February 26, 2021

Job Posting: Boston Children’s Hospital

The nationally ranked acute care children's hospital is hiring an Ombuds Office Director. This will be the first Ombuds for all employees at Boston Children's. (As a teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, fellows and trainees at Boston Children's could access the HMS Ombuds Office.) The full-time position will report to the EVP Health Affairs and SVP Chief Culture/Administrative Officer and build an office that follow IOA standards.

Allegheny College President Promises to Hire First Ombuds

Hillary Link, president of the private liberal arts college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, said that she plans to add an Ombuds to her staff. According to the campus student newspaper, the Ombuds would be "a part-time staff member for concerns from students, faculty and staff." No other details have been posted by the college. (The Allegheny Campus.)

New Zealand High Court Offers Hope for Additional Uses of 'Ombudsman' Title

By law, the term "Ombudsman" is restricted in New Zealand and those who use it must get approval from the Chief Ombudsman, who has a mandate to investigate complaints against the government. Since 1991, only three exceptions have been granted, to agencies that oversee banking, insurance & savings, and electricity & gas providers. Thus, there are no other Classical or Organizational Ombuds in New Zealand. A recent ruling by the New Zealand High Court opened the door slightly for others to use the label.

February 23, 2021

Oregon Health & Science University Names Insider to Ombuds Post

The academic medical center in Portland has selected Nic Lendino as its next Ombudsperson. They succeed Merle Graybill, who established the program in 2015, and will provide full-time services to faculty, staff, students, and trainees. Lendino moves into the position after serving as OHSU's Assistant Integrity Officer for six and a half years. There is also an updated charter for the Ombuds Office.

February 22, 2021

Twitter Becomes First Social Media Platform With an Ombuds

Dina Eisenberg has been hired as Twitter's Senior Director of Ombuds Services. She will develop and launch an Ombuds program for the company's 5,000 employees and become the first Ombuds for any social media platform. Eisenberg brings over two decades of Ombuds experience to the position, most recently as the Ombuds for Staff at Iowa State University.

Ombuds Entrepreneur Guests on CNBC

Last Friday, Lisa Gelobter, the CEO of tEQuitable, was a guest on CNBC's “Squawk Alley” to talk about how her company helps companies address workplace bias and discrimination. Gelobetter launched tEQuitable in 2017 to provide Ombuds services via an online platform. In her four-minute interview, she explained how Ombuds benefit companies through data and insights for systemic change. And she also directly addressed legal concerns about confidentiality. 

Vaal University of Technology Hiring its First Ombuds

The large residential university in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa is reviewing applications for its first Ombud. The VUT Ombud's Office will operate as an "independent, impartial, confidential and informal entity where members of the university community can raise their concerns and have a voice within an environment of trust and confidentiality." Applicants were required to have an undergraduate qualification in law; preferred qualifications included 10 years senior level experience in the legal profession or judiciary, and a thorough knowledge of the higher education system and concomitant laws. 

February 19, 2021

German Studies Association Appoints First Ombuds

The international organization for scholars of German, Austrian, and Swiss history and culture has named Silke-Maria Weineck as its first Ombudsperson. GSA created the Ombuds role as part of new policies to address harassing behavior. In this new role, Weineck will serve over 2,000 GSA members and conference attendees following IOA standards for two years. 

University of Delaware to Revisit Calls for Ombuds

The faculty senate at the land-grant university in Newark will take up a proposal for a campus Ombudsperson at its next regular meeting on March 1, 2021. Various groups have promoted the idea for over a decade, but failed to gain sufficient traction. The UD faculty senate last considered the issue in 2018 when a committee recommended the creation of an Ombuds program for all faculty, staff, and students. (UDaily; Report of Ombuds Committee, 2018.)

