December 30, 2021
2021 Year in Review: Responding to Challenges
In 2021, a persistent pandemic and urgent social issues exerted significant pressures on Ombuds individually, on the organizations where they worked, their professional associations. On a personal level, there were undoubtable many small acts of courage that went largely unnoticed. There were, however, several notable and more public responses to these challenges that reflect positively on the Ombuds field.
December 28, 2021
2021 Year in Review: Transitions
This annual summary of the most important stories about Organizational Ombuds news comes in three parts. It starts with a review of people who retired and passed away, and a recap of new and closed programs. Two more posts will follow before the end of the year.
Job Posting: United Nations, Thailand
The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services ("UNOMS") is hiring a Regional Ombudsman for its office in Bangkok. Susan John has held the position for nearly two decades. The position will provide informal conflict resolution services to UN regional staff and report to the UN Ombudsman Shireen L. Dodson through the UNOMS Chief of Staff. Travel is required.
Former University of Arizona Ombuds Lands at FEMA
Caitlan Hendrickson, who served as Director of the UA Office of the Ombuds from 2015 to March 2021, has joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency as a full-time Ombuds. The University of Arizona closed its Ombuds office earlier this year along with several other diversity-related programs in the wake of Covid-budget problems. She also served as the first Conference Ombuds for the American Literary Translators Association this past fall. At FEMA, Hendrickson will "serve as Ombuds for all FEMA Stafford Act employees in all ... U.S. states and territories." (LinkedIn.)
December 27, 2021
Job Posting: Scotiabank
The Canadian multinational banking and financial services company is hiring a Manager for its Staff Ombuds Office. Based in Toronto, the position "provides an independent, confidential, impartial, off-the-record resource for Scotiabank employees and retirees globally who are experiencing workplace issues or concerns." Maria Clara Jimenez has held the position since 2010.
Gretchen Rubin Interviews Ombuds Author
Earlier this year, Vikram Kapoor published his (first) book, First Serve Yourself: How Young Leaders Around The World Are Winning On Their Own Terms, which draws extensively on his experience as an Ombuds. Last week, Kapoor was interviewed by Gretchen Rubin, author of the best-selling, The Happiness Project. Kapoor talked about about happiness, habits, and coaching.
Northeastern Illinois University Ombuds Returns to NIH
Tyler Smith, who has been the NEIU University Ombuds since 2019 is returning to the National Institutes of Health, Center for Cooperative Resolution/Office of the Ombudsman. In addition to his work at NEIU, Smith also served as the Ombuds for the Midwest Political Science Association in 2021. His return to the NIH office is separate from the pending search for a Scientific Dispute Specialist.
December 23, 2021
Radboud University Appoints First Ombuds
Radboud Universiteit, the public research university in Nijmegen, Netherlands has selected Nancy Viellevoye as its first Ombudsperson. The new role was initiated by an agreement between the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (Vereniging van Universiteiten) and four employee organizations in May 2020. Accordingly, Viellevoye will serve over 3,000 university employees.
December 21, 2021
Second Book by Chuck Howard Explores the 'Hows and Whys' of Ombuds Work
The American Bar Association has announced the publication of A Practical Guide to Organizational Ombuds: How They Help People and Organizations by Charles Howard. In 2010, Howard wrote the first comprehensive legal guide about Organizational Ombuds. That book, The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations-A Legal Guide, immediately became a critical resource for practitioners and those who interact with them, especially in-house counsel and other attorneys. At the time, Howard was an attorney with long list of Ombuds clients. Since then, he transitioned from law practice to become the International Ombudsman Association's first Executive Director, where he continued his advocacy for the profession. News of the publication comes just before Howard will retire from his position with IOA.
Job Posting: Louisiana State University
The public university in Baton Rouge will expand its Ombuds Office with the hiring of its first Associate Ombudsperson. The position will report to the LSU Ombudsperson, Retha Niedecken, CO-OP, and provide services to faculty, staff, students, and other members of the campus community following IOA standards.
December 20, 2021
Leading Ombuds to Head New Program at Pinterest
Donna Douglass Williams, CO-OP, has been selected as the Head of Ombuds for Pinterest. She brings over two decade of Ombuds experience to the international social media company, most recently as the Ombudsperson for the University of Connecticut health system. As the Pinterest Ombuds, Douglass Williams will be an integral part of a plan to reform the company's workplace culture. She will would serve over 2,500 employees who work in offices around the world. Although details are still pending, it is expected that the Pinterest Ombuds program will follow IOA standards.
