January 31, 2020

JIOA: Proposing a Model for Ombuds Supervision

The latest article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Ombudsman Association addresses a relatively unexplored topic: how Ombuds should be supervised. The paper was authored by Fred Wright, who piloted the first Organisational Ombudsman program in a government department in Australia, and David Miller, the former Ombuds for the World Health Organization. The full article, "An Initial Enquiry Towards a Model of Supervision and Support for Organisational Ombudsmen," is now available online.

January 30, 2020

Job Posting: Green Climate Fund

The UN-affiliated fund that assists developing countries counter climate change is hiring its next Ombudsperson. The consultant position reports to the Fund’s Executive Director and serve staff with work-related complaints, disputes and issues. The appointment will be as an international Consultant working part-time, remotely, for an initial period of 12 months. The Consultant will be required to visit the Fund’s offices in Songdo, South Korea, periodically. 

Long-Time Ombuds at Carleton University Retires

Jim Kennelly, who has served as the Ombudsperson at the public university in Ottawa, Ontario for 42 years, will retire in the next few weeks. Carleton will host a reception on March 5, 2020 to honor Kennelly, who has worked at the university since he graduated in 1975.

January 29, 2020

IOA Brings Foundations Course to Europe

For the first time, the International Ombudsman Association will be offering its Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice course in Geneva, April 22-24, 2020. The course will be hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman at the World Intellectual Property Organization.


January 28, 2020

Short Window to Nominate 2020 IOA Distinguished Emeriti

The International Ombudsman Association is soliciting nominations for the Distinguished Emeritus Award. Each year the IOA Nominations and Governance Committee solicits nominations to recognize outstanding and dedicated service to the organization and Ombuds profession. The award was not given in 2019. Completed nomination forms are due January 31. Last year, nominations were due at the end of February.

Ombuds Cases Spike at University of Western Ontario

According to UWO Ombudsperson Jennifer Meister and Assistant Ombudsperson Anita Pouliot, they saw 814 students in 2018-19, a 20% increase from the prior year. This reflected an all-time high utilization rate of 2.1% of the UWO student body. In addition to this increase in case load, the Ombuds also observed that cases are becoming more complex.


New Ombuds Program Mediates Issues at LUCA School of Arts

An Ombudsman Service has been established at Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel, the only independent art school in Flanders. Ten faculty and staff serve as Ombuds and cover LUCA's five campus locations. The Ombuds act as mediators in cases of academic conflicts between students and faculty/administrators, especially during exam periods.

January 27, 2020

IOA Seeks Proposals for First Conference Ombuds

The International Ombudsman Association may finally answer the rhetorical riddle: "Who ombuds the Ombudsman?" The IOA Board of Directors approved a pilot program to hire an experienced Organizational Ombuds provide services to participants at its 2020 annual conference.

Dutch Minister of Education Will Not Mandate Ombuds for Universities

Ingrid Katharina van Engelshoven, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science and a prominent member of the ruling social-liberal Democrats 66 political party, says that she does not support legislation mandating Ombuds for colleges and universities. Instead, she prefers that individual schools negotiate with their unions to establish Ombuds programs. Other politicians disagree and say that the government has an obligation to provide a legal foundation for University Ombuds.

January 24, 2020

IOA Announces Additional Training Programs at 2020 Conference

The International Ombudsman Association has added to its pre-conference training programs before its 2020 annual conference in Portland, Oregon. In addition to the signature training for new Ombuds, "Foundations," and a two-day course for experienced professionals, IOA is will offer five half- or full-day courses on Sunday, March 29, 2020:

Meet the New Scientific Ombuds at the Max Delbrück Center

Udo Heinemann and Jens Reich were appointed in September 2019 as the first Ombudspersons for Good Scientific Practice at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin). MDC Berlin is one of the world's leading research institutes for molecular biology and genetics. Heinemann and Reich serve as a confidential resource for MDC faculty, researchers, and PhD students with concerns about research misconduct.

