April 29, 2020

Greater Chicago Midwest HERC Webinar: Diversity and the Ombuds

Tomorrow, April 30, 2020, the Greater Chicago Midwest Higher Education Recruitment Consortium will present a webinar on, "Diversity and Inclusion, Retention and the Role of the Ombudsperson." The webinar is free and runs from 9:30-11:00 am CDT. The panelists are: Celina Flowers, the Assistant Provost for Faculty at Northwestern University; Craig Mousin, the University Ombudsperson at DePaul; Michelé E. Smith Associate Provost for Curriculum at Harper College; and Claudia Mercado, the Interim Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Harper College. 

April 28, 2020

International Ombudsman Institute Defers Annual Conference to 2021

IOI, the global organization of nearly 200 independent Ombudsman institutions, will postpone its 12th annual conference for one year due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Originally set for May 17-22, 2020, the 12th General Assembly and World Conference will now take place from May 23-28, 2021 at the original conference venue in Dublin, Ireland. (IOI News.)

April 27, 2020

IOA Board Chair Offers Encouragement During Pandemic

Melanie Jagneaux, who became the President of the International Ombudsman Association Board of Directors earlier this month, posted a video on Friday night to her personal YouTube account. The short video recapped the effects of the cornonavirus on the Ombuds profession and IOA. She said that IOA leaders are creating new resources and methods to support the association's members.

ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Moves 2020 Spring Conference Online

The American Bar Association Section on Dispute Resolution has rescheduled its 22nd Annual Spring Conference which had been calendared for last week (April 22-25, 2020). The event will now be held online on May 18-22. Organizers have trimmed the number of presentations and costs. It is not clear yet whether any sessions will involve Ombuds.

April 24, 2020

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Agriculture

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is hiring an Program Specialist Ombudsman based in Maryland. The position works with employees with issues are related to Plant Protection and Quarantine personnel policies significance and practices to IOA standards. APHIS is an emergency response agency and occasional travel may be required.

April 23, 2020

Carleton University Selects Next Ombuds

Melanie Chapman has been named as the new Ombudsperson for the large public university in Ottawa, Ontario. She comes to the position after 14 years in the Office of the Ombudsman for the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces. Previously, she had worked in conflict resolution at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. She starts on May 19, 2020 and succeeds Jim Kennelly, who retired earlier this year after over four decades in the position.

FCO/Osgoode Ombuds Certificate Program Returns in Fall 2020

The certificate program, "Essentials for Ombuds," by the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and Osgoode Professional Development continues for its eighth year. Taught by distinguished Ombuds, lawyers, and academics from across Canada, the training is offered twice a year in Toronto. This fall, the in-person course is planned for September 28 through October 2, 2020.

April 22, 2020

Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Publishes Ombuds Service Protocols

This week the OFCCP published protocols that formalize and clarify the role of the agency's new Ombudsman, Marcus Stergio, who was appointed in August 2019. The protocols make it clear that the Ombuds office will practice to IOA standards, and not become another OFCCP enforcement mechanism. (The office ensures that Federal contractors comply with the nondiscrimination laws and regulations has requiring nondiscrimination.)

Catalyst Webinar to Focus on Ombuds as Supportive Resource for Women

On May 7, 2020, Catalyst will offer a one-hour webinar on "How Ombuds Programs Empower Women and Support Inclusion in the Workforce." Speakers will include: Lee Jourdan, Chief Diversity Officer, Chevron; Sana Manjeshwar, Global Ombuds Manager, Chevron; Sue Diviney, Global Ombuds Manager, Pfizer; and Charles Howard, Executive Director, International Ombudsman Association. Catalyst is a nonprofit organization that involves CEO's and leading companies to improve workplaces for women.

April 21, 2020

Job Re-Posting: University of California San Francisco

Despite the recent announcement of a hiring freeze, UC San Francisco is continuing the search for its next Ombuds Office Director.  The decision to extend the application deadline recognizes the essential services provided by the Ombuds program to the academic medical center. The position (55218BR) is posted at jobs.ucsf.edu. See more at the original job posting. (BrassRing.)