February 18, 2021

New Ombuds Joins Team at Iowa State

Jai Calloway has joined the Boston-based dispute resolution firm MWI and as a an Ombuds for ISU employees. She joins Chuck Doran and replaces Dina Eisenberg, who left for another position. Calloway was an Ombuds at Halliburton until May 2020, when that office was closed. Since then, she has been a consultant for Ombuds and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. Calloway has served vice chair of the ABA's Dispute Resolution Section Marketing Committee and is Chair of IOA's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Task Force. (Inside ISU.)

February 17, 2021

Job Re-Posting: Atlanta Public Schools

The public school system in Georgia with 55,000 students has reopened its search for an Ombuds Program Manager. The position serves as, "an independent, confidential resource [for] students, families, employees and community members by providing formal and informal support in seeking to resolve concerns, problems, complaints, and other student and employee related issues." The Ombuds supervises a Policy Specialist and Community Specialist and reports to the Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer. 

ABA Opens Registration for 2021 Dispute Resolution Conference

The American Bar Association's Section on Dispute Resolution will hold its Annual Spring Conference on April 14-17, 2021. (Initially, organizers had hoped for a hybrid event with some in-person sessions in Los Angeles, but that is no longer viable.) This is the largest annual conference of ADR practitioners. The conference theme is "Agility, Disruption and Reinvention: ADR in a New World" and several sessions are relevant to Ombuds.

February 16, 2021

Wake Forest University Debuts Ombuds Program

Jill Crainshaw has been named the first Campus Ombudsperson for the private university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Crainshaw will serve faculty and staff on the main campus at Wake Forest (excluding the medical school, which has its own Ombuds). Crainshaw, a Professor of Worship and Liturgical Theology in the divinity school, has taught at Wake Forest for more than two decades. Pursuant to a charter for the office, she will report to the Provost and practice to IOA standards.

February 15, 2021

IOA Posts Details of 2021 Virtual Conference

The International Ombudsman Association has announced the agenda for its 16th annual conference. "Bridging the Distance: Paving the Way for Equity and Justice" (#IOA2021). The conference will offer a fully virtual program over three days, March 22-24, 2021. Registration is now open and a discount is available until the early bird deadline on February 22, 2021.

Midwest Political Science Association Names 2021 Conference Ombuds

The regional association for political science scholars has hired Tyler Smith to serve as its Meeting Ombuds for its held its annual conference in April 2021. Smith has been the Ombuds at Northeastern Illinois University since 2019 and was at the National Institutes of Health for five years before that. (MPSA Ombuds.)

February 12, 2021

Caffera Responds to University of Mississippi's Motion to Dismiss

The sidelined Ombuds at Ole Miss, Paul Caffera, has filed a response to the university's motion to dismiss his action in Chancery Court. Caffera's response offers several legal and factual reasons for the court to deny the university's motion. The response reveals that the University of Mississippi was seeking the identity of anonymous whistleblowers and suspected Caffera of being involved or knowing their identities. Caffera's response was published by the Mississippi Free Press, which continues to follow the case closely. (Caffera Response; Mississippi Free Press.)

Committee Recommends Texas State University Create Staff Ombuds Program

A staff subcommittee at Texas State says the public university in San Marcos, which has a Faculty Ombudsman and a Student Ombudsperson, also should have an Ombuds for staff. The Salary Setting Review Subcommittee reviewed the existing Ombuds programs at Texas State and discovered there is not a Ombuds who works neutrally and independently to help mediate issues for staff salary and other issues. A subcommittee representative said,

February 09, 2021

Confederation College "Pauses" Ombuds Program

The college of applied arts and technology in Thunder Bay, Ontario has says that it will not renew the contract of its Ombudsperson, Paul Straiton, which expired early this month. The college says that, "As a result of COVID-19, visits to the Ombuds Office have significantly declined" and that it will "pause the existing service to review the current job description and terms of reference to ensure that they align with [its] needs and direction." 

University of Amsterdam Extends Interim Ombuds Pending Search

Universiteit van Amsterdam had expected to name a permanent Ombudsperson by September 2020, but that plan was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Jacqueline Schoone will continue as the Interim Ombuds until UvA can complete a search later this year. (UvA News.)

