June 28, 2012

IOA Seeks Newsletter Contributors

The editors of the International Ombudsman Association's newsletter, "The Independent Voice?" are seeking staff writers. Co-editor Samantha Levine-Finley says that writers will have the option of generating their own ideas for each issue or taking assignments. 

USOA Announces 2012 Conference Details

The United States Ombudsman Association has posted details of its 33rd annual conference, which will take place in Spokane, Washington on October 10-12, 2012. The theme is "Ombudsmen: The Nature of Our Profession." The keynote address will be given by Nina E. Olson, the U.S. National Taxpayer Advocate. Here is an overview of the planned agenda for the conference:

Higher Ed Ombuds Blogger Finds Silver Lining in UVA Resintatement

The latest post at the Higher Ed Ombuds Blog finds reason for optimism in the ouster and reinstatement of University of Virginia President, Teresa Sullivan. Sure, the decision by the Board could be characterized as purely political, "a face-saving measure to preserve the prestige of this public ivy." But the blogger offers a more positive view that the board was responsive to feedback from stakeholders. 

June 26, 2012

Los Alamos National Lab Ombuds Offers Wide Range of Trainings

The LANL Ombuds Office provides many skills-building modules to employees of the classified lab in New Mexico.  The programs range from 60 to 150 minutes.  Here's an overview:

University of South Florida Ombuds Helps Students With Funds

Over the past two years, USF Ombudsman Samuel Wright has been consulted by almost 1,100 students. In addition to options offered by other University Ombuds, Wright also administers are two financial aid programs. The first is a one-time grant of up to $250 for emergencies. The second, the President's Retention Grant, offers up to $1,500 per student, with the goal of stopping the student from dropping out because of financial problems. 

June 25, 2012

Shell Canada Appoints Ombuds for Waterton Residents

Shell Canada has appointed Rick Anderson to serve as an Ombudsman for community members with unresolved concerns related to its activities around Waterton, Alberta. Anderson will be a confidential, independent, neutral, and informal resource for concerns about industry and regulatory policies, procedures, rules, and formal or administrative options. 

American University in Cairo Ombuds Gets to Work

Hanan Sabea, who was appointed as the first Ombuds for AUC about six months ago, has helped resolve a conflict involving buildings and grounds staff. According to a campus newsletter, the staff members went on strike last fall over their uniforms. Sabea led a committee that negotiated new uniforms that the staff helped select. The resolution also led to AUC's first official uniform policy. (AUC News.) 

African Ombuds Group Seeks Closer Ties to African Union

At a meeting of African Ombudsman and Mediators Association last week, Chair Paulo Tijipilica said that the organization is working to establish a formal relationship with the African Union. Leaders of AOMA and AU said that the groups seek similar values and that cooperation could create a synergy among African countries. (Angola Press.)

June 21, 2012

UC Merced Appoints First Ombuds

The seven year old University of California campus has announced the appointment of Deidre “De” Acker as its first Campus Ombudsperson, effective July 16, 2012. Chancellor Dorothy Leland made the announcement earlier this week. Leland said that the new Ombuds “will actively engage students, faculty, staff and university constituents in dialog, negotiation and problem-solving to ensure that members of our campus community receive fair and equitable treatment.” 

Non-conforming Job Posts: Alcorn State University and Saint Leo University

Two southern universities have opened job searches for positions that include Ombuds duties and other, inherently conflicting responsibilities.

June 15, 2012

Job Posting: Grinnell College

The private, liberal arts college in Iowa has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The position will report directly to the President and serve the College's students, faculty and staff. 

June 14, 2012

Georgia State University Ombuds Office Announces Annual Symposium Details

The GSU Ombuds Office has posted details of the Conflict Resolution Symposium 2012, which is set for October 12 in Atlanta. The theme of the annual event is "From Chaos to Composure: Creating Positive Change Using Conflict Resolution Skills." Timothy Hedeen, Associate Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University, will be the keynote speaker.

IOA Adds Course to July Training Program

The International Ombudsman Association has added a program to its professional training in Florida next month: "Mediation and Ombudsing-Complementary Processes." The one-day course will be offered on Friday, July 20, 2012, and will be taught by Camilo Azcarate, Manager of Mediation Services at The World Bank Group, and Melissa Brodrick, Ombudsman at Harvard Medical School.

Taxonomy of Ombuds Excludes Organizational Ombuds

An article in the latest issue of the Canadian Public Administration Journal observes that, “world-wide diffusion of the ombudsman concept and the accompanying academic literature have failed to produce a universal definition of ‘ombudsman.’” Author Sabine Carl attempts to provide a taxonomy of the different kinds of ombudsmen in place today.

