December 30, 2013

Reader Poll: What Was the Ombuds Story of 2013?

Dear Readers-
What do you think was the most important story of the year for Ombuds?  Use the poll in the right-hand column to vote for the three stories you thought were most important.  (Comments are also encouraged.)  Thanks and best wishes for 2014.

CERN Appoints Next Ombuds

Rolf Heuer, the Director-General of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced that Vincent Vuillemin, CERN's first Ombuds, will step down after three and a half years of service.  In January Sudeshna Datta-Cockerill will assume the role.

DC-Area Coaches to Learn from Ombuds

The Metro DC Chapter of the International Coach Federation will feature two Ombuds at its January 2014 meeting. Katie Manderson and Ed Modell will present, "The Organizational Ombudsman's Role as a Conflict Management Coach" on January 8, 2014. They will discuss the various roles they play in their respective organizations and how they use their coaching skills to help individuals and groups deal with workplace conflicts.

Faculty Ombuds at University of Texas Reports Continued Growth in Cases

Mary Steinhardt, the University Faculty Ombudsperson at UT Austin, said that 94 visitors (88 faculty and 6 post-docs) from 12 different colleges or schools contacted her for help or advice during the academic year 2012-13. In her annual report to the Faculty Council, she also noted that her office has seen an increase in the number of visitors over the last six years from approximately 40 per year to the current number. 

December 19, 2013

December 18, 2013

Job Posting: University of North Georgia

The regional, multi-campus university is hiring a full-time Ombudsman to serve nearly 2,000 faculty and staff. The search apparently will fill a position that was created earlier this year and filled in September on a part-time basis by Michael Stapleton, the former Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police for the University.

UPenn Ombuds Publishes 2013 Annual Report

In her annual report, the Ombudsman at the University of Pennsylvania, Thadious M. Davis said that her office handled 153 cases in the 2012-13 academic year.  She also recapped a survey of ten Ombuds offices at peer institutions.  This lead to updated outreach materials, including a new information brochure.

December 17, 2013

International Ombudsman Association to Hire First Executive Director

The professional association for Organizational Ombuds has contemplated hiring an executive director for years. The plan now appears close to fruition as IOA's new management company, The Sherwood Group, has opened a search for candidates.

Asian Development Bank Appoints Ombuds

The regional development bank headquartered in Manila has hired Nick Diehl to serve as its Ombudsperson, filling a position since the summer.  Diehl reports to the ADB President and functions as an informal grievance resource for staff members with work place concerns.

University of Michigan Ombuds Posts 2013 Annual Report

Tom Lehker, UM Ombudsman for students, says that his office handled 217 cases in the 2012-13 academic year.  Nearly two-thirds of cases involved academic issues. 

December 16, 2013

American Red Cross Adds an Experienced Ombuds

Samantha Levine-Finley has joined the Red Cross Office of the Corporate Ombudsman as a Deputy Ombudsman.  She joins a team headed by Kevin Jessar, Corporate Ombudsman, and including Associate Ombudsmen Teresa Ralicki and Robert Hosea.

Save the Date for ACCUO's 2014 Midyear Meeting

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons has will hold its midyear meeting in Montreal on February 6-7, 2014. The one and a half day event will be of interest to those holding Ombuds and Ombuds-like positions at post-secondary institutions in Canada. More details will be posted later. (ACCUO Meetings.)

December 12, 2013

The Ombuds Blog Top Ten Stories of 2013 -- Part One

Every year, I select the most important stories about the Organizational Ombuds profession.  The list will be posted in three parts with other installments on December 19 and 26.

December 11, 2013

A Role for Ombuds in Embedded Corporate Social Responsibility Processes

Zach Ulrich, who won the 2013 IOA Writing Competition, has a comment published in the peer-reviewed journal, Industrial and Organizational Psychology. In response to another article in the journal, Ulrich argues that the Organizational Ombuds role should be considered as part of the new corporate-social responsibility efforts underway in Fortune 1,000 companies.

