July 30, 2021

Job Posting: UN World Food Programme, Italy

The food assistance branch of the United Nations is hiring a full-time Ombuds Officer based in Rome. The position, part of the UN Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services, reports to the Ombudsman and Director, Gabrielle Kluck. Frequent travel to WFP country and field offices is required. 

July 29, 2021

Ohio State University Names Next Faculty Ombuds

Mollie V. Blackburn will be Ohio State’s next Faculty Ombudsperson, effective August 15. She follows Sally Rudmann, who served in the role for the past five years. Blackburn is a professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education and Human Ecology. She has served in a variety of leadership roles for her department and the university. Blackburn graduated from University of Richmond, and earned a Master’s degree at the University of Georgia and PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. (Ohio State OAS News.)

Northern Illinois University Selects Interim Ombuds

After a short internal search, NIU has appointed Merlynette Griffin as its Interim Ombudsperson. Starting August 1, she will fill the position previously held by Sarah Klaper. Griffin has worked at the university since 2008 is currently the Coordinator of Nursing Academic Advising for the the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

July 28, 2021

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking a Conflict Resolution Officer for a temporary assignment that will last until December 31, 2021. The position will report directly to the New York Regional Ombudsman, Lara Khalife Dagher, and will be under the general supervision of the Regional Coordinator.

July 26, 2021

Job Re-posting: World Health Organization, Republic of Congo

The UN agency for international public health has reopened its search for a Regional Ombudsman to be based in Brazzaville for a full-time, two-year appointment. Among other typical Ombuds duties, the position is expected to "maintain an active understanding of professional developments in their area of work by continuing professional membership of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and participating in the annual and regular meetings of the Network of Ombudsmen from the United Nations and Related International Organizations (UNARIO)."

California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Creates Ombuds Office

In June, the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation created the Office of the Ombuds for internal and external stakeholders. The new DFPI Ombuds serves "as an independent, impartial, and confidential resource to ensure complaints about DFPI staff or actions receive full and impartial review." Although informality is not listed as a primary ethical standard for the office, the DFPI Ombuds does not participate in formal investigations or any formal resolution process, or make binding decisions or mandate policies. 

European Students' Union Calls for Ombuds in All Colleges and Universities

ESU, the umbrella organization of 45 national unions of students from 40 countries which represents almost 20 million students, has updated its universal statement of students' rights to include access to an Ombuds. The ESU Student Rights Charter now states that: “All students have the right to independent and impartial advice regarding their access and participation in Higher Education through institutional, regional and/or national Student Ombud or similar solutions.” The ESU considers the Student Rights Charter to be a comprehensive statement of fundamental students rights and important tool for its advocacy efforts. (ESU Student Rights Charter; via ENOHE News.)

July 22, 2021

Job Posting: Prince William County Public Schools

The Virginia public school system with 90,000 students in the Washington, DC suburb is hiring its next Ombudsman. The search will fill a position held by PWCS's first Ombuds, Sarah Miller EspinosaThe full-time position reports to the school board and serves parents, community members, and 11,000 employees.

ENOHE Adopts Four-Year Strategic Plan

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education has unveiled a strategic plan to take it through 2025. According to an announcement, the plan includes "general strategy, objectives and their implementation (among others supporting the ombuds institutions in Europe, membership growth, developing guidelines and rulebooks and events progamming). ENOHE plans to evaluate its strategy annually and make revisions if necessary.

July 20, 2021

Job Posting: University of Oklahoma

The public research university in Norman has opened a search for its next University Ombudsperson. The full-time position serves OU faculty and has been vacant since the untimely passing of Gloria Miller-White in 2018. The University Ombudsperson reports to the Vice President for Executive Affairs and practices to IOA standards.

Job Posting: McMaster University

The public research university in Hamilton, Ontario, is hiring an Assistant Ombuds. The full-time position reports to University Ombuds Carolyn Brendon and serves as a resource for 43,000 students, faculty, and staff members with student-related issues. The Assistant Ombuds performs a variety of administrative, operational and communication tasks.

Job Posting: All Hands and Hearts

The fast-growing American non-profit that provides disaster relief is seeking an Organizational Ombuds. The part-time, on-call, remote position "facilitates the informal resolution of concerns of employees, managers, volunteers, board members and, sometimes, external clients of the organization." The All Hands and Hearts Ombuds is expected to practice to IOA standards. 