February 04, 2021

Election for 2021 IOA Board: 5 Nominees for 6 Seats

The International Ombudsman Association has opened the voting process for its 2021 Board of Directors. The election is a bit of a surprise this year because there are fewer candidates than open director seats. The Board said that it is reconsidering the eligibility criteria, which may be discouraging people from becoming directors. An email about the election included this announcement:

University of Oslo to Host Panel on German Science Ombuds

Universitetet i Oslo will host an academic forum about "Science Ombuds in Germany." The Zoom meeting on February 23, 2021 is free and will feature: Knut Ruyter, Science Ombud at the University of Oslo; Hjørdis Czesnik, German Research Ombudsman, National Office, Berlin; and Helga Nolte, Science Ombud at the University of Hamburg.

February 03, 2021

Kansas State University Opens Internal Search for First Student Ombuds

Following up on a promise made by K-State's president in July 2020, the university has created a search committee to find its first Student Ombudsperson. "The student ombudsperson will provide professional-level services in support of student concerns of equity, harassment and discrimination, as well as assist the university with staying abreast of climate concerns for all student populations and ensure that students’ concerns are received, reviewed and resolved by the appropriate units." 

Call for Papers: International Conference on Knowledge, Culture, and Change in Organizations

The Organization Studies Research Network is seeking speakers for its 22nd conference on January 14-15, 2022, hosted by the University of Auckland. The "blended conference experience, with session types explicitly designed to make the most of both online and in-person social knowledge processes" means that presenters need not travel to New Zealand to participate. 

February 02, 2021

Grand Valley State University Selects First Employee Ombuds

Elisa Salazar has been appointed the first Employee Ombuds for the public, liberal arts university in Allendale, Michigan. She will work with faculty, staff, and administrators and compliment the work of GVSU's Students Ombuds, Takeelia Garrett. Salazar moves into the position after serving as the university's Work Life Consultant since July 2017. She will report the the University President and practice to IOA standards.

Meet the Ombuds for Drexel University

Kirk Heilbrun has been the Ombuds for the the private university in Philadelphia for the past three years. He recently sat for an interview with the campus magazine, Drexel Now. He talks about his work and says that he sees mostly students, especially graduate students. Heilbrun makes clear some of the limitations of his practice: he is a mandated Title IX reporter, will not mediate, and does not work with third parties. In addition to his work as the Ombuds, Heilbrun is a Professor of Psychology. (Drexel Now.)

February 01, 2021

Job Posting: Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

The polytechnic institute in Calgary, Alberta is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The new position will "provide impartial and confidential conflict and issue resolution services to all members of the SAIT campus community," a population of nearly 15,000. The SAIT Ombuds will reports to the Vice President of External Relations and receive advice and direction from the Ombudsperson Leadership Committee, which includes student representatives. 

University of Luxembourg Names First Ombuds

Université du Luxembourg
has selected Brent Epperson as its first Ombudsperson. For the past seven years, Epperson has been the Graduate Ombudsman at the University of Alberta. He will provide services to all stakeholders at the country's only public research university starting
in March after completing an onboarding period.

William & Mary Restructures Ombuds Office

The public university in Williamsburg, Virginia has given up its search for an Ombudsperson. On Friday, the College announced, “Instead of a single ombudsperson, W&M has appointed Professors Rebecca Green and Charles Gressard, as well as Assistant Director for Residence Life Shylan Scott to its ombuds team. Starting Feb. 15, they will serve in their new roles as collateral duty assignments.”

University of Nevada Las Vegas Promises to Restore Ombuds Office

Keith E. Whitfield, who became the President at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in August 2020, said that he would be re-establishing the Ombuds Office as part of his commitment to social justice. UNVL appointed appointed Law School Professor Robert Correales as its first Ombudsperson in 2013. He was succeeded by a panel of eight faculty and staff Ombuds in 2018, but that arrangement ended by 2019. Before coming to UNLV, Whitfield was Provost at Wayne State University, which had a limited Student Ombuds program. (UNLV News.)