October 31, 2019

Texas A&M College of Medicine Opens Ombuds Office

Earlier this year, the public medical school in Bryan, Texas appointed its first two Ombuds: Erin Herbrich is the Staff Ombudsman; and Bobbie Ann "BA" Adair White is the Faculty Ombudsman. The College of Medicine is part of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, which has its own Academic Ombuds, Robin Dickey.

Duke Medical School Appoints Faculty Ombuds

Laura Svetkey has joined the Office of the Ombudsperson at the Duke University School of Medicine. She joins Ada Gregory, Ombuds for Undergraduate, Graduate, and Non-School of Medicine Professional Students; Jean Spaulding, Ombuds for School of Medicine Students and Postdoctoral Appointees; and Thomas Metzloff, Ombuds for University Faculty Members.

October 30, 2019

West Virginia University Selects Next Ombuds

After an internal search, Jodi Goodman has been named the WVU Faculty Ombudsperson for a three-year term. She takes on the part-time Ombuds duties while continuing as Professor of Management in the College of Business and Economics. Goodman follows Tom Patrick, a law professor who has established the position in 2016.

Meet the New Ombuds at the University of Calgary

Jeff Stransky became the Student Ombuds at UCalgary just about one year ago, succeeding, Kevin Wiens, who served in the role about three years. Stransky has worked at the university nearly two decades, primarily in enrollment and student advising. He is a graduate of the University of Waterloo. (LinkedIn.)

October 29, 2019

IOA Seeks Nominations for Six Empty Board of Directors Seats

The International Ombudsman Association is seeking nominations for Directors who will serve a three-year term starting on March 31, 2020. There will be six open seats. Nominations are due by November 18; and voting runs from December 27 through January 31. New board members will be introduced at the IOA conference.

Pfizer Adds an Ombuds in Colorado

Lourdes Delgado-Cheers has been appointed a Global Ombuds at Pfizer and based in Denver. She reports to Sue Diviney, Vice President and Office of the Ombuds Team Lead. Delgado-Cheers has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for two decades and at Pfizer since 2007. Most recently, she was the North America Employee Relations Lead.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Names First Ombuds

Veronica Cano has been appointed the first Faculty Ombudsperson for the public research university at the southern tip of Texas. In the new full-time role, she will serve about 1,200 academic employees and practice to IOA standards. 

October 28, 2019

Students' Union Demands Apology from Ombuds at University of Toronto

Last week the UofT Governing Council held its first public meeting of the academic year and the agenda was dominated by student mental health issues with student groups demanding reforms. During her report, University Ombudsperson, Ellen Hodnett, voiced her support for the administration's actions. In response, the largest student union criticized the Ombuds and called for an apology.

Update: Marquette University Faculty Push Back on Closure of Ombuds Office

At the latest meeting of the Academic Senate at Marquette, the Committee on Diversity and Equity urged a reconsideration of university's closure of the Office of the Ombuds on September 6, 2019.  The office opened in 2002 to serve faculty and staff; Kerry Egdorf was the Ombuds for 12 years.  Other faculty at the senate meeting voiced support for the Ombuds program.

Call for Presenters: IOA 2020 Conference in Portland

The International Ombudsman Association seeks proposal for its annual conference taking place March 30-April 1, 202 in Portland, OR. IOA's 15th Annual Conference, "Vision 2020: Innovation, Integrity, and Importance in Ombuds Work," will draw participants and presenters represent professionals in academia, corporations, government, non-profits, healthcare, faith communities, and many other organizations. 

University of British Columbia Hires Ombuds

Michelle Quigg has been named the new Ombuds Officer for the large public university in Vancouver. She fills a position being vacated by the retirement of Joy Coben and reports to UBC's Ombudsperson for Students, Shirley Nakata

October 25, 2019

National Academies and Universities are Incorporating Ombuds in Effort to Combat Gender Discrimination

The umbrella scientific organization for the U.S. will hold a summit in November to discuss plans to change the culture of higher ed that has tolerated sexual misconduct for decades. Action plans submitted by many universities show that Ombuds will be a critical part of these efforts. perhaps because of this initiative, some institutions are considering Ombuds for the first time. In addition, IOA will have representatives to explain and advocate for the Ombuds role.

October 24, 2019

Job Posting: Archaeological Institute of America / Society for Classical Studies

AIA and SCS are seeking an Ombudsperson for their Joint Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, January 2-5, 2020. The Ombuds will be the point of contact for any complaints of harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment, and for anyone who feels unsafe for any reason at the meeting. The Ombuds will operate pursuant to the new AIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting Harassment Policy and serve on an as-needed basis for two months after the conference.

October 22, 2019

U.S. Olympic Committee Hires Associate Athlete Ombuds

Emily Azevedo has joined the Athlete Ombudsman Office of the National Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs. Reporting to the USOC Athlete Ombudsman, Kacie Wallace, Azevedo provides independent advice to athletes and assists in mediating disputes. 

