December 29, 2012

Job Posting: U.S. Department of State

The State Department is hiring a Human Resource Specialist to work in the newly-created Office of Ombudsman, Office of the Secretary. The position serves as a subject matter expert in conflict resolution, using a range of ADR techniques to conflict resolution processes to State Department employees.

December 27, 2012

Job Posting: Oklahoma State University

The public university in Stillwater is hiring a part-time Ombudsperson. The position will serve faculty, staff, administrators, and students. (The student population alone is nearly 24,000.)  The Ombuds will report directly to the President and/or Provost and practice to IOA standards.

AllianceBernstein Ombuds Posts Annual Report and Video

In her "2011 Report to Employees from Your Ombudsman," Sana Manjeshwar reports that she met with 68 individuals in the past year, nearly 2% of all employees.  The cases presented 212 issues, the majority of which related to personnel and management, and job and career issues.  

University of Denver Hosts Panel of Ombuds

On October 25, 2012, the DU’s Conflict Resolution Institute presented a forum on the Ombuds profession.  The three panelists were Denver Unviversity’s own Ombuds Jenna Brown, University of  Colorado- Denver Ombuds Mary Rudolph Chavez, and Colorado’s Child Protection Ombudsman Rebecca Updike.   The speakers  discussed issues of conflict resolution, justice, advocacy, systems reform, and change-management in large agencies and organizations.

December 21, 2012

MEOR Foundation Creates Ombuds Program

The Jewish nonprofit with student organizations at leading U.S. universities has established an Ombuds program to provide confidential, neutral assistance to students, educators and administrators. Rabbi Yosef Lynn has been appointed as the first Ombudsman and will report directly to the chairman of the board and the president of MEOR.

Grinnell College Appoints First Ombuds

The private, liberal arts college in Iowa has selected Chinyere Ukabiala as its first Ombudsperson. Ukabiala will report directly to the President and serve the College's students, faculty and staff beginning February 1, 2013.

December 20, 2012

North Dakota State University Revives Consideration of Ombuds

At its December meeting, the Faculty Senate at the land grant university in Fargo took up consideration of an Ombuds Office that would serve faculty, staff and graduate students.  The proposal would create a Ombuds position that reports to the University President for a two-year term.  The NDSU senate last considered an Ombuds program in 2007 after the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted its lack of female tenured faculty.

December 18, 2012

Internship: National Institutes of Health

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman / Center for Cooperative Resolution in Bethesda, MD is offering a full-time internship for the Summer of 2013. (Exact start and end dates are negotiable.) 

Meet Southwest Florida Water Management District's New Ombuds

Ross Morton was appointed as SWFWMD’s Ombudsman in January, but the website was updated only recently. As the Ombuds for the agency that manages the water supply, quality and the natural systems in west-central Florida, Morton independently assist the public by practicing to IOA standards.

December 17, 2012

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 4-7)

Part two of the top ten Organizational Ombuds stories of 2012. 

The list will conclude on Wednesday, December 20, with the top three stories.

December 15, 2012

Job Posting: Samuel Merritt University

The health sciences university in Oakland, California is hiring its first Ombuds. The part-time Ombudsperson will serve about 2,000 faculty, staff, administrators, and students. The position will operate according to IOA and Standards of Practice of Independence, Neutrality, Impartiality, and Confidentiality.

December 13, 2012

Job Posting: Cal State San Marcos

The California State University campus north of San Diego is hiring an Associate Vice President for Diversity, Educational Equity and Ombudsperson. The position description does not apportion time between the two different (and some might say conflicting) areas of responsibility. The Ombuds work generally follows IOA standards with significant exceptions to confidentiality in situations involving "violations of law, discrimination, or sexual harassment."

December 12, 2012

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2012 (Nos. 8-10)

The Organizational Ombuds profession and individual practitioners enjoyed a good year.   The top ten stories of 2012 show that the profession continued to improve and expand. The list will be posted in three installments: today, December 18 and December 20.

