December 27, 2017

Job Posting: County of Santa Clara

The county in Silicon Valley, California is hiring a Senior Mediator with significant Ombuds duties. In addition to providing ADR services (including Ombuds work), the Senior Mediator also provides professional training and development efforts in the fields of ADR and/or Ombuds. 

Job Re-Posting: Dartmouth College

The private Ivy League college in New Hampshire is continuing to search for its next Ombudsperson. The part-time position (0.6 FTE) reports to the college president and serves non-union staff and faculty.  The search will fill a position vacated by Sean Nolon.

December 26, 2017

Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Part 2)

This is the second installment of the top ten most important stories from the Organizational Ombuds profession. Ranked in order of significance, the list concludes Thursday, December 28.

December 22, 2017

Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Part 1)

Here now is the first installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2017. The list will continue, Tuesday, December 26.

Job Posting: Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA's Alternative Dispute Resolution Division anticipates one or more vacancies for ADR Advisors in Puerto Rico. Incumbents in these positions will be part of FEMA’s ADR Division and provide ADR and Ombuds type services for FEMA employees. The duty station for these positions will be San Juan and other cities on Puerto Rico. 

December 21, 2017

Ombuds Year in Review: 2017 (Intro)

Since 2009, I have taken time to rank the most important stories of the year about Organizational Ombuds. The list comes in three installments and concludes on December 28.  In the first week of January, readers will have the chance to vote on what they thought. 

Before the list of top ten stories starting tomorrow, here are some other notable items from 2017:

December 20, 2017

Confederation College Ombuds Posts 2017 Annual Report

College Ombudsperson Kim Morgan reports that she worked with 133 students in 2016-17, an increase of 9% from the prior academic year, but generally in line with recent usage. Morgan noted a two of systemic issues: 1. the appropriate application of accommodation practices; and 2. the academic dispute resolution’s informal stage as an effective means to resolution. 

December 19, 2017

The Ohio State University College of Medicine Names First Ombuds

The medical school in Columbus has appointed Bob Towner-Larsen to serve as its first Graduate Medical Education Ombuds. He offers house staff (interns, residents and fellows) a neutral, independent and confidential resource designed to foster autonomous resolution of workplace issues. Towner-Larsen is also a physician coach at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s hr department. He has also counseled faculty and staff in The Ohio State University’s Office of Career Development.

Call for Proposals: ACR 2018 Conference

The Association for Conflict Resolution is seeking proposals from speakers for its next annual conference set for Pittsburgh on October 3-6, 2018. ACR has an Ombuds Section and Ombuds are frequent presenters and attendees.  The theme for the conference is "ACR, Next Gen: Boldly Leading Conflict Engagement into the Future." The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2018 at 11:00 PM (EST) and notification of selection is expected by April 30, 2018. (ACR 2018 Conf Call for Proposals.)

December 18, 2017

University of California Merced Hires Assistant Ombuds

Valara Villanueva will be the next Assistant Ombudsperson for UC Merced starting January 3, 2018. She has worked for the university since May 2016 as the Campus Advocate for the survivors of dating/domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking. She has done similar work for Merced Community College and the Valley Crisis Center. 

December 15, 2017

Job Posting: United Nations

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services has opened a search for a Chief of Service. The position reports to the Ombudsman in New York and directs the work of seven regional Ombuds offices, in addition to working as an Ombuds. Significant travel is required. Gang Li is currently the Acting Chief of Office.  

University of North Carolina to Open National Search for Next Ombuds

UNC's founding Ombuds, Wayne Blair, will leave the campus early next year to serve as the Ombuds for the Asian Development Bank. In announcing the move, the University Chancellor renewed her commitment to the Ombuds program and promised a broad search for Blair's successor.  Here is her statement to the campus yesterday: 

Ombuds at University of Wisconsin Publishes 2017 Annual Report

The UW–Madison Ombuds Office reports that it had 187 visitor contacts in the 2016-17 academic year resulting in 171 cases. Faculty and academic staff comprised nearly two-thirds of visitors. Notably, hostile and intimidating behaviors were reflected in 25% of the cases, an increase from the 16% of cases reported last year. 