July 19, 2021

Job Posting: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The multilateral development bank based in Beijing has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The AIIB Office of the Ombudsperson will perform three principal functions: 1. provide impartial and confidential assistance in the informal resolution of conflicts and other issues brought to the attention of the Office; 2. monitor trends and emerging issues and provide guidance and advice on ways to improve the workplace environment; and 3. manage the Respectful Workplace Advisors Program. (These features are very similar to the Ombuds programs at the World Bank, Global Green Growth Institute, and other multilateral development banks.) 

Texas State University to Test Ombuds Service for Staff

Responding to pressure from its employees, Texas State University will launch a Staff Ombuds service starting this fall. The current Faculty Ombudsperson, Vincent Luizzi, will expend his role to also serve staff. Luizzi is a Professor and past Chair of Philosophy and is known for his expertise on legal ethics and philosophy of law. (University Star; Texas State HR; Wikipedia.)

Job Re-posting: Central Michigan University

The public research university in Mount Pleasant has reopened its search for an Ombudsperson. The full-time position serves about 27,000 students following IOA standards.  Erica Lynn Peters has held the position since 2016. Qualifications for the position have not changed. 
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and at least three years of professional experience in student or academic affairs. A graduate degree is preferred. The salary for the position has been increased and now ranges from $50,000 to $63,000. Applications are due July 25, 2021. (CMU Posting.) 

July 15, 2021

Update: Proposed Revision of IOA Bylaws Fails to Come to a Vote

A special meeting of the International Ombudsman Association convened this morning to consider bylaws revisions for the board election process, a name change for the association, and other governance updates. Procedural issues from the floor quickly derailed the intended agenda and lasted more than 45 minutes. With insufficient time left to discuss fully the bylaws motion, the matter was withdrawn and the meeting adjourned. Details regarding the future of the motion are expected after the next IOA board meeting. Meanwhile, an election of new board members and officers remains on hold and the incumbents continue to serve terms that were due to expire in April 2021.

(Guest Post) Sara Thacker Comments on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Sara Thacker, Director & Ombudsperson of the Staff Ombuds Office at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been a member of IOA since its creation and previously served on the IOA Board of Directors and as Co-Chair of the IOA Communications Committee.

July 14, 2021

(Guest Post) Chuck Howard Comments on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Charles Howard, IOA Executive Director and author of The Organizational Ombudsman: Origins, Roles and Operations - A Legal Guide. Before becoming the IOA Executive Director, Howard was a long-time attorney for Ombuds and a regular speaker at IOA conferences. [Emphasis and links in original.]

Independent Forum to Discuss Proposed IOA Bylaws

Later today, Teresa Ralicki, CO-OP, an Ombuds at the University of Colorado Denver, will host an independent forum for IOA members to discuss the proposed changes to the association's bylaws. Her full announcement follows [links to IOA members-only content omitted]:

July 13, 2021

Job Posting: Dalhousie University

The public university in Halifax has reopened its search for an Ombudsperson. (Although there were multiple applicants when the position was posted in June, the university described it a "failed search.") The full-time position will report to the Provost and serve a student population of 20,000. The office now has been vacant nearly three years since the departure of Diane Hawco in late 2018.

(Guest Post) IOA Executive Committee Comments on the Proposed Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by the International Ombudsman Association's Board of Directors Executive Committee. The groups is comprised of Melanie Jagneaux, CO-OP, Board President and Ombudsman Director at Baylor College of Medicine; Steve Prevaux, CO-OP, Board Vice President and Ombuds Officer for the University of South Florida System; Ronnie Thomson, Board Secretary and Corporate Ombudsman for Sandia National Laboratories; Lee Twyman, Board Treasurer and former Ombuds for the Rochester Institute of Technology; and Willem Kweens, CO-OP, Board Assistant Treasurer and European Ombudsman for Mars, Inc. [Emphasis in original, links to members-only content omitted.]

