July 29, 2011

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Opens Ombuds Office

The U.S. intelligence agency responsible for imagery and mapping for national security and military purposes has established a new website for its Ombuds program. The NGA Ombudsman serves for internal and external stakeholders as, "an informal resource to help answer questions and resolve concerns from employees and external consumers of NGA products about inefficiencies, inconsistent application of policies, potential unfair practices, and other anomalies that adversely impact NGA's people, processes and resources."

Job Posting: Amherst College

The private, liberal arts institution in Amherst, MA is accepting applications for a part-time Ombudsperson. The position reports directly to the college president and serves as a resource for faculty, administrators and staff. Applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree and related work experience.

Attendance Rises at Ninth Annual Summer Meeting of Academic Ombuds

Tim Griffin, the Ombuds at Northern Illinois University, reports that the annual meeting continued to grow. He provided the following report:

IOA Completes Ombuds Compensation Survey

The International Ombudsman Association announced that 199 practitioners participated in a compensation survey. The study, which also queried Ombuds practices, will be compiled into a report to be published in October 2011. The IOA said that 45% of its members participated in the survey. (IOA News.)

July 28, 2011

Corporate Ombuds Named to IOA Board

Albin Swenson, Ombudsman for the Chevron Corporation, has been named to fill the Board seat vacated by Carolyn Noorbakhsh, recently announced her retirement. Swenson was a recent candidate for a special election held by the International Ombudsman Association to fill two other board positions and received the next highest number of votes. Swenson also sits on the Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners. (IOA News.)

Ethics and Compliance Expert Illustrates Work of Corporate Ombuds

The latest issue of the Corporate Crime Reporter features an interview with Patrick Gnazzo, an attorney who has held a variety of executive positions, including as the former chief compliance officer at Computer Associates. Gnazzo says that the optimum set up for a corporation is "a strong ethics and compliance office and a strong ombudsman’s office." He illustrates this position with a story from his work as the chief compliance officer at United Technologies Corporation:

Dawn DeVeaux: Fort Valley State University Ombuds

The University Ombudsman for FVSU passed away unexpectedly earlier this week. Dr. Dawn Della DeVeaux had worked at FVSU since 2005, when she became an assistant professor of fine arts. She became the Ombuds in 2009. Funeral services are scheduled for Monday, August 1 in Marietta. (Warner Robins Patriot; FSVU News.)

Students Report Closure of Southern University Ombuds Office

Students at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA are tweeting that the Ombuds Office has been closed.  If true, the SUBR Ombuds Office will have closed less than two years after opening.

July 27, 2011

Job Posting: Oregon State University

The public research university located in Corvallis is hiring is first Ombuds. The full-time position will report report directly to the President. The University Ombuds supplements, but does not replace, the University's existing resources for conflict resolution. The initial appointment is for 12 months, renewable at the discretion of the President.

Volunteer Opportunity: Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

The regional greenbelt system near San Francisco Bay is seeking a volunteer Ombudsperson to assist residents in their interactions with the District and facilitates conflict resolution when needed. The District Ombuds is appointed by the Board of Directors and to work independently and provide objective upward feedback when appropriate.

John Wanjala: First Ombuds at Portland State University

A memorial service to honor John Wanjala is set for this Sunday on the campus of Portland State University. Wanjala founded PSU's Ombuds Office in 1993 after previously serving as chief of Campus Public Safety. He retired in 2009 and returned to Kenya, his homeland, where he died of cancer in April. (PSU Vanguard.)

July 25, 2011

IOA Ombuds Training Returns to Baltimore

The International Ombudsman Association will offer basic and advanced training for Organizational Ombuds at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, MD the week of October 24-28, 2011.  Courses include: 

July 22, 2011

UK Student Leader Endorses Campus Ombuds Programs

Liam Burns, who was elected earlier this month as President of the National Union of Students, says that university students in the United Kingdom need better conflict resolution systems. Among other remedies, he explicitly endorses campus Ombuds as a resource for early conflict resolution. His remarks come in response to increases in UK tuition rates and complaints from students to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

July 21, 2011

Issue Raised With Ombuds Leads to Departure of Harvard Professor

A prominent Harvard psychologist has left the university after being found responsible for eight counts of scientific misconduct. The case against Marc D. Hauser, PhD, a tenured professor, began in 2007 when several members of his lab took concerns about falsified data to the Harvard's Ombuds. Eventually, the university opened an investigation and seized Hauser's records. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that a separate investigation by the federal Office of Research Integrity is apparently continuing.

