December 29, 2011

IOA Announces Keynote Speakers for 2012 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association has announced that its annual conference in Houston will feature keynote speeches by: Michael Dues, Sherry D. Williams, and David Yamada. The seventh annual IOA conference is set for April 15-18, 2012, in Houston, Texas.

Premier Education Group Opens Ombuds Office

The privately held company that operates 19 vocational education institutes in the Northeast has added a webpage for a Student Ombudsman. The site says that the role of Ombuds, "is to assist our students in addressing any concerns that weren’t resolved at the campus level." 

Sacramento Association of Realtors Implements Ombuds Program

The realtor group for the California state capital has unveiled an Ombudsman service. It appears that the program follows the National Association of Realtors standards, which is based on the IOA standards of confidentiality, neutrality, independence and informality. One potential deviation is the role of the Ombuds as a complainant's representative at an ethics mediation.

December 21, 2011

Algonquin College Appoints an Ombuds

George E. Cole was appointed in September to be the next Ombudsman for Algonquin.  According to the recently updated website for his office, Cole has worked for many years in higher education as an administrator and faculty member.

December 20, 2011

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2011 (Part II)

This is the second installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of the year. The series will conclude on December 22.

December 19, 2011

Article Spotlights Work of Ombuds in San Diego

The San Diego Union-Tribune recently profiled Ombuds at four local universities. The newest is Derrick Crawford, who became the first Ombudsperson at California State University San Marcos earlier this year. Crawford serves the entire campus and also handles diversity and educational equity issues.

Michigan State University Selects Next Ombuds

The MSU trustees will soon consider the recommendation of Robert Caldwell to serve as the next University Ombudsperson. “Through his many years of service, Bob has demonstrated his long-term commitment to students on campus,” said MSU Provost Kim Wilcox. “By way of that commitment, he has earned wide respect from students, staff and faculty.”

UK Student Services Organization Skeptical About University Ombuds

AMOSSHE says that it is not convinced UK universities can introduce campus Ombuds programs, "that genuinely inspires user confidence that they are independent of the institution." Moreover, given the complaint systems that is already in place in England and Wales, AMOSSHE is not persuaded that adding an Ombuds component would be beneficial to institutions or complainants.

December 16, 2011

Longtime Sandia Ombuds Retires

Don Noack, who has served as the Corporate Ombudsman at Sandia National Laboratories for over 15 years, has announced that he will be retiring on December 23. Noack worked at Sandia for nearly 35 years and was very active in the Ombuds profession. In addition to giving conference presentations and trainings for IOA, Noack served on the Board of Directors and was Secretary in 2010. 

IOA Updates Course Offering for Santiago

The International Ombudsman Association has changed the specialized course it will offer offer in Santiago, Chile on January 18, 2012. The new course is: "The Power of Influence: The hidden strength of ADR to advance fairness and justice."

Journal Article Traces Ombuds History

An article by McKenna Lang in the Journal of Conflictology looks at the history of the Ombudsman institution. In "A Western King and an Ancient Notion: Reflections on the Origins of Ombudsing," Lang writes about how the Swedish King Charles XII started this enduring role in 1713. 

December 15, 2011

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2011 (Part I)

Overall, the past year has been a positive one for Organizational Ombuds profession. Several of the top stories of this year echo those of 2010. The list will be posted in three installments: today, December 20 and December 22.

December 14, 2011

Job Posting: University of California Merced

The newest UC campus (established in 2005), is hiring its first Ombuds. The position will serve as the director of the office, which will be a resource for students, faculty, staff and other university stakeholders. The campus currently has 5,000 students and is expected to grow to 25,000.

Review of Chuck Howard's Book at

James McRitchie, the publisher of the corporate governance site, has reviewed Charles Howard's book, "The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations-A Legal Guide." McRitchie's interest was piqued by the recent panel discussions about Governance Ombuds hosted by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University.

December 13, 2011

Past and Present Ombuds Defend University of Iowa Office

Lois Cox, the former UI Faculty Ombudsperson wrote an editorial that was published by the Iowa City Press Citizen on Friday, December 9. Cox responded directly to recent criticism that the Office of the Ombudsperson failed to sufficiently resolve cases of bullying.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Opens Ombuds Office

The federal agency that holds primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in the U.S. has created an Ombudsman's Office to assist in the resolution of individual and systemic issues for depository and non-depository entities, and consumers.  Wendy Kamenshine has been appointed the Acting Ombudsman.

December 12, 2011

American University in Cairo Names First Ombuds

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Hanan Sabea has been appointed as the first Ombuds for the independent and sectarian university in Egypt. In an interview with the school newspaper, Sabea said that she will be defining her position from scratch. "It is not necessarily going to be the same role as ombuds in other universities in America," she said.

Update: University of Iowa President Speaks Out on Behalf of Ombuds Office

According to the Associated Press, University of Iowa President Sally Mason says she supports the Office of the Ombuds, despite a recent article that says it had "failed" to resolve bullying cases.  However, Mason also said that the university routinely reviews its operations so they can be improved.

Jeffrey Dvorkin Says Ombuds Must Adapt

Jeffrey Dvorkin, the Executive Director of the Organization of News Ombudsmen, says that the Occupy Wall Street movement presents a unique opportunity for Ombuds. Dvorkin observes that Ombuds of all types help create cultures of trust, candor and accountability. In particular, he acknowledges that, "value of corporate ombudsmen is evident: ombudsmen can act as an early warning system when financial and media organizations lose their sense of obligation to shareholders and/or the public." Nonetheless, he says, more needs to be done.

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.

December 08, 2011

Oregon State University Names First Ombuds

The public research university in Corvallis has appointed Sue Theiss as its first University Ombuds. Theiss has been the Ombuds at the University of Arkansas since 2002 and previously was the Ombuds at the University of Arizona. She will report to the OSU President and begins her appointment on February 13, 2012.

Werner Institute Student Interns With University of Minnesota Ombuds

The latest issue of the Werner Institute Newsletter features an article about a student practicum at the University of Minnesota Student Conflict Resolution Center. Ombuds and Director of the UM SCRC, Jan Morse agreed to take on Werner student Janda Brittain as her first-ever intern.

December 07, 2011

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente San Jose

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its facility in San Jose, 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."

December 05, 2011

AP Report Maligns University of Iowa Ombuds Office (Editorial)

A December 4 story by the Associated Press repeats a complaint by a local attorney that the UI Office of the Ombudsperson is “failing” to resolve bullying complaints.

The article puts this disparaging and misleading spin on the work of the UI Ombuds:

Journal of IOA Explores Issues of Confidentiality

The latest issue of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association looks at the fundamental ethical duty of confidentiality. JIOA Editor David Miller says, “the provision of a safe place in which options for action and response can safely be heard, away from the clamour of police sirens and media-fuelled public approbation, can help to protect the individual and public interest by ensuring that matters have a greater likelihood of swift resolution.”

Red Cross Appoints Associate Ombuds

This post has been deleted. 

December 02, 2011

Job Posting: Pomona College

The private, liberal arts college in Claremont, CA is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The half-time position will report directly to the President of the College and will serve a campus population of about 2,100 faculty, students, and staff.

Election Opens for 2012 IOA Board of Directors

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the slate for the 2011 Board of Directors election. As it has in the past, the Ombuds Blog provides links to public information about the candidates to supplement the official ballot statements.