Registration Opens for 2021 Cal Caucus

The California Caucus of College and University Ombuds has opened registration for its 2021 conference, "Towards Restoration: What We’ve Lost and What We’ve Found," to be held at the Asilomar Conference Grounds on November 10-13, 2021. Registration will be open until October 10 or until full (in recent years, tickets have sold out within days). Due to the uncertainty around international travel restrictions, a small number of tickets have been set aside for our international colleagues, which will go on sale September 1.

(Guest Post) Francine Montemurro Comments on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Francine Montemurro, CO-OP, Ombuds for Boston University and the American Finance Association, and former Ombuds at SUNY Binghamton.  She served two terms on the IOA Board of Directors and volunteered on numerous standing committees. 

July 12, 2021

(Guest Post) Doris Campos-Infantino Comments on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Doris Cecilia Campos-Infantino, Ombuds at the World Bank Group and former Ombuds at the National Institutes of Health and the Inter-American Development Bank. She served two terms on the IOA Board of Directors and her leadership positions included three terms as Vice President. She has been a speaker at multiple IOA conferences and meetings of the Ombudsman and Mediators of the United Nations & Related International Organizations, and an instructor for IOA's "Ombudsman 101" course.

(Guest Post) Mary Rowe Comments on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Mary Rowe, IOA Distinguished Emeritus and former Ombuds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was a founder of the Corporate Ombudsman Association, the first professional group for Organizational Ombuds, Adjunct Professor of Negotiation and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and thought-leader in the Ombuds profession. [Emphasis in original.]

(Guest Post) Brett Harris and Jai Calloway Comment on the Proposed IOA Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Brett Harris and Jai Calloway. They are co-chairs for the International Ombudsman Association's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, but are not writing in their official capacity. Calloway is an independent consultant and Ombuds at Iowa State University, and former Corporate Ombudsman for Halliburton. Harris is the Ombuds at the University of Oregon, and former Ombuds at the University of Mississippi the University of North Dakota.

July 11, 2021

Job Posting(s): Harvard University

The private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts is hiring two full-time Ombuds. The search will reopen and expand the Ombuds Office headed by Lydia Cummings for 17 years before her retirement in January 2020. Harvard will hire an Ombuds I, a more junior position, and Ombuds II, who will supervise the Ombuds I and an administrative staff person. Together the two Ombuds will provide services to faculty, staff, students, trainees, and appointees for all of the Harvard-affiliated institutions with the exception of the schools of medicine, dentistry, and public health.

July 09, 2021

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Energy

The department responsible for U.S. energy and nuclear safety policies is hiring an Associate Ombudsman. The Associate Ombudsman will report to Director Tonya Mackey and collaborate with two experienced Ombuds: Lexi Wolfe and Jeff Anderson. The job is based in Washington, DC and may be eligible for telework. Occasional travel is required. 

July 08, 2021

Job Posting: Pinterest

The social media company is hiring its first Head of Ombuds. Pinterest would be the second major tech company to create an Ombuds program. Although the company is based in San Francisco, the position may work remotely. The Ombuds is expected to serve as a resource for Pinterest's 2,500 employees around the world. In December 2020, a Special Committee of the Pinterest Board reviewed the workplace culture and recommended several changes to improve workplace culture, including the creation of an Ombuds office.

Ombuds Will Restart Program at Sandia National Labs

Ronnie Thompson has been selected as the Corporate Ombudsman for the federal nuclear lab in New Mexico. She will restart an Ombuds program that was shuttered in 2018 shortly after Honeywell International took over management of the lab. Thompson was an Ombuds at Halliburton from 2013 to 2020, when that program was shut down. At Sandia, she will set up and manage a program following IOA standards and report to the Executive Chief of Staff. Thompson is in her second term on the IOA Board of Directors.

July 07, 2021

IOA Asks Members to Approve Omnibus Revision of Bylaws

Earlier this year an International Ombudsman Association task force on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging raised concerns about the process for selecting board members. The IOA Board quickly postponed the pending board election and commissioned an independent review, which recommended changes to the nominations process and board eligibility to encourage a more diverse pool of candidates.

The IOA board is now asking its members to approve bylaws changes that incorporate these revisions to the board election process along with a collection of other governance changes. Several of these proposals will undo changes to the bylaws that IOA members approved just five years ago.

