January 31, 2013

Internship Opportunity: U.S. Olympic Committee

The USOC Athlete Ombudsman Office in Colorado Springs is seeking an intern to work on elite athlete education and the resolution of athlete disputes within the Olympic family. In addition to responding to athlete inquires and providing independent advice, the intern will also develop and assemble an athlete rights handbook.

New Ombuds at Kidsports Blog About Their Work

Earlier this month, Jeff Sather and Cody Johnson began an internship as Ombuds for Kidsports, a youth sports organization in Eugene, Oregon. Both are working toward a Master's Degree in conflict and dispute resolution at the University of Oregon. The two have been blogging about their experiences, which may be insightful for other new and aspiring Ombuds.

Interview with Appalachian State's New Ombuds

The National Public Radio Station in Charlotte, North Carolina recently interviewed Prof. Jim Barnes, who became the first Ombudsman for Appalachian State University in December. Barnes talks about finding office space and beginning to receive inquiries.

Northeastern Junior College Appoints Ombuds

The two-year college in Sterling, Colorado has hired Jason Sauls as its part-time Ombudsperson. The Ombuds position at NJC was established in 2003 and reports to the Dean of Student Services. The prior NJC Ombuds was Rev. David Baines. No other information about the appointment has been published. (Sterling Journal-Advocate.)

January 30, 2013

Job Posting: American University in Beirut

The secular, private university in Lebanon has opened a search for its first Ombuds.  Reporting to AUB's president, the Ombuds will establish a new office to provide a neutral, impartial, confidential, and informal assistance on university-related concerns or disputes.  An Ombuds program has been under consideration at AUB since at least 2004 and received additional attention in 2010 when a grant to the medical school included funds for an Ombuds.

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente Roseville & Sacramento

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its hospital in Roseville, 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."

Washington State May Adopt Use of Gender-Neutral 'Ombuds'

The Washington State Senate is debating a bill that would replace 'Ombudsman' with 'Ombuds' throughout the state's legislative scheme.  Included in the technical revision are replacements for 'foreman,' 'fireman,' 'signalman,' 'journeyman,' and 'freshman.  It does not, however, rename the state's Office of the Education Ombudsman. (Sunlight Foundation, WA SB 5077.)

McGill University Publishes 25th Annual Ombuds Report

McGill's Ombudsperson for Students, Spencer Boudreau says that his office handled 271 cases in the 2011-12 academic year, a 4% increase from the prior year. More than nine in ten of visitors were students and most of their concerns were academic in nature. As in prior years, Boudreau provided information or advice in about two-thirds of matters and intervened or mediated in just one-third.

January 29, 2013

IOA Opens Writing Competition to Non-Ombuds

The International Ombudsman Association is seeking submissions for its 2013 writing competition.  Anyone who has not worked as an Ombuds is eligible to enter and topics may anything relevant to the Organizational Ombuds profession. The author of the winning article will receive a cash prize of $1,500 and will be invited to the IOA Annual Conference in April 2014 to receive the award. The winning article may also be published in the Journal of the IOA.

Iowa State University Ombuds Sees Record Cases

Since she became Iowa State's permanent Ombuds Officer four years ago, Elaine Newell has assisted 400 employees and students. During the 2012 fiscal year 2012, she reports a record high 104 faculty, staff and graduate and professional students sought her assistance. In about 25% of the cases, Newell facilitates direct meetings between individuals in conflict or serves as a go-between for the two parties.

January 28, 2013

Job Posting: University of North Dakota

North Dakota's oldest and largest university has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Office of the President, the position will create an entirely new office for a one-year experimental pilot program to serve the entire campus.

Internship Posting: United Nations

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is offering a full-time, unpaid internship in its New York offices in the summer of 2013.  The position lasts two to four months and offers the chance to support the office in several areas, including: mediation services; identification of systemic issues; outreach and advocacy; and preparing data and reports.

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Opens Ombuds Office

Nevada's largest university has appointed Law School Professor Robert Correales to serve as its first Ombudsperson. The Office of the UNLV Ombuds will serve faculty, students and staff following IOA Standards of Practice. The university has been considering an Ombuds Office since 2007, when a faculty task force recommended the idea to the university president.

January 23, 2013

Arizona Ombuds Group Sets Winter 2013 Conference

The Arizona Winter Ombudsman Conference is slated for Thursday, January 31, 2013, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Salt River Project (SRP) Consumer Affairs is hosting the conference, which will be held at SRP Headquarters in Tempe.  Lunch will be provided by SRP and an agenda will follow.  The featured topic is, “Tips for dealing with people in crisis who are behaving irrationally.”