December 10, 2013

Michigan Tech Opens Search for Ombuds

Michigan Technological University will select its next Ombuds Officer from internal applicants. The part-time position, which reports to the University President, serves about 15,000 faculty, staff and students. For the past six years, the MTU Ombuds has been William A. Kennedy, an Associate Professor in Cognitive and Learning Sciences. Applicants for the position must be currently employed as a regular faculty and/or staff, and be familiar with University policies and resources.  

University of South Carolina Grad Student Ombuds Posts First Report

Dale Moore, who was appointed the Graduate Student Ombudsman at USC in 2012, has published a summary of his first year in the position. Moore says that 143 graduate students. The three most common concerns were service/ administrative issues; evaluative relationships; and legal, regulatory, financial and compliance related issues.  (USC Grad School Ombuds Report.)

CERN Ombuds on Ethics and Compassion

In a recent newsletter article, Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, explores the role of ethics and compassion and their relationship to management and leadership.

December 09, 2013

Job Posting: U.S. Department Of Agriculture

The USDA is hiring its first Organizational Ombuds.  The new Ombudsperson Specialist will report to the Agency's General Counsel and help implement a range of initiatives to improve organizational effectiveness. The job requires some travel and is based in the Washington, DC area.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Ombuds Publishes 2013 Report

Last month, the CFPB Ombudsman’s Office submitted its second annual report.  Wendy Kamenshine, the CFPB Ombudsman, described the further building of the office, outreach and engaging external stakeholders, inreach and regular informal feedback provided to the Bureau, individual inquiry data, an update on last year's systemic analyses, current systemic analyses, and the direction of future work.  (CFPB Ombuds 2013 Report.)

December 04, 2013

NY Dispute Resolution Lawyer Magazine Highlights Ombuds

The current issue of the publication from the NY State Bar Dispute Resolution Section includes three articles about Ombuds.

NACD Master Class to Include Presentation on Role of Ombuds

On December 13, Chuck Howard and Jonathan E. McBride will give a plenary presentation at the National Association of Corporate Directors Master Class in Miami. The course is designed for experienced boardroom leaders and is required for NACD Leadership Fellows.

December 03, 2013

Touro College Opens Ombuds Office

The Touro College and University System has appointed Rabbi Moshe Krupka to serve as its first Ombudsman. Krupka is an Executive Vice President of the New York-based, private Jewish institution, which includes New York Medical College, Touro University California, and Touro University Worldwide, an online program. The Ombudsman Office reports through Touro's Institutional Compliance and serves faculty, staff and about 19,000 students.

Job Posting: Ryerson University

The public university in Toronto is hiring a part-time Assistant Ombudsperson for an 11-month appointment (January 7, 2014 - December 31, 2014). The posting seeks applicants with several years experience in conflict resolution and knowledge of the post-secondary education setting and student policies and services. Applications are due June 6, 2013. (Ryerson Posting.)

December 02, 2013

Apollo Education Group Ombuds Serve Faculty and Staff

The parent corporation of the University of Phoenix (which recently renamed itself to reflect its focus on education) has an Office of Ombuds Services, which serves about 40,000 employees and faculty.  Susan Casino was appointed the first Ombudsman for Apollo in 2006 and has created and maintained the office for the past eight years. Associate Ombudsman Elizabeth Hill joined two years ago.   Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the office is informal, independent, neutral and confidential.

University of Cape Town Ombuds Hosts Regional Workshop

On November 1, 2013, UTC Ombud, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa hosted a day-long conference on Ombudsing in Southern Africa. The event also offered its host the chance to recap her time as UTC's first Ombuds. As one of the few University Ombuds in the region, Makamandela-Mguqulwa faced a steep learning curve. "It's been a source of immense learning to us as we travelled this three-year journey," she said.

Cal Caucus Resumes Publication of Journal

After a five year hiatus, the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds has begun publishing its journal again.  The latest issue includes new articles about Ombuds practices and summaries of 2012 conference sessions.  In addition, all back issues of the Journal of CCCUO are now online.

