September 30, 2013

Staff at World Intellectual Property Organization Oppose Changes to Ombuds Program

IP-Watch is reporting that hundreds of WIPO staff members are supporting a petition urging their Director General to withdraw proposed changed to the agency's internal justice system, including the Ombudsman. 

UC Berkeley Hires Ombuds

Lauren Bloom has been appointed as Associate Ombudsperson for the University of California Berkeley's Staff Ombuds Office. Bloom has more than 15 years of experience in conflict management and the Ombuds profession. Most recently, Bloom worked as an EAP Specialist for the City of Madison, Wisconsin. She previously served as Ombuds at The University of Texas at Austin.

September 27, 2013

University of Colorado Hires Ombuds

UC Boulder has appointed Jessica Kuchta-Miller as an Associate Ombuds. Kucta-Miller is an attorney from Minnesota and has managed the divorce mediation program at the Mediation Center for Dispute Resolution at Hamline University School of Law. She has also served as an adjunct professor at Hamline University School of Law since 2002. 

Job Posting: United Health Services

The not-for-profit health care system serving the Greater Binghamton region in New York is hiring an Organizational Development Specialist/Employee Ombudsman. The position, "serves as initial, neutral contact for individuals and groups at UHSH who need assistance with resolving conflicts, problematic issues or concerns."

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 2013 semester.

September 24, 2013

APM Marketplace: "Office Disputes Get a New Referee"

Yesterday, the national daily business news program from American Public Media highlighted the work of Organizational Ombuds. Here's the lede:
When whistleblowers go to the media or lawyers, the results can be disastrous for an organization. Think of Edward Snowden and the N.S.A. And even smaller employee concerns, like discrimination lawsuits, usually cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. These days, more and more corporations are turning to organizational ombudsmen. They allow employees to talk about workplace issues confidentially, before things escalate.

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration Extends Deadline

The Department Of Homeland Security agency has extended the application deadline for a Program Specialist position in its Office of the Ombudsman. Applications are now due September 30, 2013.

September 23, 2013

ACCUO Sets Western Regional Meeting

The University of Alberta will be hosting this year’s Western Regional meeting of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons on October 28 and 29. The one and a half days of presentations and discussion are designed for those holding Ombuds and Ombuds-like positions at post-secondary institutions in Western Canada. Organizers are still accepting proposals for conference sessions.

Baker Hughes Names Ombuds for Canadian Operations

The Organizational Ombuds Office (“o3”) for the oilfield services company has appointed Josie Stiles as its Canada Ombuds, based in Calgary, Alberta. As Baker Hughes’s newest Ombuds, Stiles will be an independent, neutral, informal, and confidential conflict management resource and advisor who will ensure workplace issues are addressed promptly, fairly, and at the appropriate level.

IOA Radio to Feature Stony Brook Ombuds

Judi Segall, University Ombudsman at Stony Brook University and former IOA President, will be the guest on IOA’s teleconference-based “talk show” on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm Eastern. The topic will be “The Dynamic Role of the Ombudsman” and the show will be recorded for future access. (IOA News.) 

September 20, 2013

Job Posting: University of Oregon

Fulfilling a promise by President Michael Gottfredson earlier this year, OU has opened a search for its first University Ombudsperson. The position will set up a program for faculty, staff, and administrators -- a population of about 27,000.  

September 19, 2013

Job Posting: UC Santa Barbara

The University of California Santa Barbara is hiring an Assistant Ombuds. The position provides impartial, informal, independent and confidential conflict resolution services to all campus stakeholders. In consultation with the Campus Ombuds, Kirsi Aulin, the Assistant handles cases with little or no campus precedent, including bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

Ohio State University Names Faculty Ombuds

Lynne Olson, a newly retired emeritus professor from the Department of Veterinary Biosciences has been named OSU’s Faculty Ombudsman, replacing the university's Jack Rall. “I think Jack Rall has gotten the office off on a very good foot, and my particular goal would be to keep moving on the trajectory he set up,” Olson said.

September 17, 2013

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Announces 2013 Conference

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia will host the 12th Annual CoFO Conference on Monday, September 30, 2013. The event is open to those who are working as Ombuds in the Federal sector and others interested in the role.

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The Department Of Homeland Security agency is hiring a Program Specialist for its Office of the Ombudsman in Arlington, VA. The position serves as an Ombudsman, providing confidential, neutral, independent and informal assistance to TSA employees, managers, and stakeholders.

University of Michigan Ombuds Launches Blog

Tom Lehker, the UM Ombudsman for Students, has started a blog: Conflict as a Catalyst for Change. After an initial post to introduce himself, Lehker's latest post is about, "The Process (and not just the content) of Dispute Resolution." He offers three pieces of advice for people working through a conflict: 1. Listening is paramount; 2. Validating the experiences of others; and 3. Expressing empathy. (UM Ombuds Blog.)

September 16, 2013

Ron Wilson: Former University of California Irvine Ombuds

R. Ronald Wilson, who served as the Ombudsman at UCI from 1978 until 1999 and was a national figure in the art of mediation and Ombudsmanship, has passed away.

