October 29, 2015

D.C. Schools Ombuds to Speak on Bullying

The District of Columbia Ombudsman for Public Education, Joyanna Smith, will be a panelist at a symposium tonight sponsored by the Washington Bar Association. "Parents vs Bullies: Understanding the 2012 Youth Bullying Act" will take place at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Room A-5 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. (WBA Flyer.) 

October 28, 2015

Job Posting: Concordia University

The public comprehensive university in Montreal is hiring an Ombudsperson. Reporting to the Board of Governors, the position "oversees the operation of the Office [including an Association Ombudsperson] whose primary mandate is to provide impartial and confidential service to all members of the University who have been unable to resolve their concerns about the application of any policy, rule or procedure." Concordia enrolls about 46,000 students and employs over 5,000 faculty and staff.

Symposium on Dispute System Design to Feature Ombuds

Kennesaw State University Ombudsman Timothy Hedeen will be a speaker at "Dispute System Design: Justice, Accountability and Impact" on Friday, November 13, 2015. (Hedeen is also Professor of Conflict Management at KSU.) Hosted by the University of St. Thomas Law Journal, the symposium will explore how dispute system design applies in a variety of context, including: groundwater management, cyberspace, international investment law, foreign direct investment, community conflict, sports, education and corporations. 

Interview With University of Colorado's Outgoing Ombuds

The CU-Boulder campus newsletter recently interviewed Tom Sebok, who has been Director of the Ombuds Office since 1992.  He recaps his work and looks forward to his impending retirement.  For prospective Ombuds, he offers this insight on the profession:

October 27, 2015

Ohio University Faculty Seek Changes to Confidentiality Rules

In an open letter, more than 30 OU faculty members asked ask for reconsideration of the blanket policy that makes all faculty and staff mandatory reporters. The group said, "In the larger picture, we are concerned about the dearth of confidential resources for students who have experienced sexual assault, harassment or other sexual misconduct." They also noted that, "For students, it is counterintuitive that employees of ... the ombuds office cannot offer a confidential ear to any student in crisis." 

Icahn School of Medicine Now Has Three Ombuds

According to a new website, the medical school in New York (formerly the Mount Sinai School of Medicine), now has three Ombuds. George W. Huntley serves as the Ombudsperson for students and postdoctoral fellows in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; and Joel Forman and Kathleen Halton work with house staff.

October 26, 2015

Internship: International Organization for Migration

The IOM Office of the Ombudsperson is seeking an Ombudsman for its office in Geneva. Reporting to the Ombudsperson, Rogelio Bernal, the intern will support his teamwork with other colleagues in the Field Missions and IOM Headquarters. The intern will assist with case management, research, preparation of documents, outreach activities, and designing and conducting training program.

New York State Bar Event to Feature Ombuds

The NY Bar's 2015 Dispute Resolution Section Fall Meeting, "#ADR: Trends, Innovation, Insights and Practice Tips," will include an Ombuds. Merle Waxman, Ombuds at the Yale School of Medicine, will be a panelist on the second plenary, "The Dispute Resolution Continuum: Fresh Insights From Practitioners of Early Neutral Evaluation, Med/Arb, Arb/Med, and Ombuds." 

Profile of University of Pennsylvania Ombuds

Last week, UPenn University Ombudsman Lynn Hollen Lees was profiled in the campus newspaper. She talked about the founding of the office in 1971 and how she came to be the Ombuds. When asked why it is important that the Ombuds office exists, Lees said:

October 23, 2015

ABA Webinar to Spotlight Ombuds in Healthcare

The American Bar Association will host a lunchtime webinar, "Toward a Healthy Workplace: The Role of the Organizational Ombuds in the Healthcare Setting" on November 4, 2015, This webinar focuses on the role of the Ombuds who serve employees in three major healthcare settings: MD Anderson Cancer Center, the National Institutes of Health, and Akron General Hospital.

Job Posting: Prince George's County Public Schools

The large school district in Maryland is hiring an Ombudsman Resolution Coordinator. Reporting to the PGCPS Ombudsman (who is impossible to identify by name using the District's public website), the incumbent "will act as a source of information and referral, and assist in the resolution of concerns and critical situations received from parents and the public." 

University of Kansas Ombuds Turns to Social Media to Boost Student Cases

KU Ombuds Kellie Harmon reports that the number of visitors to her office declined nearly 28% in 2014-15, mostly because student traffic fell 40%.  She believes that one explanation may be the lack of a social media presence and has therefore hired a graduate student assistant to do more outreach. "Hopefully when we count the numbers for this year next June, the numbers will reflect that," she said. (Daily Kansan.)

October 21, 2015

Ombuds at University of Pennsylvania Publishes 2015 Report

University Ombudsman Lynn Hollen Lees reports that her office served 137 visitors during the 2014-15 academic year--nearly half of whom were staff. In addition to the usual analysis of visitor demographics and issues, Lees also provides an interesting review of the cases that have come to the UPenn Ombuds over the past 20 years.

Montgomery College Ombuds Appointed to ACR Board

Sarah Miller Espinosa, the Montgomery College Ombuds, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Association for Conflict Resolution. Espinosa has served as a co-chair of ACR's Workplace Section and as the ACR Workplace Section's ombuds practice lead. (Inside MC.)

October 20, 2015

University of Iowa Settles Case, Avoids Issue of Ombuds Privilege

By paying $150,000 to a former employee, the university has avoided a trial and a resolution of the university's claim that its Ombuds has a legal privilege. The lawsuit was filed three years ago by Janis Perkins, the former study abroad director, who claimed she was laid off after complaining about bullying and taking a leave for depression. The Associated Press reports that it has obtained a copy of the settlement agreement.

