December 30, 2022

2022 Year in Review: The Big Trends

And now, the conclusion of the Ombuds year in review for 2022...

Three important trends emerged this year and all are interrelated. Most significantly, the way Ombuds deliver their services has changed permanently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic: virtual meetings with visitors are now the norm. The rise of hybrid Ombuds practice has allowed more organizations to create part-time and interim positions, and to consider applicants from farther distances. At the same time, the market for practitioners has tightened considerably along with the general labor market and reputable organizations are having a hard time finding candidates. The tighter labor market is, perhaps, one reason that organizations are assigning their Ombuds incompatible collateral duties in diversity, equity and inclusion and Title IX.

December 29, 2022

Job Posting: University of Massachusetts Boston

The only public research university in Boston has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The new position will report to the UMass Boston Chancellor and establish a program for all members of the campus community—a total population of nearly 25,000. Boston has the highest concentration of University Ombuds in the world and that is reflected in the job posting, which expressly and carefully reflects IOA standards. The Chancellor himself announced the search process in October this year. 

December 28, 2022

2022 Year in Review: Cheers & Jeers

Here's part two of the annual summary of news from the Ombuds profession. Before a final post of the most important trends from 2022, here are some short takes on the highs and lows. Most of these came in pairs.

December 26, 2022

Job Posting: Prairie View A&M University

PVAMU, the large public HBCU in Texas has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The new position will report directly to the President & CEO and provide services to about 540 faculty members. The Ombuds is expected to follow IOA standards. 

Job Posting: World Bank Group

The WBG is hiring a Respectful Workplace Advisor Program Analyst for a three-year appointment in Washington, DC. The full-time position is situated within the Ombuds office and provides administrative and technical support to 300 volunteer RWA's through training, coaching, data analysis, and report writing. The RWA Program Analyst is expected to practice to IOA standards.

Job Posting: Michigan Economic Development Corporation

The public-private partnership agency and economic development corporation that promotes job creation in the state of Michigan is hiring its first DEI Coordinator/Organizational Ombuds. The position "will work collaboratively to coordinate the planning, oversight, and implementation of the diversity, equity and inclusion strategies" and "also serve as the organizational ombuds [for] members of the organization." These collateral duties, of course, are not compatible with IOA standards, which do not permit Ombuds to hold positions that compromise their independence, neutrality, and informality.

December 23, 2022

Job Posting: JPL

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, seeks an Ombuds to be based in Pasadena, California. JPL last had an Ombuds in 2011, when the Lab decided not to refill a position vacated by the retirement of the inaugural Ombuds, Lewis Redding. The position will serve all JPL employees following IOA standards and report to the Deputy Director. 

Job Posting: GAVI

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (previously the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization), a public–private global health partnership that promotes immunization in poor countries, is seeking its first Ombuds. The new position will assist internal stakeholders for an initial five-year term and is based at Gavi's headquarters in Geneva. Gavi has been considering an Ombuds since 2017, when it sought a joint Ombuds with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Eventually, The Global Fund retained its own Ombuds. 

Radboud University to Expand Ombuds to Students

Radboud Universiteit, in Nijmegen, Netherlands will add a Ombuds for its 25,000 students in 2023. The new position will supplement the work of Nancy Viellevoye, who became Radboud's first Staff Ombudsperson in December 2021. Students at the public research university have been advocating for an Ombuds since last spring. (Radboud Vox.)

December 20, 2022

2022 Year in Review: Transitions

This is the first post in the annual summary of the Organizational Ombuds profession. The look back at 2022 starts 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.

December 19, 2022

Queen's University Adds an Ombuds

In October, Heather Trojek was hired as an Associate Ombudsperson for the public research university in Kingston, Ontario. She joins Queen's Ombuds, Lavonne Hood, and expands the capacity of the Office of the University Ombudsperson, which provide services to students, staff, faculty, and community members.

