December 28, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 3)

The annual recap of the top ten Ombuds stories concludes today. Next week, readers will have a chance to express their opinion and vote on the list.

December 27, 2018

Job Posting: World Health Organization, Congo

The UN agency that focuses on international public health is hiring a Regional Ombudsman to be based in Brazzaville, the capital and largest city of the Republic of the Congo. The full-time position will serve an initial two-year contract. Issa Sanou has held the post since 2008.

December 26, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 2)

Here now is the second installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2018, numbers 7-4. The list will continue, Friday, December 28.

December 21, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Part 1)

Here now is the first installment of the top ten Ombuds stories of 2018 and a few runners-up. The list will continue, Wednesday, December 26.

Job Posting: Maricopa County

Arizona's most populous county is hiring its next Ombudsman's Office Director. This is an External Ombuds position that follows IOA standards. "This position is an opportunity to be a part of a collaborative and empowering team that supports the citizens of the 4th largest county in the nation by enhancing customer engagement with Maricopa County government and fostering public servant leadership principles across departments to improve service delivery, transparency, and public trust." Kathryn Garcia has held the position for the past two years. 

December 19, 2018

Job Posting: Frederick County Public Schools

The public school system in Maryland has opened a search for its first Ombuds. The position will be, "an independent, neutral entity to facilitate processes by which the Board of Education’s policies and FCPS regulations are implemented with fidelity, equity and consistency across the school system." It is expected to comply with IOA standards. 

Michigan State University Hires Assistant Ombuds

MSU has hired Ryan T. Smith for its open Assistant University position. Smith started earlier this month and reports to Shannon Lynn Burton, who was promoted to University Ombudsperson in June 2018. Smith comes to MSU after a five year stint as Assistant Director and Interim Director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at the University of Denver. He has worked in higher education since 2010. 

University of Washington Ombuds Offers Advice About Work Etiquette

Last week Chuck Sloane, the University Ombud at UW, was a guest on KUOW, the NPR station in Seattle. Host Bill Radke asked Sloane and Meghan Doherty, author of How Not To Be A Dick: An Everyday Etiquette Guide, some essential work etiquette questions. The leadin question was: "Is it OK for your boss to ask about your personal life at work?"  The full, 13-minute interview is available online. (KUOW.)

University of Tennessee Staff Ombuds to Retire

Elaine Wynn, who has served as UT Knoxville’s Staff Ombudsperson since December 2009, has announced that she will retire at the end of the year. Faculty Ombuds Bill Nugent step up to fill both roles on an interim basis. The university plans to consolidate the two position by the spring and will open an internal search shortly. (UTK News.)

December 18, 2018

UC Davis Hires Another Ombuds

The University of California Davis Ombuds Office (which also covers UC Davis Health in Sacramento) has hired Lindsey Dunning as an Associate Ombuds. Lindsey steps into this newly created position at UC Davis with significant mediation and conflict resolution experience.  She joins two other Associate Ombuds, Dana Hinojosa and Lauren Bloom, and reports to the Campus Ombuds, Katherine Greenwood.

American Economic Association Considering an Ombuds Service for Members

The professional association of American economists has appointed an Ad Hoc Committee on the Professional Climate in Economics to consider ideas that might improve the professional climate for women and members of underrepresented groups. In a report issued earlier this year, the committee made several recommendations, including the creation of an Ombuds program. The AEA committee recommended following the example of the American Philosophical Association:

New Law Would Require Ombuds at Every University in India

India's University Grants Commission, which set standards for higher education, has issued a draft regulation that would require grievance mechanisms for all institutions. The new law requires colleges and universities to have an Ombuds to hear from students with concerns about decision of the grievance redressal committees. 

December 17, 2018

Ombuds Year in Review: 2018 (Intro)

This is the ninth annual summary of the most important news items about Organizational Ombuds. (The first year of this feature was a ten-year recap of 2000-2009.) The list comes in three installments and concludes on December 27.  In the first week of January, readers will have the chance to vote on what they thought of the year. 

Before the list of top ten stories starts next week, here are some other notable items from 2018:

December 14, 2018

IOA Announces New Board Members for 2019

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the results of the annual election for its 2019 Board of Directors. Following the Business Meeting at the annual conference in New Orleans in April, three directors will begin three-year terms on the IOA Board. Two directors were reelected and there was one new member elected:

December 12, 2018

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services has re-opened a search for a Chief of Service. The position reports to the new UN Ombudsman, Shireen L. Dodson. The position is based 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.  

USOA Sets 2019 Conference in Hawaii

The United States Ombudsman Association has announced that it will hold its 40th Annual Conference September 18-20, 2019 at the Hilton Waikiki Beach Hotel in Honolulu, HI.  Pre-conference workshops will be offered September 16-17, 2019.  Details of the 2019 Annual Conference will be posted as they become available. 