(Guest Post) Howard Gadlin Comments on the Proposed Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Howard Gadlin, IOA Distinguished Emeritus and former Ombuds at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, LA County Museum of Art, UCLA, and the National Institutes of Health. He has also served as Chair of the Coalition of Federal Ombudsmen, Chair of the Federal Inter-agency Alternative Dispute Resolution Working Group Steering Committee, and Past President of the University and College Ombuds Association and of The Ombudsman Association.

(Guest Post) Nick Diehl Comments on the Proposed Bylaws

The following commentary was submitted by Nicholas Diehl, CO-OP, Ombuds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former Ombuds at Asian Development Bank, American Red Cross, National Institutes of Health, and Princeton University. He is also a Past President of the International Ombudsman Association and a regular instructor for IOA's "Foundations" training course.

July 06, 2021

Job Posting: Ryerson University

The public research university in Toronto, Ontario has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. The position leads a well-established office that serves 24,000 students. The position has been held by Kwame Addo for the past two years. He will be returning to municipal work as the Ombudsman for the City of Toronto. Other members of the office are Assistant Ombudspersons Ayesha Adam and Gemma Kerr.

Job Posting (RFP): Arizona State Schools for the Deaf and Blind

The state agency that operates three center schools and five regional cooperatives for its first Ombudsman. The independent contractor will "serve as an advocate for fairness, source of support and information and acts as liaisons between conflicting parties." The ASDB Ombuds will primarily serve the agency's employees. According to the posting on the IOA Job Board the position has some non-neutral responsibilities.

University of Maryland Opens Search for Next Faculty Ombuds

The public research university in College Park, Maryland, is seeking its next Faculty Ombuds Officer—a half-time position. The search will fill a position held by Ellin K. Scholnick since September 2010. The Faculty Ombuds "serves as a neutral and impartial officer to provide confidential and informal assistance to faculty and administrators in resolving concerns related to their work... [serving] as a counselor, fact-finder, mediator, and negotiator, but not as an advocate for any party to a dispute." (UMD Faculty Affairs.)

Association for Conflict Resolution to Appoint First Ombuds

The professional organization that promotes the practice and public understanding of conflict resolution will appoint its first Ombuds. The new role will serve ACR members for an initial two-year term and practice to IOA standards. The Ombuds may be an ACR member, but will hold no other position within the organization. An Ombuds Policy has been an adopted and further details about the appointment of the first ACR Ombuds are pending. (ACR Ombuds Policy.)

IOA Training for Creating an Ombuds Office

The International Ombudsman Association's online training program, "The Nuts & Bolts of Setting Up an Ombuds Office," returns on November 9 and 11, 2021 The five-hour course is designed to complement IOA's "Foundations" course and will help new Ombuds who are setting up a new office. The course has increased from four hours when it was initially offered in 2020.

July 01, 2021

University of Amsterdam Names First Permanent Ombuds

In November 2021, Samera Ouchene will start a four-year term as the first permanent Ombuds at Universiteit van Amsterdam, one of the Netherlands' leading universities. Student, staff, and faculty, groups participated in the search process and unanimously endorsed Ouchene. The president of UvA's Executive Board said: "We are convinced that the experience Samera has gained over the course of her career will contribute to strengthening the inclusiveness and social safety of our university." Ouchene succeeds Jacqueline Schoone, who has been the Interim Ombuds for two years. 

Jane Austen Society of North America Plans for Ombuds

The nonprofit association dedicated to the appreciation of the English novelist has promised to create an Ombuds for its members. JASNA adopted Community Guidelines in February 2021 to improve diversity and discourage intimidating behaviors at all of its regional and national events. These guidelines also state that, "JASNA has created the new position of Ombudsperson to handle concerns of this nature." Further details, including the structure of the program or appointment of an Ombuds, have not been announced. (JASNA Community Guidelines.)

Webinar for Ombuds: Case Management and Data Security

Clare Fowler and Colin Rule of Mediate.com, and experienced guest Ombuds will discuss concerns and safeguards for keeping visitor data online in a webinar on July 14, 2021 at 2-2:30 pm EDT. Fowler has an article, "Designing Online Dispute Resolution Information Systems Effectively," which is recommended pre-reading. (Mediate.com.) The webinar is free and open to the public, and pre-registration is not required: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6492416033