Urban Institute White Paper Endorses Ombuds to Address STEM Harassment

A new report by the Urban Institute recommends Ombuds programs as an effective resource: "Promising Practices for Addressing Harassment in the STEM Workplace." The white paper comes out of a conference organized by the American Geophysical Union, in partnership with the Urban Institute and the National Women’s Law Center, that featured a range of organizational experts including IOA Board Director Jessica Kuchta-Miller (Ombuds at Washington University in St. Louis) and Executive Director Chuck Howard

April 20, 2020

Train at Home with IOA Webinars

The International Ombudsman Association will host five online training sessions between May and November 2020. IOA webinars offer the latest information on a range of topics relevant to Ombuds without the need to travel. The hour and a half webinars provide CO-OP credit and are free for IOA members (just $195 for non-members). 

Here are the details.

April 17, 2020

Job Posting: National Institutes of Health

The NIH is seeking applications for its next Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution/Office of the Ombudsman. The position leads an office that serves the world’s largest biomedical research funding organization, comprising 27 institutes and centers, with about 18,000 employees. Julie Muroff has been serving as the Acting NIH Ombudsman and Director of CCR since the retirement of J. Kathleen Moore last fall.

Job Posting: WSIB Fair Practices Commission, Ontario

The Fair Practices Commission of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board in Ontario, Canada is hiring its next Commissioner. The position will head an office that serves as the Organizational Ombudsman injured workers, employers and service providers with complaints the WSIB. Anna Martins has served as the Commissioner since 2016. The position is based in Toronto and reports to the Board of Directors through the Chair of the WSIB.

April 16, 2020

Westminster College Appoints First Ombuds

L. Reuben Mitchell has been named the first Campus Ombuds for the private liberal arts college in Salt Lake City, Utah. He serves about 500 faculty and staff, and provides the service remotely. Mitchell also currently serves as the Ombuds at Scripps Research Institute outside San Diego, California.

April 15, 2020

Harvard Business Review Issue on Sexual Harassment Spotlights Ombuds Programs

The latest issue of HBR focuses on efforts by organizations to combat sexual harassment. Organizational Ombuds are mentioned in two articles: "Why Sexual Harassment Programs Backfire," which recommends Ombuds are the first of several alternate complaint systems for organizations; and "What Happens When an Employee Calls the Ombudsman?" by Charles Howard.

USOA Cancels Annual Conference Set for September 2020

The United States Ombudsman Association has decided to cancel its 41st Annual Conference set for September 16-18, 202- in Helena, Montana. Kristie Hirschman, USOA's Director of Conferences and Training said that the association is looking at some virtual alternatives and offered words of encouragement for Ombuds.

Here is the full announcement posted to the USOA website earlier this week:

April 14, 2020

Camosun College Students Approve Fee Referendum for Ombuds

Students at the community college in Greater Victoria, BC have approved a referendum raising a fee levy by $1 a month for the Ombudsperson position. Rob Thompson was appointed to the full-time Ombuds position earlier this spring. The Ombuds is funded jointly by the Camosun College Student Society and the college. (Camosun Nexus.)

April 13, 2020

University of Alabama at Birmingham Names First Full-Time University Ombuds

Today, Alicia Booker became the first full-time University Ombudsperson for UAB faculty and staff, mentored graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. For the past two years, she has been the Associate Ombuds at the University of Cincinnati. She joins J. Michael Wyss, UAB's part-time Faculty Ombuds.

April 10, 2020

Salmon River Central School District Selects Next Ombuds

Breanne Herne has been named the Ombudsman for the school district in northern New York State. She succeeds Kim Russell, who retired in December after a decade in the position. Herne grew up on the Akwesasne  Reservation and graduated from the Salmon River schools. For the past eight years she has worked for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, in the Division of Social Services, Preventive Foster Care Caseworker and then in Child Protective Services. She earned her Bachelors and Masters degree at SUNY Potsdam. (Salmon River News.)

Seattle Unveils Ombuds Program for City Employees

The City of Seattle has officially opened its new Office of the Employee Ombud. The confidential, informal and independent resource serves all current city employees (but not former employees, job applicants, retirees, or the general public) following IOA standards. Amarah Y. Khan is the Director and Emma Phan is the Assistant Ombud.

Raytheon Keeps Ombuds Program After Merger with UTC

Last week, Raytheon Company, which did not have a Ombuds program, merged with the aerospace and defense subsidiaries of United Technologies Corporation, which had  Ombuds. The new multinational conglomerate, Raytheon Technologies Corporation has opted to keep the former UTC Ombuds: Steve Cordery based in London; Lois Petzold in Washington, DC; and Lily Xu in Shanghai. (RTX Ethics & ComplianceLinkedIn.)