November 27, 2013

Save the Date for 2014 ENOHE Conference

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education will hold its eleventh annual conference at the University of Warsaw, Poland on May 15-17, 2014.  More details will be published as soon as they are available.

November 25, 2013

Job Posting: Boston University

The private university in Massachusetts is hiring a full-time Associate Ombuds.  Reporting to the University Ombuds, Francine Montemurro, the Associate Ombuds assists in carrying out the duties of BU's Office of the Ombuds.  The office is four years old and this will be the first Associate position.

November 22, 2013

Loyola University New Orleans Opens Ombuds Office

The private, Jesuit university has named Associate Professor of Sociology, Marcus Kondkar, to serve as its first Faculty Ombuds. The office was established earlier this year by in 2013 by Loyola's President, Kevin Wm. Wildes, on the recommendation of the University Senate, to assist faculty in handling university-related conflicts or complaints. The office operations are consistent with IOA Standards of Practice.

Professor to Serve as First Ombuds for Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile has appointed José Ignacio González to serve as its first Ombudsperson. Gonzalez said, "For me it is a great responsibility, because the new position will connect with the 32,000 people who are part of the University in its various levels."

ADRHub Calls for Webinar Proposals

The alternative dispute resolution portal is seeking proposals for its monthly webinar series. The ADRhub webinar series offers a broad range of presentations hosted by industry experts to help keep participants up-to-date on the latest activities, trends, industry practices, and hot topics.  Ombuds have presented at least twice already.

November 21, 2013

Oklahoma State University Appoints First Ombuds

The public university in Stillwater, Oklahoma has named former administrator Ronald Beer as its first Ombudsperson. OSU President Burns Hargis said that Beer, “was selected from a strong pool of candidates for the position, for which he is especially well suited, thanks to his 20 years of experience as vice president of student affairs.”  Beer will serve a population of about 26,000 faculty, staff, administrators, and students. 

GATHER - A Free Guide for Convenors

GATHER is a hands-on guidebook from the Monitor Institute and Rockefeller Foundation for convening designers and social change leaders. Drawing on input from 70 expert convening practitioners, it provides a clear series of steps for can be a naturally chaotic workflow and principles to use for each of the many tactical choices involved. Ombuds who provide this type of service for their organizations may find this a valuable resource. (Monitor Institute, via Campus-adr Tech Blog.)

November 18, 2013

Job Posting: Northcentral University

The private, for-profit university based in Prescott Valley, Arizona is hiring another Student and Faculty Ombudsperson. The faculty-level position reports to the provost's office and serves as a neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to students and faculty.  NCU has at least two other Ombuds, Melanie Shaw and Jessica Hensley, but there is no online presence for their office yet.

November 15, 2013

Job Posting: University of New Mexico

The state's flagship, public research institution in Albequerque is hiring an Ombuds Facilitator.  Under the supervision of the University Staff Ombudsperson, the position will provide confidential, impartial, and informal facilitation, design and deliver training programs, and mediate, facilitate and negotiate staff issues.

UC Denver Hires New Ombuds

The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus has appointed Katherine Greenwood as its newest Ombuds for its Denver campus. She takes over over the Ombuds responsibilities formerly held by Mary Chavez Rudolph. The Anschutz Medical Campus comprises five graduate schools, including the only medical school in Colorado. Greenwood will serve the students and staff.

November 14, 2013

Journal of IOA Celebrates Work of Pioneers

The latest issue of the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association begins a long-proposed task of acknowledging the early leaders of the Organizational Ombuds field. JIOA Editor David Miller writes, "As a profession, we stand on the shoulders of giants [and] there is a debt to be acknowledged - of service, of recognition, of deep appreciation for the unbelievable character, achievements and examples our forebears... It is high time we acknowledged and celebrated their achievements and legacy."

November 13, 2013

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile to Appoint First Ombuds

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, one of the country's oldest universities, has announced that it soon will select its first Campus Ombudsman. PUC's Supreme Council approved the plan in mid-October and delegated the selection to Rector Ignacio Sanchez. According to a news report, there are five candidates, all of whom are members of the faculty with at least two decades of academic experience. 

