March 27, 2015

Seven Ombuds Elected to 2015 IOA Board

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the seven candidates were elected to the Board of Directors for terms starting in April 2015.  The election of officers for the next term will take place at the annual conference in Atlanta.

Chronicle of Philanthropy and Sen. Grassley Apparently Misunderstand the Red Cross Ombuds Program

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that Sen. Charles Grassley, who led legislative efforts reform the American Red Cross in 2007, has launched an inquiry into the work of the Red Cross Corporate Ombudsman Office.

Rash of Collateral Duty Ombuds Jobs In Higher Ed

There are several active postings for jobs at colleges and universities that include Ombuds duties.  Is this a sign of increased awareness of the Ombuds role or a sign of decreased understanding?

March 26, 2015

Ombuds at National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Publishes Public Report

Scott Deyo, the Ombudsman for the NGA, has released a summary of his work for the 20014 fiscal year. Deyo reported that 443 visitors came to his office in the twelve months that ended September 30, 2014, a 68% increase from the prior year. The report also announced the expansion of the office with the appointment of Guy Weber, as Associate Ombudsman at NGA Campus West.

University of Calgary Student Union Threatens to Defund Ombuds Office

Earlier this month, the Students' Union at UCalgary issued submitted a six-month notice to withdraw its half of the funding for the Student Ombuds Office.  Although there have been problems with accessiblity and branding over the past four years as the Ombuds Office moved campus locations repeatedly, student leaders declined to provide any specific complaints or concerns.  UCalgary Ombuds Duncan W. McDonald , who just finished his second year in the job, also declined comment.  The university promised a quick response to the issue. (The Gauntlet.)

Job Posting: Federal Maritime Commission

The independent U.S. agency that regulates oceanborne international transportation is hiring an Attorney-Advisor. Among other duties, the position will provide Alternative Dispute Resolution services and make recommendations to the Office Director and Deputy Director, "through the provision of ombuds, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration services." 

Federal Court in Michigan Appoints Ombuds

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has appointed has appointed former Judge Fred M. Mester to serve as Court Ombudsman.  The Court is the eighth largest federal trial court with court facilities in Ann Arbor, Bay City, Detroit, Flint and Port Huron. As a volunteer, Mester will serve as an intermediary between judicial officers of the Eastern District of Michigan and the Bar. He succeeds Attorney George Bedrosian who recently passed away.

March 25, 2015

South African Ombuds Launches Blog

Mervyn Malamed, a South African mediator and workplace-conflict trainer, has launched a blog to promote his interest in Organizational Ombuds work.  His first post recaps his career and recent Ombuds training.  He attended the 2014 IOA conference and will be coming to the 2015 meeting in Atlanta.  (Mervyn Malamed Blog.)

Related posts: Collaboration Opportunity in South AfricaSouth African HR Conference Spotlights Ombuds.

March 24, 2015

ENOHE Posts Agenda for 2015 Conference

The European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education has released details of its 12th annual conference set for May 28-30, 2015 in Innsbruck, Austria.  

Rice University Faculty Seek Appointment of Ombuds

The Rice Faculty Senate has endorsed the findings of a working group regarding the creation of an Ombuds program. The working group made three recommendations: 1. That an Ombuds position be established for the Rice faculty; 2. That the Faculty Senate be involved in the hiring and periodic review of the Ombuds; and 3. That the Ombuds report to the University President. 

March 23, 2015

Job Posting: World Food Programme

The food assistance branch of the United Nations is hiring an Ombudsman. The position, based in Rome, works with WFP employees world-wide and coordinates closely with the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services office. The job is based in Rome and is for a four-year term.

FCO/ACCUO Posts 2015 Conference Agenda

The biennial joint conference of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons, "50 Years of Fairness: People, Purpose, Passion" will take place May 10-13, 2015 at the Wosk Centre in Vancouver, BC. The event will include annual general meetings for FCO and ACCUO and pre-conference training programs. 

Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal Publishes Article About Ombuds

The latest issue of the SPE Journal includes, "The Organizational Ombuds Office and Corporate Social Responsibility: Driving Values in an Organization." Authored by three Baker Hughes employees, Bonnie Bonnivier (Ombuds), Melanie Brooke-Lander (Director of HSE Programs and Corporate Social Responsibility), and Melanie Lewis (Principal Ombuds), the article discuss how the Ombuds Office was established and shares their experiences in the preparation and implementation, establishment and operation of the function.

Rowan University Appoints First Ombuds

The public university in Glassboro, NJ has appointed Catherine Parrish as the first Ombudsman for its 1,600 faculty. “The university ombudsman position was created a year ago as the first of several initiatives geared to providing a quality workplace,” Executive Vice President Dr. Tobey Oxholm, said. 

Canadian Paralympic Committee Appoints Ombuds for 2015/2016 Games

The Canadian Paralympic Committee has appointed Peter Lawless to serve as Team Canada's Ombudsperson for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. CPC's spokesperson Elisabeth Walker-Young said,"His legal and sport expertise combine to make him a prime candidate for the role of ombudsperson. We'd prefer to not have Peter busy in his role as ombudsperson, but if the situations present themselves, I'm confident with him in Team Canada's corner." 

March 19, 2015

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General is hiring a Program Analysis Officer (Ombudsman). "The incumbent functions as the organizational Ombudsman who is an impartial and confidential resource facilitator, mediator, consultant, and dispute-resolution practitioner for all DOL OIG personnel (professionals, supervisors, managers, and Senior Executives) seeking informal and early resolution of workplace-related concerns." 