December 17, 2021
Job Posting: National Institutes of Health
The NIH Center for Cooperative Resolution/Office of the Ombudsman is hiring a Scientific Dispute Specialist. The full-time position "provides highly confidential, impartial, independent and informal resource to help all individuals working at NIH - including scientists, management, executives, and research fellows, trainees, and trades professionals - to prevent, address and resolve work and science-related conflict." The position is based in Montgomery County, Maryland and is eligible for telework. Some travel may be required.
Job Posting/Internship: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp
The FDIC Office of the Internal Ombudsman is seeking one or more Student Trainees. Based in Washington, DC, the position requires at least 24 hours per week during the academic year and full time during summer/holiday breaks. (The FDIC also has a separate external Ombuds program.) Some travel is required and telework may be allowed.
December 15, 2021
Job Posting: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Hood College Names Next Ombuds
Lisa Littlefield has been appointed the Ombudsperson for the private liberal arts college in Frederick, Maryland. She takes on the new duties and continues as Hood's Dean of Career Development and Experiential Education. The website for the office also has been updated to indicate compliance with IOA standards (although Title IX are not confidential).
McMaster University Selects Assistant Ombuds
Abigail Candelora is the new Assistant Ombuds for McMaster in Hamilton, Ontario. She joins University Ombuds Carolyn Brendon and will work with 43,000 students, faculty, and staff members. Candelora recently graduated from Concordia University. (LinkedIn.)
December 14, 2021
Job Posting: United Nations, New York
The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking a Conflict Resolution Officer for its New York headquarters. The position will report directly to the Senior Conflict Resolution Officer, Lara Khalife Dagher, under the general supervision of the Chief of Office.
Sherbrooke University Welcomes New Ombuds
Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec has hired Marie-Claude Laquerre as its next Student Ombudsman. She will follow Soucila Badaroudine, who retired after serving in the role for 15 years. Laquerre will serve a student population of about 40,000 and report to the Secretary General for Administration under the authority of the University's board of directors. She is assisted by the Deputy Ombudsman, Caroline Audette.
December 13, 2021
George Mason University Hires an Experienced Ombuds to Reopen Office
University of Iceland Appoints First Ombuds
Iceland's largest and oldest university, Háskóli Íslands, has named Sveinn Guðmundsson as its first Umboðsmaður doktorsnema. In this role, he will serve as a confident, impartial, and independent counsel for about 650 PhD students. A website for the new office explains, "The Ombudsman informs PhD students of their rights and duties, facilitates their communication with supervisors and doctoral committees, and helps them navigate the rules and procedures of PhD studies."
La Salle University Signals Plan for Ombuds Office
The private university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania says that it is in the process of creating an Ombudsperson process. The announcement came as part of a sweeping plan to "weave equity, diversity, and inclusion—through a justice lens—into the fabric of [the] campus environment."
December 10, 2021
Job Posting: Islamic Development Bank
The multilateral development bank based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has renewed a search for its first Ombuds. In December 2020, IsDB had sought a "Manager Ombudsman" with duties that included some formal powers that were inconsistent with the Organizational Ombuds model employed by virtually all other international development banks. The current search envisions an Ombuds that is confidential, objective, impartial, independent, and informal.
Job Posting: Roanoke College
The private liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia is hiring its first Campus Ombuds. The new full-time position, will serve faculty, staff, and students following IOA standards. "Beyond the fulfilling duties of helping campus constituents, the position will also develop programs and strategies to educate, address, and reduce all forms of discrimination, bias, sexual violence and harassment at Roanoke College."
Prince William County Public Schools Hires Seasoned Ombuds
Monique Bookstein has been selected as the next Ombudsman for the public school system in the Virginia suburb of Washington, DC. She comes to the role after 12 years as the Chief Ombuds for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and succeeds Sarah Miller Espinosa. Bookstein will report to the PWCS board and serve the parents of 90,000 students, community members, and 11,000 employees.
December 09, 2021
Job Posting: UC Irvine
The Orange County campus of the University of California has opened a search for an Ombuds. The opening follows the promotion of Jennifer Moumneh from Senior Associate Ombuds to Director of the office. The full-time position provides Ombuds services to all campus stakeholders including members of the UCI medical center in Orange.