December 14, 2017

Virginia Tech Ombuds Hosts an AMA

Bryan Hanson, the Graduate School Ombudsperson for Virginia Tech, recently answered questions online for UrbanAMA. (Originating on Reddit, 'Ask Me Anything' “Ask Me Anything” is a common online discussion format that encourages people to ask someone about a specific aspect of their life, often their career or unique experiences.) 

University of Toronto Ombuds Reports Steady Caseload

U of T University Ombudsperson, Ellen Hodnettreports that her office worked with 339 individuals in 2016-17, a modest increase from 316 in 2015-16 and 314 in 2014-15.  With a lack of new systemic issues, Hodnett commended the campus on consistently implementing of policies, especially for assisting stakeholders with disabilities. 

December 12, 2017

University of Cincinnati Promotes Interim Ombuds

Kim Fullbright, who has been the interim UC Ombuds since Lillian Santa Maria retired, has been confirmed for the job.  Here is today's campus announcement from Debra Merchant, Vice President of Student Affairs:

December 11, 2017

Profile of University of North Georgia's Ombuds for the Oconee Campus

For the past three years, Veronica Walker has been served as the Ombuds for the 2,500 students at the growing commuter campus in central Georgia. Walker is a biology lab coordinator and volunteers in the Ombuds role. She says that she cares about the student body and knows how confusing the bureaucracy of higher education can be. 

December 07, 2017

IOA Video Promotes Ombuds for Surfacing & Addressing Sexual Misconduct

The International Ombudsman Association has posted a YouTube video that addresses the Weinstein Effect and #MeToo Campaign.  The video, was produced by IOA's Communications Committee in just a few days and feels like a potentially valuable tool for influencing decision-makers.  IOA has posted it on all of its social media: YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Ombuds at University of Arizona Implements 'Terms of Use' for Visitors

In October, the UA Ombuds Program put in place "Terms of Use" that seek to protect the ethical tenets of the office.  The terms are listed on the website along with ethics and standards, and do not require a visitor to indicate agreement specifically. 

Romanian Organization Offers Ombuds Services for International Investors

The International Union of Bilateral Chambers of Commerce and Industry touts itself as "the world’s largest business organization of the bi-national (bilateral) chambers of commerce and industry and all of their Unions, Federations or Joint Business Councils." At present, the IUBCCI is comprised of 48 chambers of commerce with ties to Romania. One of its programs is the International Ombudsman for Investors Corporation, "an organizational ombudsman established as a non-profit organization that represents the interests of the worldwide investors by investigating and addressing complaints of maladministration or violation of their economic, commercial and other similar important rights." 

December 05, 2017

IOA to Offer ADR Training in New Orleans

The International Ombudsman Association brings three training programs to New Orleans in late January 2018.  The offerings are aimed at novice and experienced Organizational Ombuds, but are open to the public.  Note that enrollment is capped at about 30 for these courses. 

University of Iowa Opens Internal Search for Faculty Ombuds

UI will appoint its next Faculty Ombudsperson in early 2018 after an internal search. The process will fill a position held by Susan Johnson since 2009.  Applicants must on a regular tenure track or emeritus status for the part-time position.  (UIowa Jobs.)

December 04, 2017

Montgomery College Again Agrees to All Ombuds Recommendations

Julie Schwartz Weber, the MC Ombuds, reports that the college has adpoted all of the recommentations made in her 2017 report. An email from the MC President DeRionne P. Pollard not only vowed support for each of the four recommendations presented in the Ombuds' Fourth Annual Report, but she also shared comments and gave direction regarding how to implement the recommendations. 

December 01, 2017

Job Posting: Vancouver Community College

The public community college in British Columbia is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The part-time position will work with a student population that totals about 26,000. VCC has had an "Arbiter of Student Issues" that was functionally similar to a University Ombuds program and which has been consulting with local Ombuds and participating in ACCUO and regional Ombuds events. 

November 30, 2017

University of Michigan School of Nursing Names Faculty Ombuds

Janis Miller will be the next Faculty Ombuds for the UM School of Nursing. Miller is a professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. According to a news release, the Dean of the School hopes that the appointment will boost usage of the Ombuds office and contribute to an improvement in the school's culture. 

