September 27, 2012

FCO/ACCUO Joint 2013 Conference Call for Proposals

The biennial conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons and the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman is set for June 10-12, 2013, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Conference Program Committee is now seeking offers to present individual sessions or panels, and suggestions for topics and speakers for keynotes, plenary and breakout sessions.

September 25, 2012

Ombuds at American University in Cairo Struggles to Mediate Student Protest

AUC's first Ombuds, Hanan Sabea, was overcome by heat and hospitalized on Sunday while attempting to mediate a confrontation between administrators and students.  The student protest over a 7% fee hike began last week and lead the university to suspend operations out of safety concerns. In an incident on Sunday, Sabea and a faculty member were negotiating with student blocking a gate, when "Sabea started to faint because of the lack of water and because of the mistreatment and disrespect the students were treating us with,” said a senior AUC employee.

Washington & Lee University Abandons Ombuds Program

The private liberal arts college in Lexington, VA has decided to replace its Ombuds Office with an Employee Assistance Program.  The Ombuds Office, headed by Jane Ellen Reid, was established in August 2009 and closed in about June 2012

McMaster University Hires New Ombuds

The MSU-University Ombuds Advisory Committee has announced that Kileen Dagg Centurione will be a part-time Ombuds starting October 15. She will be working alongside Carolyn Brendon in a job share position.  Although the recent job posting was for a temporary position, it appears from the announcement that Dagg Centurione is a permanent appointment.

September 24, 2012

Ombuds Certification Exam Offered November 1-9, 2012

The Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners will be administering the next certifying examination between Thursday, November 1 and Friday, November 9, 2012. Passing the exam is a necessary step in obtaining certification as a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner® (CO-OP®). The registration window for candidates wishing to take the exam closes on October 26, 2012. 

University of Nevada Las Vegas Opens Internal Search for First Ombuds

UNLV is accepting applications from internal candidates for its first Ombuds. The position will serve as an impartial, confidential, independent, and informal conflict resolution resource for members of the campus community following IOA standards. UNLV has been considering an Ombuds Office since 2007, when a Faculty 2007 Task Force recommended the idea to the university president.

September 21, 2012

Job Posting: U.S. Department of State

The federal agency responsible for foreign relations is hiring its first department-wide Ombudsman.  The incumbent serves as a senior advisor and impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to assist in the resolution of concerns and critical situations, level management, direction and oversight of a program for all department employees.  The Ombudsman will report to the Secretary of State or her designee.

September 20, 2012

University of Texas Appoints Interim Student Ombuds

UT Austin has promoted Brittany Linton from Assistant Ombuds, a position she has held for the past year, to Student Ombuds ad interim.  She succeeds Lauren Bloom and serves a student population of more than 50,000.

September 19, 2012

IOA Course Focuses on Organizational Change and Conflict

The International Ombudsman Association has added a program to the trainings being offered in Baltimore next month.  A one-day course, "Organizational Change and Conflict: Challenges and Opportunities for the Ombudsperson" will be offered on Thursday, October 18, 2012.

September 18, 2012

University of Pennsylvania Ombuds Posts Annual Report, Reiterates Need for Changes to Program

In her annual report, UPenn's Ombudsman, Thadious M. Davis said that the university is reviewing its sexual harassment policies to determine the appropriate role of the Ombuds. In 2011, the former Ombuds, Joan Goodman, recommended that the office come into compliance with IOA standards so that it would not be considered an office of notice.

September 14, 2012

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Announces 2012 Conference

CoFO will hold its 11th Annual Conference on Monday, October 29, 2012, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. The event is open to those who are working as Ombuds in the Federal sector and anyone just interested in the role. Individuals thinking about creating the role within their agency are especially invited to attend.

Job Posting: University of Calgary

The public research university is hiring a Student Ombuds. The UCalgary Ombuds Office opened in 2010 and serves as an independent, impartial and confidential resource for nearly 30,000 students.  The search will reopen the office that has been temporarily closed since August 17, 2012.

Michigan State University Ombuds Marks 45 Years

MSU’s Office of the Ombudsperson, the oldest in the nation, is celebrating four and a half decades of service. Robert Caldwell, just the fifth MSU Ombuds, said that about 1,200 students who contacted him with issues last year. “If you think each contact is an unhappy person with a problem, I would think that number would be better lower,” Caldwell said.

September 13, 2012

Job Posting: Concordia University

The public university in Montreal is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson.  Reporting to Concordia's Ombudsperson Kristen Robillard, the Associate "works with University members to resolve University-related concerns and complaints informally, to investigate complaints and to recommend improvements to policies, rules and procedures that are unclear or inequitable."

Elizabeth Davenport: Former University of Michigan Ombuds

Elizabeth ("Libby") Kingsbury Davenport passed away on September 1, 2012 at the age of 94. She held a variety of positions at her alma mater, the University of Michigan, including serving as the Ombudsperson. (MLive.)

September 12, 2012

European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education Sets 2013 Conference; Seeks Papers

ENOHE will hold its 10th annual conference at St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, on April 11-13, 2013. The meeting will be hosted the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in England and Wales and will examine the implications of a more consumer-focused environment for University Ombudsmen.

September 11, 2012

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Appoints First Ombuds

Israel's second-oldest university has named Prof. Esther Shohami to be its first Student Ombudsman. In this new role, Shohami will address complaints from students and applicants about academic or administrative matters, and may submit recommendation to the University's Rector. 