South Africa's Shadow Cabinet Calls for National Student Ombuds

The South African Democratic Alliance, which is the Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet, has issued a statement calling for a centralized student Ombuds system for all of the country's universities. According to the report, only 8 of 26 South African universities currently have an Ombuds system where students and employees can raise concerns in a confidential setting. Notably, the University of Cape Town, Rhodes University, UNISA, Stellenbosch University, and Vaal University of Technology have embedded Ombuds offices, and Nelson Mandela University has an outsourced Ombuds. Although not mentioned in the statement, England and Austria have national Student Ombuds offices.

December 16, 2022

Job Posting: Savannah College of Art and Design

The private nonprofit art school in Savannah, Georgia is seeking a part-time Ombudsperson. The position serves as a neutral, independent and confidential resource for all students, faculty and staff, including those in France and online. 
Applicants must have a Master's degree and three years of experience. No application deadline or salary indicated. (SCAD Posting.)

December 15, 2022

Job Posting: International Organization for Migration

The intergovernmental organization that promotes international cooperation on migration issues is hiring a Conflict Resolution Officer in Bangkok. The position is within the Office of the Ombudsperson and reports to the IOM Ombuds, Rogelio Bernal. The one-year appointment starts ASAP and operates in accordance with IOA Standards of Practice.

UC Santa Cruz Selects Ombuds to Reestablish Office

Deidre "De" Acker has been appointed to restore the Ombuds program at the University of California Santa Cruz. She will report to the UCSC chancellor and serve faculty, staff, and students following IOA standards. It is expected that other personnel will be hired to build out the office. Acker is a long-time UC employee and served as the inaugural Ombuds at UC Merced from 2012 through 2015. She will start in January 2023.

York University Names Ombuds

On December 1, Oluwakemi (Kemi) Oke was appointed the Ombudsperson of York University. She fills a position vacated by John D. McCamus, who served as Ombuds at York for over a decade and retired two years ago. Reporting to the University President, Oke will provide Ombuds services to over 62,000 faculty, staff', and students at the large public research university in Toronto. She comes to the position from Simon Fraser University, where she had been serving as Associate Ombudsperson.

Jackson College Selects Student Ombuds

Victoria Snyder has been appointed the Student Resolution Advocate, an Organizational Ombuds for the students at the community college in Jackson County, Michigan. Snyder is the mayor of Albion, a city about 20 miles to the east of Jackson. As the Ombuds, she will provide services to about 6,000 students across four campuses. Meanwhile, as mayor, she also is working to improve town-gown relations with Albion College.

December 14, 2022

CVS Abruptly Closes Ombuds Program

Less than eight months after CVS stunned the Ombuds profession by revealing a full-formed Ombuds program with experienced providers and an IOA-complaint charter, the company has announced the end of the intiative. The retail giant had contracted with MWI to provide virtual Ombuds services with about ten experienced Ombuds and other ADR experts. A website for the program says that it all ended December 5, 2022.

Ombuds Returns to University of Idaho

David Talbot
has been selected as U of I's University Ombudsperson. Reporting to the University President, Talbot will serve all 15,000 stakeholders at the state's land-grant and primary research university. Talbot comes to the position with significant Ombuds experience, most recently as a consultant for the World Food Programme. It's a bit of a homecoming for Talbot: He earned his JD at the University of Idaho. He follows Laura Smythe, who recently moved to a similar position at Iowa State University.

McMaster University Adds an Ombuds

Megan Rego has been hired as an Assistant Ombuds at the public research university in Hamilton, Ontario. In this full-time, interim position, Rego reports to University Ombuds Carolyn Brendon and serves as a resource for 43,000 students, faculty, and staff members with student-related issues.

University of Virginia Appoints Next Ombuds

UVA has selected Amanda Monaco as its next University Ombuds. She follows Brad Holland and inherits a program that serves nearly 40,000 faculty, staff, and students at Virginia's flagship public university. Monaco comes to the position from the Virginia State Department of Human Resource Management, where she was the Director of Workplace Conflict.

December 13, 2022

University of Alabama at Birmingham Selects Ombuds

UAB has named Michelle Horvath as its next University Ombudsperson. She follows Alicia Booker and will provide Ombuds services for nearly 24,000 stakeholders, including faculty, staff, mentored graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows at the public university. The UAB Ombuds program follows IOA standards. Horvath comes from Florida International University, where she had been the Assistant Dean of Students responsible for conduct, academic integrity, and Title IX issues.

New Owner at Twitter Ends Ombuds Program

Less than two years after it launched, Twitter's Ombuds office has ended. Dina Eisenberg, who was named the Senior Director of Ombuds Services in February 2021, was one of the many staff laid-off by Twitter in November 2022, when the new owner began a massive restructuring of the social media company. (LinkedIn.)

December 12, 2022

Job Posting: Florida International University

The metropolitan public research university in Miami will expand its student Ombuds program with the hiring of a Senior Ombudsperson Case Coordinator. The position reports to FIU's Student Ombudsperson, Sofia Trelles, and provides services to 55,000 students. The office practices to IOA standards.

Job Posting: Georgetown University

The private research university in Washington, DC, is hiring its first Staff Ombudsperson. The new, full-time, hybrid position will serve about 1,500 staff and academic & administrative professionals across five campuses and report to the Chief Operating Officer. The University Staff Ombudsperson will supplement the work of Georgetown's Student Ombuds, Daniela Brancaforte, Faculty Ombuds Office, Catherine Langlois, and Ombudsperson for the School of Medicine, Stacey Kaltman (all with separate offices and reporting lines, and all practicing to IOA standards).

December 09, 2022

Job Posting: San Diego State University

The California State University in San Diego has opened an internal search for an Assistant Student Ombudsman. The full-time position reports to SDSU's Student Ombudsman, Darrell Hess, and has been held by Karla Ramirez for two years. The Office of the Student Ombudsman at SDSU serves a student body of about 34,000.

December 08, 2022

UC Santa Barbara Onboards an Ombuds

Lise Prisarojn has been hired as an Assistant Ombuds at University of California Santa Barbara. She joins Campus Ombuds, Caroline Adams, and Associate Ombuds, David Rasch and Don Lubach. Prisarojn is responsible for undergraduate student cases and programming, office administration, and managing the UCSB Ombuds Instagram account.

Summer Internship: Department of the Interior

The Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution for the U.S. Department of the Interior seeks a graduate summer intern to join their workplace team. The position is a hybrid and reports to the office in Arlington, Virginia (Ballston) three days a week, along with two days of telework. CADR is looking for someone with prior experience in dispute resolution work. The position is unpaid, but is intended to provide professional benefits such as eligibility for public interest funding from the intern's graduate school.

December 07, 2022

Job Posting: [Swiss Insurance Company]

Multiple search consultants are recruiting for what appears to be the same Ombuds position with an unnamed "leading" "global" "insurance company" located in Zurich. (A search of job postings from the five largest insurance companies based in Zurich yielded no additional details.) The employer is ready to hire immediately for a one-year, full-time contract, which may be extended.

Ontario Athletic Therapist Association Names Ombuds

In April 2022, Kelly Marchuk was appointed the Organizational Ombudsman for OATA, the the professional association that governs the practice of all Certified Athletic Therapists in the Province of Ontario. The position was established in 2014 by Nancy Harvey and was later held by Carly Vandergrient followed by Susan Cameron. Marchuck has also been involved with the World Federation of Athletic Training and National Athletic Trainers' Association. She earned an EdD at Columbia University. (OATA Ombuds.)

December 05, 2022

Job Posting: U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture agency is hiring two Conflict Management Specialists (Associate Ombuds). The new positions will report to Mark Lewis, the inaugural Conflict Management Specialist Ombuds for the Forest Service, who is building out a program to serve about 30,000 USFS employees across the country. The work locations will be negotiated and telework is possible.

Job Posting: Green Climate Fund

The UN-affiliated fund that assists developing countries counter climate change is hiring its next Ombudsperson. (Kevin Brown has held the position for the past two years.) The consultant position reports to the Fund’s Executive Director and serve staff with work-related complaints, disputes and issues. The appointment will be as an international Consultant working part-time (about 145 days for the first 12 months) and mostly remotely. The consultant will be required to visit the Fund’s offices in Songdo, South Korea, periodically.

University of Wisconsin–Madison Names Second 2022 Ombuds

Last week, Emeritus Professor Thomas Kuech began a three-year term an a UW-Madison Ombuds. Keuch retired in 2020 and has spent the past two years served as a program director at the National Science Foundation. As a faculty member Keuch was a professor of chemical engineering and served twice as department chair.

Ombuds are Centered in ABA November 2022 Dispute Resolution Newsletter

The November 2022 issue of the American Bar Association, Dispute Resolution Section's newsletter, "Just Resolutions," focuses exclusively on Ombuds. Ken Skodacek and Allison Monyei Whaley, Ombuds Committee Chairs, explain: "The mission of the Ombuds Committee is to increase the public’s knowledge of ombuds, as well as to promote the establishment and use of appropriately designed, supported, and implemented ombuds programs in all types of entities."

December 02, 2022

University of Pennsylvania Selects Next Ombuds

After a lengthy national search, Waged Jafer has been appointed the Deputy Ombuds for the private Ivy League research university in Philadelphia. Jafer will lead UPenn's Office of the Ombuds which serves 60,000 faculty, staff, and students following IOA standards. She succeeds Marcia Martínez-Helfman, who is retiring after more than a decade in the role, and joins University Ombuds Jennifer A. Pinto-Martin.

Podcast Interview with Pinterest Ombuds

Law and politics researcher İdil Elveriş has another podcast with an Ombuds for her podcast ,"We can Find a Way." This time, she interviews Donna Douglass Williams, CO-OP, the Head of Ombuds at Pinterest. Williams shares her perspective as one of the few Ombuds in tech and her experience with workplace conflict.

December 01, 2022

Job Posting: Marshall University

The public university in Huntington, West Virginia, is hiring its next Faculty Ombudsperson. The part-time position actually serves both faculty and staff. The University is located within the President's Community Outreach Committee and practices to IOA standards. The position was established in 2019 by Lacy Ward Jr. and has been held by La'Kesha Taylor for the past year.

Call for Papers: ENOHE 2023 Conference

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education seeks presenters for its first post-pandemic conference at Charles University in Prague on June 14-16, 2023. The event will be co-sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. A central theme of the conference is examining the impacts of the pandemic on the profession. Organizers are inviting contributions from speakers (including joint presentations) for a short and focused talk of up to ten minutes.

Stanford University Ombuds Releases 2022 Annual Report

Brenda Berlin, Stanford's University Ombuds, began publishing a yearly annual report in 2019 a year after she was hired. In her latest annual report for 2021-22, Berlin says that she saw 435 unique visitors, which represents a 10% increase from the academic year prior and an 18.5% increase over the last two years. In addition to case data, the report also outlines the work of an Ombuds and the top visitor concerns. (Stanford Ombuds 2022 Report.)

November 29, 2022

Job Posting: Williams College

One year after Waged Jafer established the Ombuds program, the private liberal arts college in Williamstown, Massachusetts is seeking its next Ombudsperson. The Williams Ombuds is a part-time position that serves faculty and staff—fewer than 500 people. The position reports to the college president and practices to IOA standards. For now, this opportunity is not being posted elsewhere.

November 28, 2022

Job Posting (RFP): American Psychiatric Association

The primary professional organization for psychiatrists in the U.S. has issued a Request for Proposals for the services of an Ombudsperson. The APA Ombuds will work as an independent contractor for the organization's 200 staff members following IOA standards. Most services will be provided virtually as early as January 5, 2023. Applicants will preferably have a related Master's degree, Ombuds and other ADR, at least four years of experience in a similar Ombuds role, and Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner (CO-OP) status. Proposals will be reviewed after December 10, 2022. (LinkedIn Posting.)

Metropolitan State University of Denver Contracts with MWI to Revive Ombuds Program

MSU Denver has announced the launch of a outsourced, remote Ombuds program for its faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees. MWI in Boston will provide the services with two designated Ombuds: LaCrisia “Cris” Gilbert and Roy Baroff. With the announcement, MSU is reviving an Ombuds program that was established in 2013 by Michael Kilpatrick and then transitioned to Barbara Beatty in 2018. 

Ombuds for American Finance Association Shares Aggregate Report

Francine Montemurro, AFA's Ombudsperson, has released a report summarizing her work for the academic organization since she created the program in December 2019. Over the nearly three year period, Montemurro assisted 23 AFA members. Faculty comprised over three quarters of the "inquirers" and the top concerns were policy/practice and integrity issues. Montemurru will be on site for AFA's 2023 annual meeting. (AFA Ombuds Report.)

November 25, 2022

Job Posting: European Central Bank

The ECB has opened a search for its first Organisational Ombuds and Mediator. Based at the bank's headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, the new position will establish an independent organizational unit providing informal ADR services to staff and identifying systemic issues, trends and patterns. The position will report directly to the bank's President. 

IOA Announces 2023 Conference Scholarships to Support International and New/Aspiring Ombuds

The International Ombuds Association is offering scholarships for its annual conference, "Ombuds as Change Agent? ReEngaging and Transforming Conflict," which is set for April 3-5, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. Scholarships will provide funds for Ombuds practicing outside the U.S. and new/aspiring Ombuds who do not have sufficient organizational support. Scholarship applications are due by January 9, 2023.

November 23, 2022

Ombuds for Asian Development Bank Releases 2021 Annual Report

Wayne Blair, ADB's Ombudsman, says that his office handled 540 cases in 2021, a 4.9% increase from the prior year. Recently, the office also underwent an external review. Among other things, the external review found that 16.1% of the ADB population sought assistance from the Ombuds Office in 2019, “a proportion of staff usage significantly higher than anticipated levels … based on international practice norms.” As in previous years, the report also includes “Odibles” — audio versions of case studies. (ADB Ombuds.)

November 22, 2022

MWI to Bridge Staff Ombuds Office at Washington University in St. Louis

In response to the recent departure of its first Ombudsperson for Staff, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, WashU has turned to MWI to provide interim services. MWI is a nationally recognized dispute resolution firm based in Boston that has provided Ombuds services to a range of organizations, including Iowa State University, Common Cause, and CVS. Two experienced MWI Ombuds panelists, LaCrisia "Cris" Gilbert and Roy Baroff, are already providing services for WashU staff, postdocs, and graduate students.

Prince William County Public Schools Ombuds Provides Annual Report

In her latest annual report as the Ombudsman for the Virginia public school system, Monique Bookstein says that cases rose 13% in the 2021-22 school year. Although visits from employees fell, the number of family and community visits more than tripled as the school district resumed operations after the first pandemic year. Bookstein identified several trends in visitor concerns. The full report is available to the public. (PWCS Ombuds 2022 Report; WTOP.)

November 21, 2022

Job Posting: West Virginia University

The public land grant research university in Morgantown will hire its first Graduate Student Ombudsperson. The part-time (approximately 10 hours per week or 25% FTE) position will report to the Provost and provide assistance to about 5,900 graduate student at WVU. The new Ombuds will supplement the work of the Faculty Ombuds Christine Schimmel and also practice to IOA standards.

Job Re-Posting: Colorado College

The private liberal arts college in Colorado Springs has re-opened its search for an Ombuds. The search will fill a position held by Paul Kuerbis since 2015. The full-time (30 hrs/wk for 9 months and 20 hrs/wk for 3 months) reports to the Executive Committee of the College's Board of Trustees. The qualifications are not significantly changed from the earlier search that ended in June.