July 31, 2020

Job Posting: Ohlone College

The community college in Fremont, California has opened a search for a Director of Extended Opportunity Programs and Services & Ombudsperson. The position reports to the dean of student services and is responsible for the development and oversight of educational and support services to qualified low-income and educationally disadvantaged students. In addition, the position also serves as the campus Ombuds for 19,000 students. Debbie Trigg established the position in 2012 and left in 2018.
Nancy Navarro currently holds the position on an interim basis.

Video Introduces Students to Ombuds at University of the Andes

In a new video posted to YouTube, Margarita Gómez Ordoñez, welcomes new students and explains her role as the Ombudsperson for Universidad de los Andes. Gómez Ordoñez established the office seven years ago and works with all members of the university community--students, faculty and staff--about academic, administrative or disciplinary concerns. (YouTube.)

July 29, 2020

IOA Posts Recommendations on Updated Title IX Regulations

The International Ombudsman Association has completed a careful review of the U.S. Department of Education's changes to its Title IX regulations, published on May 6, 2020. The Department's updated regulations, which give new of protections to people accused of sexual assault on college campuses, go into effect on August 14 and were laid out in a 2,000 page memo. The IOA Government and Policy Committee, chaired by Jessica Kuchta-Miller, analyzed the new regulations and developed a detailed memo that summarizes the changes and provides a thorough list of recommendations for Organizational Ombuds.

University of Pennsylvania Names 2020-2022 Ombuds

Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin, a Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Master of Public Health Program, was appointed the University Ombuds, beginning on July 1, 2020 for a two-year term. She succeeds Lynn Hollen Lees and joins Associate Ombuds Marcia Martínez-Helfman in providing Ombuds services to over 40,000 faculty, staff, and students.

Update: Iowa State University Grad Student Senate Objects to Ombuds Office Changes

The ISU Graduate and Professional Student Senate voted unanimously in favor a a censure in response to announced changes in amid the changes to the Ombuds Office. Last week, ISU announced that the University Ombuds Officer was retiring and Ombuds services would be provided on an interim basis remotely by Boston-based dispute resolution firm MWI. 

July 27, 2020

Job Posting: UN Funds and Programmes, Senegal

The United Nations' global development network has opened a search for an Ombudsman Specialist based in Dakar. This is a new position and will assist in the oversight of all UNDP Ombuds operations in Africa. The position reports to the Deputy Ombudsman for UN Funds and Programmes and provides conflict managment services to staff members and non-staff personnel of the UN Funds and Programmes (including UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNOPS and UN Women). Frequent travel to field offices in Africa is required.

July 24, 2020

Iowa State University Ombuds to Retire, MWI to Provide Interim Services

Deanna Clingan-Fischer, ISU's first full-time University Ombuds Officer, has announced that she will retire on August 6, 2020, after three years of service. In an announcement to the campus, the provost said that Ombuds services would be provided on an interim basis remotely by two Ombuds from MWI, a dispute resolution firm based in Boston: Dina Eisenberg and Chuck Doran. No end date for the arrangement was announced. (Inside IA State.)

Job Posting: Library of Congress

The national library of the U.S. is hiring an Equal Employment Specialist. The position serves as a "Counseling and Mediation Specialist ... coordinates work performed by contractors and serves as an ombudsman, negotiator, or conflict analyst as appropriate." This position is located in the Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Programs (EEO/DP), Office of the Librarian in Washington, DC.

Job Posting: Massachusetts Department of Education

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is hiring a Contracted IDEA Equitable Services Ombudsperson. The position will mediate and facilitate communication between local school districts and stakeholders, provide technical and targeted assistance to districts and the department (i.e. upward feedback), and consult and collaborate with department offices. Generally, the role is that of an Organizational Ombuds, although there are some ancillary duties that are more formal. Travel throughout the state is required.

July 20, 2020

Mary Rowe's Crystal Ball 2020 Reflects COVID Concerns

In 1984, when she was the MIT Ombuds, Mary Rowe began "The Crystal Ball" as a help Ombuds organize and respond to new issues. Rowe collects wisdom from many Ombuds and synthesizes a summary, which she usually presents at the IOA annual conference. The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined this presentation, but Rowe has prepared her summary nonetheless. Not surprisingly, this year's Crystal Ball reflects pandemic concerns.

Ombuds Serve Constituents of World Wide Web Consortium

In 2014, the internet standards organization appointed a group of Ombuds to assist internal and external stakeholders. The role of the W3C Ombuds has never been explicitly defined and a working group last year considered IOA standards, but the issue remains unresolved. Meanwhile, the W3C Ombuds referenced as one of the organization's "Positive Work Environment" resources. W3C is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has many connections to MIT.

July 17, 2020

Job Posting: #GetUsPPE

The national non-profit working to provide donated personal protective equipment to front-line healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The position will "serve as an advocate for fairness and assist in conflict resolution within the organization" by providing "confidential, impartial, informal, fair, and ethical informal listening, guidance, and problem-solving." The work will be performed online from home.

