August 31, 2020

Job Posting: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

The state agency headquartered in Austin is hiring an Employee Ombudsman. This is a hybrid position with aspects of both Organizational and Classical Ombuds work. In addition to providing conflict management and dispute resolution services, the position also oversees the DMV's civil rights program. "Work involves investigating civil rights complaints, intake and triage of issues, performing internal fact finding and review, providing mediation and facilitation services on employment issues, counseling employees, conducting employee and management training, and preparing final decisions or reports." 

Job Posting: International Ombudsman Association

The professional association for Organizational Ombuds is seeking bids for a Pilot Project Ombuds. The position will provide Ombuds services to IOA members, conference attendees (virtually or on-site if the conference is held in in-person in Indianapolis, IN, as currently planned), and others in the IOA community. The search will fill a position established earlier this year by Elaine Shaw.  The one-year contract will begin October 15, 2020. 

Larry Julien: Former Ombuds at Michigan Tech

Larry M. Julien, a Professor of Chemistry and former University Ombudsman at Michigan Technological University, passed away on August 27, 2020 after a four year battle with brain cancer and Parkinson’s. Julien was first appointed to the Ombuds role by the MTU Faculty Senate in 1989. He retired from the faculty in 2000. (Keweenaw Report.)

August 28, 2020

Ross Brinkert: Penn State Abington Faculty Ombuds

Ross Brinkert
, Associate Professor of Corporate Communication and Faculty Ombudsperson at Penn State Abington, passed away on August 20, 2020 from glioblastoma. He was just 49 years old. Brinkert was the co-author of the book "Conflict Coaching: Conflict Management Strategies and Skills for the Individual," and the author of several journal articles, including Journal of the International Ombudsman Association. His latest book, Gratitude Communication at Work, will be published soon. He had a long relationship with the Ombuds field and, in 2009, he taught a specialized course on conflict coaching for IOA in Denver. (PSU News; PSU Abington Ombuds.)

SAP has a New Ombuds

The German multinational software corporation appointed Carsten Pöschl as its Global Corporate Ombudsperson in January 2020. He succeeded Margret Ammann, who retired last year. In his role, Pöschl ensures that SAP’s employees receive fair and equitable treatment by providing multi-partial, independent and confidential conflict clarification and resolution services.

August 27, 2020

USOPC Adds Third Athlete Ombuds

Earlier this year, Bryce Boarman was hired by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee's Office of the Ombudsman as an Assistant Athlete Ombudsman. He joins Assistant Athlete Ombudsman Emily Azevedo and reports to the Athlete Ombudsman Kacie Wallace. Boarman's appointment marks an expansion of the program to three Ombuds. The office provides independent and confidential advice to elite athletes regarding their rights under various domestic and international laws and regulatory schemes, and mediates conflicts between athletes and their respective national governing bodies.

August 26, 2020

COFO to Train New Federal Ombuds in Response to IOA Backlog

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman will offer an interim training for new Federal Ombuds who have been unable to register for the International Ombudsman Association's Foundations training. Former COFO Chair Scott Deyo has pulled together members of the COFO community for an eight-hour training program for new Organizational Ombuds next week. 

August 25, 2020

IOA's New Virtual Foundations Course is Already Selling Out

After the global pandemic, the International Ombudsman Association canceled several of its signature in-person training sessions for new and aspiring Organizational Ombuds. IOA then spent months working with an outside agency to refashion the content for an online platform. The first two sessions of "Virtual Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice Course" in October and November 2020 are already full. (Registrants from canceled in-person sessions were given priority.) 

August 24, 2020

Central Arizona College Unveils Ombuds Program

The public community college in Pinal County has established an Ombuds program for its faculty, staff, and students. Armineh Noravian serves as the Lead Ombudsperson for a team of eight volunteer Ombuds. Together, they serve a total population of more than 10,000 across eight locations, providing "confidential, neutral, independent and informal assistance." 

Job Posting: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

The non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets in the U.S., is hiring a Senior Data Analyst in its Office of the Ombudsman.  Located in Rockville, MD, the full-time position is responsible for collecting and analyzing Ombuds and other secondary data to identify patterns, trends and problematic issues. 

August 21, 2020

FINRA Posts Interview with Ombuds

Cindy Foster has served as the Ombudsman for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority since 2009. She recently sat for an interview with FINRA's media office to talk about the work of her office. She talks about her background, which includes four different departments at FINRA, and the kind of service her office provides. 

August 19, 2020

University of Western Ontario Names Next Assistant Ombuds

Whitney Barrett, a long-time Western staff member, has been selected as the next Assistant Ombudsperson. She joins University Ombudsperson, Jennifer Meister, and succeeds Anita Pouliot, who retired after more than two decades in the job. Barrett has as worked in a variety of administrative positions at UWO since 2007, most recently as Graduate Program Officer for the Faculty of Engineering.

University of Évora Creates Ombuds for Students

The public university in Portugal, Universidade de Évora, has appointed Manuel Marchante as its first Students Ombudsman. A new website for his office explains that he will, "defend and safeguard the rights and legitimate interests of UÉ students, including handling the complaints and claims he receives and acting on his own initiative, making the appropriate recommendations to the competent bodies and organisations based on the result of his queries. Based on the principle of independence and impartiality..., and as a last resort, as a mediator in matters related to guaranteeing rights and ensuring accountability for duties."

