September 29, 2021

IOA Opens Search for Next Executive Director

The International Ombudsman Association seeks applicants for its next Executive Director. The search will fill a position vacated by Chuck Howard, IOA's first Executive Director. During his two-year tenure, he was an advocate for the Ombuds profession and also pushed the member-driven association to adopt needed reforms. The position reports to the IOA Board of Directors and works in partnership with the association's management staff at SBI. One important change is that the position is now full-time. 

COFO Opens Registration for 2021 Virtual Conference

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman's 2021 Annual Conference, “Rising Up With Resilience,” will be held virtually on October 15, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT. Registration is now open and, as always, the conference is free and open to all. The agenda is primarily aimed at federal Ombuds practitioners of all models, but includes information and sessions which may be of interest to Ombuds and other ADR practitioners anywhere, as well as those interested in other fields.

Ombuds at Virginia Commonwealth University Offers Week of Events for 2021 Conflict Resolution Day

Last year, VCU's Ombudsman, William King, expanded his annual event for National Conflict Resolution Day to a week of online sessions. He continues this format for a second year with sessions from October 18 through 22, highlighted by a keynote address on Thursday, October 21. This year's event features four Ombuds and several VCU leaders. As usual, the event is free and open to the public.  

September 27, 2021

Job Posting: Sherbrooke University

Université de Sherbrooke, the large public university in Quebec, is hiring a Student Ombudsman. The position serves a student population of about 40,000, practicing to principles of confidentiality, independence, impartiality, consistency and fairness. The Sherbrooke Ombuds reports to the Secretary General for Administration under the authority of the University's board of directors and also oversees the Respect for Persons Advisory Team.

Knox County Schools Selects Next Ombuds

Florence Ndiaye has been appointed the Ombudsman for the public school district in Tennessee. She follows Tammi Campbell, who established the office in 2017 and who accepted an appointment as a KCS high school principal. Ndiaye has worked for the district for nine years, most recently as a hearing specialist.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Appoints Ombuds

Sarah Gill has been named the next Ombudsman for the non-governmental organization that regulates member brokerage firms and exchange markets. Previously, she was FINRA’s Senior Director for State Government Affairs. Meanwhile, Cindy Foster, who served as the VP and Ombudsman for over twelve years, has moved into another administrative position at FINRA. 

September 24, 2021

Auckland University of Technology Debuts Staff Ombuds Program

Wayne F. Marriott has been hired to lead the new Employee Advisory and Resolution Service at AUT for an initial 12-month pilot period. The new service, "EARS", offers confidential, impartial and informal support for nearly 3,000 AUT staff across four campuses. EARS will operate in compliance with the IOA Code of Ethics. 

UC Davis to Host Conversation with Ken Cloke

In celebration of Ombuds Day, the Ombuds Office at the University of California Davis is hosting a Q&A style webinar for Ombuds and other conflict management practitioners featuring Ken Cloke, internationally renowned author, mediator, and conflict management consultant. Designed as a professional development opportunity for Ombuds to learn from the decades of experience of a seasoned conflict resolution practitioner, this webinar will be a moderated discussion exploring Cloke’s strategies and techniques when mediating and consulting with individuals and organizations. 

September 23, 2021

Eastern Virginia Medical School Names First Ombuds

After a pandemic-interrupted search, Diane Holland has been appointed the first Assistant Director, Training and Ombudsperson for the public medical school in Norfolk, Virginia. Holland's work as an Ombuds will take a quarter of her time with the balance going to diversity-related training for about 2,300 students, staff, and faculty.

IOA Membership Tops 1,000

For the first time in its 17 year history, the International Ombudsman has enrolled more than 1,000 members. The achievement comes in the midst of a global pandemic, which has impacted many Ombuds programs. IOA has posted an infographic that members could find as a helpful supplement to the association's other recent marketing materials such as the video. (IOA Blog.)

September 22, 2021

Job Posting: Duke University

The private university in Durham, North Carolina is hiring a Student Ombudsperson. Last fall, a Hate and Bias Working Group recommended that Duke hire two full-time Student Ombuds, practicing to IOA standards. However, it is not clear whether the search will supplement or replace any of the four current part-time Ombuds.

Iowa City Schools Names First Ombuds

Janet Abejo-Parker has been hired as the first Ombudsperson for the Iowa City Community School District. In this new, full-time role, Abejo-Parker will serve as an independent and confidential resource for 2,200 employees and 14,000 students. She told the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “If people have gotten the run around or just don’t know what to do, that stops when they reach me. We will sit down, I’ll give you all the resources I could possibly find and I hope to answer all your questions.”