University of North Georgia Appoints Ombuds

UNG, which was formed by the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College in January 2013, has appointed Michael Stapleton as part-time Ombudsman for nearly 2,000 faculty and staff. Stapleton will retire from his position as Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police for the University in November.

September 12, 2013

Dixie State University Opens First Ombuds Office

The public university in St. George, Utah has created an Ombuds program to serve its 7,000 faculty, staff and students. Operating under a charter signed by DSU President Stephen Nadauld, the office is staffed by Katie Armstrong, Ami Comeford and Will Craver, who practice in accordance with IOA standards.

September 10, 2013

Did a Former Ombuds Confess Ethical Breaches on Reddit?

Two days ago, an anonymous poster on reddit (a social news and entertainment website), said that his/her assurances of confidentiality were a sham. Posted to the subreddit on privacy with the title "University ombudsman scam - privacy warning," privacynat said:

Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons Sponsors Student Writing Contest

ACCUO has announced a contest to award two students, one in College and one in University, a prize of $1,000. Applicants must submit an essay of about 1,000 words, in English or French on their "academic interests and how they support social justice and the pursuit of a fair society" or "the role and value of the ombudsperson at [their] post-secondary institution." Applicants must be enrolled at one of 30 participating Canadian institutions. The deadline for submission is October 15 and winning essays may be published on the ACCUO website. (ACCUO Announcements.)

September 09, 2013

Emory University Creates Ombuds for Students

The private university in metropolitan Atlanta has appointed Sherry Ebrahimi to the newly-established position of Student Ombudsperson. In the new, part-time role, "Ebrahimi will be responsible for assisting students in achieving resolutions to their problems and concerns while ensuring their privacy." She also will continue in her current position as director of university conferences.

University of West Georgia Opens Search for Faculty Ombuds

UWG is reviewing applications from for its Faculty Ombuds.  Applicants must be tenured faculty or "have demonstrable knowledge and skills in conflict resolution." The selected candidate will be required to attend the IOA training in Baltimore and start the first of the year. The search will replace John R. Fuller, who has held the position for two years. (UWG Jobs.)

September 06, 2013

California Association of Realtors Unveils Ombuds Program

The state trade association of 155,000 real estate professionals has adopted an Ombuds program for its members. According to a new website for the office:

September 05, 2013

Brazilian Ombudsmen Association Joins with International Ombudsman Association for Training

The Associação Brasileira de Ouvidores will offer a joint training program with IOA on October 16-18, 2013 in Sao Paulo. The workshop, which is designed for Brazilian Ombuds, will introduce the IOA standards of practice and compare them to ABO's. The IOA trainers will be...

Updated Sexual Harassment Policy at University of Michigan Reiterates Confidentiality of Ombuds

In response to an advisory letter from the U.S. Department of Education, U-M has adopted a new policy for how it responds to student sexual-misconduct allegations, transitioning from a complainant-driven model to one driven by University investigators. Under the new policy, which was two years in the making, the university assumes the burden of internally investigating all allegations of student sexual misconduct. The new policy clarifies that only three office, including the Office of Ombuds, can offer full confidentiality to students who report sexual misconduct. (Michigan Daily; Sexual Misconduct Policy.)

September 04, 2013

CERN Ombuds Reports on First Three Years

Vincent Vuillemi, the Ombuds at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, says that about three percent of CERN staff members have used his services each year since he opened the office three years ago. He notes that women use the office at greater rates than men.

Montgomery College Opens Ombuds Office

The community college just outside Washington, D.C. has created an Ombuds office for employees and appointed Sarah Miller Espinosa to the half-time position. MC President DeRionne Pollard decided to create the program in response to recommendations from an employee advisory group, union and faculty representatives, and HR experts.  The MC Ombuds will serve about 1,800 college employees and operate in accordance with the IOA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

University of Michigan Appoints Faculty Ombuds

UM appointed Professor Bruno J. Giordani to be the university's Faculty Ombuds effective September 1. He follows Michael Welsh, who created a charter for the office. Giordani said, "One of the goals I see as important during my time as ombuds is to work within this charter to continue to strengthen the relationship between this office and the local unit ombuds in each school and college of the university." The appointment is part-time and Giordani will continue he teaching as a professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology, and chief psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry.

September 03, 2013

Job Posting: International Committee of the Red Cross

The Swiss humanitarian organization that protects the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and provides them with assistance, expands its Ombuds services by creating two new positions: Ombuds for Asia and the Middle East and Ombuds for Africa. Both of these resident positions will be field-based.

University of South Alabama Creates Ombuds Program

The public university in Mobile has named Jeanne Maes to be its first Faculty Ombudsperson. “The creation of a campus ombudsperson is something the faculty senate has been working toward for some time, and we are happy to see the work that we and the administration have put into doing it right come to fruition,” said Faculty Senate President Dr. Doug Marshall. Maes will not handle any matters involving the university's students or staff.

Navy Marks Ombudsman Appreciation Month

Every September, the Navy honors its Family Ombudsman program, which was established in September of 1970 by Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., then Chief of Naval Operations. The hundreds of Command Ombudsmen volunteer to serve as liaisons between the command and command families.