Ombuds Caseload Trended Down in 2020-21 at University of Iowa
everal factors contributed including faculty, staff, and students interacting less due to remote teaching, learning, and work, and fewer opportunities to publicize the work of our office.” Faculty cases continued to increase, however, and now represent 28% of all matters brought to the Ombuds.
Two Ombuds Serve Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University
According to a new webpage for the OIST Ombuds Office, Jeff Wickens is the Ombuds and Evan Economo is the Assistant Ombudsperson. Since 2019, they have served as a resource for all employees and students of the highly-ranked research institute (Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku).
December 08, 2021
Job Posting: Dartmouth College
December 07, 2021
Job Posting: Indigenous Services Canada
One of Canada's two departments with responsibility for policies relating to Indigenous peoples (the other being the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada) is hiring an Ombuds based in Gatineau, Québec. The position will report to the Deputy Minister of Indigenous Services Canada and "facilitate the resolution of work-related issues and concerns by providing all employees with a confidential, impartial and informal resource in an independent manner."
Job Posting: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada
Canada's department for northern lands and territories (one of two departments with responsibility for policies relating to Indigenous peoples, the other being the Department of Indigenous Services) is hiring an Ombuds based in Gatineau, Québec. The position will report to the Deputy Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and serve as a "confidential, neutral and informal resource to facilitate the resolution of work-related concerns" for employees.
December 06, 2021
Sharon Bailey: Ombuds for the Denver Public Schools
Sharon R. Bailey, the first Ombudsperson for the large public school system in Colorado, passed away Friday night at her home. She recently completed the IOA Foundations training and established the DPS Ombuds office this past summer. Bailey was remembered for her wide reach as a leader in education making a deep impact across communities in Colorado. Her last role as the Ombuds capped a long career in education and municipal government, including seven years on the Denver Public Schools Board of Education.
December 03, 2021
Forum of Canadian Ombudsman Marks Two Decades of Growth and Service
Yesterday, FCO celebrated its 20th anniversary with a virtual event. The Forum was formed in 2000 with a goal of serving the diversity of Ombuds practice in Canada. FCO currently boasts more than 450 members from across the country working in the private and corporate sector, government, and colleges and universities. FCO embraces the benefits that come from the similarities and differences between Classical and Organizational types of Ombuds.
University of Oregon Adds an Ombuds
Sara Ash has been hired by the Ombuds Program at U of O as a full-time Associate Ombudsperson. She works with University Ombudsperson Brett Harris and joins an office that serves about 30,000 faculty, staff, and students. Ash brings 16 years of higher education experience, most recently as Director of Student Success at Front Range Community College.
December 02, 2021
Central Michigan University Names Next Ombuds
Khazar University Introduces New Ombuds
In March of this year, Aytaj Ibrahimli was selected as the Ombudsman for Xəzər Universiteti, the private university in Baku, Azerbaijan. Along with a new website, she has initiated a number of steps to build awareness among the 2,000 students on campus. Ibrahimli has been meeting with each of the university's colleges and is conducting an anonymous survey to gauge students' concerns. The goal of her office is "to provide a confidential space for students to express their problems, find solutions and solve problems ... in a confidential, informal and impartial manner to ensure accountability and fair treatment." [Google translation.] (Khazar University Ombuds; News.)
Lynda Dunham-Wilke: Former Ombuds at University of Victoria
Lynda Ann Dunham-Wilke passed away on November 26, 2021 after a brief illness. Born and raised in Victoria, she graduated from the University of Victoria. Later, she went back to school to study law, graduating and being called to the Bar in 1987. After graduation, Dunham-Wilke served as the Ombudsperson for the UVic Students Society in 1988 and 1989. (Obituary; UVic Ombuds Special Anniversary Report, 2008.)
December 01, 2021
Pfizer Ombuds Office Marks 10-Year Anniversary
November 30, 2021
Job Posting: African Union Commission
The administrative branch of the AU is hiring its first Ombudsman and Mediation Division Head. Based at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the position manages a department that provides a range of conflict management and employee relations functions. Duties include providing "services that are impartial, objective, neutral, independent, and fully confidential." The appointment is contracted for three years, including an initial one year period.
