December 31, 2019

11 Stories that Shaped the Ombuds Profession in the 2010's

Ten years ago, this blog posted a survey of the most important stories about the Organizational Ombuds field from 2000 to 2009. Many of those stories are echoed in this summary of the most recent decade and reflect improvements in the profession. 

Here they are, in no particular order:

December 30, 2019

Job Posting: World Health Organization, Republic of Congo

The UN agency that focuses on international public health continues to build out its Ombuds program. The current posting seeks a a full-time Regional Ombudsman based in Brazzaville for a two-year contract. The WHO Ombudsman is José Martínez-Aragón, but this new position reports locally.

December 27, 2019

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2019 (Part Two)

On balance, 2019 was a good year for the Organizational Ombuds profession. The field continued to expand and crises were either resolved or deferred. Perhaps the relative calm explains why there were fewer significant new stories than prior years.

Here are the top stories of 2019:

December 26, 2019

IOA Opens Registration for Pre-Conference Training in Portland

The International Ombudsman Association will offer a three training programs before its 2020 annual conference in Portland, Oregon. In addition to the signature training for new Ombuds, "Foundations," IOA is debuting a new half-day course for people considering the profession. The third session is a core course for experienced Ombuds.

Here are the descriptions:

Ombuds Office at Montgomery College is on Hiatus

According to the website for the Ombuds Office at the community college in Rockville, Maryland, the Ombuds position is temporarily vacant as of January 2020. Julie Schwartz Weber had served as the MC Ombuds since July 2016. The webpage says that a search will be launched to fill the position. (MC Ombuds.)

Brandeis University Increases Ombuds Hours

At the end of November, University Ombuds Don Greenstein transitioned from a part-time role to full-time. He and Elena Lewis, as a part-time collateral duty Ombuds, serve faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents and others with a connection to the private university.

December 23, 2019

The Ombuds Year in Review: 2019 (Part One)

This tenth annual summary of the Organizational Ombuds news comes in two parts. Next week, the Ombuds Blog will publish a ten-year retrospective.

Here is the first set of stories from 2019:

Save the Date for ACCUO/ENOHE 2020 Conference in Athens

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds and European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education will hold their 3rd joint conference (and ENOHE's 16th annual conference) at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece on May 26-29, 2020.

December 17, 2019

Ombuds for Queen's University Posts New Terms of Reference

Lavonne Hood, who was named the Queen's University Ombuds a few months ago, has posted new Terms of Reference for her office. The publication completes one of the big tasks recommended by an external reviewer last year as part of the transitioned from the Office of Dispute Resolution.

USOA Sets 2020 Conference in Montana

The United States Ombudsman Association will hold its 41st Annual Conference at the Helena Great Northern Hotel in Helena, Montana. Pre-conference courses will take place on September 14-15, 2020, followed by the conference from September 16 to 18. The event will will be hosted by the Montana State Child and Family Ombudsman, Traci Shinabarger. (USOA Conf Info.)

December 16, 2019

Journal of IOA: Ombuds as a Mechanism for Civility in Higher Ed

The latest article in the peer-reviewed JIOA is by Clara Wajngurt, a Professor of Mathematics at the City University of New York, Queensborough Community College and an executive coach. The full article, "The Faculty Ombudsperson: Maintaining Civility and Academic Freedom in Higher Education," is now available online at the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association.

Job Posting: Salmon River Central School District

The small rural school district on the northern edge of New York State is hiring an Ombudsman. The position will work with administrators, staff, students, and families with "issues or conflicts, especially regarding diversity and cultural or social emotional concerns."  It appears that Kim Russell held a position with that title about five years ago, but the district's website does not reveal much about the work. 

December 13, 2019

Job Posting: University for Peace

The United Nations affiliated university in Costa Rica is hiring an Ombudsperson for a part-time (4 hours/week), one-year contract. UPeace conducted a similar search in August 2018 and there is no indication an Ombuds was selected for the past year. Many of the responsibilities are different from typical practices of university Ombuds or the UN Ombuds program. The position reports to the Office of the Rector and provides a range of services to students and staff, including: 

December 12, 2019

Job Posting: Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior's Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution (CADR) is hiring a full-time Conflict Management Specialist based in Arlington, Virginia. The position will promote and provide expert assistance and support for all bureaus and offices to increase and improve the use of collaborative decision-making and ADR processes. The position serves primarily internal stakeholders, and some travel is required. Applicants may also be considered for other CADR positions.