Students Petition for Ombuds at University of Utah

Students are demanding changes to improve safety at the public research university in Salt Lake City. They are asking the President to take various accountability and transparency measures and allocate additional resources, including the appointment of the first Student Ombudsman. 

October 16, 2019

Charleston County to Hire First Ombuds

The coastal county in South Carolina has opened an internal search for its first Organizational Ombuds. The new Ombuds will subsume the existing Ombudsman program for constituent complaints and offer a new Organizational Ombuds service for county staff. The position reports to the Clerk of Council and is expected to "seek certification as a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner" or comparable certification and training. Charleston would become one of a very few counties or municipalities with an Organizational Ombuds program.

October 15, 2019

Emerging Ombuds Network Seeks Input on Internship Toolkit

EON, the group that advocates for and supports the development of emerging Ombuds and the Ombuds profession, is developing a set of resources to guide the creating of internship programs. An intership in an established Ombuds office is a significant learning experience for aspiring Ombuds. Yet many Ombuds are reluctant to take on an intern because of the time commitment and unfamiliarity with internships in general. If developed, EON's toolkit could benefit many.

October 14, 2019

Job Posting: Defense Human Resources Activity

The U.S. Department of Defense Field Activity that supports the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is hiring a full-time Ombudsman. It is not clear whether this is a new DHRA position. Previously, the agency had hired Ombuds to mediate complaints between military service members and their employers. This posting seeks a more typical Organizational Ombuds.

NIH Ombuds Retires, Interim Appointed

J. Kathleen Moore has retired from her position as NIH Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution. Moore worked at the NIH for over three decades, as a counseling psychologist and then as NIH Senior Associate Ombudsman. In January 2016, she became Acting Director, and, following a nationwide search, was named NIH Ombudsman and Director of CCR. Julie Muroff has been appointed the Acting NIH Ombudsman and Director of CCR.

October 11, 2019

Job Posting: Lambda School

The for-profit online coding boot camp for adults based in San Francisco is hiring its first Ombudsperson. (Lambda is remarkable among unaccredited coding schools because it has no campus and it allows students to pay with an income share agreement.) The full-time position will provide dispute resolution services to about 1,000 students and "provide suggestions to the executive team in creating and/or changing policies that may surface as a result of discrepancies between the stated goals of Lambda and actual practices."

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Energy

The department responsible for U.S. energy and nuclear safety policies is hiring an Associate Ombudsman. This will fill a position recently vacated by Bill Mauer, who moved the the Census Bureau. The job is based in either Germantown, MD or Washington D.C., and serves all DOE federal employees, world-wide. Some travel is required.

Job Posting: Emory University

The private research university in Atlanta, Georgia is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. The full-time position will report to Lynell Cadray who was appointed the inaugural Emory University Ombudsperson last month. It also seems that the position will be working almost exclusively with students, undergraduates and graduates. "As Director of Programs, [the Associate Ombuds] will manage university outreach, strategic planning, development and implementation of programs to educate the community on conflict management and the Office of the Ombuds."

Job Re-Posting: Oregon Health & Science University

The academic medical center in Portland has reopened its search for its next Ombudsman. Merle Graybill established the program in 2015 as a part-time position and the job now is full-time. Reporting to the provost, the OHSU Ombuds works with employees, students, and trainees.  

Northwestern University Promises an Ombuds Program Next Year

After at least 15 years of requests by various stakeholder groups seeking an Ombuds, Northwestern's Provost Jonathan Holloway announced that the university will appoint an Ombuds in the 2020-21 academic year. The decision follows a recommendation from an Ombuds Program Task Force that had sought “extensive stakeholder input.” The University will hire a trained Ombuds to head the office according to the Provost's email announcement. (Daily Northwestern.)

October 10, 2019

The Power of Speaking Up: Thoughts On Ombuds Day (Guest Post)

Submitted by Reese Ramos, CO-OP, Director and University Ombuds at Virginia Tech.

My heart, and spirits, sank a bit as I sat down at my typewriter laptop to draft a little something to commemorate the second ever Ombuds Day*. Why? Because, in preparing to write this article, I looked at what I wrote last year; I spoke then about how there is much in the world that divides us.  And it struck me that the events I alluded in last year’s article are still headline news – every single one. I guess that sometimes, not much changes in a span of a year. 

October 09, 2019

U.S. Census Bureau Selects First Ombuds

Bill Maurer, CO-OP, has been named the first Ombudsman for the U.S. Census, the Department of Commerce agency that produces data about American people and economy. Maurer moves to the position from the Office of the Ombudsman at the Department of Energy. He has also served as the Vice-Chair of the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman.

