January 31, 2017

UTC Modifies Ombuds Program to Comply with French Law

United Technologies Corporation has published a Supplement for its Ombudsman program to explain how it satisfies current the law in France protecting employee privacy. The document offers a rare glimpse into how a multinational, U.S.-based corporation implements a Organizational Ombuds program in another country.   

Cornell Ombuds May See Surge in Cases Due to Political Climate

At a student assembly last week, Cornell University Ombudsman Charles Walcott and Ombuds Office Director Linda Falkson were warned to expect an influx of student visitors.  Student Assembly representative Gabriel Kaufman said that the office will likely see an increase from its usual total of 300 to 400 cases annually.

January 30, 2017

Internship: United Nations, New York

The Office of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services is accepting applications for an unpaid internship in its New York headquarters. The position is full-time and will last three to six months. Duties will  depend on the intern's experience and needs of the program, but may include: outreach and advocacy; support preparing data and reports; and conducting research.

Meet Ohio University's New Ombuds

In July 2016, Mac Strickland was named the University Ombudsperson for OU.  The former Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life continues a program that was established four decades ago as part of the first wave of campus Ombuds programs at large universities.  Strickland was the subject of a recent profile by the OU newsletter. 

January 27, 2017

Eastern Kentucky University Opens Ombuds Office

The public university in Richmond has named Joan Beck as its first Faculty/Staff Ombud. Beck reports directly to UKU's President and will serve over 3,000 employees. Most recently, Beck has been a consultant and mediator, and also served as the Citizens' Advocate/Ombudsman for the NameLexington-Fayette Urban County Government from 2003 to 2010.

International Monetary Fund Names Next Ombuds

The international financial aid organization has appointed Thomas Zgambo as its next Ombudsperson. Zgambo is expected to serve an initial appointment of two years and can be extended to seven years.  Here's a portion of the IMF announcement:

Montgomery College Adopts All of its Ombuds' Recommendations

Montgomery College President DeRionne P. Pollard has announced the wholesale adoption of the recommendations made by the college's Ombuds, Julie Schwartz, in her latest annual report.

The recommendations were:

January 26, 2017

Job Posting: Fanshawe College

Fanshawe College of Applied Arts and Technology in London, Ontario has opened a search for its next Ombuds. Reporting to the President (and historically practicing to ACCUO standards), the Ombuds serves about 15,000 full-time and 40,000 part-time students.  This is a full-time position. The search will replace Jennifer Gillespie, who has been the Acting Ombuds following the departure of Rose Valle, who was also serving in an interim capacity.

World Bank Lands Experienced Ombuds

After a six-month search, the World Bank Group has hired the former Inter-American Development Bank Ombudsman, Doris Campos-Infantino.  She will fill a position held by held by Thomas Zgambo since 2007 and she joins two other WBG Ombuds, Penelope Brook in Washington and David Talbot in Bangkok.

Here's the full anouncement from the Bank:

Bellevue College Ombuds Posts 2016 Report

Miranda Kato, the Ombuds for the community college outside Seattle, reports handling 668 cases in the 2016-16 academic year, a 13% increase from the prior year.  Although students make up the majority of her cases, the growth this year was due to higher numbers of staff and faculty using the office.  

January 25, 2017

Cal Caucus Publishes 2016 Journal

The California Caucus of College and University Ombuds has published its fourth on-line journal.  Topics include the challenges of gaining broader recognition of our standards of professional practice, the relevance of legal training to Ombuds practice, a comparative international perspective on evolving Ombuds programs, and more.

Internship: United Nations, Chile

The Office of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services is accepting applications for an unpaid internship in the Santiago office of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The position is full-time and will last three to six months. Duties will  depend on the intern's experience and needs of the program, but may include: outreach and advocacy; support preparing data and reports; and conducting research.

Charles Peterson: Former Ombuds for Kean College

Charles Peterson, who served as the Ombudsman for Kean College (now Kean University) before his retirement in 1999, passed away on January 14, 2017 from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident.  Peterson was also a long-time professor at the school.  (Scranton Times-Tribune.)