Budget Cuts Lead to Closure of Ombuds Office at MSU Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver closed its Ombuds Office and terminated the Ombuds, Barbara Beatty, on July 10, 2020. The move was due to a coronavirus-related budget deficit and the University eliminated several other positions as well. The MSU Ombuds Office was opened about seven years ago and Beatty was their second Ombuds, serving for the past two and a half years.

IOA Honors Janet Hill as Distinguished Emeritus

Last night, the International Ombudsman Association bestowed its Distinguished Emeritus status on Janet Hill for her career of leadership and service. Hill retired in 2018 after serving as Ombudsman and Manager of the Dispute Resolution Program at KBR, Inc. Previously, she was the Ombudsman at Halliburton. 

July 15, 2020

Ombuds Day 2020 Resources Now Available

Materials are now online for the third annual Ombuds Day on October 8, 2020. The ABA Ombuds Committee website now has toolkit which includes sample talking points and handout materials, and resources and practice development materials for practitioners and organizations interested in starting Ombuds programs. The work this year is being led by Ken Skodacek, ABA Dispute Resolution Section, Ombuds Day Subcommittee Chair.

July 14, 2020

UC San Francisco Selects Next Ombuds Director

Following a national search, Ellen Goldstein, CO-OP was appointed the Director of the University of California San Francisco Office of the Ombuds on July 1, 2020. Goldstein has served as an Ombuds at UCSF for the past eight years with prior University experience as a facilitator, researcher, manager, and lecturer.  She has been a regular presenter at IOA and is active in CalCaucus and the University of California Ombuds network.  

Report by Ombuds at University of Cape Town Ignites Debate

In her latest annual report, UCT's Ombud, Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa said that she had heard many complaints of bullying by the University's Vice Chancellor. The Ombuds wrote, "A number of work-related complaints came to me during this reporting period about professional interactions with the VC where people felt bullied, silenced, undermined, rebuked and/or treated unfairly." The matter quickly escalated and drew significant press coverage in the legislative capital of South Africa.

July 13, 2020

Stan Soffin: Former Ombuds at Michigan State University

Stan Soffin, MSU's fourth University Ombudsman, passed away on July 9, 2020, at the age of 78. Soffin joined the School of Journalism faculty at Michigan State in 1968 and eventually served as the the school’s director in 1982 to 1998. He then served as the Ombuds for 13 years before he retired in 2011. 

New Ombuds at National Bureau of Economic Research Marks First Year

In July 2019, the American nonprofit that promotes and supports economic research, appointed Robyn B. Klinger as its first Ombudsperson. According to NBER's Terms of Engagement, Klinger "is a confidential, informal, independent, and neutral resource for members of the NBER community, including research affiliates, employees, conference participants, and others who spend time in the NBER’s offices." Her appointment coincided with the adoption of a new codes of conduct and policies to prevent sexual harassment.

ENOHE Posts Webinar About Pandemic Strategies

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education held its first webinar during the current academic year in early June 2020. A video and slides from the program are now available for anyone who may have missed the event.

July 06, 2020

BI Norwegian Business School Names First Student Ombuds

In February 2020, Europe's second largest business school, Handelshøyskolen BI, unveiled a website for its first Studentombud, Anita Tøien. She was selected for the position in October last year and will serve a student body of 20,000 across four different campuses. Tøien comes to BI after serving as a European Commission National Expert on the Norwegian Ministry of Children and Equality. Prior to that, she had been the first Student Ombuds at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Science.

July 03, 2020

Healthcare Ombuds to Discuss Pandemic and Black Lives Matter for IOA Roundtable

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the next virtual program which will feature Ombuds from a range of healthcare settings. IOA's "Community Connections" series is designed to keep its members connected and provide relevant educational programming. The healthcare roundtable will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT / 12:00 PM EDT.

July 01, 2020

K-State President Promises Student Ombuds

In a statement yesterday, Richard Myers, President of Kansas State University, committed to creating a Student Ombudsperson Office. Myers was responding to the local Black Lives Matter protest, #BlackAtKState, and promised multiple other action steps. The campus already has an Ombuds Office for faculty and unclassified professionals, including administrators university. 

Boston Consulting Group Endorses Ombuds for an Inclusive Workforce

In an article published this week, BCG recommended that employers designate a confidential Ombuds to create a more inclusive culture. (BCG is one of the world's three largest management consulting companies.) 


USOA Sets 2021 Conference in New Hampshire

The United States Ombudsman Association will hold its 41st Annual Conference on September 15-17, 2021, at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel in New Hampshire, with pre-conference workshops September 13-14. Meanwhile, the association is continuing its work to reformat content planned for its 2020 conference for an online event. (USOA Conf Info.)