July 31, 2012

UC Santa Cruz Closes Ombuds Office

Last year, the University of California campus cut back its Ombuds Office by 60%.  This summer, the office was closed indefinitely due to budget reductions.  The former UCSC Ombuds page now lists other resources for stakeholders.  Laurie McCann, who had served as the campus Ombuds since 2002, continues to work locally as a consultant.  (UCSC HR: Ombuds; LinkedIn.)

University of South Africa Opens Ombuds Office

Unisa, the largest university on the African continent, has appointed Harry Nengwekhulu as its first Ombudsman. The independent Office of the Ombudsman "deals with administrative and managerial fairness complaints from students, staff and anybody outside who has been affected by the actions and decisions of Unisa" and is open to students, staff (both academic and non-academic), and members of the public.

July 30, 2012

NACD Magazine: Building a Culture of Trust From the Ground Up

The latest issue of the National Association of Corporate Directors magazine includes an article on the value of an Organizational Ombuds program. Written by James Hostetler and Jon McBride, the piece explains why that incorporating Ombuds as part of a comprehensive conflict management system creates tangible value for a corporation.

Ombuds of Texas to Discuss Legal Issues in Profession

The next meeting of the Ombuds of Texas on August 8, 2012 will feature a panel presentation on "Legal Issues in the Ombuds Profession." The speakers will be Sean Banks, Ombuds at Shell Oil; Rita Burns, Ombuds at MD Anderson; and Jo Alene Kirkel, Attorney with the Texas Office of the Attorney General.

Job Posting: University of the Pacific School of Dentistry

The UOP Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco is hiring a full-time Ombuds. The primary focus of the position is to "facilitate the resolution of patient complaints involving treatment, clinic operations, ethics, and/or finances."  It appears that this is a new position.

July 27, 2012

IOA Brings Training to Baltimore, October 2012

The International Ombudsman Association will present its next training program at the Hotel Monaco in Baltimore, MD the week of October 15-19, 2012.   The course offerings will include the first course in the new professional development series for Organizational Ombudsman practitioners.

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 Fall or Winter 2012 term. 

The Difference Between Mediation and Ombuds Work

In her latest blog post at Milestone MMA, Kathy Biala explores the differences and similarities between mediation and the work of an Organizational Ombuds.

July 26, 2012

2012 ACR Conference to Feature Work of Ombuds

The next Association for Conflict Resolution conference will include presentations by three Organizational Ombuds (including two IOA board members) and other programs about Ombuds.  The theme of the twelfth annual ACR conference is "Creating Connections: Conflict Resolution in Deeply Divided Times," and will take place September 12-15, 2012 in New Orleans.

African Development Bank Ombuds Visits Ghana Field Office

As part of her continuing outreach efforts, AfDB Ombudsman Amabel Orraca-Ndiaye recently traveled to Ghana to meet with local staff of the international development banking group. According to an internal newletter report, the objectives of the visit were to sensitize staff on resolving work place grievances using the resources available within the AfDB, and to make staff aware of their role in creating a more respectful and productive work environment. 

July 25, 2012

Job Posting: Metropolitan State University of Denver

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

Hydro-Quebec Ombuds Retires

Justine Sentenne, who served as the Corporate Ombudsman for the world's largest hydroelectric producer since 1991, retired earlier this year. In addition, Sentenne held a number of leadership positions within the Ombuds profession. 

July 24, 2012

Ombuds Appreciate Support Following Aurora Shooting

I'm reprinting an email I received this morning from the three Ombuds at The University of Colorado Denver. They want to thank the Ombuds community for their assistance following the Aurora Theater tragedy.

July 23, 2012

South Sudanese Runner Will Compete in Olympics With Help from USOC Ombuds

The International Olympic Committee recently decided to allow Guor Marial, a South Sudanese refugee and marathoner, to compete in under the IOC flag. South Sudan has yet to form a National Olympic Committee and Marial is not a U.S. citizen. Without the IOC's decision, Marial could only have competed as a member of the Sudanese team. According to one news report, the USOC Ombudsman, John Ruger gets some credit for helping resolve the situation.

Save the Date for Coalition of Federal Ombuds Annual Conference

CoFO will hold its eleventh annual meeting on Friday, October 26, 2012 at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, VA.  Organizers are exploring options for "webcasting" the event.  Additional program details will be forwarded in early September.

July 19, 2012

McDonald's Franchisee Sued by EEOC Agrees to Ombuds Program

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has settled a class sexual harassment lawsuit against the owner of 25 McDonald’s restaurants on terms that include the creation of an Ombuds program.

