May 30, 2015

Job Posting: World Intellectual Property Organization

The United Nations agency which promotes the protection of intellectual property is hiring an Ombudsperson for a five-year term. Based in Geneva, position reports to the WIPO Director General and coordinates closely with the UN Ombuds Office.

May 27, 2015

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The Department of Homeland Security agency is hiring an Program 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 responds to issues and concerns from TSA employees and the traveling public in a confidential, neutral, and independent manner, and by being "an advocate for fairness in processes and decisions."

Law Journal Article Updates Quest for Ombuds Privilege

The latest issue of the Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal includes an article titled: "The Organizational Ombudman’s Quest for Privileged Communications." Written by Kendall D. Isaac, a former professor at Appalachian School of Law and currently Chief HR Officer with Darton State College, the article explores the current state of the Ombuds confidentiality privilege; compares and contrasts the Ombuds role with mediation, HR, and governmental Ombuds; and offers ideas on improving the chances of arguing for a privilege in court.

May 26, 2015

Realtors to Require Local Ombuds Nationwide Next Year

The National Association of REALTORS® will all state and local associations to provide Ombudsman Services by January 1, 2016 pursuant to Professional Standards Policy Statement #59.  According to a press release, "It is the belief of the National Association’s Professional Standards Committee that many ethics complaints might be averted with enhanced communications and initial problem-solving capacity at the local level."

The Citadel Updates Terms of Reference for Ombuds Program

The Military College of South Carolina has published a memorandum that, "describes the role of the ombudsperson ... and the methods by which cadets, students, faculty, and staff may utilize the ombudsperson process."  The document clearly explains the Citadel's Ombuds will keep information confidential and assert a privilege if necessary:

Are Students Bypassing Ombuds in Favor of Social Media?

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed looked at students' increasing willingness to take complaints public through social websites or media, even before officials can present their own solutions. The article highlighted recent student protests at Hudson County Community College, Kennesaw State University, University of Southern California, of which only Kennesaw has an Ombuds program. (Unfortunately, the author was unable to reach Tim Hedeen at Kennesaw for a comment.)

May 21, 2015

Meet the Ombuds at Life University

Jeremy Smith has been the Ombudsman at Life University since 2013. As the Ombuds for the small private university in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta, Smith mediates situations on campus, involving faculty, staff and students. He said, “It seemed like it was a position tailor-made for me.” Though he’s worked in corporate employee relations with Hewlett-Packard, he’s always enjoyed working in higher education, having served in employee relations at both Colorado State University and Vanderbilt University. 

May 20, 2015

Ombuds at the University of Stuttgart Provides Insights on her Work

The Stuttgarter Zeitung recently profiled Ursula Meiser, the Ombudswoman at the University of Stuttgart since 2011. Her descriptions will resonate with other Organizational Ombuds, especially those in higher education. 

Internship: Atlanta Public Schools

The new Office of the Ombudsman for the public school system in Georgia is hiring an Intern Assistant. The paid ($10/hour), part-time (less than 25 hours/week) will maintain the database and resource files, prepare program reports, and serve as a point of access for the APS Office of the Ombudsman.

May 19, 2015

European Molecular Biology Laboratory Names First Ombuds

Europe’s flagship, intergovernmental laboratory for the life sciences has appointed Martina Peskoller-Fuchs to open its first Ombuds Office. She will work with the staff of 80 independent molecular biology research groups in Germany, France, Italy, and England. According to a website for the new office, the EMBL Ombudsperson will follow the principles of independence, neutrality and impartiality, confidentiality, and informality. 

Job Posting: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

FINRA is hiring two positions: Senior Analyst and Manager, both in the Office of Ombudsman in Rockville, MD. 

Handbook for Catholic University Administrators Includes Chapter on Ombuds

Craig Mousin, the University Ombudsperson at DePaul University, has written a chapter for A Mission Officer Handbook: Collaborating with Partners, Vol. II, just published by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. Mousin explains the role of an Organizational Ombuds and how, consistent with IOA's ethics and standards, an Ombuds can complement and further the goals of an institution’s mission.

May 18, 2015

Second Newsletter from University of Cape Town Ombuds is Full of Updates

UTC Ombud, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa, has published the second volume of "The Ombud," which aims to share, compare notes and experiences, and most importantly grow the Ombudsing field in South Africa and on the African continent.  In addition to recapping some of her recent activities at UCT, Makamandela-Mguqulwa also provided some critical updates for the region. 

International Ombudsman Association Awards Scholarship to South African Dispute Resolution Specialist

The IOA International Committee gave a scholarship to Busisiwe Mngoma, allowing her to attend the IOA's tenth annual conference last month in Atlanta and to complete introductory Ombuds training.  Mngoma is an ADR practitioner and mediator from Durban, South Africa.  She has been the Manager of the Ombudsman Office of the University of KwaZulu-Natal for the past four years.

