September 30, 2014

Budget Cuts Threaten New Ombuds Position at Alabama State University

A continuing budget problem at ASU may endanger the university's first Student Ombudsman.  A current year shortfall of $8-12 million prompted at least one trustee to question the need for an Ombuds, who was hired less than a month ago.

Student Ombuds Serve Students at the University of Chicago

Every fall, the private university hires two student to serve as part-time Ombuds for one year.  Reporting to the president, the Ombuds serve a student of  15,000.  The two current Ombuds report that their office handled 37 cases over the winter and spring quarters of 2014.  The Office of the Student Ombudsperson has been in place at University of Chicago since 1968. (The Chicago Maroon.)

Revised Sexual Misconduct Policies at MIT Continue Protection of Ombuds

At the end of August, Massachusetts Institute of Technology unveiled changes to many student policies, including an update on sexual harassment and assault policies.  At a time when many universities are grappling with the role of Ombuds in a new era of Title IX enforcement, MIT reiterated that its Ombuds would remain a confidential resource for staff and students. 

September 29, 2014

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The Department Of Homeland Security agency is hiring an Ombudsman Specialist for its Office of the Ombudsman in Arlington, VA. Located in the Office of Civil Rights and Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement Office, the position serves internal and external customers by using ADR principles and techniques to resolve a wide range of difficult issues, and develop recommendations for the agency.

Job Posting: Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

The public university in Edmonton is hiring its first Ombuds. The new Office of the Ombudsman at NAIT will provide guidance to students and staff on academic, interpersonal, and discipline-related issues. The Institute enrolls about 29,000 students (8,400 are full-time) and has 1,200 academic staff. 

Task Force Recommends Ombuds for Student-Athletes at Berkeley

A task force looking into low graduation rates for football players at the University of California, Berkeley has recommended the appointment of an Ombuds specifically for student-athletes along with dozens of other changes.  Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and interim Director of Athletics Mike Williams that they were ready to embrace all of the proposals.   

European Ombuds and Mediators to Gather in Geneva

The International Committee of the Red Cross will host a two-day meeting of European Ombuds and medatiors at the Humanitarium Conference Center in Geneva on October 16 and 17. 

September 24, 2014

MIT Adds an Experienced Ombuds

Judi Segall has joined the Ombuds Office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, filling the position vacated by the retirement of Mary Rowe.  For the past 17 years, Segall has been the Ombudsman at Stony Brook University.  In addition, she has served as president of the three professional bodies for Organizational Ombuds: the University and College Ombuds Association (1999-2001), The Ombudsman Association (2001-2005), and as the International Ombudsman Association (2005-2006).

September 22, 2014

Job (Re-)Posting: Howard University

The federally chartered, private university in Washington, D.C has re-opened its search for its first Ombudsperson. (The prior search begn in July 2013.)  The position reports directly to both the President of the University and the Chair of the Faculty Senate and will serve primarily faculty and administrators. 

September 19, 2014

Job Posting: Alabama State University

The public, historically black university in Montgomery has opened a search for its first Student Ombudsman. The full-time position will apparently report to the Office of the Provost and serve a student population of about 5,600. ASU has not had any kind of Ombuds program before. 

September 17, 2014

D.C. Schools Ombuds Reports on a Busy First Year

In a report released today, the Ombudsman for Public Education in Washington DC, Joyanna Smith says that she has re-started the office and handled 150 matters.  In the first six months, more than two-thirds of the 150 inquiries came from parents of DC public schools students and about a quarter from parents of charter school students.

Cornell University Ombuds Celebrates 45 Years

Cornell's Office of the University Ombudsman is celebrating the 45th anniversary of its founding with an open house on Friday, October 3, 2014. (Cornell Events.)

Meet the Ombuds at Cal State San Marcos

Fritz Kreisler and Kara Kornher serve as the Ombuds at the California State University campus north of San Diego.  They were profiled recently by the campus newspaper.   