December 10, 2012

Hospital Executive Explains the Benefits of an Employee Ombuds

Jay Kuhns is Vice President of Human Resources at All Children's Hospital and Health System in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida. In his latest post at the "No Excuses HR Blog," Kuhns writes about the Employee Ombudsman for his organization and wonders why it isn't more prevalent in health care.

District of Columbia May Restore Schools Ombuds

The DC Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education, which rose and fell with the political fortunes of former mayor Adrian Fenty, might be reopened. Last week, the DC Council tentatively approved a measure that would restore funding for the Ombuds and move it to the State Board of Education.

December 07, 2012

Job Posting: Seattle University

The private Jesuit university in Washington State is hiring a part-time Faculty Ombudsperson (40% FTE). The new position will report to the Chief Financial Officer and serve as a neutral, confidential and informal resource for the university’s faculty. The Ombuds will be expected to practice to IOA Standards.

December 04, 2012

Appalachian State University Creates Ombuds Office

The public university in Boone, North Carolina has appointed Professor Jim Barnes to serve as its first University Ombudsman. In a campus announcement, ASU Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Gonzalez said, "The Office of the Ombud will provide all members of the Appalachian community with a neutral, impartial and confidential environment to discuss individual concerns of faculty, staff and students."

ACCUO Sets 2013 Midyear Meeting

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons will hold its eastern midyear meeting at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa on February 7-8, 2013. The meeting will feature a speaker on Human Rights and the opportunity to ice skate at Winterlude. Organizers are still soliciting topic suggestions. (ACCUO Meetings.)

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Publishes First Ombuds Report

Wendy Kamenshine, the CFPB Ombudsman, has released a report describing the work of her office since it opened in last December. In the report, Kamenshine summarizes the creation of the office, the systemic issues identified during the year, and plans for next year.  According to the report, the CFPB Ombuds received 775 individual inquiries during the 2012 fiscal year, with the vast majority coming from consumers raising “questions or issues regarding the processes, services, products or entities under the CFPB’s jurisdiction.”

December 03, 2012

University of the Andes Appoints First Ombuds

The Board of Universidad de los Andes has appointed Margarita Gómez Ordoñez to serve as its first Ombudsperson for two years, effective January 14, 2013. The Ombuds will serve about 17,000 students and other stakeholders at the nonsectarian private university in Bogotá, Colombia.  According to an announcement from the University, the Ombuds will be a neutral resource that will complement existing university programs, and will have the power to recommend the review or creation of new policies.

November 30, 2012

Ombuds Gather in Arizona for Regional Meeting

On Friday, November 9th, 2012, the Arizona Ombuds met at a luncheon hosted by the Maricopa County Community College District in Tempe.  The district's Ombudsman, Teresa Toney, an associate member of IOA, provided an overview of the Office of Public Stewardship, where the Ombuds function is located. Participants were presented with an on-line demonstration of the organization's 24/7 anonymous report hotline.

Leiden University Introduces New Ombuds

The Netherlands' oldest university has appointed Jacqueline van Meerkerk as its Ombudsperson for Students.  Van Meerkerk, who worked previously as Ombudsperson at the Vrije Universiteit and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, says that students are increasingly aware of their rights.  this trend is reflected in the caseload for her office: the number of complaints rose from 66 in 2007 to 99 in 2011.

November 29, 2012

Ombuds Approves Professor's Firing; Indiana Supreme Court Upholds

Last week the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by former University of Evansville professor.  The firing had followed a recommendation by a review committee that included the university's Faculty Ombuds.

Profile of Berkeley's Staff Ombuds

A recent campus newsletter introduces Sara Thacker, Director of UC Berkeley’s Staff Ombuds Office. The article reveals that Thacker is a “recovered” corporate litigator who left a successful career to become, first, a mediator, and then an Ombuds.