November 29, 2017

CERN Ombuds Offers Insights on First Visitor Meeting

Pierre Gildemyn is following the tradition of other CERN Ombuds and publishing a regular articles about his office. In his latest piece, Gildeman tells potential visitors what they might expect if they make an appointment to meet with him. His reassurance for visitors is a succinct overview of the Ombuds process (regardless of industry or organization type) that aspiring Ombuds may find valuable.

November 28, 2017

Ombuds at University of Toronto Nears End of Term

Ellen Hodnett is nearing the completion of her three-year term as University Ombudsperson at U of T. A review committee has been appointed and a search for her replacement will open shortly.  Meanwhile, she is taking some time to reflect on her tenure in an interview with the student newspaper.  Among other things, Hodnett she said that she remains concerned about the low number of people seeking support from her office. (The Varsity.)

November 27, 2017

Job Posting: Sacramento State

California State University, Sacramento is hiring its first Ombuds. Reporting to the CSUS President, the University Ombudsperson, "serves as a facilitator for students, staff, faculty, and members of the campus community" (about 35,000 in total). It seems to be generally IOA compliant, but is a mandated reporter for child abuse according to the posting. In addition, it should be noted that other Cal State Ombuds have not exempted from Title IX reporting requirements. 

Ombuds at Concordia University Posts 2017 Report

Amy Fish, Concordia's Ombudsperson, recently reported annual data on the academic issues brought to her office in the past academic year.  Fish said cases decreased about 8.6% to 470 in 2016-17, not far off from the 500 cases annually that have been typical over the past five years. Fish said also that the volume was in line for a university of Concordia’s size: about one percent of the student population. 

November 22, 2017

University of California Ombuds Update Statement of Best Practices

More than 10 years, the Ombuds at each University of California campus collaborated on a Declaration of Best Practices that reflected their commitment to IOA standards and practices.  Earlier this year, the group revised and updated the statement. Revised and endorsed in April 2017, this Declaration is the result of collaboration and input from representatives from UC Berkeley; UC Davis; UC Irvine; UC Los Angeles; UC Merced; UC Riverside; UC San Diego; UC San Francisco; and UC Santa Barbara. 

November 20, 2017

Senior British MP Calls for Sports Ombuds

Damian Collins, Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the House of Commons, says that athletes urgently need an independent watchdog to protect them. The comments by the conservative MP came as UK Sport released new guidance for coaches and staff on how to treat athletes with more respect. 

IOA Loosens Restrictions on its Members-Only Blog

The International Ombudsman Association has updated the terms of access for its blog, The Independent Voice.  IOA members now need only to enter the password to read the blog; name, email address, and an agreement to indemnify are no longer required. Changes to the blog’s Guidelines and Terms of Use bring it more in-line with industry standards.

November 16, 2017

Tech Startup Aims to Outsource Ombuds Services

A startup that launched in June seeks to exploit declining trust in HR departments by offering an independent and external Ombuds service. Bravely advertises that it, "connects employees with expert conflict coaches ... for off-the-record phone conversations about all kinds of workplace stress." 

Simon Fraser University Confirms its Interim Ombuds

Laura Reid will stay on as the SFU Student Ombudsperson after serving on an interim basis for the past year. She serves a student population of about 35,000 and was selected after the university conducted a public search this summer. 

November 15, 2017

Sacred Heart Schools Creates Ombuds Program

The independent, private college preparatory school in Atherton, CA has appointed Isolina Martinez as its first Ombuds. SHS enrolls about 1,200 students K-12 and employs about 330 staff members. Martinez has been dean of the faculty and a Spanish teacher at Sacred Heart since 2006. She earned her MS in Sociology and Social Psychology from Universidad Complutense de Madrid. No other details about the new Ombuds program have been made public. (SHS Prep Faculty; LinkedIn.)

Gallifrey One to Appoint Convention Harassment Ombuds

The world’s largest and longest-running annual Doctor Who fan convention will have an Ombudsperson for the its next gathering in Los Angeles, February 16-18, 2018. The three-day conference draws about 4,000 attendees.  Joyce Lloyd, Gallifrey One's Facilities & Hospitality Director, will serve in the role.

November 14, 2017

Job Posting: National University

The large, private, non-profit university is hiring its first Ombudsman for its headquarters in La Jolla, California.  The full-time position will practice to IOA standards and report semi-annually to the provost and faculty senate.  It is not clear from the posting whether the position will serve just students (who number 24,000) or all stakeholders.