Rochester Institute of Technology Selects Associate Ombuds

In May 2019, Ashley Meyer was hired as the Associate Ombuds at RIT. She reports to John Johnston, the University Ombudsperson, and completes an office that serves over 24,000 students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Meyer has worked at RIT since 2011, most recently as an Academic Advisor.

Journal of IOA: Ombuds as a Resource for Collaborative Research

Nancy E. Day (Professor Emerita at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and former Faculty Ombudsperson), Mary Sue Love (Associate Professor in at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and former Ombudsperson), and Gregory K. Stephens (faculty at Texas Christian University and Ombudsman for the Academy of Management) have published an article in the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association. The full article, "Ombuds Interventions in Encouraging Covenantal Research Collaborations: I Am with You Always, Now and Beyond the End of Our Study," is now available online.

December 09, 2019

Journal of IOA: Research on the Ombuds' Role and Academic Incivility

The latest article published by the Journal of the International Ombudsman Association presents research by Hector Escalante, the Ombuds for the University of the Pacific. He looked at themes in instances of abrasive conduct in higher education and suggests how Ombuds can be more effective. The article is available free through the end of the year.

December 06, 2019

Brigham Health Announces Details of New Ombuds Program

On January 6, 2020, Brigham Health will launch a new program: the Office of Mediation, Coaching, Ombuds and Support Services. Headed by Donald Proby, "OMCOSS" will provide education, resources and services to faculty, staff, and trainees at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization in and around Boston. Details of the new program were announced in a series of articles in the organization's newsletter.

December 04, 2019

Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration

The TSA's Ombudsman Division (part of the Civil Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement Office) is hiring a full-time Program Analyst based in Chicago, IL. The position serves internal and external stakeholders, and some travel is required.

IOA's New Executive Director Writes First Advocacy Article

On Monday, Bloomberg Law Insight published an article by IOA’s new Executive Director, Chuck Howard. In the piece, Howard explains how Organizational Ombuds programs can protect whistleblowers and help organizations by providing a safe and confidential resource to surface issues. The full article, "Avoid Being a Whistleblower With Safe Place Ombudsman Programs," is available online. (BLI.)

December 03, 2019

American Finance Association Appoints Experienced Ombuds

Francine Montemurro has been named the inaugural Ombudsperson for AFA, the academic organization whose focus is the study and promotion of knowledge of financial economics. She has been a University Ombuds for over two decades and will be practicing to IOA standards. According to a charter for the position, Montemurro's primary focus will be to provide information and resources for matters related to AFA core activities, and for "assistance with concerns about AFA activities, an AFA member’s home institution, or the academic profession more broadly."

U.S. Ordo Templi Orientis Has an Ombuds Program for Members

This week, the U.S. Grand Lodge of secretive international fraternal and religious organization renamed its Ombudsman Office to the Ombuds. The program, "serves as an official liaison between the general membership of [Ordo Templi Orientis] within the United States..., assisting with resolution of problems and grievances." The U.S. Grand Lodge Ombuds Office was established by Frater Harmateus in 2007

December 02, 2019

Association for Jewish Studies Appoints First Ombuds

The largest academic Jewish Studies organization in the world has named three Ombuds as part of an effort to address long-standing complaints of sexual misconduct: Flora Cassen; Keren McGinity; and Mira Wasserman. All three are distinguished AJS members. As volunteer Ombuds, they will serve AJS members, conference registrants, and staff. The Ombuds Team members will provide information about resolution options within the AJS, work with complainants seeking informal resolutions, and "perform other relevant functions typical of an 'organizational ombudsman'."

Political Studies Review Article Traces Evolution of Modern Ombuds

The latest issue of the academic journal includes an article, "What Is an Ombudsperson? Global Diffusion, International Standardization, and Institutional Diversification." The authors, Norman J. Dolan and Colin J. Bennett, are on the faculty at the University of Victoria.