May 30, 2018

Report Recommends Ombuds for Prince William County Schools

Earlier this year, the Virginia school district was roiled by complaints of workplace bullying and intimidation by a middle school principal and counter complaints of public mobbing by teachers and parents. After an outside investigation found “a school divided,” local county supervisor Pete Candland compiled a report for the school board which was released this week. First among his recommendations is the appointment of an Ombuds. Unfortunately, the recommendation is not tethered to any particular standards and thus is not analogous to the prevailing type of Ombuds in K-12 education.

Job Posting: U.S. Olympic Committee

The National Olympic Committee for the United States in Colorado Springs is hiring an Associate Athlete Ombudsman. The position provides independent advice to athletes regarding their rights, resources and responsibilities and assists in mediating disputes involving athletes. The full-time position reports the USOC Athlete Ombudsman, Kacie Wallaceand also assists in promoting the services of the office, implementing data tracking tools, and creating an environment welcoming and accessible to athletes. The work is confidential and independent, but often requires advocacy.

May 29, 2018

Job Posting: Austin Community College District

The community college system in Central Texas has opened a search for its first Staff Ombudsperson. (There is also an open search for the first Faculty Ombuds.) The full-time Ombuds will report to the Executive Vice President, Finance & Administration and provide confidential and informal assistance to staff members and students with concerns about a staff member. (ACC enrolls over 60,000 students.) 

Job Posting: American Red Cross

The U.S. humanitarian organization has opened a search for a Senior Associate Ombudsman. The position reports to the Red Cross Corporate Ombudsman, Jacqueline Villafañeich, CO-OP, and serves current and former employees and volunteers, recipients of our services, donors, suppliers, partners, and the general public. In addition, the position also will manage all administrative and logistical needs for--the day to day operations of the Ombudsman Office. The job practices to IOA standards. 

Association of Mediterranean Ombudsmen Are Meeting in Macedonia

AOM, a collection of Mediterranean institutions working in mediation and Human Rights, is holding its tenth annual meeting at the Hotel Holiday Inn in Skopje today through May 31, 2018. The morning session tomorrow will be hosted by the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia and features an address by the country's Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev. The theme of the conference is, “The Ombudsman as a protector of the social, cultural and environmental rights.” (AOM 2018 Conf Programme.)

Federal Student Loan Ombuds Program Survives CFPB Reorganization

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Students and Younger Consumers, which investigates student loan problems, will be folded into its financial education office according to an announcement by the CFPB Interim Director earlier this month. Student loan complaint will therefore not be investigated by the bureau’s enforcement division. Seth Frotman, the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman, will remain as required by the establishing law: Dodd Frank. Frotman and his staff will be working on pamphlets and web content about student loans. (Consumer Report.)

May 24, 2018

Job Posting: Global Green Growth Institute

The international organization headquartered in Seoul is looking for an External Ombudsman to establish a Respectful Workplace Advisors program and to Ombuds/Mediation support services. The part-time consultancy is expected to require 40 work days and can be performed remotely. The position reports to GGGI's Head of Human Resources. The one-year contract begins June 2018.

May 23, 2018

University of Southern California Renews Promise to Create Ombuds Program

After the revelation of another high profile scandal that led 200 faculty to call for the removal of the university president yesterday, USC has reiterated its promise to appoint its first Ombuds. The latest unfolding scandal involves the university's response to sexual-misconduct allegations against a longtime student health center gynecologist. In recent years, USC has also dealt with two medical school deans accused of misconduct, fundraising executive accused of sexual harassment, and arrest of an assistant basketball coach on fraud charges. In an open, 20-page letter, USC President Max Nikias said that the university was moving ahead with plans to create an Ombuds program.

University of Cincinnati Names Associate Ombuds

Alicia Booker has been appointed as the Associate Ombudsperson for the public research university in Ohio. She will report to Kim Fulbright and provide Ombuds services to UC's 55,0000 students, staff, and faculty. 

University of California Berkeley Hires Assistant Ombuds

Earlier this year, Evan Lutz was hired by the UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Office as an Assistant Ombudsperson for a one-year contract. He reports to Director, Sara Thacker, and works with Assistant Ombuds, Julia Horvath, to provide Ombuds services for all non-senate employees.