Externship: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA is offering an unpaid externship in its Rockville, MD office. The extern will work with FINRA Ombuds staff in the fall 2011 semester for 15-20 hours per week. 

Ombuds of Texas Postpones August Meeting

The Texas Ombuds group will not meet on August 10 as planned.  The next meeting is scheduled for November 9, 2011.  (Ombuds of Texas.)

New Blog Delves into Workplace Ethics

My newest favorite blog is "Workplace Ethics Advice" written by Steven M. Mintz, PhD, a Professor of Accounting specializing in ethics and international accounting at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. 

Ombuds who work with employees will find his first five posts relevant and insightful:

July 19, 2011

JPL Closes Ombuds Office

Following the retirement of Lewis Redding, NASA's first Ombudsperson, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA has announced that it will shutter the Ombuds office indefinitely. The announcement came in an email to all JPL employees from Director Eugene L. Tattini:

Job Posting: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

The international financial institution that supports privatization efforts in 29 countries is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The contract position will act as an impartial and independent intermediary between a staff member and the Bank to attempt to resolve employment-related problems of staff members. Services will be provided on four working days a month at the Bank's headquarters in London.

Job Posting: International Organization for Migration

The intergovernmental organization that promotes international cooperation on migration issues is hiring an Ombudsman for its office in Geneva. The position is within the IOM Office of the Director General and serves as a resource for employment-related problems of staff members. The one-year appointment starts March 2012 and operates in accordance with IOA Standards of Practice.

Creating a Perfect FOIA Ombuds Office

An article posted by the National Freedom of Information Coalition outlines how to create an Ombuds program to reduce litigation over over information requests. Experts say important considerations include training, a dedicated program (rather than part of another administrative office or attorney general), political independence, and an appropriate level of power.

July 18, 2011

Claims Conference to Appoint Ombuds

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, the organization that manages billions of dollars of Holocaust reparations payments, announced that it will appoint an independent Ombudsman. The Claims Conference Board of Directors voted to create the Ombuds position on July 13, but the role has not yet been defined fully.

Seminar Promotes Campus Ombuds Programs as Resource for Restorative Justice

Innovative Educators, a training provider for higher education professionals, will offer a webinar on "Starting An Ombuds Program As A Restorative Justice Tool For The College Campus." The seminar is presented by Casey Sacks, PhD, and takes place on August 2.

July 13, 2011

Job Posting: Victorian Government

The Victorian Government's Department of Sustainability and Environment is hiring a Workplace Conciliator for a three-year appointment in East Melbourne, Australia. The position provides confidential and informal assistance to DSE employees work-related issues and concerns, and alerts management to systemic issues and trends that should be addressed to improve the work environment.

IOA 2012 Annual Conference -- Call for Proposals

The International Ombudsman Association is accepting proposals for its seventh annual conference in Houston, Texas on April 15–18, 2012.  The IOA Conference Committee is accepting proposals from potential speakers through Friday, September 16, 2011.  Submissions are being collected online at SurveyMonkey.  Questions and concerns may be directed to IOA staff at 908-359-0246 or info@ombudsassociation.org

University of Pennsylvania Appoints Associate Ombuds

Marcia Martinez-Helfman has been named the Associate Ombudsman for Penn effective July 1, 2011. She will work in partnership with the University Ombudsman, Dr. Joan Goodman, to assist all members of the campus community. Dr. Gulbun O’Connor, who returned to serve as Interim Associate Ombudsman while the search was completed, will work with Martinez-Helfman during July to ensure a smooth transition.

July 12, 2011

American University in Cairo Poised to Create Ombuds Program

In her latest update, AUC President Lisa Anderson says that the university believes there is strong demand for an Ombuds office. Anderson promises there will soon be a search for an Ombuds reporting directly to her.