Job Posting: Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU is seeking applications for its next Ombudsperson to start July 1, 2013.  The position reports to the Vice President for Diversity and Equity, and serves as a resources for faculty, staff, and post-doctoral scholar.  The national search will fill the position recently vacated by VCU's first Ombuds, Frank Baskind.

IOA to Publish Directory of Ombuds Consultants

The International Ombudsman Association has announced that it will post a list of independent contractors available to help inquirers establish or enhance their Ombuds program. The Ombuds Service Provider Directory, The OSPD will be housed on the public portion of the IOA website under “Resources” and be comprised solely of IOA members who are service providers. 

January 18, 2013

Job Posting: Defense Human Resources Activity

The U.S. Department of Defense program is hiring several Program Analysts to work within the Employee Support of the Guard & Reserve, Ombudsman Service Directorate from offices near Washington, DC.  These "national level" Ombuds mediate complaints between military service members and their employers.  Previously, much of this work was done by volunteers.

Leading Indian Technical University Appoints First Ombuds

Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU-Hyderabad) has become the first university in India to appoint an Ombudsman as required by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Prof. B.C. Jinaga, former rector of JNTU-H, has been appointed the first Ombuds and will also be the chairman of the five-member grievance redressal committee.

January 17, 2013

President of Brazilian Ombuds Organization to Address IOA Conference

Maria Inês Fornazaro, President of Associação Brasileira de Ouvidores (the Brazilian Ombudsmen Association), will address a plenary session of the International Ombudsman Association's annual conference in Miami on Monday, April 22, 2013. Fornazaro's presentation, "Human Rights and Citizenship: Impact and Effectiveness of Ombudsmen’s Offices in Brazil" will be translated simultaneously from Portuguese to English.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory Updates Ombuds Program

The National Science Foundation research program has created a new website for its Ombuds office.  The program has eight Ombuds Representatives in four NRAO locations around the world -- duties they take on in addition to their other research activities.  According to the NRAO Ombuds website, "The primary duties of an Ombuds are: (1) to work with individuals and groups in an organization to explore and assist them in determining options to help resolve conflicts, problematic issues or concerns, and (2) to bring systemic concerns to the attention of the organization for resolution."

January 16, 2013

IOA Announces Pre-Conference Training Opportunities in Miami

The International Ombudsman Association will offer several, half-day training programs before its annual conference in Miami on April 21, 2013.

Virginia Commonwealth University to Open Search for Ombuds

The public research university in Richmond has announced that it will conduct a national search for a new Ombuds to succeed Frank Baskind, who returned to the faculty at the end of the year. Baskind established the VCU Office of Ombuds Services for faculty and staff in 2008 and developed a charter that followed IOA standards.

January 15, 2013

IOA Announces Keynote Speakers for 2013 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association has announced that its annual conference will feature keynote speeches by: Ellen Schreiber, Gérard Sueur, and Glenda Eoyang. The eighth annual IOA conference is set for April 22-24, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

University of Texas Staff Ombuds Posts First Annual Report

Jennifer Graf Sims, who was appointed as the first Ombuds for Staff at UT Austin in July 2011, has published her first annual report.  Sims summarizes her efforts to stand up the office and provides statistics on the cases from the 2011-12 academic year. She reports that her office saw 187 visitors from 72 departments on campus during her first year.

January 11, 2013

Legislator Introduces Second Ombuds Bill

On the same day that she introduced legislation to create an Ombuds for Federal Air Marshals, U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) also sponsored a bill: "to establish an Ombudsman Office within the Transportation Security Administration for the purpose of enhancing transportation security by providing confidential, informal, and neutral assistance to address work-place related problems of Transportation Security Administration employees, and for other purposes."

Job Posting: Riverside (CA) Unified School District

The public school system in Southern California is hiring its first District Ombudsperson. The position will report to the superintendent and serve as an impartial dispute resolution practitioner for 44,000 students and other district constituents. RUSD has not previously had an Ombuds.

Overview of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

The National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center has posted a general overview of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program highlighting the history, role and responsibilities of the program. 

January 10, 2013

University of Texas Appoints Ombuds for Biomedical Sciences

The UT Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston (a joint venture of UTHealth and the MD Anderson Cancer Center) has established an Ombuds Office and appointed Dr. Henry Strobel as the first Ombudsperson. The GSBS Ombuds Office will serve faculty and staff -- a population of over 6,000. According to a website for the office:

House Bill Would Create Ombuds for Air Marshals

Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) would require the Transportation Security Administration to establish an Office of the Ombudsman for Federal Air Marshal Service. This is at least the third such effort by Jackson Lee.  As in past versions, the bill is pretty sketchy on the details of the FAMS Ombuds program.