January 24, 2017

IOA Announces Agenda for Minneapolis Conference

The International Ombudsman Association has posted details of its 13th annual conference set for Minneapolis, April 21-23.  While the full agenda is not yet complete, most of the speakers and topics have been announced.  For the first time, conference organizers are trying to give attendees more information by indicating the level of experience and sector (industry) for each session.

January 23, 2017

Job Posting: University of Louisville

The public university in Kentucky is hiring a University Ombuds. The position reports to the provost and serves a student population of about 23,000 in addition to faculty and staff.    The search is not unexpected--Robert Staat was appointed the interim Ombuds in July after the departure of the first permanent Ombuds, Tony Belak.

Thoughts on Ombuds and Crises in the Financial Sector

An article posted on Mediate.com last week urges the development of Ombuds programs in response to the recurring ethical crises in the U.S. financial services industry.  Author Alia Ismail cites the recent Wells Fargo cross-selling scandal as an example of a situation that could have been mitigated by an Ombuds program.  While this type of scandal has led others to urge the appointment of an Organizational Ombuds, Ismail argues for a unique arrangement: Ombuds that are not only federally mandated but also federally managed.

January 21, 2017

Iowa State University's Founding Ombuds Departs

ISU Ombuds Officer Elaine Newell has taken a position as legal counsel to the Iowa State Court Administrator.  She established the university's Ombuds program in September 2008 and has served in the role ever since.  ISU said that Jessica Stolee, an HR, will begin serving as the Interim Ombuds Officer beginning January 23. "We're very grateful to Elaine for helping us launch this useful service, which over the past eight years, has helped many members of the ISU community," said chief of staff Miles Lackey. 

January 16, 2017

IOA Belt Tightening Means Fewer Meals at Annual Conference

A report from the International Ombudsman Association's Treasurer, Janet Hill, says that the organization will try to cut costs at the annual conference in Minneapolis.  Despite an expected surplus for 2016, trims to the conference budget mean the end of breakfasts and lunch on the last day.

January 14, 2017

Job Posting: National Institutes of Health

For the second time in a month, the NIH Office of the Ombudsman has posted an opening for a Lead Associate Ombuds position. This time, there is even a shorter application window.

January 09, 2017

Job Posting: University of North Carolina School of the Arts

The public arts conservatory in Winston-Salem is hiring its first University Ombuds.  The part-time position will serve about 400 faculty, staff, and administrators following IOA standards. 

January 06, 2017

Ombuds Blog Poll: What was the Top Story of 2016?

At the end of December, I posted my list of the ten most important news items about Organizational Ombuds last year.  I'd like to know what you thought. Please participate in the poll located in the right panel of the blog.  You may mark as many stories as you thought belonged on the list and add comments if there were any I missed entirely.  I'll post results after the poll closes.

January 05, 2017

Job Posting: Northeastern University

The private university in Boston is hiring a part-time Ombudsperson.  The position works with faculty, staff, and administrators and starts April 1, 2017.  Donna Bishop opened the Ombuds office at Northeastern in 2011.

USDA Expands Ombuds Program for External Stakeholders

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's has announced that its Office of the Ombudsperson will undertake a new initiative to help women and Hispanic farmers and ranchers with accessing the Department's services and programs.  According to a press release, the USDA Ombuds "seeks a fair process for everyone involved and helps USDA identify and address issues relating to program access by women and Hispanic producers, ... focused strategically on ... programs in California, Missouri, New Mexico and Texas."

NC State Faculty Ombuds Posts First Annual Report

North Carolina State University Faculty Ombuds Roy Baroff has posted a report covering the creating of his office in 2015 and visitor date for the 2015-16 academic year.  He writes that, "the Case Data (for 116 cases) and Post Contact Survey (53% return rate) suggest that the office is working and a range of benefits as intended, i.e., faculty members are using the service as a confidential, independent, informal, and impartial service."