American Literary Translators Association Hires First Conference Ombuds

The nonprofit arts membership association for literary translators has engaged Caitlan Hendrickson as Ombuds for its annual conference, ALTA44, in October and November. The conference is hybrid and Hendrickson will be on site for the in-person days in Tucson, Arizona. ALTA is affiliated with the University of Arizona, where Hendrickson served as Ombuds from 2015 until earlier this year. ALTA has also released a video in which Hendrickson introduces herself. (ALTA44 Conf Info, YouTube.) 

September 20, 2021

Gallaudet University Dramatically Expands Ombuds Program

In response to growing demand for its services, Gallaudet's Office of the Ombuds has two new staff members: Norma Morán, Associate Ombuds, and SooHyun Tak, Ombuds Facilitator. Morán will be responsible for undergraduate and graduate student visits, conflict resolution and competence training, and data visualization, management, and reporting. In a part-time role, Tak will be responsible for facilitating circles which includes pre-, during and post-sessions. Both report to the University Ombuds, Liz Stone, CO-OP. (Gallaudet News.)

Professor Tapped as Next Ombuds at University of Nebraska Omaha

Jennifer Harbour, an Associate Professor of Black Studies, has been selected as UNO's new Director of Ombuds Services. She follows Connie Schaffer, moved to an administrative position on campus. In her new position, Harbour directs a program that serves faculty, staff, and students at the large public university. The office also includes two other collateral duty Ombuds: Tracie Anderson and Joseph Price.

September 17, 2021

Penn State Creates Ombuds Program for Grad Students

Pennsylvania State University has selected three faculty members to serve as inaugural Ombuds for a new Graduate Student Ombudsperson Program. The new program was developed by the Graduate Council with support from the Graduate School and will serve 14,000 graduate students. Penn State also currently has a University Faculty Ombudsperson, Mohamad A. Ansari.

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Hints at Restoration of Ombuds Office

After the first in-person leadership team gathering since the COVID-pandemic began, University of California Chancellor Cynthia Larive laid out goals to improve student success on the bucolic, seaside campus. Among other goals, "Larive also shared that the campus is exploring the establishment of an ombuds office that could incorporate and augment UCSC’s conflict resolution model."

September 16, 2021

Brock University Ombuds Reports on Year of Expanded Program

When Kelly Barker became the new Ombudsperson for public university in St. Catharines, Ontario, one of her first initiatives was to expand her service to the entire campus. Now, after a year and a half in the role, she has published her first annual report. Most of her 348 cases in the academic year 2020-21 came from undergraduate students, but faculty and staff cases are growing.

Ombuds at University of Pennsylvania Notes Drop in Cases During Pandemic Year

In their annual report for 2020-21 academic year, the Penn University Ombuds Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin and Associate Ombuds Marcia Martínez-Helfman report that their cases fell 18% after a decade of growth. They attribute the decline to the campus shut down and anticipate a rebound in cases as the students and employees return.

September 14, 2021

Job Posting: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

UNCC is hiring its first dedicated, full-time University Ombuds. The position will serve all faculty and staff at the public university in North Carolina's largest city. Since 2019, the UNCC Ombuds Office has included Todd Steck, the Faculty, and Staff Ombuds, Diana Rowan, the University Mediation Coordinator. Both are also faculty. This will be the first external search for an Ombuds at UNCC. 

Job Posting: Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education

ACGME, the not-for-profit that sets educational accreditation standards for US graduate medical education (residency and fellowship programs), is hiring a full-time Ombudsperson. "The Ombudsperson serves as the process content expert and primary point of contact for concerned parties who wish to report issues about their ACGME-accredited programs and/or Sponsoring Institutions." The position is independent, impartial, and exist outside of the ACGME accreditation process.

September 13, 2021

Job Posting: Atlanta Public Schools

The recently relaunched Organizational Ombuds Office for the public school system in Georgia is hiring an Ombuds Specialist. The new position will report to and support the APS Organizational Ombuds, Deirdre Smith

Boston Children’s Hospital Selects First Ombuds

Jennifer Mahony will become the first Ombuds Office Director for the leading acute care children's hospital in Boston next month. Mahoney moves to the position from the National Institutes of Health, where she has been an Associate Ombuds since January 2020. In her new role at Boston Children's, Mahoney will create an office to serve all employees following IOA standards.

