June 29, 2018

Karolinska Institutet Names Ombuds for Scientists

The world-class medical university in Stockholm, Sweden has appointed Anders Ekbom as its first Scientific Ombuds (vetenskapligt ombud) and chair of a new Ethics Council. According to a blog post by KI’s Rektor, Ekbom will be tasked with offering advice and guidance to individual researchers or research groups on issues relating to research and researcher ethics -- such as disagreement about authorship of a scientific article. There are now more than a dozen Ombuds in Swedish higher education. The Scientific Ombuds role at Karolinska is similar to those that have become common at German universities.

June 28, 2018

Ontario's Ombudsman Recommends Wider Use of University Ombuds

In his latest annual report, Paul Dubé, says that complaints about universities to the Ontario Ombudsman have grown steadily since his office gained oversight of them in 2016 (268 cases in 2017-2018). He says that all of the university cases were resolved without formal investigation. Moreover, Mr. Dubé encourages more universities, as well as colleges of applied arts and technology, to have their own Ombuds. 

June 27, 2018

Job Posting: Florida Atlantic University

The public university in Boca Raton has opened a search for its next Ombudsman. (Angie Gifford has served in the role for the past five years.) The FAU Office of the Ombuds primarily serves students, of which there are about 31,000 enrolled. The office practices to the usual Organizational Ombuds standards and reports to the campus's chief administrative officer.

June 26, 2018

U.S. Ombudsman Association Posts Agenda for 2018 Conference in Portland

USOA has released the agenda its 39th annual conference, "Ombudsman: Blazing a Trail to Fairness." The conference is preceded by two training programs, a two-day New Ombudsman Training and a one-day course on Dealing with Unreasonable Complainant Conduct. 

Here's a summary of the conference agenda:

June 25, 2018

Updated Website is Great Resource for U.S. Government Ombuds

The Coalilition of Federal Ombudsman has entirely overhauled its website. The result is a significant resource for members and other needing information about Ombuds programs in the federal sector. The new site offers an overview and history of federal Ombuds group, meeting information, links to relevant documents, and more. 

June 21, 2018

University of Michigan Appoints Two Faculty Ombuds

Michele Hannoosh and Robert Ortega have been selected as part-time Faculty Ombuds for Michigan. The report to the Office of the Provost and provide Ombuds services to faculty from the Ann Arbor and medical campuses. The vacancies were created when Bruno Giordani left the role after four and a half years. Michele Hannoosh is Professor of French and Robert Ortega, is an Associate Professor of Social Work. (UMich Record.)

Update: Prince William County School Board Appoints Committee to Work Up Ombuds Recommendation

Last month an independent investigator recommended the appointment of an Ombuds for the Virginia school district that has been roiled by complaints of workplace bullying and intimidation. On June 19 the Prince William County School Board appointed two board members to a committee to recommend a proposal for an Ombuds office. (Inside NoVa.)

June 19, 2018

Job Posting: Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior's Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution is hiring an Conflict Management Specialist to be based in Arlington, VA. Duties for the position include serving as "in-house coach, facilitator, mediator, or ombuds."

Momentum Builds for Student Ombuds at All Norwegian Universities

Norway's legislature (the Storting) continues work on legislation requiring Student Ombuds programs (Studentombud) for all universities, but most universities are not waiting for a legal mandate. A report in Khrono, an online newspaper published by Oslo University, says that 10 schools already have a Studentombud and most of the other the 28 universities in the country are actively considering the concept. 

Texas A&M Names Ombuds for School of Engineering

Nicole Pottberg has been named the Staff Ombudsperson for the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. She joins Jennifer Welch, the College's Faculty Ombudsperson. 

June 15, 2018

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Endorses Ombuds for Higher Ed's Sexual Harassment Problem

The umbrella scientific organization for the U.S. has issued a report calling for a culture change in academia to respond to continued mistreatment of women. In essence, the NASEM report recommends that academic science should become a national leader in responding to the #MeToo movement and ending sexual harassment. Recommendations include a call for institutions have an Ombuds to counsel those who have been harassed, separate from Title IX offices.

June 14, 2018

In Senate Testimony, Former EEOC Chair Says Ombuds Would Help Federal Courts Sexual Misconduct Problem

The U.S. federal court is having its own #MeToo moment and the Senate is investigating. On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee held a hearing to examine the federal court systems response to sexual harassment claims and broader misconduct issues. In her testimony, Jenny R. Yang, the immediate past Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, said that formal systems to prevent misconduct should be supplemented with Ombuds office. She specifically cited IOA standards and the recent ACUS report on Ombuds. Clearly, Yang was well informed about Ombuds.

June 13, 2018

Stanford University Finally Hires Campus Ombuds

After an eight-month search that required two interim office holders, Stanford  has selected Brenda Berlin as its next University Ombuds.  Berlin is new to ADR and the Ombuds role. For the past two decades, she has worked at Duke Law School, where she is currently Clinical Professor of Law and Chair of the Public Interest & Public Service Certificate Advisory Board.  She starts in September and succeeds David Rasch, who retired last year. (Jim Laflin continues as the Ombuds for Stanford's School of Medicine.)