July 18, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Dismisses Lawsuit that Involved Southern Illinois University Ombuds

Last week the U.S. Appellate Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a student employee against Southern Illinois University. The student alleged a hostile work and educational environment, and retaliation. The decision recounts how the SIU Ombuds was involved in efforts to resolve the student's complaints.

Registration Opens for 2012 Cal Caucus

Registration has opened for the 40th annual California Caucus of College and University Ombuds in Pacific Grove, California on November 11-14, 2012. This year's theme is "The Work of Ombuds: Reflection and Practice" and organizers promise 16 presenters from the US and Canada.  This is the first time the caucus has offered online registration.  (CCCUO Registration.)

Webcast With Cornell University Ombuds

Linda Falkson and Adam Kleinberger from the Cornell University Ombudsman Office will be the guests on the next Blog Talk Radio program with Pattie Porter on August 14, 2012. Falkson and Kleinberger will talk about how their office helps people regarding a problem or conflict, as part of the caring community serving students, faculty and staff.

July 17, 2012

IOA Posts “State of the Association” Materials, Seeks Feedback for Strategic Plan

On the first day of the 2012 International Ombudsman Association annual conference, the Board of Directors presented its perspective on the current achievements and challenges facing the Association. The presentation summarized strengths and challenges in the external environment, economic trends, internal finances, leadership, and shared purpose. The Board has now posted the slides and audio file of this presentation.

Southeast Conference on Conflict Management to Feature Program on Ombuds

Lipscomb University Institute for Conflict Management in Nashville, TN will host the one-day conference on September 25, 2012. Attorney and author Chuck Howard is a featured speaker. The event is geared for professionals in HR, compliance, mediation, social work, counseling, ethics, and management/administration. The keynote address will be given by Neil Levine, Director of the Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation at USAID. (Southeast Conference on Conflict Management.) 

University of Michigan Alumni Can Donate Directly to Ombuds Office

On-line donors can make gifts directly to specific Michigan departments including the Ombuds Office.  (UM Giving.)

July 16, 2012

California and Organizational Ombuds

Earlier this year, Kathy Biala, a consultant, RN, and Ombuds, launched a blog. Her latest entries discuss "three great reasons why California and organizational Ombudsman go hand-in-hand." 

Job Posting: MD Anderson Cancer Center

After several months, the leading cancer research and treatment center in Houston is still seeking an Ombuds Office Manager.  The MDACC Ombuds Office serves all employees, including faculty, administrative and classified staff, trainees and fellows and adheres to IOA standards.

Interview With University of Miami Ombuds

Gail Cole-Avent, the Assistant to Vice President and Ombudsperson for UM, was recently interviewed by the campus newspaper. Cole-Avent described her work:

July 13, 2012

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Posts Minutes from May, June 2012

CoFO has updated its website with summaries of its two most recent meetings. Dozens of federal Ombuds participated and the topics ranged widely. 

ABA Seeks Proposals for 2013 ADR Conference

The American Bar Association's 15th Annual Section of Dispute Resolution Spring Conference is set for April 3-6, 2013 in Chicago, IL (two weeks before the IOA conference).  The conference draws from varied and diverse groups including national and international ADR practitioners and organizations, corporate leaders, government employees, judges, court administrators, and academics.

Job Posting: Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic Health System, one of the largest private medical centers in the world, is seeking applications for an Ombuds position in its Office of the Ombudsman. The position is similar to that of an Organizational Ombuds to the extent that it: Identifies, evaluates and resolves patient complaints; Aggregates and analyzes complaint and satisfaction data; and Determines proactive recommendations and provides feedback of resolution to appropriate parties. However, the Ombuds also, "Conducts investigations for Law Department, negotiates settlements as instructed."

July 12, 2012

Town of Chapel Hill Appoints First Ombuds

The North Carolina town has named two full-time Ombuds: Faith Thompson and Jim Huegerich. Both are already municipal employees and will initially serve only employees before working with the community beginning in fall 2013.

Ombuds Programs are Growing Trend for Indian Corporations

A recent article in the India Times indicates that a growing number of Indian corporations are using Ombuds programs to handle internal and external grievances. In the past six months, HUL (Hindustan Unilever Ltd.), Ranbaxy Laboratories, SKS Microfinance Ltd., and Wipro Ltd. have created Ombuds offices. "It's not just about spelling out a whistleblower policy, but also about having a system that enables all stakeholders to raise concerns about wrongdoings fearlessly and have the confidence that issues, if any, will be resolved," says Alexis Samuel, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Ombudsperson for Wipro.

July 09, 2012

Ombuds Blog Update

I'm serving on jury duty, so I'm unable to update the blog as usual.  That said, there has been scant Ombuds news in the past few weeks.  If you have tips or suggestion, please email them to me at tom.kosakowski atgmaildotcom.  Thanks.