December 11, 2018

Job Posting: University of California Berkeley

The flagship campus of the UC system has opened a search for an Assistant Ombudsperson. The position is in the Ombuds Office for Students and Postdoctoral Appointees and reports to Director Marcia Gee Riley. The search will fill a position held by Sunny Lee, who has moved to the Dean of Students Office, and then on an interim basis by Amanda Dean since August 2017. 

Animation Explains Why Students Come to the KU Ombuds

A new animated video from the University of Kansas Ombuds explains, "How the Ombuds Office Can Help." This is the second YouTube post from KU's Ombuds DA Graham and Faculty Ombuds Maria Orive this year. (YouTube.)

December 10, 2018

University of Twente Plans New Ombuds Program

The public research university located in Enschede, Netherlands (Universiteit Twente) is working on introducing its first Ombudsperson. The announcement was made by at a meeting organized by the Female Faculty Network Twente. According to the independent UT campus newspaper:

Algonquin's Expanded Ombuds Office Manages Growing Caseload

Last year, Algonquin's Ombudsman, George E. Cole, brought on two new people to work with the growing student population across three different campuses in Ontario. Carley Davidson was hired in September 2017 as the Ombudsman Officer and Barbara Carswell joined the office in December 2017 as the Assistant Ombudsman. The Algonquin College Ombuds program handled 475 cases in 2016-17, a 4% increase from the prior year. Meanwhile, the college continues to report record enrollments.

December 07, 2018

IOA Seeks Applications for International Scholarships to 2019 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association will sponsor aspiring Ombuds to attend its annual conference in New Orleans next April. Depending on the number of applicants, the IOA International Outreach Committee will award full or partial funding toward travel and accommodation to the conference and may waive registration fees for the pre-conference course “Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice.” 

Ithaca College Looking at a Different Kind of Ombuds

Members of the Faculty Counsel at the private liberal arts college in central New York have reached some decisions about the role of a new Ombuds position. The plan would create an Ombuds significantly different from the model adopted by the vast majority of U.S. colleges and universities, which have chosen to follow IOA standards. Most significantly, the Ithaca Ombuds would not be a neutral resource and would have oversight over some faculty programs. The current proposal would have the Ombuds be a tenured faulty member, serving on a part-time basis, appointed to a three-year term, and reporting to HR.

December 06, 2018

Job Posting: Villanova University

The private Catholic university in southeast Pennsylvania is hiring its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The part-time (8-10 hours/week), nine-month position will serve about 600 faculty with academic and workplace concerns. The position will practice to IOA standards and report to the Vice Provost for Academics, the Chair of the Faculty Rights & Responsibilities Committee, and, as needed, to the President. 

December 05, 2018

Job Posting: City of Seattle

As promised by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in September, the city has opened a search for a Director of a new Office of Employee Ombud. "The Office of the Employee Ombud (OEO) will operate beginning 2019 with the mission to support employees experiencing a workplace that conflicts with the City of Seattle's workplace expectations meant to create an inclusive, safe, and welcoming workplace environment." Reassuringly, the job duties including "preserving employee confidentiality," an ethical tenet of Ombuds practice that was notably missing from Mayor Durkan's first announcement.

IOA Posts List of Regional and Sector Ombuds Groups

The International Ombudsman Association has published a list of "Regional/Sector-Specific Ombuds Groups." Some of the groups have an IOA connection, but some of the other groups have a tradition and culture of being an alternative to IOA. Many Ombuds supplement their networking and professional development through one or more of these groups. 

December 04, 2018

University of Michigan Names First Staff Ombuds

U-M has selected Jacqueline Bowman to open and lead its new Office of the Staff Ombuds starting in early 2019.  Bowman will serve non-academic employees on the Ann Arbor campus and from Michigan Medicine, and report to the university's Executive VP and CFO.  Bowman has worked at the University of Michigan since 2008; she is currently the Lead Counselor and Program Specialist in the Center for the Education of Women.

Syracuse University Promises Ombuds Appointment by Year End

Interim University Ombuds Samuel Clemence says that a permanent director will be in place by the end of December. A search for the full-time position opened in February. Clemence says that he has worked on 60 cases since he started on February 13, 2018. (Daily Orange.)

December 03, 2018

Group Forms for Ombuds in Small Liberal Arts Colleges

Chinyere Ukabiala, the Ombuds at Grinnell College in Iowa has founded OSLAC - a group of Ombuds in Small Liberal Arts Colleges across the nation, to share best practices and innovative ideas. The group was established to connect Ombuds practitioners with each other, and meet the unique needs and challenges of ombuds practicing solo in small liberal arts institutions.