Drexel University to Hire New Ombuds

The private research university in Philadelphia will conduct a search this summer to hire its next Ombuds. The position will represent faculty, staff and students, and be be housed in a neutral location on campus. The preference is for an internal tenured faculty member, but outside candidates may also be considered. The search will fill the University Ombudsman position held for many years by Associate Professor Richard Rosen. (Drexel Faculty Senate Minutes; The Triangle.)

July 11, 2011

Two Ombuds Elected to IOA Board

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the results of a special election held at the end of June.  From the six nine nominees, two new directors were elected to the IOA Board:

Penn State Seeks Faculty Ombuds

Pennsylvania State University is seeking a faculty member for the position of Ombudsperson. Applicants must be a current or emeritus faculty member and will coordinate the training of all college and campus Ombuds. (Penn State Live.)

San Diego State University Ombuds Office Seeks Emeriti Volunteers

The SDSU Office of the Ombudsman is seeking additional emeritus professors and retired staff members to supplement the work of the Ombudsman. The SDSU Volunteer Ombudsmen Program began almost three decades ago and serves the entire campus community. Volunteers assist the Ombuds Office on an "on-call" basis and are only on campus by appointment. The current SDSU Ombudsman is Marit Bessesen. (SDSU Ombuds.)

July 08, 2011

University of Texas Names First Staff Ombuds

The University of Texas at Austin has selected Jennifer Graf Sims to open its first Ombuds office for staff. The appointment comes two years after the UT Staff Council said an Ombuds for staff issues was a top priority. The university already had Ombuds for students and faculty. Sims was selected after a search that opened in December 2010. William Powers Jr., president of the university, said Sims is “an excellent choice for UT’s first staff ombuds officer."

July 07, 2011

Columbia Hires New Associate Ombuds

Columbia University has appointed Jennifer McFeely, LCSW as an Associate Ombuds Officer. McFeely earned her BA from Kirkland College and her MSW from Rutgers University. She also completed intensive training in family systems therapy at the Family Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Job Posting: University of Western Ontario

The public research university in London, Ontario has opened a search for an Ombudsperson. The full-time position serves a student body of about 25,000 and administers UWO's Office of the Ombudsperson.

July 06, 2011

Job Posting: Algonquin College

The public college of applied arts and technology in Ottawa, Ontario, is hiring an Ombudsperson. The position reports to the Ombudsperson Review Committee and serves the student body of 18,000 full-time undergraduates and 35,180 continuing education students. Applicants must have a college diploma/degree, at least seven years relevant experience, and ADR training.

Texas Southern University Appoints Faculty Ombuds

The historically black university in Houston has appointed Andrea J. Shelton as its first Faculty Ombudsperson. Shelton is an Associate Professor of Health Care Administration in the TSU College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She earned her BA from Howard University, MA from the University of South Florida and PhD from the University of Pittsburg. In addition, she is a trained mediator and has completed course work with IOA.

July 05, 2011

Job (Re-)Posting: AllianceBernstein

The global investment management firm has re-opened its search for an Ombudsman. According to the new posting, the position is now part-time: "4 days a week 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Flexibility is important." The reporting lines and preferred qualifications are now different. Instead of reporting only to the general counsel, the position now also reports to the CEO and Mutual Fund Boards. Also, rather than an MBA, the preferred educational background is a law degree.

Ombuds of Texas Set Summer Meeting

The Ombuds of Texas will hold its next meeting in Austin on August 10, 2011.  The agenda and details are being finalized. (Ombuds of Texas.)

July 01, 2011

Ohio State University Increases Appointment of Faculty Ombuds

OSU has extended the appointment of its Faculty Ombudsman, Jack Rall, to a full 12 months. Rall, who was named the university's first Ombuds in April 2010, will now be available for consultations during the summer quarter. (OSU Today.)

ABA Dispute Resolution Section Conference Organizers Call for Proposals

The American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution is seeking presentation proposals for its annual meeting in Washington, DC on April 18-21, 2012. (The IOA conference is April 15-18.) The conference draws attorneys, national and international ADR practitioners and organizations, corporate leaders, federal and state governments officials, judges and court administrators, and law school faculty.