Mars, Inc. Highlights Work of Global Ombuds Team

Publicity for Ombuds in the private sector is often relegated to internal publications or firewalled websites available only to insiders. So it's noteworthy when a corporation touts the work of its Ombuds program. This week, Mars, Inc., the global foods conglomerate promoted the work of its Ombudsman Program on a public news site. The article highlighted five attributes of the Ombuds:

Cases Tick Up for University of Pennsylvania Ombuds in 2018-19

In their latest annual report, UPenn Ombuds Lynn Hollen Lees and Associate Ombuds Marcia Martínez-Helfman, said their Office of Ombuds handled 5.5% more cases in 2018-19 compared to the prior year. University staff accounted for the largest proportion of visitors (43%), followed by faculty (24%) and graduate and professional students (19%)—proportions have remained roughly stable for the last several years.

October 08, 2019

UConn Health Recruits Experienced Ombuds

Donna Douglass Williams has been selected as the first Ombuds for the University of Connecticut health system. She will provide services to faculty, students, trainees, and staff affiliated with a teaching hospital, the UConn School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, and Graduate School. Williams will be based in Farmington and coordinate with the UConn Ombuds in Storrs, Jim Wohl.

Internship: United Nations, Kenya

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking a full-time intern to be posted in Nairobi, the UN headquarters in Africa. The unpaid internship will last six months and offers the opportunity to support outreach and advocacy, prepare data and reports, and conduct research. The position reports to the Regional Ombudsman, Nicholas Theotocatos.

October 07, 2019

Participation Surges for Second Annual Ombuds Day

The number of organizations participating in the second annual celebration will at least double the number last year. The celebration of the Ombuds profession (and all its variants) on October 10, 2019 is organized by the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section Ombuds Committee. 

FEMA Ombuds Moves to UN Funds and Programmes

Vik Kapoor, Ombuds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and chair of the Department of Homeland Security's Ombuds Forum, has taken a contract position with the UNDP.  In this consulting role, Kapoor will report to the Ombudsman for UN Funds and Programmes, Giuseppe De Palo, and will select, train, support, and guide Respectful Workplace Facilitators, who provide peer coaching, referral resources, and other dispute resolution services to staff members and non-staff personnel within the UN's global development network.  Rea Wynder continues as FEMA Ombuds.

October 04, 2019

University of Twente Appoints First Ombuds

Han Warmelink has been named the Ombuds Officer for the public research university (Universiteit Twente) in Enschede, Netherlands. His appointment will run for a two-year pilot period until October 15, 2021. The pilot is working on introducing its first Ombudsperson. He will work with students and employees with concerns related to studying or working at UTwente.

Job Posting: University of Washington

The Office of the Ombud at UW has opened up a search for a new Associate Ombud. The university in Seattle is the second largest research institution in the country and includes three academic campuses and two medical centers. The office serves 125 stakeholders and the position works directly with “300+ clients per year.” The Associate Ombud reports to the University Ombud, Chuck Sloan, and is also expected to provide outreach, mediation and conflict resolution training. The search will fill a position held by Emma Phan for the past six years.

UW Ombud Moves to New Office at City of Seattle

Emma Phan (née Williams) has moved from the Office of the Ombud at the University of Washington to Seattle's new Office of the Employee Ombud. She joins Director Amarah Y. Khan, and will serve as the lead facilitator and operations manager, ensuring the operational efficiency of the office. 

October 03, 2019

University of Amsterdam Appoints Interim Ombuds

Jacqueline Schoone has been named the Interim Ombuds for Universiteit van Amsterdam. According to an announcement from the university, "She will do the preparative work needed so that a permanent ombudsperson can be appointed by 1 September 2020 at the latest."

October 02, 2019

Job Posting: Chevron, Angola

AirSwift, a multinational staffing company, is hiring an Ombuds to work with Chevron's Angola-based employees, retirees, and contractors with workplace questions and concerns. The job requires travel to and within Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo on a 28x28 schedule (28 days on, 28 days off).

UC Davis Names Ombuds Office Director

Lauren Bloom has been promoted to Director of the Ombuds Office at the University of California Davis. Bloom had been an Associate Ombuds for the past two years. She will oversee and office that includes two Associate Ombuds, Dana Hinojosa (who served as the Interim Director during the search) and Lindsey Dunning, and an Assistant Ombuds, Jenny Xia.

Journal of IOA Seeks Book Reviewers

The Journal for the International Ombudsman Association has a new initiative to spur interest from book and media reviewers. The Journal recently obtained publishers' copies of books relevant to the Ombuds community.

October 01, 2019

USPTO to Host 2019 COFO Conference

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman has announced details of its next annual meeting. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will host the day-long conference on October 18, 2019. An agenda is being finalized, but the event is free and will be webcast. 

Ombuds Committee Curates ABA Dispute Resolution Newsletter

The September 2019 issue of the American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section's newsletter, "Just Resolutions," was compiled by Editor Shannon Burton, Ombuds at Michigan State University. (The committee Co-Chairs are Elizabeth Hill and Jon Lee.) Content is behind ABA's paywall this time.