IOA Seeks Nominations for 2013 Board of Directors

The International Ombudsman Association is inviting nominations from its membership for the Board of Directors. Four directors will begin new three-year terms and one Associate Member Representative will begin a two-year term in April 2013. 

September 10, 2012

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Extends Ombuds Service to Students

The University Ombuds Office at UNC announced that it will now serve the student body of nearly 30,000. University Ombuds Wayne Blair and Laurie Mesibov said they are ready to discuss student concerns about interpersonal conflicts, student life, policy procedures and interpretations, academic issues, offensive behavior, ethical issues, and help in accessing other University resources and formal processes. 

Faculty Ombuds Cases Surge at University of South Carolina

University Ombudsperson Jim Augustine reports that he handled 55 cases in the 2011-12 academic year, up 22% from the 45 cases he handled in the prior year. Most of the cases involved "Evaluative Relationships" and "Career Progression and Development" -- as defined by the IOA Uniform Reporting Categories. The report also recapped Augustine's work in the six years since he established the Office of the University Ombudsman at USC. (USC Ombuds Annual Reports.)

September 07, 2012

ICANN Ombuds on Why Ombuds Must be Vigilant About Neutrality

In his latest blog posting, Chris LaHatte, the Ombudsman for the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers, explains why Ombuds must protect their neutrality at all times.  He sees the duty of neutrality as equal in importance to Ombuds and to judges.

University of Minnesota Ombuds Reports Success in Work Against Academic Incivility

In 2007, a survey of U of M graduate and professional found that 19% had encountered academic harassment, an offensive and hostile environment.  Moreover, students said they did not know where or whom to turn to. In response, U of M Ombudsman Jan Morse helped start the Graduate and Professional Advising and Mentoring Initiative.

IOA Publishes Links to Ombuds and ADR Resources

As part of its on-going efforts to build a more complete website for its members and the general public, the International Ombudsman Association has added listings of links to other organizations and information associated with the field of conflict resolution.

September 06, 2012

Washington University in St. Louis Names New Ombuds

Professor Linda Nicholson has been appointed the new Ombuds for faculty on WUSTL's Danforth Campus. She takes over for Susan Appleton, who established the office in 2010. James W. Davis will continue as the Associate Ombuds. “Susan Appleton did a wonderful job as the initial faculty ombuds,” Nicholson said. “I hope to continue the work she did in making the ombuds office a safe and confidential first-stop place for faculty to talk about problems in their work environments and think through possible solutions.”

Penn State Posts Ombuds Training Materials

The Pennsylvania State University Faculty Senate has published the materials from the Ombudsperson Workshop offered last week by Deborah Atwater, University Ombudsperson.  Since it was established in 1998, the Faculty Ombuds program at Penn State has relied on a network of almost 50 campus volunteers to serve as Unit Ombuds.

CPR Sets 2013 Annual Meeting in San Diego

After several years of meetings in New York, The International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution will hold its next annual meeting in San Diego, CA on January 17-19, 2013. Although no Ombuds will be speaking at the event, they may be interested in CPR's emphasis on incorporating conflict resolution as a standard business practice.

September 05, 2012

Updated Sexual Misconduct Policy at University of North Carolina Reaffirms Ombuds' Confidentiality

Timed to coincide with the start of classes, UNC announced an updated "Policy on Prohibited Harassment, Including Sexual Misconduct, and/or Discrimination" that aims to ensure compliance with guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education. The new policies reaffirm the university's commitment to the campus Ombuds Office as a confidential resource for students and employees.

Colorado College Appoints New Ombuds

CC emeritus professor Libby Rittenberg has been selected to serve a two-year term as the part-time Ombudsperson for the small, private liberal arts college. The appointment indicates the college has decided to implement a permanent Ombuds program after a trial program that began in 2010. Rittenberg succeeds emeritus professor Jane Cauvel who established the Ombuds office for faculty and staff.

September 04, 2012

IOA Webinar Focuses on Ombuds-Support Role

A three-part webinar offered by the International Ombudsman Association will address how support staff work with Ombuds and their organizations.  “Performing the Ombudsman Support Role” will take place on October 22, 23, and 31, and will also be available as a recording.  The series is intended for Ombuds Assistants or Ombuds new to their position or experienced Assistants looking for new ideas.

Oregon State University Hires Assistant Ombuds and Adopts Ombuds Charter

Breanne Taylor has been appointed as the new Assistant Ombuds at OSU, joining Sue Theiss who opened the University Ombuds Office earlier this year. Taylor is completing a Master's Degree in conflict and dispute resolution at the University of Oregon.  She recently served as the Ombudsperson for Competition Not Conflict, an ADR program run by the University of Oregon for Kidsports, a local youth sports organization. 

Ombuds Cases Remain Steady at University of Iowa After High Profile Year

The UI Office of the Ombudsperson handled 502 matters in 2011-12, a number unchanged from the prior academic year.  According to the annual report by Faculty Ombuds Susan Johnson and Staff Ombuds Cynthia Joyce, 22% of visitor complaints involved disrespectful behavior and 5% complained about workplace bullying. These issues brought the office some unexpected attention last year, when an AP story says the Ombuds had "failed" to resolve bullying cases. (UI Annual Report.)