August 18, 2020

Job Posting (RFP): National Capital Commission

The Canadian Crown corporation that administers the federally properties in the National Capital Region is seeking bids for its next Ombudsman. The NCC Ombudsman is appointed for a three-year term and, "provides members of the public, in the official language of their choice, with an independent, confidential, neutral, fair and equitable mechanism for resolving complaints, when all other redress avenues have been exhausted." Kevin Saville has held the post since 2017.

UC Merced Selects Assistant Ombuds

The newest University of California campus has hired Chanelle Reese as its Assistant Ombudsperson. She joins Campus Ombuds Callale Concon and will provide services to students, staff, and faculty. Reese previously served as the Senior Associate for the Office of the Corporate Ombudsman with the American Red Cross.

August 17, 2020

University of West Georgia Confirms New Ombuds Director

Julia Farmer became the Director of Ombuds Services at UWG in January 2020 after previously serving as the Interim Faculty Ombuds. She succeeds University Ombuds Tahirih Varner. As the full-time director, Farmer serves all faculty, staff, and students (a total population of nearly 20,000), and practices to IOA standards.

Video Introduces Virginia Tech's Grad Student Ombuds

Bryan Hanson, the Graduate School Ombudsperson for Virginia Tech, is featured in a new video posted by the university. His remarks are typical of the introductions many university Ombuds are giving to new students this month. (YouTube.)

August 11, 2020

Joomla Considers IOA Standards for Ombuds Program

The oversight board for the open-source content management system is looking at changes to its two-year old Executive Ombuds program. Minutes from recent board meetings reveal that directors are considering IOA standards for the Ombuds position, currently held by Jennifer Gress

August 10, 2020

Columbia Theological Seminary Names First Ombuds

The Presbyterian seminary in Decatur, Georgia has appointed Marcia Y. Riggs as its first Ombudsperson. In this new role, Riggs will serve all members of the Columbia community, a population of about 500. Riggs is a womanist theologian and recognized authority on the black woman’s club movement of the nineteenth century. 

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Selects Next Ombuds

Patricia Masalán has been appointed the next Ombuds for the leading Latin American university. She succeeds José Ignacio González, who established the program at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago in 2013. Masalán, an Associate Professor of Nursing, will serve as Ombuds for an initial three-year term. She said that she hopes to expand the role of the University Ombuds: "I want to spread the mission of the ombuds within the university, even more than what has already been done. And finally, perhaps something very ambitious, being proactive in anticipating problems before they arise, looking for actions to prevent them."

August 07, 2020

American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Creates Ombuds Program, Opens Search

The academic society for historical humanities research has adopted a new Policy on Harassment, which will lead to the appointment of an Ombuds for members and conference attendees. Although the policy does not outline the standards for the new Ombuds, the ASECS Executive Board is beginning the search for an External Ombuds.

Gettysburg College Unveils Ombuds Program

The private liberal arts college in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania has appointed Kathryn Rhett as its first Ombuds. She will serve the college's 1,000 faculty and staff on a part-time basis. A charter dated December 7, 2019, provides that Rhett will practice to IOA standards. 

Forbes Coaches Council: Ombuds Give Voice to the "Silent Ones In Your Workforce"

An article contributed to Forbes this week, Mark Batson Baril argues that Ombuds are the only place for the 3% of employees who "believe they have nowhere to turn to resolve issues within their workplace." He reaches this conclusion based on IOA 2017's survey of "164 ombuds offices in the U.S. and Canada found that, on average, 3.2% of an organization’s population used the Office of the Ombuds." He also draws on IOA's data categories. Baril is a founding partner of Resologics, a firm that provides external Ombuds services.

August 06, 2020

CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security Names First Two Ombuds

The information security research institute (part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) in Saarbrücken, Saarland, has appointed Cas Cremers and Andreas Zeller as its first Ombuds. Together, they will serve as "a confidential and independent resource for all CISPA members." (Currently, the center employs 218 people, but is expected soon to exceed 800.)

Villanova University Ombuds Posts First Annual Report

Meg Willoughby, who became the the first Faculty Ombudsperson for Villanova last summer, has issued her first annual report. Willoughby says that she handled 25 cases from August 2019 through June 2020. "All 21 cases that have reached a conclusion were resolved ;successfully, with 4 remaining in active status as of June 2020. The timeframe for resolution has ranged from 1 to 226 days, with an average length of 80 days."

August 05, 2020

IBIDELL Names Next Ombuds

On July 21, 2020, IDIBELL (Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge), appointed Anna Veiga Lluch as its next Ombudsperson. She takes over the post from F. Xavier Bosch, who established the role in 2015. Viega will serve over 1,000 employees of the biomedical research center in Barcelona. In a video, Viega introduces herself to the institute.

Daemen College Ombuds Serves Faculty

The private liberal arts college in Amherst, New York appointed William C. Barba as its first Faculty Ombudsperson in 2018. The initial one-year pilot program was later approved by the faculty senate. A website for the office went live last week. Barba reports to the Daemen's Vice President for Academic Affairs and practices to IOA standards. 

August 04, 2020

IOA to Resume Training with Online Version of Foundations in October 2020

For many years, the signature training course for new Ombuds has been “Foundations of Organizational Ombudsman Practice” offered by the International Ombudsman Association. (It was previously known as "Ombuds 101.") The three-day course was offered several times a year around the U.S. and occasionally internationally. Since the onset of the coronnavirus pandemic, all of the classes have been canceled. IOA has just announced the development of an online alternative consisting of shorter days over a full week starting in October. Specific details, including times, dates, instructors, and cost have not yet been released.