April 09, 2020

University of Nebraska Omaha Selects Next Ombuds

Connie Schaffer has been appointed UNO's newest Director of Ombuds Services. She will succeed Shereen Bingham, who has served in the role since 2013 and will retire next month. Schaffer has worked at the University of Nebraska since for 22 years and is currently and Associate Professor of Teacher Education. Bingham expressed confidence in the future of the program that she had built. “I trust that Connie and ombuds colleagues Tracie Anderson and Joseph Price will continue to develop and improve Ombuds Services to become an ever more effective, familiar and valued resource for all UNO students and employees.”

UC Santa Barbara Ombuds Office Goes Big on YouTube

The Ombuds at the University of California Santa Barbara have posted seven videos to YouTube in the past two weeks. The office has been working virtually for the past three weeks. The videos are aimed at the UCSB community, but are available to the public. Most of the short videos are by members of the office, but a couple feature other UCSB experts. Here's a run-down of the current videos available on the UCSB Office of the Ombuds YouTube channel:

April 07, 2020

Trinity College Launches Ombuds Program

The private liberal arts college in Hartford, Connecticut, has unveiled a website for its new Ombuds program — "a neutral, independent, confidential and informal resource" for its 900 employees. Trinity's Staff Ombudspersons are Kristin Bierly Magendantz and Carrie Robinson, and the Faculty Ombud is Shane Ewegen. All three have on-going jobs at the college.

Job Posting: UN Funds and Programmes Global Mediation Panel

The Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes is increasing the size of its Global Mediation Panel, which currently has 35 panelists. Giuseppe De Palo is the UNFP Ombudsman and the mediation panel is overseen by an International Advisory Board. Applications are being accepted for on-call external mediators for a two-year appointment, starting June 1, 2020.

April 06, 2020

IOA Opens 2020 Practice and Compensation Survey

The International Ombudsman Association has opened its semi-annual survey practice and compensation survey. Data will be collected into a report that provides the best overview of the Ombuds profession. The confidential survey will be available until April 17, 2020. The survey is being conducted by Mary Rowe, Jennifer Schneider, and Tim Hedeen. Participants need not be IOA members. (IOA 2020 Survey.)

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Back Ombuds for Sexual Harassment Response

Last week, the bipartisan, independent commission that oversees federal civil rights issues released a report looking at the government’s response to workplace sexual harassment. The report, "Federal #MeToo: Examining Sexual Harassment in Government Workplaces," endorses several steps agencies should take steps to prevent the incidence of workplace sexual harassment, including the appointment of a Federal Ombudsperson.

Job Posting: United Nations, Kenya

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a temporary Conflict Resolution Officer in Nairobi. The position will provide Ombuds and conflict resolution services to UN staff in the region. The position reports to the Regional Ombudsman, Youssoupha Niang. The search window is very short and the appointment will end at the end of 2020.

Santa Fe College Ombuds Connects Students with Computers During Pandemic

As students at the community college in Gainesville, Florida struggle to adapt to online learning, Ombudsperson Bea Awoniyi is helping facilitate solutions. Recently, "Dr. Bea" identified a source of restored laptops that were then donated to students in need. (Most of the college's 25,000 students are part-time.) Awoniyi has been Santa Fe's Ombuds since 2013. (SF College News.)

April 03, 2020

IOA Names Board Officers for 2020

The International Ombudsman Association Board of Directors has announced its officers for 2020-21. All but one, were officers last year. Steve Prevaux, Ombuds Officer for the University of South Florida System, is new to the executive group. Also notable is the fact that three of five officers are Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioners.

University of Washington Adds Second Associate Ombuds

This week the Office of the Ombud at UW expanded with the appointment of two Associate Ombuds. Ashley J. Davis joined the office at the same time as Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg and also reports to University Ombud, Chuck Sloan. Davis comes into the position after working as mediator/case manager at the Center for Conflict Resolution for several years in her hometown of Chicago, and most recently served as senior coordinator in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at Arizona State University.

University of Kansas Ombuds Revamps Annual Report

In his first annual report, KU University Ombuds DA Graham presents data collected with a new case management system. Previously, the office had reported total 'cases' (representing issues or concerns brought to the office). Now, the office collects data on 'contacts' (the number of interactions with people across the KU community through work and outreach, including individual consultations or group meetings) Graham and new Faculty Ombuds, Ada Emmett, reported 1,449 contacts and 195 cases in FY19.