College of Charleston Names Ombuds

The South Carolina's oldest public university has appointed Evie Nadel as its next Student/Staff Ombudsperson. Nadel has worked for the university since 2003 and most recently served as the Senior Director of Community Relations. She takes over the role from Deni Mitchell.

June 11, 2018

ENOHE Changes Name and Selects New Leader

At its annual business meeting last week, the group previously known as the "European Network of Ombudsmen in Higher Education" replaced the word 'Ombudsman' in its name in favor of 'Ombuds" as part of a unanimous decision to become a formal corporate body. Further details are expected. In addition, ENOHE selected Dame Suzi Leather to be its next chair. The announcements came at the joint conference last week with the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons. 

June 08, 2018

United Nations Appoints American to be Next Ombudsman

Shireen L. Dodson, the Ombudsman of the U.S. State Department, has been tapped as the next UN Ombudsman. She succeeds Johnston Barkat who served two five-year terms in the role. Dodson has been the State Department Ombuds since 2010. In her new role, she will run the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services office, which provides dispute resolution, coaching, change management and leadership training for nearly 75,000 people around the world from the UN headquarters in New York.

June 07, 2018

Michigan State University Promotes Assistant Ombuds

Shannon Lynn Burton, has been named the University Ombudsperson for MSU, effective July 1, 2018. Burton joined the office in 2012 as Assistant Ombuds and became the Associate Ombuds in 2016. She succeeds Robert Caldwell, who is retiring. MSU Interim President John Engler said Burton was the natural choice for the position: “Her work on sensitive issues has been praised by many at MSU, and we look forward to her plans for providing a high level of service for the university community.”

Geoffrey Wallace: Former UC Santa Barbara Ombuds

Geoffrey Wallace, who served as the Ombuds at the UCSB from 1970-2004, passed away on April 24, 2018. On May 2, 2018, Santa Barbara's Chancellor had the campus flag flown at half-mast to honor Geoffrey’s three decades of service to the campus. 

Job Posting: Washington State University

The public university in Pullman has opened a search for a University Ombudsman.  The part-time position will succeed Debbie Lee and join Max Kirk and Tena Old in an office that serves nearly 40,000 WSU stakeholders, particularly administrative professionals and classified staff. 

June 06, 2018

Job Posting: University of Southern California

The private research university in Los Angeles has opened the search for two Ombuds: one for the main campus and one for the health system. The decision to create an Ombuds program is part of an on-going effort to respond to a series of high profile scandals that have roiled the campus. According to the job postings, the new Ombuds will practice to IOA standards and "will be supported by the Vice Provost for Campus Wellness and Crisis Intervention."

Fairfax County Public Schools Hires First Ombuds

Armando Peri has been named the first Family and Student Ombudsman for the public school system in northern Virginia. Inexplicably and despite the original job posting, Peri has also been given the role of Title IX Coordinator. Somehow, the school system will need to resolve his conflicting mandates of "an independent, confidential resource, assisting students, families, and community members" (as Ombuds) and implementing "meaningful efforts to comply with Title IX." 

June 05, 2018

Stanford Appoints Interim Ombuds as Search Continues

Rosan Gomperts, Director of Stanford University's Faculty Staff Help Center, has been appointed the Interim University Ombuds. (Ellen Waxman, Director of Faculty Relations at Stanford School of Medicine and former Stanford Ombuds was also briefly the Interim Ombuds.) A search to permanently fill the position has been on-going since October 2017. 

Saint Louis University School of Medicine Names Ombuds

Lisa Israel is the first Director of Professional Oversight for the private Jesuit medical school in Missouri. According to the job description, her role is essentially that of an Ombuds for students, residents, and faculty. Israel moves into the position after serving as the Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Student Success Center. The university briefly had an Ombuds for its undergraduate students a few years ago.

Smithsonian Selects Insider as Next Ombuds

Last November, Dania Palosky was appointed the new Ombudsman for the Smithsonian, replacing Chandra Heilman. As the Ombuds for the national museum and research center, Palosky reports to the CFO and serves about 7,000, mostly federal, employees.  

June 04, 2018

Job Posting: Minneapolis Public Schools

The Minnesota school district with over 36,000 students is hiring an Ombudsperson. The full-time position reports to the MPS Chief of Staff and works with parents, students, community members and employees.

Former Ombuds Returns to Head UN Office

James Lee has returned as the Acting United Nations Ombudsman and Acting Head of the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services. A search is currently underway for the next UN Ombuds and an announcement is expected shortly. Lee was the first full-time UN Ombuds and worked for the organization for over twenty-five years. He was honored by IOA as a Distinguished Emeritus in 2017.  (UNOMS Staff.)

Seattle Mayor Considering Ombuds for Sexual Harassment

In response to a demonstration by city employees, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan says she will consider hiring an Ombudsperson to handle discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. Seattle Silence Breakers, a group of city staff concerned about workplace sexual and racial harassment first asked Durkan to appoint an Ombuds in April. Mayor Durkan met with the group last week and promised to, “give it deep thought.” (KUOW News.)