September 16, 2014

Northern Illinois University Updates Title IX Policy and Protects Disclosures to Ombuds

NIU has published revised "Title IX Policy and Procedures" for its 25,000 students and other members of the university community. The updated policy acknowledges the need for students and employees to seek confidential or anonymous assistance.  The NIU Ombuds Office is specifically identified as one of those resources.   

Washington University School of Medicine Opens Ombuds Office

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has established an Ombuds Office for nearly 2,000 faculty members.  Professors Karen L. O'Malley and Jeff Lowell are the first Ombuds and their website went online just days ago.

Lehigh University Names Two New Ombuds

The private university in Bethlehem, PA has appointed Robert Thornton and Susan Szczepanski to serve as Ombudspersons.  In their part-time roles, they serve as resources for about about 9,000 faculty, students and staff.  

September 15, 2014

Job Posting: University of California Office of the President

The systemwide headquarters of the University of California is hiring its first Ombudsperson.  In addition to serving as the Ombuds for about 3,000 staff members in Oakland and throughout California, the position will "serve as a resource for senior officials in formulation of UCOP policy and procedures, raising issues that may surface as a result of a discrepancy between the stated goals of the University and actual practice."

Conflict Between University of North Dakota's First Ombuds and President Becomes Public

Last Thursday, the Grand Forks Herald revealed the details of a dispute between UND President Robert Kelley and the University's first Ombudsperson, Dusty Farned. Unfortunately, Farned's side of the story wasn't revealed until a follow-up article.

Job Posting: Oregon Health & Science University

The academic medical center in Portland is hiring an Ombudsperson.  The half-time position will serve as "a designated neutral or impartial dispute resolution practitioner whose major function is to provide confidential and informal assistance to constituents of the School of Medicine faculty and research staff"--a total population of about 5,000. 

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles

KP Southern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its facility in Hollywood. 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."

September 12, 2014

Watch Senator Question White House Title IX Expert on Role of Campus Ombuds

On July 24, 2014, Senator Tom Harkin questioned Catherine Lhamon, the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension. The Senator asked specifically about the role of Campus Ombuds as a resource for victims of sexual misconduct and revealed a surprising level of knowledge about Ombuds. 

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Announces 2014 Conference

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia will again host the CoFO Conference.  Set for on Tuesday, September 30, 2014, the 13th annual event is open to those who are working as Ombuds in the Federal sector and others interested in the role.

NorthWest Ombuds Group to Hold Second Practice Issues Conversation

The group of Ombuds in the U.S. northwest and Canada's western provinces will hold its second "Practice Issues Conversation" on September 23, 2014.  The event takes place by conference call, Twitter and email, and will focus on "How do Ombuds effectively impact change in their organizations or institutions?"

September 11, 2014

ENOHE Plans 2015 Meeting in Austria

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education Executive Group met earlier this month to begin planning its 2015 conference in Innsbruck, Austria.  Representatives from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, the UK and the USA participated.

Job Posting: Tarion

Tarion Warranty Corp. is hiring an Early Resolution Officer in its Ombudsperson Office.   The position works with home buyers, owners, vendor/builders and other stakeholders to provide advice, guidance and direction for early resolution of complaints.  

University of Alberta Ombuds on Cyberbulling of Academics

The latest issue of Macleans has an article about cyberbulling of teachers and professors by students. Natalie Sharpe, Director of Student OmbudService at the University of Alberta, confirmed that the main targets at her institution are female faculty, especially if they teach in the gender or sexual minorities departments.

September 10, 2014

Interview With Ombuds for Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

José Ignacio González, the first Ombudsman for Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, told El Mercurio that he has handled about 40 cases in just six months. Gonzalez also said that student concerns made up about 70% of the cases, such as problems with academics.  He reports that the Ombuds role has been well received by the institution. (El Mercurio.)

Externship: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA's Office of the Ombudsman is offering an unpaid position for graduate or undergraduate students to extern in its Rockville, MD office.   The office considers applications on a rolling basis and does not have a strict deadline for applications. Applications will only be considered for the upcoming term.

