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:

Retirements -- Several notable Ombuds retirements were noted last year, including:
  • Joy Coben, University of British Columbia;
  • Liz Lieberman, Wellesley College [retired in 2018, but not previously announced];
  • J. Kathleen Moore, National Institutes of Health;
  • Belinda Newman, University of North Texas [retired in 2018, but not previously announced];
  • Jackie Osborne, Chevron Corporation;
  • Lee Potts, University of Colorado, Boulder;
  • Lee Twyman; Rochester Institute of Technology; and
  • Elaine Wynn, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Passings -- Colleagues remembered several Ombuds who passed:
  • Toshio Akamine, Washington State University;
  • Thomas W. Scott, Cornell University Ombuds; and
  • Robert Shelton; University of Kansas.
New and Expanded Offices -- Ombuds offices were established or significantly expanded at 57 organizations in 2019:
  • Adolfo Ibáñez University (Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez);
  • Altinbas University (Altınbaş Üniversitesi);
  • Argonne National Laboratory;
  • Augusta University;
  • Austin Community College District;
  • Bjørknes University College (Bjørknes Høyskole);
  • Brigham Health [Partners HealthCare / Brigham and Women's Hospital];
  • California Lutheran University;
  • California State University Channel Islands;
  • Cedar Crest College;
  • Chevron Corporation [new office in Australia];
  • City of Seattle;
  • Delft University of Technology (Technische Universiteit Delft);
  • Digital Games Research Association;
  • East Carolina University [new Ombuds for faculty and staff];
  • Emory University;
  • Erasmus University;
  • European Southern Observatory;
  • European Union of the Deaf Youth;
  • Frederick County Public Schools;
  • Haveford College;
  • Louisiana State University School of Medicine;
  • Lovisenberg Diaconal University College (Lovisenberg diakonale høgskole);
  • Marshall University;
  • Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis;
  • Mathematical Sciences Research Institute;
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center;
  • National Research Council of Canada;
  • Northeastern University;
  • Norwegian Academy of Music (Norges musikkhøgskole).
  • Norwegian Police University College (Politihøgskolen);
  • Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Norges miljø- og biovitenskapelige universitet);
  • Office of Federal Contract Compliance;
  • Oslo National Academy of the Arts (Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo);
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo);
  • Ozarks Technical Community College;
  • Pennsylvania State University, Schuylkill;
  • Prince William County Schools;
  • Richland 2 [School District];
  • San Diego Collaborative Arts Project;
  • St. George's University;
  • Texas A&M College of Medicine;
  • U.S. Census Bureau;
  • U.S. Federal Court System [Judicial Integrity Officer];
  • University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam);
  • University of Bern (Universität Bern or Université de Berne);
  • University of Connecticut Health;
  • University of Oslo (Universitetet i Oslo) [new Science Ombuds];
  • University of Southern California;
  • University of Texas at Dallas;
  • University of Texas Health;
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley;
  • University of the Bahamas;
  • University of Twente (Universiteit Twente);
  • Villanova University;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University [new University Ombuds office]; and
  • World Health Organization [new regional office in Southeast Asia].
Closed Offices -- It is notoriously difficult to track Ombuds offices closing, because there is usually no public announcement. In 2019, at least four closed:
  • Bastyr University;
  • Marquette University;
  • Portland Public Schools; and
  • University of North Texas.
National Academies Prompt More Association Ombuds Programs -- In 2017, this blog observed that professional associations and other special interest groups had started creating Ombuds programs to support and protect members who may not have any other mechanism to resolve conflicts. The trend was boosted in 2018, when the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine issued a report calling for an end to the mistreatment of women in academia and specifically recommended that organizations have an Ombuds separate from Title IX offices. NASEM created an Action Collaborative to focus these efforts and IOA was an early signatory. As a result, new Ombuds programs have been established by the following associations and more are being planned:
  • American Anthropological Association;
  • American Educational Research Association;
  • American Finance Association;
  • Association for Jewish Studies;
  • Global Game Jam;
  • Midwest Political Science Association;
  • North American Society for Bat Research;
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology; and
  • Southern Political Science Association.
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