June 13, 2012

Metropolitan State College of Denver to Create Ombuds Program

The public college in downtown Denver has announced that it is planning to conduct a nationwide search to fill the new position of Ombuds Officer. The Board of Trustees approved the position last week and included funding in the 2012-13 budget. 

Higher Ed Ombuds Blogger Reveals a Secret

The latest post on the Higher Ed Ombuds Blog is titled, "Confessions of a Conflict Avoider." She admits that it's sometimes hard to follow the kind of advice she regularly gives to her visitors. Given the frequent contact Ombuds have with conflict, perhaps this isn't surprising. (Higher Ed Ombuds Blog.)

Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen Reappoints Leadership

Abdelaziz Benzakour has been reappointed as Chair of AOM, after its annual general meeting in Paris. Benzakour, who also serves as President of Morocco’s Mediator Institution, was unanimously elected for a new two-year term. In addition, the Human Rights Defender of the French Republic, Dominique Baudis, was returned to the position of General Secretariat. (Morocco Tomorrow.)

June 12, 2012

Harvard Law Case Study Focuses on Ombuds and the 'Dear Colleague Letter'

A recent Harvard Law Case Study features a University Ombuds and an effort to update a sexual harassment policy -- a scenario that will surely resonate with many Ombuds in higher education.  It was written by Robert Bordone, Director of Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program and a Public Director of the Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners.

Update:San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Names First Ombuds

San Manuel has appointed Theresa Prator as the organization’s first Ombudsman. In this newly established position, Prator will be reporting directly to the San Manuel Tribal Business Committee. She will be establishing the Ombuds office and will be responsible for identifying and resolving non-union, non-management, employee issues in support of the Tribe’s service initiative. 

June 08, 2012

U.S. Ombuds Wikipedia Page Needs Work

The Wikipedia page for “Ombudsmen in the United States” is painfully incomplete. It lists only about a dozen Classical Ombuds programs. Organizational Ombuds are not mentioned. Only one media Ombuds (NPR) is listed. The list of Ombuds associations has just two entries: the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman and the United States Ombudsman Association. 

UC San Francisco Ombuds Office Expands Service with New Extern

Kathy Biala will begin a six-month internship with the UCSF Ombuds Office in July 2012 working primarily at the university's medical facility in Fresno.

Bullying Expert Offers Webinar on Workplace Social Exclusion

Ombuds may be interested in a new webinar series offered by the Workplace Bullying Institute.  The series launches with a webinar on “Being ‘Iced Out’ at Work” on July 7. 

June 06, 2012

Queen Margaret University is Creating a Center for Ombuds Training

The university near Edinburgh, Scotland is actively developing a “centre of excellence for training, research, knowledge exchange and consultancy in ombudsman and complaint handling practice, and consumer affairs.” 

Higher Ed Ombuds Blogger Sees the Future

A recent post at the Higher Ed Ombuds blog reflects on a high school class with 50 valedictorians and how this will affect her work. She writes... 

Washington State University Appoints Ombuds for Pharmacy Students

WSU has established its first Ombuds for Ombudsman for Students in the College of Pharmacy. As the Ombuds, Associate Professor Mark W. Garrison will serve as an additional resource for students. "Mark will provide support and advice to students who need a trusted and impartial intermediary to whom they can voice their concerns,” said Gary M. Pollack, dean of the College of Pharmacy.

June 05, 2012

Job Posting: Education Corporation of America

The privately-held company that operates proprietary colleges is hiring a Manager - Student Ombudsman in Birmingham, AL. The position serves as "the designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to constituents of the College community. In the performance of the duties, this position provides support, guidance and direction to identify and communicate opportunities for systemic improvements through operational, functional and quality assurance audits." 

Kent State University Appoints Student Ombuds

Kent State has named Jennifer Kulics as its new Ombuds for students. Kulics previously worked for the university as the senior associate athletic director for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Her appointment took effect in May. 

Corporate Secretary Magazine: "Is an Ombudsman Right for Your Company?"

The latest issue of of Corporate Secretary (the magazine for corporate secretaries, general counsel and governance professionals in North America) provides an overview of the Ombuds function and explains why Ombuds effectively supplement formal reporting and compliance programs. The article features comments from Jonathan McBride, a corporate governance consultant and president of McBride Associates, and Robert Tannous, an attorney with the law firm Porter Wright.

International Ombudsman Institute President Honored by New Zealand

IOI's President, Beverley Anne Wakem, has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The honor recognizes her service to the country, including her current work as Chief Ombudsman, and was bestowed as part of celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.