April 30, 2012

Job Postings: Baker Hughes Houston

The oilfield services company has opened a search to fill two new positions to be based in Houston: o3 Principal/Ombuds and o3 Connection Specialist. Both will serve Baker Hughes employees throughout the U.S., Canada, and Trinidad/Tobago. 

Job Posting: Baker Hughes Calgary

The oilfield services company has opened a search for a new Ombuds to be based in Calgary, Canada. The position will be a designated independent, neutral, confidential and informal conflict management practitioner for Baker Hughes employees throughout the U.S., Canada, and Trinidad/Tobago. 

Montclair State University Ombuds Retires

James Harris, the Associate Dean of Students and University Ombudsman for MSU, has retired after six years in the role. Harris had worked in several student services for the public research university in New Jersey for 42 years. 

April 27, 2012

Job Posting: Northern Illinois University

The state university and research institution in DeKalb has opened a search for its next University Ombudsperson. The Ombuds at NIU adheres to IOA standards and serves students, staff and faculty. The position reports both to the President of the University and to the University Council.  An appointment is expected by August 2012. 

George Mason University Ombuds Posts Video Greeting

GMU has posted a short video of University Ombudsman Dolores Gomez-Moran introducing her office. She explains that the Ombuds Office "complements but does not substitute for any of the other processes at the university." Judging by the books on the shelf behind her, it appears that the video was shot in her office. (Vimeo.)

University of Louisville Ombuds Offers Mediation Training

This summer, Tony Belak, the Ombuds for UofL, is offering a 20-hour mediation training program.  The course will be held July 18-20, 2012, and includes lunch and includes lunch and refreshments, for a cost of $100 per person. Continuing Legal Education and other credits are available for participants. (UofL Events.)

April 26, 2012

Claims Conference Names First Ombuds

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has appointed Shmuel Hollander as its first Ombudsman. Chairman Julius Berman said that Hollander’s “impeccable credentials and decades of public service will enhance the work of the Claims Conference in advocating for the rights of Holocaust victims and caring for elderly victims who increasingly need our aid.” The appointment is seen as a response to years of complaints that the organization lacks transparency and significant fraud by several employees.  However, the exact terms of his office have not been published.

University of South Florida Honors Student Ombuds

USF’s African American Advisory Committee has honored Student Ombudsman Samuel L. Wright, Sr., for his 26 years of service to the university and the broader Tampa Bay community. At the 2012 Kente Awards Reception on Tuesday, Wright achievements were recounted, including his service on the boards of the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers in 2010, University of Florida Association of Black Alumni, Glazer Children’s Museum and Tampa~Hillsborough Action Plan. 

April 25, 2012

Push for Ombuds at University of North Dakota Gets Boost From Students

At its most recent meeting, the UND Student Senate voted in "support of establishing an ombudsperson ... to be a confidential office where grievances can be brought forward by faculty, students, or staff about functions of the university." On May 3, the University Senate will also consider a resolution regarding an Ombuds office. 

ADR Times: Unique Role for Ombuds in Corporate Dispute Resolution Systems

A recent article in the online ADR magazine proposes a unique process for implementing a Conflict Management Program in a corporate setting. The plan envisions an Ombuds serving as the program director before, during, and after roll out. In the mature program ADR program, the Ombuds acts as a gatekeeper, referring parties to mediators and arbitrators depending on the Ombuds' assessment of the case. The article was written by Kristofer Michaud, a practicing attorney and professional neutral. (ADR Times.)

April 24, 2012

Tennessee Law Would Create Ombuds for Higher Education

The Tennessee General Assembly is considering legislation that would create an Office of Higher Education Ombudsperson within the Office of the Comptroller of the Treasury. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Dolores R. Gresham (R-Somerville), explains that the office would be a safe haven for public university faculty, staff, and students with policy and financial compliance concerns.

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Fontana

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

Meet Cornell's New Ombuds

Charles Walcott, a former Dean of Faculty and experienced mediator, was appointed a two-year term as the Ombudsman for Cornell University in July 2011. In a recent interview, he told the Cornell Daily Sun, “Everybody wants the place to work, and they support the Ombudsman’s office because they feel that we help people navigate the complexity that is Cornell.” 