November 28, 2012

Ombuds to Address New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators

The General Meeting of the NJAPM next week will offer an "Intro to Ombuds: the Profession & the People." Organizers promise a panel of distinguished Ombuds featuring IOA President Nicholas Diehl. In addition, there will be briefing on the new ABA Ombuds Task Force. The event takes place at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:15 pm.

Kenyon College Ombuds Publishes Report

Carrie Knell, who became the Ombudsperson for Kenyon last fall, has published a report for the 2011-12 academic year. She says that she "had twenty-one unique contacts in 2011 - 2012, which is slightly less but comparable to 2010 and almost half from 2009. It is unclear why 2009 had more visitors than subsequent years but it seems that the past two years have had decreased issues reported."

November 27, 2012

Baker Hughes Opens Ombuds Office

The Fortune 200, oilfield services company headquartered in North Houston, Texas opened an Organizational Ombuds Office (“o3”) in September to serve employees in the U.S., and Trinidad and Tobago. The o3 team is led by Principal Ombuds Melanie Lewis, and includes Bonnie Bonnivier, Ombuds; Arianna Gazis, coordinator; and Michael Mayer, information specialist.

November 21, 2012

Journal of IOA Spotlights Solo Practice

The just-released issue of the Journal of International Ombudsman Association looks at the concerns and challenges of solo practice. Editor (and solo practitioner himself) David Miller explains:
As if it were not difficult enough being in the centre of other people's storms, holding fast to principled interventions when interests and positions generate vortices of confusion and distress, so many of us in the Organizational Ombudsman world, do so alone.  How do we manage?

November 20, 2012

Job Posting: UC Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position provides impartial, informal, independent and confidential conflict resolution services to all campus stakeholders. In consultation with the Campus Ombuds, Kirsi Aulin, the Associate Ombuds handles cases with little or no campus precedent, including bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

November 19, 2012

IOI Concludes World Conference with New Governance Structures

The International Ombudsman Institute convened a successful World Conference in Wellington, New Zealand last week. In addition to conference programs attended by 280 Ombuds and others, the IOI also adopted new by-laws, elected a Board of Directors, and appointed an Executive Committee.

Externship: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA's Office of the Ombudsman is offering an opportunity for a graduate student to extern in its Rockville, MD office. The extern must be earning course credit and be able to work at least 15 hours a week during the Spring 2013 term.

November 16, 2012

IOA Opens Election for 2013 Board

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the slate for the 2012 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.

Job (Re-)Posting: Metropolitan State University of Denver

The public university in downtown Denver has reopened the search for its first Ombuds. The University Ombuds Officer will establish and run an office that operates according to the International Ombuds Association standards of practice. 

Was Paula Broadwell an Ombuds?

The biographer of former CIA Director David Petraeus says that she was once an Ombudsperson at Harvard. On October 26, 2012, Broadwell gave the keynote address at the University of Denver's Alumni Symposium. In a video posted to YouTube this week by DU, Broadwell says:

November 09, 2012

Job Posting: UC San Diego

The southernmost University of California campus is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Director and UCSD Ombudsperson, Judy Bruner, the position provides informal dispute resolution services, including responding to confidential complaints and inquiries, assessing concerns, and consulting with the university community.

Ombuds Gather in Northern California

On November 5, the Northern California Ombuds Roundtable gathered at the Stanford Ombuds Office.  About a dozen local Ombuds convened for the one-day event hosted by David Rasch.

Bob Jones University Appoints Ombuds

The private, for-profit, Protestant university in South Carolina has retained an independent organization, GRACE, to serve as an Ombudsman, "to review past instances in which it is alleged that the University underserved a [sexual abuse] victim or did not comply with the law in handling reports of abuse."

November 08, 2012

Strong Demand May Prompt Brown University to Expand Ombuds Service

When Brown restored its Ombuds Office in February 2012, its Ombudsperson Ruth Rosenberg was hired on a part-time basis.  The demand for her services were surprising.  “The Ombuds Office has had more visits in the last six months, including over the summer, than the last ombudsperson had in one year,” Rosenberg said.  The University is not considering whether Rosenberg should be transitioned to a full-time appointment.