World Bank Names Insider to Serve as Ombuds

The World Bank Group has appointed Axel Peuker as its third Ombudsman. He begins a five-year term, effective December 1, 2017.  Peuker joins other WBG Ombuds Doris Campos-Infantino and David Talbot, and replaces Penelope Brook (who has become Executive Director of the Atlantic Group).  

November 13, 2017

Asian Development Bank Hires Experienced Ombuds

Wayne Blair has been named the Ombudsperson for the regional development bank based in Manila.  He will serve a three-year term starting in early 2018. For the past decade, Blair has been the Ombuds for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill -- a program that he established.  He succeeds Nick Diehl, who moved to MIT.

Internship: UNICEF

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking an intern for UNICEF (as well as UNDP, UNFPA, UNOPS, and UN Women) in New York City.  The full-time, paid internship will last six months and offers the opportunity to support the office's mediation training, outreach, and advocacy.

November 10, 2017

History of Science Society Appoints First Ombuds

The professional society for the academic study of the history of science has named Sally Gregory Kohlstedt as its first Ombudsperson. HSS adopted a Respectful Behavior Policy in June of this year to address discrimination and harassment at society meetings and events. The new Ombuds is designated by the policy as a resource for anyone with concerns and complaints. 

Ombuds to Speak at Texas Mediators Conference

Two Ombuds will be featured at the 2018 Texas Association of Mediators Professional Development Conference in San Antonio February 23-24, 2018. Anamaris Cousins Price (Organizational Ombudsman at Halliburton) and Sean Banks (Corporate Ombuds for the Shell Oil Company) will be presenting "The Role of Mediation in Organizational Ombuds" on February 23.

November 08, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey Creates Ombuds Program

The government agency that studies the country's biology, geography, geology, and hydrology has appointed J. Fernando Caetano as its first Organizational Ombuds. Caetano serves 9,000 USGS employees and is part of the agency's Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution Office. He is part of the team that provides ADR services to the Department of the Interior, of which USGS is part.

UC Davis Hires an Ombuds

The Office of the Ombuds at the University of California Davis has hired Dana Hinojosa as an Associate Ombuds 3. Hinojosa has worked in higher education for the last seven years and brings experience in training, mediation, and workplace dispute resolution to her new role.  She will work primarily with visitors from the main campus and report to the Campus Ombuds, Katherine Greenwood

November 07, 2017

German Crowdsourcing Firms Create Ombuds Program

Lead by Testbirds, eight German internet companies have signed a joint agreement to protect workers and volunteers that contribute to their products.  The "Crowdsourcing Code of Conduct" also establishes and funds an Ombuds Office for conflict resolution.  According to the document, "The Ombuds Office mediates disputes that arise between workers and platforms that are signatories to the Code of Conduct. The Ombuds Office will mediate a dispute only after the parties have attempted to resolve the situation on their own (outside of the legal system)."

November 06, 2017

Job Re-Posting: Metropolitan State University

The public university in downtown Denver has re-opened its search for an Ombuds Officer.  The description and requirements are relatively unchanged. The position reports administratively to the Associate to the President for Diversity and practices to IOA standards. The MSU Ombuds serves faculty, staff, administrators, student-employees, and external stakeholders. 

Norfolk State University Appoints First Ombuds

The public, liberal arts HBCU in Virginia has named Clementine Cone as its first University Ombudsman.  Practicing to IOA standards, Cone serves NSU's faculty, staff, and students--a population of about 7,000. For the past four years, Cone has also served as the Executive Assistant to the President for University Compliance.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Hires an Assistant Ombuds

Derek Doughty has joined the Ombuds Office at UMass Amherst as an Assistant Ombuds. He moves into the position from the dean of students office, where he was a case manager and liaison to athletics. Doughty reports to University Ombuds Carol Booth works with Associate Ombuds Martha Patrick.

University of Oregon Expands Ombuds Program

UO has increased the size of its Ombuds Program with the appointment of Jennifer Hudson as Assistant Ombuds and Director of Conflict Resolution Services. Under the direction of University Ombuds, Brett Harris, Hudson will provide Ombuds services, primarily to students, and direct the campus conflict resolution program.