September 09, 2014

IOA Offers Ombuds Training in San Diego

The International Ombudsman Association will offer several training opportunities for and about Organizational Ombuds the week of October 20-24, 2014. The programs include introductory, intermediate and advanced topics.

September 08, 2014

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Appoints First Ombuds

On Friday, the SEC announced that Tracey L. McNeil has been selected as the first Ombudsman for the agency.  She will begin her new post on September 22.  The IOA had urged the SEC to carefully define the role and, although a bit vague, the announcement makes it sound like McNeil will be a Classical Ombuds.

Job Posting: University of Texas Medical Branch

The academic health center in Galveston has opened a search for a part-time Faculty Ombudsman. The 20%-time position will provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty only (a total population that is not published by UTMB because "it's complicated").

Reyerson University Hires Two Ombuds

The public university in Toronto has appointed two Assistant Ombudsperson:  Heather McGhee Peggs and Katharina Ploss. They join University Ombudsperson Nora Farrell while Ayesha Adam, who has been an Assistant Ombuds at Ryerson since 2009, is on a leave for 2014. 

September 05, 2014

Job Posting: U.S. Department of State

The State Department is hiring a Human Resources Specialist to work in the Office of Ombudsman, Office of the Secretary. The position "serves as a subject matter expert in conflict resolution, utilizing mediation, facilitation, conflict coaching and other Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and work is focused on providing ethical conflict resolution processes."

McGill Appoints New Ombuds

McGill University has named Chemical Engineering Professor Dimitrios Berk as its next Ombudsperson for Students. Berk says that he's looking forward to the work. “It’s a people-oriented position, so I think it’s a different challenge from what we have in Engineering.” Berk started his half-time appointment on September 2 and replaced Spencer Boudreau, who completed a five-year term.

Georgia State University Ombuds Sponsors Storytelling Contest for Conflict Resolution Day 2014

To celebrate the annual Conflict Resolution Day, the GSU Office of the Ombudsperson has opened a contest for stories and poems about peacemaking.  Entries in any medium will be accepted and may be selected for publication in an eZine.  

September 04, 2014

Job Posting: Fair Practices Commission Ontario

The Fair Practices Commission, the Organizational Ombuds for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in Ontario, Canada, is hiring a Deputy Commissioner. The position reports to the FPC Commissioner and directs the day-to-day operations of the complaint resolution activities of the Commission ensuring issues are addressed according to Commission standards and principles of administrative fairness. 

September 03, 2014

IOA Seeks Proposals for 2015 Annual Conference

IOA conference planners are accepting presentation proposals, and speaker and topic suggestions for the tenth annual meeting.  The conference is set for April 19-22, 2015 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. IOA's attendees are diverse -- they come from various sectors and countries and have varying levels of experience. Individuals representing universities, companies, not for profit agencies or sole practitioners attend the IOA meeting looking for like-minded Ombuds with whom to share ideas, collaborate or learn new things.

Updated Sexual Misconduct Policy at Colorado College Protects Disclosures to Ombuds

In June, the private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs adopted new sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence policies and procedures. The new policy specifies that the College Ombudsperson is one of several confidential resources for victims.

September 02, 2014

Chapman University Debuts Ombuds Program

The private university in Orange, California has unveiled a website for its first Faculty Ombudsperson.  According to the site, Prof. James Brown practices to IOA standards and serves as an, "impartial dispute resolver who strives to see that faculty, and other members of the Chapman community with whom they interact, are treated fairly and equitably."

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco

KP is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator in South San Francisco, 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."

September 01, 2014

2014 ACR Conference Includes Two Sessions About Ombuds

Usually a few Ombuds present are presenters at the Association for Conflict Resolution's Annual Conference.  The conference this year, in Cincinnati on October 8-11, will include just one: ICANN Ombudsman, Chris LaHatte will be the featured speaker for ACR International Day.  His session is entitled, "Dealing with Cultural Difference in a Multi Stakeholder Environment."