November 29, 2021
Job Posting: Development Bank of Latin America
CAF, Corporacion Andina de Fomento – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina, is hiring its first Ombudsperson. CAF is one of the main sources of multilateral financing for the region and has offices in13 cities. The position will provide Ombuds services to CAF personnel from the bank's office in Panama and report to the Executive President and Board of Directors. The position is described as "autonomous in a structural, operational and performance sense," and strictly confidential.
WADA Reforms to Include First-Ever Ombuds
After two-days of meetings last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee and Foundation Board agreed to a range of governance reforms including the appointment of the organization's first Ombuds program. WADA President Witold Bańka promised that an Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds Program will be piloted next year. Although WADA did not specify any standards for the new Ombuds program, in October WADA's Athlete Committee recommended "a neutral or impartial dispute resolution practice whose major function will be to provide confidential and informal assistance to athletes bound by anti-doping rules under the World Anti-Doping Code." (WADA News: 8 Oct 2021; 25 Nov 2021.)
IOA Offers 10 Scholarships for 2022 Virtual Conference
November 23, 2021
Brandeis University Names Associate Ombuds
Esther Lin has been selected as an Associate Ombuds Officer at Brandeis, joining Don Greenstein and Mike Rozinsky. She comes to the position after working as a mediator and organizational consultant for The Mediation Group (where she completed a year-long fellowship and continues as a panelist) and MWI in Massachusetts.
Texas A&M School of Engineering Names Next Staff Ombuds
Todd Cottrell has been named the Staff Ombudsperson for the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. In this role, he "serves as a neutral, independent and confidential resource" for staff. He supplements the work of Anastasia Muliana, who is serving a two-year term the College's Faculty Ombudsperson.
Ombuds at University of Massachusetts Amherst Posts 2021 Annual Report
Martha Patrick, CO-OP, the University Ombudsperson at UMass Amherst, reports that her office provided services to 430 visitors during the 2020-21 fiscal year. The office serves the entire campus and students comprised more than half of the visitors. As a share of visitors, staff declined significantly, which Patrick attributed to remote work and staff reductions.
November 22, 2021
IOA Seeks Nominations for Two Board Cohorts
The International Ombuds Association is asking for nominations for its Board of Directors. The election process is restarting after a delay to update the election process and other provisions of the bylaws. Now, there will be 15 IOA Director positions, with one seat reserved for an international member and a maximum limit of two seats available to candidates who are not currently practicing Ombuds.
Job Posting: University of Northern Colorado
The public university in Greeley has opened a search for its first University Ombudsperson. The full-time position will report to UNC's President and serve only faculty and staff. (The university's division of student affairs is considering a separate Ombuds for the 12,000 students.) The University Ombuds is expected to practice to IOA standards.
MIT Digitizes Mary Rowe's Papers
An initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has preserved the work of Mary Rowe, one of the early leaders of the Organizational Ombuds profession. Rowe, who served as MIT's first Ombuds, donated her professional papers to the institute's library as part of initiative to archive the contributions of women. “We’re thrilled to be able to make this collection available,” says Alex McGee, project archivist for Distinctive Collections at MIT Libraries.
November 18, 2021
Job Posting: Jeffco Public Schools
The public school system for Jefferson County, Colorado is hiring a District Equity Ombudsperson. This new position will serve primarily the 14,000 employees of the state's second largest school district, which is headquartered near Golden. The full-time Ombuds will, "Serve the District as an independent, confidential and neutral intermediary support role; navigating informal complaint resolution and the formal existing complaint procedures/processes, as appropriate, to encourage a positive culture and climate in Jeffco Public Schools."
Growing Caseload Highlights 2021 Report by Ombuds for Canada's Auditor General
Janet Campbell, the first Ombuds for the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, reports that she handled 94 cases September 2020 to August 2021. This was a increase of 47% from the prior year and also reflected an increased rate of use by the departments' 760 employees. Concerns about wellness comprised nearly half the cases, including mental health concerns, work-related stress, burnout, stress related to COVID-19, and return to work. (OAG Ombuds 2021 Report.)
November 17, 2021
Job Posting: Transportation Security Administration
The TSA's Ombudsman Division is hiring two full-time Ombudsman Specialists in Springfield, Virginia. The jobs are within the Civil Liberties, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement Office. Travel is not required and telework may be available.
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