May 22, 2018

Job Posting: National Reconnaissance Office

The U.S. Department of Defense agency and one of the "big five" U.S. intelligence agencies is hiring an Assistant Ombuds. Located in the NRO Office of the Ombuds and Grievance Officer, the position serves as an impartial, neutral, independent and confidential channel for informal conflict transformation. The job is based in Chantilly, VA and some travel is required.

Job Posting: Austin Community College District

The community college system in Central Texas has opened a search for its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The position is open only to current full-time faculty members. The ACC Ombuds will report to the provost and provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty members and students with concerns about a faculty member. (ACC enrolls over 60,000 students.) The appointment is for three years, subject to an annual review and renewal. It is not clear whether it will be full-time or something less.

News Ombudsmen to Gather in Netherlands for Annual Conference

The Organization of News Ombudsmen will hold its 2018 conference in the Netherlands, June 3 to 6.  The theme of this year’s conference is Building Trust – Tools and Ideas for Ombudsmen, Public Editors and Standards Editors to rebuild public belief in news media.  (ONO Blog.)

May 21, 2018

Job Posting: United Health Services

The regional not-for-profit health care system based in Binghamton, New York, is hiring a Talent Management Specialist. The position has many characteristics in common with an Organizational Ombuds. In addition to organizational development work and training responsibilities, the position also, "serves as a confidential, neutral, informal resource for employees with work-related concerns; analyzes and assists and/or refers, as appropriate."

University of Toronto Expands Ombuds Services to All Campuses

Following the recommendation of its Ombudsperson, Ellen Hodnett, the University of Toronto’s Ombuds Office will expand its physical presence campuses at Mississauga and Scarborough. “Nothing takes the place, or offers the fundamental value, of face-to-face meetings,” says Hodnett, who is completing her initial three-year term at the end of June and has just been re-appointed for an additional one-year term. 

Australian and New Zealand Meet in Wellington

100 Ombudsmen and staff will come together in Wellington this week for the biennial conference of the Australian and New Zealand Ombudsman Association. With a theme of 'Checks and Balances', the ANZOA conference will focus on six benchmarks—accessibility, independence, fairness, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness.

May 16, 2018

University System of Maryland Strips Ombuds of Most Confidentiality

Yesterday, the twelve institutions that comprise Maryland's public university system, were notified that its Ombuds programs cannot keep confidential any matter that may fall under Title IX or the Clery Act. A memo to the USM Presidents said that any Ombuds proram must follow guidelines recently approved and adopted by USM administrators and the State Attorney General. In addition to mandatory reporting of gender discrimination, crimes, and safety issues, University Ombuds now are required to notify visitors of the limits of confidentiality and maintain a record of that disclosure in their files.  

May 14, 2018

Office of Attorney General of Texas Appoints Ombuds

Katie Manderson has been hired as the next Employee Ombudsman for the Texas OAG. The will be based in Austin and provide conflict management and dispute resolution services for over 4,000 employees statewide. For the past five years, Manderson has been an Associate Ombudsman at the U.S. Department of State. 

Winthrop University Moves to Establish an Ombuds Office

Faculty at the public liberal arts university in Rock Hill, South Carolina are considering a proposal to create an Ombuds Office for its 850 faculty and staff. An advisory committee has drafted IOA-compliant terms of reference and charter for the program. A draft of the proposal was presented to Faculty Conference for feedback at it's regular meeting in April 2018. 

New Brandeis Ombuds to Speak at CADR Conference

Don Greenstein, who joined the Ombuds Office at Brandeis University earlier this year, will speak at The Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution's 2018 Annual Conference. Greenstein will present a concurrent session on “Collaboratively Creating an Organizational Ombuds Office.” CADR's 30th annual event,  “Managing Conflict and Removing Barriers to Collaborative Decision Making,” is set for June 21-22, 2018 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, MD. (CADR Conf Agenda.)