Stellenbosch University Appoints Ombuds

The leading South African research university has appointed Julian Sonn as its next Ombudsperson.  Sonn will work with a student population of about 29,000 for whom the formal channels have been unavailing.

University of Johannesburg Creates Ombuds Office

The large, public university in South Africa has appointed Mavuso Msimang to serve as its first Ombudsman.  The new Ombuds Office serves "students, employees, alumni or members of public can raise academic or administrative concerns." (UJ is huge: it encompases nine faculties in more than 90 departments, with an enrollment of about 48,000 students, spreading over four different campuses.) A new website shows terms of reference that are in line with IOA standards.

May 15, 2015

IOA Training Returns to Southern California

The International Ombudsman Association will offer several training opportunities for and about Organizational Ombuds in Costa Mesa July 13-17, 2015. The programs include introductory, intermediate and advanced topics.

University of Vermont Opens Ombuds Office

The Public Ivy located in Burlington has appointed Ralph Swenson to serve as its first Graduate Student Ombudsperson.  The decision to create an Ombuds Office was prompted by a report by the UVM Graduate College Review Committee in 2013. 

May 14, 2015

2015 ACR Conference Will Feature Several Ombuds

Several current and former Ombuds will speak at the Association for Conflict Resolution's Annual Conference set for October 7-10, 2015 in Reno, Nevada. These include the following sessions:

May 13, 2015

Simon Fraser University Ombuds Office Marks 50th Anniversary

In 1965, the public research university in British Columbia became the first university in North America with an Ombudsman. The campus marked the 50th anniversary of its Ombuds office in part by hosting the biennial joint conference of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons. 

Old Dominion University Ombuds to Retire

Stella V. Mims, the longtime Director of Student Ombudsperson Services at Old Dominion, will retire later this month. She has worked at the university for nearly 32 years. There has been no announcement regarding the future of the Ombuds program. (ODU Announcement.)

May 11, 2015

ACCUO Publishes Fairness Resource Guide

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons has posted a new collection of information from its members: "Fairness is Everyone’s Concern: A Sampling of Practices and Resources on Cultivating Fairness." Inspired by former and current executive and many other ACCUO members, the guide was conceived as one of many ways to recognize the 50th anniversary of the first ombudsman in a Canadian post-secondary institution. 

University of North Dakota Hires Ombuds

North Dakota's oldest and largest university has appointed Brett Harris to serve as its first permanent Ombuds, starting July 1.  

Illinois Association of Realtors Ombuds Program Gains Traction

The state-wide real estate trade association launched its Ombudsman program in 2013.  Staffed by trained volunteers, the program has handled about 55 matters so far this year.  A recent article in the Chicago Tribune provides a few more details.  (Chicago Tribune.)

May 04, 2015

Registration Opens for 2015 Summer Academic Ombuds Meeting

The 13th annual gathering is returning to its original location at Northern Illinois University! The Summer Meeting provides an opportunity for academic ombuds to become better acquainted, to share concerns unique to our professional environments, and to support and learn from each other’s experiences. In addition to discussions led by nationally-known and respected Ombuds, the Summer Meeting will also present its annual New Academic Ombuds Workshop. 

Ombuds Serves Students at the University of Portugal

Since 2010, Fernando Nunes Ferreira, has been Student Ombudsman for the Universidade do Porto ("U.Porto"), the largest Portuguese public university with about 31,000 students. According to an English language webpage that went live last week, "The Student Ombudsman is appointed by the UPorto General Board and is responsible for establishing dialogue between the students and the teachers, administrative staff and management bodies and for mediating in an independent, impartial and confidential way in any disputes." 

Blog Talk Radio to Feature UC Davis Ombuds

Patti Porter, the Texas Conflict Coach, will interview Rita Callahan on May 26, 2015. Callahan has been a conflict resolution professional for 20 years and and is now in the Ombuds Office at the University of California Davis. Here is Porter's preview:

May 01, 2015

Job Posting: Virginia Tech

The public land-grant university in Blacksburg is hiring a Graduate Student Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education, the position serves about 6,500 graduate students.

Temple University to Hire Sexual Assault Counselor With Ombuds Duties

Temple is hiring an Assistant Coordinator of Sexual Assault Counseling and Education. Among other duties, the new position "provides case management and ombudsperson services to survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence and sexual harassment through the investigative and legal process."  (Clinical Psych Jobs.)

Colloquium on Bullying in Higher Ed Moves to Harvard

The Consortium on Abrasive Conduct in Higher Education (CACHE) will hold its the Third Annual Colloquium at Harvard University Law School on June 23-24, 2015. The 2015 Colloquium will include: