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

The International Ombuds Association is offering a total of ten scholarships for its virtual conference, "Belonging Together: Reimagined," on April 4-6, 2022. Five scholarships will be available for Ombuds from outside the U.S. and five will be available for new and aspiring Ombuds. (Last year, IOA also offered scholarships for its virtual Foundations training, but that course has been oversold for months.) The deadline to apply for either scholarship is December 31, 2021.

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.

University of Maryland Selects Faculty Ombuds

Psychology Professor Karen M. O'Brien will become the next Faculty Ombuds for flagship public university in College Park, Maryland. She follows Ellin K. Scholnick, who held the half-time position for over a decade.

Retiring Ombuds at University of Toronto Submits 2021 Annual Report

As one of her final administrative duties before retiring, Ombuds Ellen Hodnett tendered her annual report to the U of T's Governing Council. She reported handling 331 new cases in 2020-21, a slight decline from the prior academic year. In general, the concerns brought to the Office were comparable to those in prior years, with the exception of 29 cases related to Covid-19, which necessitated the creation of a new data category. Hodenett described consistent reports from graduate and undergraduate students of bullying and harassment by teaching staff and similar reports from teaching and administrative staff about their superiors. (UToronto Ombuds Report 2021.)

Trends Continue in Second Annual Report from Syracuse Ombuds

In his second annual report, Syracuse University Ombuds Neal Powless says that he handled 207 cases in the 2021-22 academic year. Powless again reported sexism, racism and fear of retaliation are serious workplace concerns for his visitors. Women brought 62% of the cases to the Ombuds Office and 52% of visitors were faculty. (Syracuse Ombuds 2021 Report.)

Idaho State University Introduces New Panel of Ombuds

ISU has updated its Ombuds Committee, which serves all campus employees and supplements the work of the Faculty Ombuds, Rick Wagoner. The ISU Ombuds Committee is coordinated by Stacey Marshall, an Assistant Director in HR, and includes: David Delehanty, Professor of Biology; James Yizar, Associate Director, Student Success Center; Kurtis Moser, Interactive Video Conferencing Classroom Specialist; Stefanie Shadduck, Management Assistant- Academic Affairs/Institute of Rural Health; and Todd Johnson, Director - Veterans Student Services Center. (ISU Ombuds Cmte.)

November 16, 2021

Members Broadly Support Changes to IOA Bylaws

At a Special Meeting this morning, a quorum of the International Ombudsman Association's members approved multiple revisions to the board election process along with a collection of other governance changes. It has been four months since the Board of Directors held an unsuccessful vote on a singular proposal which incorporated all of the same changes. The vote today clears the way for Board elections, a change to a gender neutral terminology, and other changes that will bring operations into line with other professional associations.

November 15, 2021

Job Posting: University of Minnesota

The public land-grant research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul is hiring its next Director & Ombud of the Student Conflict Resolution Center. (Jan Morse is retiring from the role after 32 years.) The position leads a program that serves 30,000 undergraduate students, 17,000 graduate and professional students, postdocs, and medical residents. Ombuds services are provided following IOA and ACCUO standards. The position supervises SCRC staff (including Assistant Director and University Ombudsman Michael V. Huyen) and reports to the Assistant Vice Provost for Student Advocacy and Support.

November 12, 2021

Job Posting: Santa Clara University

The private, Jesuit university in Silicon Valley California is hiring its first University Ombudsperson. The new, full-time position will serve Santa Clara's faculty and staff (and not the 9,000 students). The Office of the University Ombuds is located organizationally in the Office of the President, and reports to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The Ombuds will practice to IOA standards. 

Job Posting: United Nations, Chile

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services ("UNOMS") is hiring a Regional Ombudsman based in Santiago. The search will fill a vacancy left by Francisco Espejo Elgueta who moved to the World Health Organization earlier this year. 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.

American Chemical Society Names First Ombuds

Kathleen Canul has been selected as the first Ombuds for the publication divisions of professional association for chemists and chemistry researchers. Canul is the Campus Ombudsperson for the University of California Los Angeles and has also served as the Ombuds for the Global Green Growth Institute, the Archaeological Institute of America and Society for Classical Studies, and Society for Research in Child Development. (ACS Press Release.)

University of Twente Makes Ombuds Permanent

Universiteit Twente in Enschede, Netherlands has made Han Warmelink the permanent Ombuds Officer for students and employees. Many campus stakeholders had endorsed his work at the public university during a two-year pilot period. (UTodayNL.)

November 11, 2021

Job Posting: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The UNHCR in Geneva, Switzerland is hiring an Ombudsman and Mediator.
The position reports to the Deputy High Commissioner and provides services to individual employees or groups of employees of UNHCR personnel in Geneva and Budapest headquarters as well as Regional Bureaux in Jordan and South Africa.

Department of Energy Adds an Ombuds

The U.S. Department of Energy welcomed a new Associate Ombudsman, Chris Vermillion. He joins Jeff Anderson and Lexi Wolfe, and reports to Director Tonya Mackey. Prior to joining DOE, Vermillion served as an Ombudsman Specialist with the Transportation Security Administration since January of 2019. Prior to that, he served as an Assistant Ombudsperson and then Co-Director of the Ombuds Office at Georgia State University. 

Department of Surgery at Northwestern Medical School to Name Ombuds

The Department of Surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine has opened a search for its own internal Ombudsperson. The new position will serve surgical residents and supplement, but not replace, the existing Ombuds for the School of Medicine (Lisa Rone and Ike Okwuosa). Only faculty are eligible for the part-time appointment, which will last two to three years and include a $10,000 stipend. The move to create a dedicated Ombuds for the department was prompted by recent surveys revealing persistent mistreatment of trainees. (Dept Surg Position Description.)

November 10, 2021

Job Posting: Inter-American Development Bank

The Latin American development bank is hiring a Conflict Resolution Lead Specialist for it's headquarters in Washington, DC. Reporting to the Bank's Ombudsperson, Marta I. Abello, the position will for provide employee conflict resolution services (including confidential consultations, coaching, mediations, and training and outreach activities), as well as working on matters of office administration and initiatives. The position is contracted for three years.

November 08, 2021

Boeing to Create Ombuds Program as Part of Settlement in 737 MAX Lawsuit

Last week, shareholders reached a settlement in a derivative lawsuit against the American multinational aerospace corporation related to the unsafe 737 MAX aircraft. In addition to paying about $225 million, Boeing agreed to a number of remedial measures including the appointment of an Ombuds to provide a channel for employees to raise work-related concerns. The settlement approved by the Delaware Court of Chancery, explicitly requires the new Boeing Ombuds to follow IOA standards and be in place for five years. 

Job Posting: Colorado State University

The public land-grant university in Fort Collins is hiring an Associate Director of Conflict Resolution. The position oversees conflict resolution programs for 33,000 students, including conflict prevention, education, coaching, problem solving, mediation, facilitation, and restorative justice. Many of these services are voluntary, neutral, confidential, and informal. The university has separate Ombuds programs for faculty and staff.

Job Re-Posting: University of North Carolina at Greensboro

The public research university in central North Carolina has re-issued its call for for proposals for an individual or company to serve as its Ombudsman. An earlier search ended in September and there is no information regarding why UNCG is seeking additional submissions. The RFP marks the culmination of years of advocacy by faculty and other stakeholders at UNC Greensboro for an Ombuds program. The initial contract will be for one year and may be extended. The UNCG Ombuds will report to the Office of the Provost and provide services to nearly 25,000 faculty, staff, and students. 

November 05, 2021

Job Posting: University of California Merced

The UC campus in Central California is hiring a new Ombudsperson and Director. The search will fill a position vacated by Callale Concon, who led the office since 2016 and recently moved to the UC Office of the President. Together with Assistant Ombudsperson Chanelle Reese, the UC Merced Campus Ombuds provide services to students, staff, and faculty at a rapidly-growing university.

November 04, 2021

Job Posting: Iowa State University

ISU is seeking a full-time permanent Ombuds starting in January 2022. Iowa State's Ombuds Office was established in 2008 and practices to IOA standards. Reporting to the Office of the Senior Vice President & Provost and the Ombuds provides information and support to over 9,000 faculty, professional and scientific and merit staff (excluding the campus's Department of Public Safety AFSCME-covered staff), postdocs, and graduate and professional students.

Dartmouth College to Resume Some Ombuds Services

The Dartmouth is reporting that the campus will restore the Ombuds office after a hiatus of four years. Despite advocacy by students, the reinstated Ombuds office will not serve undergraduates. According to several sources, the College soon will begin nationwide search for a full-time ombudsperson that will serve graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff. (The Dartmouth.)

November 03, 2021

Association for the Study of Higher Education Selects Two Ombuds

Later this week, Dawn Osborne-Adams (Ombuds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Chuck Sloane (Ombud at the University of Washington) will be serving as Conference Ombuds at the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Student Union Reboots Ombuds Program at MacEwan University

The Students’ Association of MacEwan University has launched its own Ombuds program. The campus has been without an Ombuds office since April 2020, when the public undergraduate university in Edmonton, Alberta, abruptly closed its Ombuds office. Cathryn Heslep had founded the MacEwan Student Ombudsperson position four years earlier. The new Student Ombud Support "offers an impartial, confidential and supportive space for students who are facing academic or non-academic issues" and is staffed by student volunteers. (SAMU MacEwan Today.)

November 02, 2021

Job Posting (RFP): National Lawyers Guild

The progressive public interest association of legal activists is seeking an experienced independent contractor to serve as its first Ombudsperson. The new role will "assist the organization with managing complaints and conflict arising in work and membership spaces [as] an independent and impartial voice in internal dispute resolution." NLG intends to award a contract for a six-month trial term beginning during or after January 2022, with an option to renew and/or renegotiate terms based on fit and efficacy. The Ombudsperson shall report to NLG's Executive Director. Proposals are due by December 10, 2021. (NLG Posting.)

Internship: Department of Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering a virtual student internship with its Office of the Ombudsman. The program is designed to provide students enrolled in Marketing and Communications or similar majors to perform a wide variety of duties marking the Ombuds’ 10-year anniversary marketing campaign. Duties will include: project management; developing written communications; and providing graphic design and layout support, including multimedia and website design. (Via Berea College Career Development.)

Canadian Improv Games Appoints First Ombuds

CIG, the national charity "dedicated to enriching the lives of youth through improvisational theatre program," has named Andrew Shaver as its first Ombudsperson. Shaver serves as an impartial and embedded third party available to anyone who has questions or concerns related to their involvement with the Canadian Improv Games. His work is promoted as a safe and confidential way to get support with a difficult situation or challenging conversation. It is not clear whether CIG has adopted any particular standards for the new Ombuds. Shaver is a former board member and is volunteering for the Ombuds position. (CIG Team.)

November 01, 2021

Southern Illinois University Carbondale to Restore Faculty Ombuds Program

SUIC has opened a search for a Ombudsperson for faculty and instructors, marking the potential resumption of a service that was discontinued a decade ago. SUIC had a university-wide Ombuds program for decades, but that was shut down in 2012 at about the same time the university defended student lawsuit related to case handled by the Ombuds, Lynn Connley. The campus had no Ombuds for the next five years. In 2017, the university created a Student