Coalition of Federal Ombuds Posts Minutes from October 2014 Meeting

At its regular monthly meeting in October, CoFO reviewed its annual conference and discussed areas of focus for the coming year.  Among the top picks of meeting participants were the following:

Job Posting: Georgia State University

The GSU Office of the Ombudsperson is hiring a Coordinator. The position is responsible for more than mere administrative support--many tasks overlap those of Ombuds.  According to the posting, the Coordinator:

Little Change in 2015 Rankings of Law School Dispute Resolution Programs

There were few changes in the annual ranking of the law school ADR programs by U.S. News & World Report.  

University of Washington Ombud Posts 2014 Annual Report

Chuck Sloane, who marked his second year as the UW Ombud, said that his office handled 466 cases in 2014, an 11% increase from the prior year.  Sloane and the Associate UW Ombud, Emma Williams, established a weekly presence at the UW campus in Tacoma, which accounted for a significant portio of the increased case load.  The report also noted that the staff traveled over 7,000 miles over the year.  (UW Ombud 2015 Report.)

March 11, 2015

Montgomery College Ombuds Reports Strong Demand for Services

Sarah Miller Espinosa, who has served as the Ombuds for the community college near Washington, D.C. since September 1013, reports that she assisted over 100 employees during first six months ended December 31, 2014.  This represents 4% of the overall employee population and 6% of the staff employees.

IOA 2015 FUNdraising Raffle

The IOA Conference Committee is seeking donations to the annual FUNdraiser raffle! You can walk away with some great prizes and lasting memories. Last year, donations included gift cards, themed baskets, books, university gear, photography and handmade crafts that helped offset costs for onsite activities during the conference. ALL raffle prize contributions are welcome! 

March 10, 2015

Job Posting: University of Massachusetts Amherst

The flagship of the University of Massachusetts system has opened a public search for its next Ombudsperson.  The search will fill the position long held by Catharine Porter, who retired last July, but wh has stayed on on part-time in a post-retirement appointment.  This is the first time that the position will be filled from outside the university.  The position will head an office that serves a total student, staff, and faculty population of about 40,000.  

Meet the Ombuds at Principia College

The private liberal arts college in Elsah, Illinois has had a Student Ombudsman for three and a half years. Kristin Halsey, who also serves as the New Student Advising Coordinator/Academic and Career Advisor, works with a student body of about 480. According to an article in the campus newsletter, the Ombuds program was started in the 1990s. 

March 09, 2015

Job Posting: Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education's Alternative Dispute Resolution Center is hiring another Ombudsman. The incumbent practices to IOA standards and serves as an Ombuds for staff with employment disputes before the formal complaint stage. The GS-14 position pays $106,263 to $138,136 per year. Applications are due March 12, 2015. (USA Jobs.)

Dental School Scandal Highlights Loss of Ombuds Program at Dalhousie

The graduate dentistry program at Dalhousie University has been roiled by protests after misogynistic and violent comments about female students were discovered on a Facebook group late last year.   For some, the matter highlights both the lack of options for reporting sexual misconduct and also the lack of an Ombuds office, which closed in 2012.

March 06, 2015

Opinion: IOA Should Seek Strategic Partners for its Annual Conference

Our professional organization has made some remarkable progress during its first decade.  The International Ombudsman Association has largely integrated its predecessor organizations, formalized its internal structures, and built a reliable training program and annual conference. However, the strategic goal of, "an outreach program to promote the understanding, visibility and development of Organizational Ombudsman roles and offices," remains underfunded and ad hoc. 

Fortunately, IOA's well-established annual conference provides an opportunity to advance this goal: IOA should partner with other organizations to hold joint conferences. 

March 05, 2015

Opportunities With United Nations Ombuds Office

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services Office (UNOMS) has some intriguing short term jobs and consulting work for experienced Ombuds and other ADR professionals:

Job Posting: Washington University in St. Louis

The private research university has opened a search for its first Staff Ombudsperson to be based on the Danforth campus.  The new, full-time position will work with a total staff population of about 10,000.  The job description includes, "Maintains membership in the International Ombudsman Association and adheres to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice."

March 04, 2015

Job Posting: Florida State College at Jacksonville

The public college in northeast Florida is hiring its first Ombudsman.  The position will serve a student body of greater than 80,000 across four campuses. 

Guide to Ombuds Sessions at 2015 ABA Dispute Resolution Conference

The American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution’s Seventeenth Annual Spring Conference will feature three sessions about Ombuds.  The event, which is perhaps the largest gathering of dispute resolution professionals in the U.S., will be held at the Westin Seattle, April 16-18, 2015.

March 03, 2015

Call for Proposals: USOA 2015 Conference

The United States Ombudsman Association is seeking session presenters interested in sharing their subject matter expertise relevant to the public sector ombudsman profession at its annual conference on October 14-16, 2015.  The USOA Conference and Planning Committee explains:

March 02, 2015

University of Oslo Ombuds Reports Surge in Cases

Marianne Høva Rustberggard, UiO's first Student Ombudsman, reports that she received 135 inquiries in 2014, an increase of about 25% from the prior year.  With a caseload that exceeds her capacity, Rustberggard says that she will hire a half-time employee this year to manage case data, assist with meetings and events, and serve as a deputy.

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles

KP Southern California is hiring a full-time Health Care Ombuds/Mediator for its Harbor City facility in the South Bay. 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."

United Nations Ombuds to Address Harvard Law Students

John Barkat, the Assistant Secretary-General and head of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services Office, will give a talk at Harvard Law School on April 7, 2015. (Harvard LS Events.)