April 23, 2012

Organization of News Ombudsmen Sets Agenda for Conference in Denmark

The international, non-profit association of media Ombuds and readers' representatives will convene in Copenhagen on May 20-23, 2012. Panels will feature media Ombuds from around the world and the conference includes a special keynote by Mogens Lykketoft, the Speaker of The Danish Parliament. In addition, Jeffrey Dvorkin will introduce the “Handbook for News Ombudsmen: A User's Guide” and discuss plans for outreach. (ONO Conf Info.)

University of British Columbia Ombuds Publishes 2011 Annual Report

Shirley Nakata, the UBC Ombudsperson for Students, reported that her office saw a 40% increase in visitors last year. She attributes the increase to a growing awareness about the office and anticipate that the caseload will continue to grow in the coming year. Nakata, who is assisted by Ombuds Officer Joy Coben, also said that about 60% of visitors were undergraduate students and of those, most were third and fourth year students. 

Job Posting: Merton College (Collateral Duty)

The community college in Cicero, Illinois is hiring a "Dean of Student Development & Ombuds Services." The full-time position will oversee a range of student development services and also provide Ombuds services to address concerns of currently enrolled students. 

ICANN Ombuds Recaps IOA Conference

Chris LaHatte, the Ombudsman for the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers, attended the recent International Ombudsman Association annual conference in Houston. He blogged about his experience, which seemed overall to be very positive: "The networks of friends and colleagues will be of huge advantage for peer support and understanding. All in all this was a most successful conference."

April 22, 2012

Job Posting: Colorado Springs School District 11 (Collateral Duty)

The public school district in Colorado Springs is hiring a Director Equal Opportunity Programs & Ombudservices. The position serves as both the Organizational Ombudsman and Nondiscrimination Compliance Coordinator. The position reports to the Deputy Superintendent for Personnel Support Services.

Curaçao Ombudsman to Host International Conference

The Office of the Ombudsman of Curaçao and the Caribbean International University will convene the Second Curaçao International Ombudsman Conference on June 4 to 8, 2012. The conference is sponsored also by the Institute of Latin-American Ombudsman and the Office of the Ombudsman of the Republic of Argentina, Province Santa Fé. 

April 20, 2012

ENOHE Newsletter Updates Activities of Student Ombuds Worldwide

The latest newsletter from the European Network for Ombudsmen in Higher Education highlights the work of college and university Ombudsmen around the globe. 

Articles include: 

Amherst College Appoints Ombuds

Cate Woolner, an experienced mediator, trainer and facilitator, has been appointed as the Ombudsperson for the private, liberal arts institution in Massachusetts. In addition to her part-time work at Amherst, Woolner is also manager of the Gill Montague Community School Partnership, a grassroots community coalition dedicated to supporting a diverse, safe, and peaceful environment for young people. 

FEMA Launches Ombuds Program for Disaster Reservists

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has created a Reservist Ombudsman Office to serve the agency’s intermittent, disaster workforce. The FEMA Reservist Ombuds is a new function located within the ADR Division of the Office of Chief Counsel. The Ombuds will complement the existing work of FEMA's ADR Advisors by serving as an upward feedback channel for issues and concerns related to FEMA policies, and practices raised by Reservists. 

University of Calgary Posts Student Survey

UCalgary Ombudsperson Robert Clegg has created a two-page survey to solicit feedback from students that utilize his office. The Student Feedback Questionnaire covers issues that all Ombuds consider, including location, intake process, follow up, professionalism, and confidentiality. (UCalgary Ombuds Student Feedback Questionnaire.)

April 19, 2012

David Yamada Posts Follow-Up to IOA Keynote

David Yamada opened the International Ombudsman Association's seventh annual conference with a keynote address on “Responding to Workplace Bullying: The Role of the Ombudsman.” Professor Yamada has posted link to an extended outline of his keynote address on his blog, Minding the Workplace.

April 18, 2012

2012 IOA Board Elects Officers

At an organizing meeting yesterday afternoon, the International Ombudsman Association Board of Directors voted in a slate of officers for the next year.

April 12, 2012

UNC Charlotte Opens Faculty Ombuds Office

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has appointed Bruce Auerbach as its first Ombuds for faculty and administrators.  Auerbach is a Professor of Theatre with a specialty in design for the stage. Since March 2009 he has been serving as the University Mediation Coordinator. 

April 11, 2012

Journal of IOA Publishes Volume on Informality

In its latest issue, the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association takes up one of the central ethical standards for Organizational Ombuds: Informality. Journal Editor David Miller explains, “In my experience as an Organizational Ombudsman, Informality is the hardest [Standard of Practice] to grasp operationally, unless it is explicated as a contrast with related professions, or in terms of our non-engagement with formal processes. But, of course, there is so much more to Informality than that. And that is why this Volume of the JIOA focuses on it.”