May 09, 2018

University of Delaware Faculty Vote to Create Ombuds Program

Last week, faculty at Delaware's largest university voted in support of an Ombuds program for all campus stakeholders. The proposal came out of a coalition of faculty groups promoting a more inclusive environment led by the Women’s Caucus. A report from an ad hoc faculty senate committee made detailed recommendations about the services and features of an Ombuds program, but did not reference IOA standards. (Although confidentiality and informality were highlighted, there was no mention of the need for independence or neutrality.)

May 08, 2018

IOA Offers Training in Irvine, California

The International Ombudsman Association will offer two training programs for Organizational Ombuds in Orange County in July 2018. The Foundations course provides the primary training for new Organizational Ombuds. The second course is designed for Ombuds who have have completed Foundations but have not been trained as mediators.

May 07, 2018

Ombuds Program at ETH Zurich Roiled After Controversy

Last year, the leading Swiss engineering and technology university, dramatically closed its Institute of Astronomy after the Ombudspersons raised issues of bullying by a prominent professor.  This spring, ETH announced that the two Ombuds, professors Maryvonne Landolt and Wilfred F. Gunsteren, would not be reappointed because they were "too old" at ages 70 and 72. The two Ombuds, however, openly questioned that the decision had more to do with the scandal. They also revealed emails showing that university administrators had pressured them last year not to surface the complaints.

National Institutes of Health Initiates Lecture Series to Honor First Ombuds

The NIH Office of the Ombudsman kicks of a lecture series in honor of its first Ombudsman, Howard Gadlin, who retired in 2015. The inaugural NIH Gadlin Lecture will be given by renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal on Thursday, May 10, 2018. 

May 04, 2018

Job Posting: World Health Organization

The UN agency that focuses on international public health is hiring a Regional Ombudsman. The three-quarter time position will be based in Copenhagen for a two-year contract.  The Regional Ombudsman practices to IOA standards and reports to the WHO Ombuds, José Martínez-Aragón.  

May 03, 2018

New Ombuds Serves Trainees at Northwestern University's Medical School

Last summer, Lisa Rone, became the first Ombudsperson for the students, residents, and fellows at the Feinberg School of Medicine. Rone is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She was chosen "because she is a neutral, third-party physician who is not otherwise involved with the academic promotion or evaluation of Feinberg students, residents and fellows and who is committed to ensuring that students, residents and fellows are treated fairly and equitably." 

Internship: International Organization for Migration

The IOM Office of the Ombudsperson is seeking an intern for a six-month position in Geneva. Reporting to the Ombudsperson, Rogelio Bernal, the intern will support work with other colleagues in the Field Missions and IOM Headquarters. The intern will provide case management and assistance with the intake and follow-up of cases, including the compilation of statistics and the preparation of regular reports.

May 01, 2018

Save the Date: Ombuds Day 2018

Organizers of the very first "Ombuds Day" are seeking help: with an in-person launch in DC; coordination of an online campaign; and/or creating shared materials for Ombuds to use for their own events. The goal is for all Ombuds to create their own synchronized celebrations or events worldwide.

Eötvös Loránd University to Create Ombuds Program

The four-century old public research university in Budapest, Hungary, is in the process of appointing its first Ombuds. Administrators creating the office hope the Ombuds will "support the development of a tolerant and inclusive university environment and the effective handling of complaints for university stakeholders." Zoltán Pozsár-Szentmiklósy, ELTE's Rector of Student Affairs is leading the effort and was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the IOA conference in Richmond, Virginia. The appointment of the first ELTE Ombuds is expected later this year. (ELTE News; ELTE Ombuds.)

Pfizer Ombuds Ready to Address #MeToo Claims

Last month, Pfizer Ombudsman Timothy Shore recorded a podcast for Jackson Lewis, the American workplace law firm, and participated on a panel for the firm's conference. Shore explained how Ombuds help solve some of the issues around harassment claims in the wake of the #MeToo movement. 

Ombuds Program at Colorado State University Uncertain

Lanai Greenhalgh, who led the CSU Ombuds program since 2009 has announced that she is leaving this week to be with family out of state. Diana Prieto, associate vice president for human capital said, “She has been a key player in all the consult teams across campus, and she will be sorely missed.” Greenhalgh has also been the director of the campus Employee Assistance Program.