-complaints watchdog named two universities in its annual report for not complying with its recommendations. (OIA 2010 Annual Report; Times Higher Education.)

June 17, 2011

Job Posting: U.S. Coast Guard

The Coast Guard is hiring a Regional Ombudsman Coordinator in Oakland, CA. The position will administer and develop all aspects of the CG Ombudsman Program, and provide feedback to the local Health, Safety and Work-Life Service Centers and the Ombudsman Program Manager.

Washington State University Opens Internal Search for Ombuds

The 25,000-student public research university in Pullman, WA is searching for a faculty member to become its next Ombudsman. The faculty-rank position is a 50% appointment for two years. Applicants should have at least five years of tenure and three years of conflict resolution experience. Applications should be submitted by July 5. No salary indicated. (WSU Jobs via Indeed.)

Former Ombuds Will Continue to Work in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University

PSU has announced that Carol Gabrielli will continue to help faculty and staff resolve employment issues as a senior employee relations specialist. Gabrielli previously was an Ombuds Representative and educator in the PSU Ombuds Office, which closed at the end of the Spring 2011 term. She will now be part of Human Resources and the Office of Academic Affairs and will train supervisors one-on-one and in groups to manage more effectively and prevent conflicts. Gabrielli was a speaker at the most recent IOA annual conference. (PSU News.)

June 16, 2011

Former University of Manitoba Ombuds to Head Auto Insurance Mediation Program

Evelyn Bernstein, who served as the Ombudsman at UM until the office was closed in June 2010, has been appointed to lead the Manitoba Automobile Injury Mediation Office pilot project. The new program will offer mediation services to Manitobans unhappy with Manitoba Public Insurance's decisions on personal injury claims from motor vehicle accidents. (CTV Winnipeg; UM Office of the Ombudsman.)

June 15, 2011

IOA Opens Special Election

The International Ombudsman Association is holding a special election to select two new Board members. Members only may vote and the deadline for all ballots to be submitted is Friday, June 24th at midnight (EST). (IOA News.)

June 14, 2011

Cornell Names Ombuds

Cornell University has appointed Charles Walcott to serve as its next Ombudsman starting July 1. Walcott is the former dean of the university faculty and a professor emeritus of neurobiology and behavior. Cornell President David Skorton said. "I gained enormously from his wisdom while he was dean of the university faculty, and I am delighted that he has agreed to serve in this new and critically important university wide role."

Petrobras Ombuds Takes on New Duties

In his latest column, Paulo Otto von Sperling, Petrobras' General Ombudsman, says that he is assuming "major responsibilities for strengthening the values of Ethics and Transparency, which make up the Company’s organizational culture." The changes have been prompted by the migration of Petrobras' workforce away from a central headquarters. In addition, the Ombuds will be responsible for coordinating activities related to new petroleum industry agreements designed to increase transparency and corporate responsibility. (Petrobras Ombudsman Column.)

June 13, 2011

Florence Boroson: SUNY Stony Brook Ombudsman

Florence Boroson, who founded the Office of the Ombudsman at the State University of New York, Stony Brook, passed away on May 20 at the age of 83. Boroson established the Stony Brook Ombuds Office in 1989 and served as director until 1999. Prior to that, she was director of personnel at the Stony Brook Library, an assistant dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and special assistant to University President John Marburger. (Times Beacon Record.)

Walter Lynn: Cornell Ombudsman

Walter R. Lynn, the Ombudsman for Cornell University from 1999 until his retirement earlier this year, passed away on June 6 at the age of 82. Lynn joined the Cornell faculty in 1961 and became an emeritus professor of civil and environmental engineering 1998, and served in many administrative roles, including as a faculty trustee and dean of the university faculty. Cornell President David Skorton said Lynn will be remembered as, "a man of great humor with the exceptional ability to listen and dispense sound wisdom." (Cornell Chronicle.)

June 12, 2011

IOA Extends Deadline for Salary Survey Responses

The International Ombudsman Association is in the middle of collecting data for its periodic survey of compensation and practices. The report is often relied upon by Organizational Ombuds and institutions during budgeting and hiring. IOA has extended the deadline for its members to respond to the survey to Friday, June 17. (IOA News.)

June 09, 2011

Job Posting: Princeton University

Princeton is hiring a University Ombudsperson to work with all members of the campus community. In addition to conflict resolution, the Ombuds serves in an advisory capacity to the Provost and other senior administrators by identifying trends and emerging needs, and has general administrative responsibility over the Ombuds Office.

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The TSA is hiring a Program Specialist for its Office of the Ombudsman in Arlington, VA. The position functions as an Assistant Ombudsman and will will perform work related to the informal resolution of questions, issues, and concerns from TSA employees and external stakeholders about TSA processes, policies, and procedures.

June 06, 2011

Cal Poly Pomona Signs Ombuds Charter

On May 31, 2011, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona President J. Michael Ortiz signed a Charter Agreement for the campus Ombuds program, which was established in 2006. The charter covers the purpose and scope of services, standards of practice and code of ethics, authority and limits of the Ombuds, and retaliation. The charter was cosigned by University Ombuds, Lavada Austin. (Cal Poly Pomona Ombuds Charter.)

National Institutes of Health Ombuds Website Gets Facelift

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman transformed its website last week, introducing a cleaner design and additional resources. The new site offers more information about the Ombudsman's role and services, conflict resolution tools, and NIH resources. There are new pages with information about the IOA, the history of the office, and its staff.  It also appears that annual reports will be published on the site.

June 02, 2011

University of California San Francisco Appoints First Ombuds

UCSF, the University of California campus dedicated solely to graduate education, in health and biomedical sciences, has appointed Randy Daron as its first-ever Ombudsperson. According to an email announcement from UCSF Vice Provost Sally J. Marshall, Daron will serve the entire campus including faculty, staff and students at all sites including the UCSF Medical Center.