November 07, 2012

Society of Women Engineers Conference Includes Session on Ombuds

Attorney Charles Howard will speak at the 2012 SWE annual conference tomorrow in Hoston. Howard's session is titled "Building A Better Workplace through the Organizational Ombuds" and is part of the Inclusion and Cultural Awareness track at the meeting that will draw 5,000 women engineers and technologists.

November 06, 2012

Union Theological Seminary Considering Ombuds Program

In a letter to the Union community on October 11, 2012, Michael J. Kelly, Chair of the Trustees' Audit Committee, announced the formation of an Ombudsperson Selection Committee. Trustees of the progressive, independent seminary in New York City have retained Xan Raskin of Artixan Consulting Group to make a recommendation regarding the issue. 

November 05, 2012

University of Toronto Ombuds Posts Annual Report

UToronto Ombudsperson Joan E. Foley reported that her office responded to 282 requests for assistance during the 2011-2012 academic year. Her report summarized systemic issues; details on the office's caseload, and other professional and outreach activities. The most significant systemic issues from the last year included international fee exemptions, program fee refunds, academic integrity matters, discrimination, grading policies, student health plans and graduate supervision.

Related Job Posting: Baker Hughes

The oilfield services company has an opening for an o3 (Organizational Ombuds Office) Coordinator in North Houston, TX. The position work with visitors during the intake process and help market the o3 program to managers and employees under the supervision of o3 Principal/Ombuds.

November 02, 2012

Grinnell Close to Hiring First Ombuds

The private, liberal arts college in Iowa is near the end of its search for an Ombuds.  According to the campus newspaper, three finalists are visiting the campus to give presentations to the search committee.  The candidates are: Susan Park, an ADR practitioner for FEMA and former Ombuds at the University of Hawaii and the University of Texas; Annie Tucker, a professional mediator and the executive director for Mediation Services of Eastern Iowa; and Chinyere Ukabiala, an adjunct faculty member at Drake University Law School and pro-bono attorney/mediator.

University of Kansas Ombuds Office Marks 35 Years of Service

Today, the KU Ombuds Office celebrates 35 years of service.  Kellie Harmon, who has been the Ombuds since 2007, says that the office has addressed more than 10,000 concerns in the past three and a half decades.  The anniversary will be celebrated at a reception with past KU Ombuds and staff.

November 01, 2012

ACR Calls for 2013 Conference Proposals

The Association for Conflict Resolution is now accepting proposals for its 13th Annual Conference. The conference theme is "Making Peace Happen: New Normals" and is set for October 9-11, 2013 in Minneapolis, MN.  The event regularly features Ombuds as presenters.

Sandy Forces Closure of IOA Offices

The IOA administrative offices in Hillsborough, New Jersey are currently closed due to a power outage caused by Hurricane Sandy. A notice on the association's homepage says that any messages will be returned as quickly as possible.

October 30, 2012

Related Job Posting: University of Maryland University College

The public university in Prince George's County is hiring a Resolution Services Manager. The job description sounds strikingly similar to that of an Organizational Ombuds. It provides confidential, impartial, and informal dispute services to stakeholders, and gives upward feedback on trends and patterns:

Job Posting: University of California, Davis

The only University of California campus that has not had an Ombuds program* has opened a search for a Campus Ombuds Program Manager. The new position will be responsible for establishing an office to serve 24,000 faculty and staff.  The UC Davis campus is located near the state capital and is the third largest by enrollment in the state-wide system. Davis drew national attention when a UC police officer pepper sprayed students protesting against tuition hikes.

Town of Chapel Hill Ombuds Office Goes Online

The North Carolina town has created a website for its new Ombuds Office, which serves about 1,000 municipal employees.  According to the website, the office practices to IOA standards.  Jim Huegerich is the Senior  Ombuds and Faith Thompson is the Ombuds. (Chapel Hill Ombuds.)