Students Join Faculty Consideration of Ombuds for Grand Valley State University

The student senate at the public liberal arts university in Allendale, Michigan will consider a resolution tomorrow to promote the creation of an Ombuds Office on campus. The implementation of a program is already being studied by a faculty task force created by the Executive Committee of the University Academic Senate. Both groups are considering an Ombuds only for the student body, which numbers more and 24,000. 

November 11, 2013

Job Posting: DC State Board of Education

The public school system in Washington, DC is hiring an Ombudsman. The position will provide District residents with problem resolution services regarding education issues and also identify trends and potential problems, making reports to education stakeholders as required by statute.  The search will fill a restructured position that has been vacant since 2009.

Can an Ombuds Address NFL Bullying?

An editorial in the Washington Times suggests that an Ombuds or Workplace Mediator could have helped prevent the type of locker room bullying in the National Football League that has made news recently.  Millicent Carvalho-Grevious, a Pennsylvania mediator and professor, argues that, "What is needed is an NFL Ombudsman and Mediation Program to address bullying among players and within teams, before it escalates to the point that lawyers need to be involved or violence erupts."

November 06, 2013

Job Posting: Utah Valley University

The public university in Orem is hiring a part-time Ombudsperson. The position will serve as the Ombuds for about 33,000 students and will provide administrative support to the the Director for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. The position has previously been held by undergraduate students.

November 05, 2013

OMV Petrom Shares Results of Ombuds Survey

As part of its effort to create an Organizational Ombuds program, OMV Petrom SA, solicited data from practitioners via an on-line, anonymous survey.  Ninety people completed the survey, which consisted of 24 questions.  The data revealed that more than half of the Ombuds Offices were created because of "employee issues and concerns."  The survey also assessed support among stakeholders and the types of matters handled.  

Not Too Late for 2013 Cal Caucus

Even though the California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is less than two weeks away (November 17–20, 2013), registration is still open. The event, which attended by many Ombuds who are not from California or higher education, is known for its intimate and convivial tone. (Cal Caucus 2013.)

November 01, 2013

Job Posting: San Antonio Housing Authority

The city affordable housing program is recruiting a full-time Ombudsman.  Position works with over 70,000 residents, staff, individuals and groups to explore and assist in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns. In addition, the SAHA Ombuds is responsible for bringing systematic concerns to the attention of the Chief Operating Officer. 

Job Posting: Ceridian

Ceridian, one of the larger HR outsourcing companies, is hiring a part-time Ombudsperson in Spokane, WA. "The Ombudsperson acts as a neutral or impartial advocacy practitioner by providing confidential and informal assistance to participants in Community Access, GSE, and Pathways." Few other details of the job duties or qualifications are provided. The position pays $10.50 per hour and will be open until filled. (Ceridian Recruiting.)

October 31, 2013

Job Posting: Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Department Of Homeland Security agency is hiring five Alternative Dispute Resolution Advisors to be based in Washington, DC. The ADR Advisors respond to internal and external disputes as part of FEMA's "Cadre of On-call Response/Recovery Employees." These positions perform temporary disaster work on two-year temporary appointments. The work is very similar to Ombuds work.

October 30, 2013

Cal Caucus Seeks Nominations for Ombuds Award

The California Caucus of College and University Ombuds is soliciting nominations for awards to be given during its meeting at Asilomar in Pacific Grove on November 17–20, 2013. Each year, CCCUO publicly acknowledges individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding and noteworthy contributions to the Ombuds field, within Cal Caucus and beyond.

Auburn University Selects New Ombuds

The public university in Alabama has appointed C. Kevin Coonrod as its next Ombudsperson.  Reporting to Auburn's President, Coonrod will provide independent, confidential, impartial and informal assistance to a community of about 28,000.  He takes over from Retired State Circuit Judge Howard Bryan, who had been serving as the Interim Ombuds.