January 22, 2020

Call for Papers: ACCUO/ENOHE 2020 Conference in Athens

Organizers for the 2020 joint conference of the Association of Canadian College and University Ombuds and European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education are seeking proposals from speakers. The 3rd joint conference (and ENOHE's 16th annual conference) is set for May 26-29 at the National Technical University of Athens. 

Here's the full announcement:

January 21, 2020

Internship Opportunity: ECLAC, Santiago

The United Nations Regional Ombudsman Office is seeking an intern for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. The full-time, unpaid internship starts April 1, 2020 and will last four to six months. The position offers the opportunity to support the office's mediation training, outreach, and advocacy, and position reports to the Regional Ombudsman, Francisco Espejo Elgueta.

January 16, 2020

Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality to Announce its First Ombuds

The oldest professional organization dedicated to the research of sexuality will have an Ombuds in place for its annual conference later this year. In November 2019, the SSSS Board of Directors approved a "Statement of Values and Expectations" that revealed the appointment of an Ombuds for members and event goers experiencing severe violations of the Code of Conduct. The identity of the SSSS Ombuds has not yet been announced but s expected befre the SSSS conference in New Orleans in November 2020.

January 15, 2020

IOA Opens Online Content to Members

In a recent email, the International Ombudsman Association announced that webinars and other educational programs are now free for all members. This is the latest initiative to increase access to IOA materials and improve member benefits. In the past 18 months, IOA has opened access to its Journal, added certification categories, produced a shareable promotional video, revised membership processes, launched a job board, and hired an executive director.

January 14, 2020

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Restores Faculty Ombuds Program

After a hiatus of several years, during which the state's flagship public university offered Ombuds services only to students and staff, Marjorie Kostelnik and Rodrigo Franco Cruz were named the UNL Faculty Ombuds. As of yesterday, they will be providing Ombuds services to about 1,500 instructional employees according to IOA standards. Judy Walker, Associate Vice Chancellor for Faculty and Academic Affairs said, "Marjorie and Rodrigo care deeply about our university and will be an excellent resource for our faculty."

Michigan Medicine Rolls Out Ombuds Program for Staff

This week, the academic medical center of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor introduced its new Office of the Staff Ombuds. The office is comprised of Jacqueline Bowman, Staff Ombuds, Jennifer Symanns, Ombuds Assistant and Mediator, and Donna Hooper, Program Specialist. Together, they serve non-academic employees on the Ann Arbor campus and from Michigan Medicine.

Texas A&M School of Engineering Selects Faculty Ombuds

Anastasia Muliana has been named the Faculty Ombudsperson for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University for a two-year appointment. In this role, she "serves as an independent, neutral and impartial, confidential and informal resource for faculty" following IOA standards. She joins Nicole Pottberg, the College's Staff Ombudsperson. 

January 13, 2020

Job Posting: Florida Gulf Coast University

The public university in Fort Myers has opened a search for its first Assistant Ombuds. The position will serve all FGCU stakeholders, a population of nearly 20,000 and report to the University Ombuds, Monique McKay. In addition, the Assistant Ombuds, "plans meetings and events, conducts research, tracks cases and compiles data, and performs other administrative duties."


Labor Leader Hopes Eindhoven University of Technology Appoints Ombuds in 2020

Marjo van der Valk, a spokesperson trade unions at TU/e (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven), said she is optimistic the university will give in to long-standing demands and appoint and Ombuds this year. Van de Valk is encouraged by the four Dutch universities that started a pilot in 2019: the University of Twente, TU Delft, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Maastricht University.

Job Re-Posting: Gila River Indian Community

The Indian reservation on the south side of Phoenix, Arizona has reopened its search for its first Ombudsman. The position will "provide services which include being a liaison between Community Members and the Tribal Government, listening to citizens’ complaints when they think the Gila River Indian Community has treated them unfairly, and coaching, assisting, and investigating the complaints received from Community Members."

January 10, 2020

Job Posting: Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System

The human resource management system for the U.S. Department of Defense Intelligence Community is hiring an Ombudsman (apparently its first). The full-time position based at the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, Virginia will serve "in an independent capacity as the lead principal advisor and designated neutral party for dispute resolution and conflict management within NGIC [National Ground Intelligence Center]."