2012 IOA Conference Roundup

Here are links to prior Ombuds Blog posts about the International Ombudsman Association's seventh annual conference in Houston next week:

Job Re-Posting: MD Anderson Cancer Center

The leading cancer research and treatment center in Houston has re-posted is announcement for an Ombuds Office Manager.  The MD Anderson Ombuds Office serves all employees, including faculty, administrative and classified staff, trainees and fellows and adheres to IOA standards.

April 10, 2012

Texas is Home to Many Ombuds Programs

The Lone Star State has an impressive number of Ombuds offices and professional groups.  As Ombuds gather in Houston next week for their annual conference, it seems appropriate to acknowledge these programs.  

Internship: American Red Cross

The Red Cross Office of the Corporate Ombudsman in Washington, DC is accepting applications for a full-time summer internship. The opportunity is open to graduate students working towards a degree in Conflict Resolution or related field (law students are also eligible). 

UC San Francisco Surveys Visitors

The Office of the Ombuds for the University of California's medical campus has created a short survey to solicit feedback from visitors. The questionnaire is a one-page pdf that users print and return by mail. The survey uses a typical five-level Likert scale for these questions:

April 09, 2012

ACR Houston Chapter Joins with Texas Ombuds for IOA Reception

The Association for Conflict Resolution's Houston Chapter and the Texas Organizational Ombuds Practitioners Alliance are inviting their members , along with other Texas ADR and Ombuds organizations, for "Sweets N Boots," a dessert social with IOA conference attendees on April 16, 2012. The event will be held at the Hyatt Regency Houston from 8 to 10 pm and will feature music and line dancing. This event is free for ACRH Members and participants are encouraged to dress in western attire. (ACR Houston Events.) 

MD Anderson to Fill Vacant Ombuds Position With Faculty Appointment

One of the two vacant Ombuds positions at the cancer research and treatment center in Houston will be filled by a faculty member. An internal search was recently opened for a "Part-Time Clinical Ombudsperson." Meanwhile, the search for a manager continues while the office remains staffed by Rita Burns and Bill Brock. (MD Anderson Careers.)

Washington State Education Ombuds Faces Budget Cuts

An editorial in the Washington Olympian reveals that the independent Ombuds office that assists parents of students reach informal resolutions of educational issues may be downsized dramatically. S. Wayne Duncan, a child and adolescent clinical psychologist in Seattle, points out that the Office of the Education Ombudsman helps the state avoid expensive litigation: 

April 07, 2012

Northern Illinois University Confirms Commitment to Ombuds Office

The NIU University Council has voted to continue the Office of the Ombudsman after Tim Griffin retires later this year after two decades of service as the Ombuds. NIU President John Peters has approved the collection of names for a search committee which is required by the university's constitution. “We’ll hopefully get a search committee together and begin doing work and get it done over the summer,” said Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum. (Northern Star.) 

Harvard Medical School Ombuds Shares Annual Report

Melissa Brodrick, the Ombudsperson for the Harvard University Schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Public Health, shared her annual report with the Harvard Medical School Faculty Council earlier this year. Although the report itself was not published, the proceedings give insight on her cases and activities at the leading medical school.

April 03, 2012

Job Posting: San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

The American Indian tribe, one of the largest employers in California's Inland Empire, is hiring its first Ombudsman. The full-time position will be located in Highland and serve the tribe's 3,500 employees, most of whom work in a casino.

April 02, 2012

New Austrian Law Secures Status of Student Ombuds

On March 1, 2012, the Austria's federal legislature passed the Act on the External Quality Assurance in Higher Education establishing a Student Ombudsmen (Ombudsstelle für Studierende). The new law, which took ten years to enact, ensures that the Student Ombudsman will be an independent and confidential resource for all students in higher education. Josef Leidenfrost, who has served as the Student Ombudsman without the benefit of this legislation, was appointed to the the new position. A new website for the Student Ombudsman has also gone online.

ACCUO Opens Registration for 2012 Conference in Edmonton

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons announced that its 29th annual conference will be hosted by the University of Alberta in the city of Edmonton on June 6-8, 2012. The event, titled “Campus Ombudsing: Current Challenges and Successes,” will examine the issues facing Ombuds within the current socio-economic climate of postsecondary institutions.