January 09, 2013

Job Posting: University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is accepting applications for a part-time (50%) Ombuds Officer at its Okanagan campus. The new position reports to the UBC Ombudsperson, Shirley Nakata, and the Deputy Vice Chancellor & Principal at Okanagan. The UBCO Ombuds will serve a student population of about 9,000 and also provide administrative and related duties for the office.

January 08, 2013

IOA Elects Five to 2013 Board

The International Ombudsman Association recently conducted an election for its Board of Directors. Lanai Greenhalgh, Colorado State University, was elected to a two-year term as the Associate Member Representative. In addition, three incumbents and one new director were elected to three-year terms that will begin at the IOA conference in April 2013:
  • Brian Bloch, Department of the Interior, Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians (re-elected to second term);
  • Nick Diehl, American Red Cross (re-elected to second term);
  • Donna Douglass Williams, MD Anderson Cancer Center (re-elected to second term); and
  • Jose Martinez-Aragon, United Nations.

ACR New York Seeks 2013 Conference Proposals

The Association for Conflict Resolution Greater New York Chapter is requesting proposals for its annual meeting on Thursday, June 20, 2013, at Cardozo Law School. In past years, many Ombuds have attended and presented at this conference. This year's conference theme will be ‘Mainstreaming Creative Conflict Resolution.’ This year's theme is meant to inspire a diverse and broad base of ADR professionals. Organizers want presenters to tell who, where and how ADR is coming into the mainstream of our culture.

January 04, 2013

Amelia Frank: Former UC Santa Barbara Ombuds

Amelia Frank, the first Associate Ombudsperson for the University of California Santa Barbara passed away in November 2012. Frank came to UCSB in 1968 and taught the first women’s studies course. In 1970, when the university appointed Geoffrey Wallace as its first Ombudsperson, Frank became the Associate Ombudsperson. She served in the position for 17 years. (Santa Barbara Independent.)

January 03, 2013

American University in Kosovo Opts for Whistleblower-like ‘Ombuds’

On November 24, 2012, the Board of Trustees of the university in Pristina established its first Ombudsperson’s Office and appointed two trustees Gjulieta Mushkollaj and Rezart Spahia to jointly act as Ombudspersons. Rather than adopting an Organizational Ombuds, as have other American international universities, AUK created something more akin to a whistleblower.

George Mason University Ombuds Publishes 2012 Summary

GMU University Ombudsman Dolores Gomez-Moran reports she handled 206 cases in the 2011-12 academic year, a 3% increase from the previous year, and a 13% increase from 2009-10. Nearly have of all cases arose out of evaluative relationships, followed by services and administrative issues. Data were compiled using the IOA Uniform Reporting Categories. (GMU Ombuds 2012 Report.)

Insights on India's University Ombuds Policy

The November 2012 edition of India Education Review digs into the new policy that would require the country's universities to appoint Ombudsmen to handle grievances from students and applicants. The decision by India's Ministry of Human Resource Development has not been approved by Parliament and thus has not yet been implemented. Nonetheless, many academic leaders support the idea and explain their reasons and reservations. 

January 02, 2013

American University in Cairo Moves to Organizational Ombuds Model

When AUC appointed its first Ombuds, Hana Sabea, in January 2011, she said that she would define her role from scratch. "It is not necessarily going to be the same role as ombuds in other universities in America," she at the time said.  After an eventful year for Sabea, the AUC Ombuds website now states that it “abides by the principles of independence and autonomy, impartiality, neutrality, confidentiality, informality, accessibility, and the ability to conduct informal fact finding.” 

UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Posts Biennial Report

The Staff Ombuds Office at the University of California Berkeley has published its report covering fiscal years 2010-2012. Over the two-year period, Director and Ombudsperson Sara Thacker said that her office coached and advised 500 individual employees and that the vast majority were satisfied with the service. The total case load rose 17% from 2008-10 to 270 cases.  Respect and treatment topped the list of concerns and promoted a recommendation that the campus address workplace bullying.

Ryerson Ombuds to Co-Host Seminars for Students with Academic Issues

Over the next few weeks, Ryerson's Office of the Ombudsperson will jointly sponsor a series of free information sessions for students who are facing academic issues (i.e., the kinds of issues that often prompt students to consult an Ombuds: considering an academic appeal; on probation; or required to withdraw).