Lamar University Opens Search for First Faculty Ombuds

The public university in Beaumont, Texas has opened an internal search for its first Faculty Ombuds. The 25%-time position will serve about 635 faculty members following IOA standards. Faculty have been advocating for an Ombuds for several years. The position is open only to tenured faculty. Applications are due by September 29, 2021. No salary indicated. (Lamar Posting.)

Update: University of Mississippi Ombuds Offers Secure Data Portal

Ole Miss's University Ombuds, Paul Caffera, has implemented a new option for visitors to provide information. His website explains: "In response to myriad requests from Ombuds Office Visitors, the University of Mississippi’s Office of the Ombuds is now able to offer visitors a point-to-point secure method of exchanging documents with the Ombuds Office, bypassing systems controlled by the University and subject to possible eavesdropping by University administrators or other University personnel." (UM Ombuds.)

September 10, 2021

Minneapolis Public Schools Selects Staff Ombuds

Montquice McCoy has been named the Director and Staff Ombudsperson for the large Minnesota school district. She will serve about 6,500 district employees across 100 school sites. She joins Mitchell Roldán, who established the MPS Office of the Ombudsperson in 2019 and will now focus on families, community members and other MPS stakeholders.

September 07, 2021

Western Kentucky University Names New Student Ombuds

Emmeline Essler has been appointed the new Student Ombuds Officer for WKU. She follows Lynne Holland, who established the Student Ombuds position last year, while also serving as Assistant Vice President, Dean of Students, and Chief Diversity Officer. Essler joins Karl Laves, who has served as the Faculty and Staff Ombuds at the public university in Bowling Green since 2008. 

JIOA Article on the Creation of a Quasi-Ombuds Program

The latest article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the International Ombudsman Association looks at the efforts to establish a campus conflict management program. "Establishing a quasi-ombuds program at a large university by adapting Ury, Brett, and Goldberg’s dispute system design model: A practitioner’s experience" was written by Nkaze Chateh, the former and founding Director of the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Programs at Eastern Carolina University. 

Faculty Seek to Expand Ombuds Program at University of Pittsburgh

The Faculty Assembly at Pitt has created a working group to explore the creation of a centralized Ombuds program that would serve faculty, staff and students. Currently, the public university has only a network of school-based collateral duty Ombuds that provide services to graduate students and postdocs. (Pitt News.)

September 06, 2021

Job Posting: United Nations, Mali

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a Conflict Resolution Officer to be based in Bamako. The position will provide Ombuds and conflict resolution services to UN staff in the region, primarily the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The position reports to the Regional Ombudsman in Goma, Salif Boïté

September 03, 2021

Chuck Howard, IOA's First Executive Director, to Retire

Charles Howard, the leading advocate for Organizational Ombuds, will step down as the inaugural Executive Director of the International Ombudsman Association at the end of the year. During his four decades as a litigator, he often served as independent counsel and consultant for Ombuds. In 2010, he wrote a landmark legal guide for the profession, which was published by the American Bar Association. After he retired from active practice, Howard became IOA's first Executive Director in September 2019. Since then, he has helped guide the IOA Board of Directors through a series of challenges, not the least of which was the association's response to the coronavirus pandemic. During his career, Howard spoke out about the flawed Ombuds program at BP, encouraged public school districts to adopt Ombuds programs, advised the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, defended the embattled Ombuds at the University of Mississippi, and urged IOA members to update the association's bylaws. 

Midwestern University Appoints Ombuds for Medical Residents

The private graduate school with campuses in Illinois and Arizona has designated Kate Jansen as its Ombudsperson for medical residents. Midwestern University sponsors ACGME accredited residency programs at four hospitals an one clinic, all in Arizona: Canyon Vista Medical Center; Kingman Regional Medical Center; Mountain Vista Medical Center; Midwestern University Multispecialty Clinic; and Verde Valley Medical Center.

September 02, 2021

Job Posting: One Acre Fund

The Kenya-based nonprofit organization that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with asset-based financing and agriculture training services is hiring its first Ombuds. The fund's Global Ombuds/Mediator "will mediate employee conflict and investigate conduct complaints and resolve them, usually through recommendations and/or mediation." The position is to be based in East Africa and Kigali, Rwanda preferably. 

Texas A&M Announces New Faculty Ombuds

John J. Buchanan has been named the Faculty Ombuds Officer for the state's flagship public university. Although Texas A&M has several Ombuds that serve particular schools or programs, Buchanan will serve faculty "at the university level." He succeeds George Welch, who served as Faculty Ombuds for the past three years.