University Ombuds Gather in Sweden

Nineteen Scandinavian Ombuds met on September 24-25 at Lund University. The third annual gathering included two Ombuds from Denmark, four from Norway and thirteen from Sweden. According to a post at the European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education website, Petra Holst the Studentombud at Lund gave a welcoming address before a series of workshops.

Montgomery College Ombuds Publishes Second Annual Report

Sarah Miller Espinosa, the Montgomery College Ombuds, reports that 160 staff members visited her office for the year ended June 30, 2015 -- about five percent of College employees. She provides summary statistics using the IOA Uniform Reporting Categories. In addition she updates the status of the recommendations she made in her first report and makes several new ones for the College. (MC Ombuds 2015 Report.)

October 19, 2015

Job Posting: University of California, Riverside

The Ombuds Office at UCR is hiring an Intake & Outreach Coordinator. Reporting to the Campus Ombuds, Andrew Larratt-Smith, the position will conduct all intake; develop program ideas and marketing; analyze problem trends and organizational issues; research policies, procedures, and historical data as needed for cases; and prepare confidential information and correspondence. 

October 16, 2015

Norwegian School of Economics Names First Ombuds for Students

Norges Handelshøyskolein in Bergen, Norway's oldest business school, has appointed Sigbjørn Råsberg to serve as its first ever Studentombud. The school's student association has been advocating for the position since early 2014, arguing that many students have no resource to advise them about their rights and obligations, or to provide guidance and assistance with problem-solving. 

October 15, 2015

Job Posting: University of New Mexico

The state's flagship, public research institution in Albequerque is hiring an Ombuds Facilitator for Staff. Under the supervision of the University Staff Ombudsperson, the position will provide confidential, impartial, and informal facilitation, design and deliver training programs, and mediate, facilitate and negotiate staff issues.

North Carolina State University to Sign Charter for Faculty Ombuds Office

Roy Baroff, who became the first Faculty Ombuds at NC State in March of this year, reports that there will be an Office Charter signing event as part of the General Faculty meeting on October 20, 2015 with the Chancellor, Provost, and Chair of the Faculty Senate. 

Ombuds to Speak at Global Dispute Management Conference

Two Ombuds will be featured speakers at a conference next month, Managing Conflict 4.0: The New Wave of Opportunities for Businesses Around the Globe. Hosted by the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Dispute Resolution Law Journal, the two-day conference will examine corporate disputes within and between organizations. 

October 13, 2015

IOA Seeks Nominations for 2016 Board of Directors

The International Ombudsman Association is inviting nominations from its membership for open positions on its governing board.  For the IOA Board term starting in April 2016, there will be three Director positions open. (The Associate Member Representative position is not currently open.)

Edinboro University Names New Ombuds

The public liberal arts university in Pennsylvania has appointed Ron Wilson, replacing  Marilyn Goellner.  Wilson was previously the Director of Social Equity and the Title IX Coordinator. He will work with faculty, staff, students, parents and retirees. 

Ombuds at Indiana State University Works with Threat Assessment Team

Like many universities ISU has a multidisciplinary committee to help assess and address threatening or concerning behaviors. The Behavioral Intervention Team at Indiana State, which was created in 2005, receives reports of disruptive, problematic or concerning behavior or misconduct, conducts an investigation, performs a threat assessment and determines the most convenient mechanisms for support, intervention, warning and response. Al Perone, the Associate Dean of Students and Ombudsperson, is a member.

October 08, 2015

Job Posting: University of Maryland, Baltimore

The original campus of the University System of Maryland is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The new position will work with students, non-represented staff, post-doctorals, fellows, and faculty from six professional programs, including schools of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy, social work and nursing, a total population of about 15,000. (Previously, UMB has had an Ombuds for faculty and staff in the School of Nursing.) 

October 06, 2015

Job Posting: University of Idaho

Idaho's primary research university has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. Reporting to the University President, the full-time position serves faculty, staff member, administrators, students, and groups -- a total population of almost 15,000. The search will fill the position held by Ellen Schreiber, who retired after 17 years. 

Job Posting: Business Development Bank of Canada

The Montreal-based federal corporation that develops and promotes Canadian businesses is hiring a Coordinator for its Office of the Ombudsman. The position serves as a point of first contact for external and internal complainants and provides a range of dispute resolution services. 

Job Posting: Federal Reserve System

The governing board of the U.S. central bank is hiring an Associate Ombudsman & Chief Administrator. The position works with the FRS Ombudsman and acts as a facilitator in the resolution of questions and complaints from members of the public and regulated institutions concerning the regulatory and supervisory activities of the Federal Reserve System. In addition, there are collateral administrative duties.

Job Posting: University of Windsor

The University of Windsor Students’ Alliance is hiring an Ombudsperson and Student Advocate. The position will assist students with primarily academic matters on a part-time (15-25 hours/week) basis for a one-year contract. The public research university in Ontario (Canada's southernmost university), enrolls about 16,000 students. 

October 02, 2015

FCO Research Grant Celebrates 50 Years of Canadian Ombuds

In recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Ombudsman in Canada, the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman will award $10,000 to support an Ombuds-focused research project that will contribute to higher levels of effectiveness in the implementation of the Ombuds/man/person role in the Canadian context.

Midwestern Accreditation Body Endorses Ombuds for Higher Education

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, says that Ombuds are a necessary resource for resolving a wide range student complaints. According to its statement on "How Institutions are Accredited," the Commission said: 

Amherst College Hires Ombuds

The private, liberal arts college in Massachusetts has appointed Michael Stephens as its next Ombudsperson. He will serve as a part-time Ombuds for faculty and staff.