January 09, 2020

Job Posting: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University

The private graduate school (Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku) located in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan is hiring an Assistant Ombudsperson. OIST's Ombuds Office was established in June 2019 (with a full-developed policy) as an IOA-compliant resource for all employees and students of the highly-ranked institute. The part-time Assistant Ombudsperson will work with and serve as an alternate to the existing OIST Ombudsperson. (It is not clear from public materials who serves as the Ombudsperson, but the implication is that the first Ombuds also holds another position at the institute.)

Report by WHO Ombuds Responds to Organization's New Values Charter

This week, the World Health Organization's Ombudsman, José Martínez-Aragón, released his annual report on the activities of the WHO Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services. According to statistics for WHO in the Americas (regional WHO Ombuds for Europe and Africa report separately), the cases in 2018 increased 18% to 392 in 2018 from 333 in 2017. In addition, the WHO identified two systemic issues, including one directly tied to the organization's recent efforts to definite its core values.

January 08, 2020

Job Posting: University of the Sunshine Coast

The public university in Queensland, Australia is hiring its first Student Ombudsman. The position, which was established by policy in 2016, will serve as an independent, neutral, impartial, and confidential advocate for fairness, applying the principles of natural justice. The Student Ombudsman reports to the Pro Vice-Chancellor for Students. 

IOA Voting for 2020 Board to be Strictly Pro Forma

The International Ombudsman Association has opened balloting for its Board of Directors election. This year, six candidates are up for six open seats, so the outcome is predetermined. In an announcement to its membership, IOA explained that, "this result is simply a function of typical nominee attrition from the total number of nominations received for members of its Board of Directors." Terms for the new directors will begin in April 2020.

January 07, 2020

Job Posting: University of Mississippi Medical Center

The health sciences campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The full-time position will provide services to all members of the UMMC community, which comprises seven schools (medicine, nursing, dentistry, health related professions, graduate studies, population health, and pharmacy) and related research and clinical activities. The UMMC Ombuds will practice to IOA standards.

Job Posting: Chevron, Northern California

Chevron’s Global Office of Ombuds is hiring an Ombuds Manager based at its headquarters in San Ramon. The full-time position reports to the Global Principal Ombuds Manager, Sana Manjeshwar. It's been a dynamic year for Chevron's Ombuds program; in addition to Manjeshwar's promotion, the service has been expanded to Angola, Nigeria, Indonesia, Philippines, and Australia.

January 06, 2020

SUNY Potsdam Expands Ombuds Program to Entire Campus

In response to student demands seeking improved treatment of ethnic minorities in 2016, the State University of New York in Potsdam appointed Professor Alan L. Hersker, as its first Ombuds "for students going through the student conduct process." In 2018, the SUNY faculty senate recommended the implementation of an Ombuds office that would also serve faculty and staff; this week, it was unveiled. 

American Academy of Religion Appoints First Ombuds, Seeks Additional Nominatees

The world's largest association of scholars in the field of religious studies has named Laurie L. Patton as its first Ombudsperson and seeks nominations to fill two additional positions.  AAR Ombuds are elected by members and are charged with representing the interests of the AAR membership by addressing complaints of policy violations. The role of the AAR Ombuds was created by newly-updated Professional Conduct Procedures. 

January 03, 2020

IOA Announces Agenda for 2020 Conference in Portland

The International Ombudsman Association has released some of the agenda for its 14th annual conference set for Portland, Oregon, March 30 to April 1, 2020. Keynotes and plenary topics have not been announced yet, but break out sessions are now set. More details will be posted when available. Meanwhile, pre-conference trainings are starting to fill up.


January 02, 2020

Archaeological Institute of America & Society for Classical Studies Name First Conference Ombuds

AIA and SCS have selected Kathy Canul as the Ombudsperson for their Joint Annual Meeting in Washington, DC on January 2-5, 2020. Pursuant to a new AIS/CSC policy, the Ombuds is promoted as 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. As a contract Ombuds, Canul is expected to attend the conference and serve on an as-needed basis for two months afterward.