January 31, 2022

IOA Selects New Executive Director

Next month, Ellen Miller, currently the Executive Director of the California Lawyers Foundation, will become the next leader of the International Ombuds Association seeks applicants for its next Executive Director. Her appointment culminates a national, four-month search to a position vacated by Chuck Howard, IOA's first Executive Director. Miller brings a wide range of non-profit leadership and dispute resolution to the post.

Maryland Institute College of Art Carefully Creating Ombuds Program

The private art and design school in Baltimore is "collaborating with the College community and Pacifica Human Communications, LLC in the development of an organizational ombuds system." The new campus resource was initiated by MICA's Board of Trustees in July 2021 as part of a broader effort to address "racism, sexism, harassment, and other forms of experienced inequities." A committee of ten alumni, faculty, staff, and students are meeting to develop a charter and facilitate dialog with MICA constituents.

University of Ottawa Ombuds Spotlights Human Rights Issues in 2020-21 Report

The latest annual report from uOttawa's Ombudsperson, Martine Conway, reveals that nearly a third of the cases involved academic and human rights issues. "A large majority of the issues surrounding human rights complaints are in relation to disability and race, making up 84 per cent of all human rights issues for the year." The report also notes that the number of student cases were unchanged in 2020-2021. (The Fulcrum.)

January 28, 2022

ACCUO to Host First Virtual Conference

The Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons (Association des ombudsmans des universités et collèges du Canada) will convene its first virtual annual conference on February 3, 2022. The theme, “Community Reconnect,” reflects the intention to help Canadian Ombuds restore valuable connections lost during the pandemic. The one-day event is free and open to non-members.

Job Posting: United Nations, Israel

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a Regional Ombudsman for its office in Jerusalem. The temporary position will serve the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and report to the UN Ombudsman Shireen L. Dodson through the UNOMS Chief of Staff. The position is currently contracted through December 31, 2022 and may be extended based on the service agreement with UNRWA.

January 27, 2022

IOA Opens Election for Two Board Cohorts

After a delay of nearly a year, the International Ombuds Association has re-opened the election for its Board of Directors. Voting was delayed ten months ago while the association reviewed equity concerns, and updated its election process and other provisions of the bylaws. As a result, a third of Directors are serving well past their expected three-year term end date of April 2021. The election will fill nine positions from a field of ten candidates. Only IOA members may vote and the election closes February 25, 2022.

Cornell Selects Next University Ombuds

Professor of Communication, Bruce Lewenstein, has been appointed the University Ombudsman for Cornell, succeeding Charles Walcott, who retired after a decade in the job. It's a somewhat familiar role for Lewenstein—he was a Student Ombuds when he was a senior at the University of Chicago. Lewenstein remains as a faculty member and joins Linda Falkson, the full-time Director of the office, and Assistant Ombudsman, Tracey Brant.

January 26, 2022

Job Posting: University of Iowa

The public research university in Iowa City has opened a search for its next University Ombudsperson.
Cynthia Joyce, who has held the position for nearly 17 years, will be retiring in March. The full-time position reports to the University President, and serves faculty, staff, and students. Other members of the office include Meenakshi (Gigi) Durham, Faculty Ombudsperson, and Nadia Sabbagh Steinberg, Associate Ombudsperson. 

Job Posting: Boston University

The private university in Boston is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position reports to the University Ombuds, Francine Montemurro, and serves faculty, staff, and students on the main and medical campuses. The search will fill a position recently vacated by Adam Barak Kleinberger.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Taps Long-Time Federal Ombuds for New Office

Scott Deyo, CO-OP, will become UNCC's is first dedicated, full-time University Ombuds. In this new position, Deyo will serve all faculty and staff at the public university in North Carolina's largest city. Previously, UNCC had only a part-time Faculty Ombuds, Todd Steck, and Mediation Coordinator, Diana Rowan.
Deyo brings a wealth of Ombuds experience in the Federal sector and starts his new position on February 1, 2022.

World Food Programme Adds an Experienced Ombuds

Earlier this month, Dolores Gómez-Morán, CO-OP, joined the United Nations World Food Program as Senior Ombuds Officer and Mediator in the Office of the Ombudsman and Mediation Services. She joins a team of ten led by WFP Ombuds, Gabrielle Kluck, and will be based in Rome.

January 21, 2022

University of Wyoming Names First Ombuds

In November 2021, Dilnoza Khasilova became the first Student Ombudsman for the public land-grant research university in Laramie. “The student ombudsman office is slated to officially open in the spring,” Khasilova says. “Currently, our organizational group is collaborating closely with different offices on campus to ensure they know about our services. Our goal is to highlight the value the office brings to our campus and encourage greater use of services the office will be offering to students and staff.” 

January 20, 2022

Job Posting: University of Alberta

The Office of the Student Ombuds at the public research university in Edmonton is hiring an Undergraduate Student Ombudsperson and a Graduate Student Ombudsperson. These two full-time positions report to the Director of the Student Ombuds, Natalie Sharpe. Her office serves over 40,000 students across four campuses.

Job Posting: University of South Carolina

The public research university in Columbia, South Carolina, has opened a search for an Associate Student Ombuds. The full-time position reports to the Director of Undergraduate Student Ombuds Services, Lisa Jerald, to assist in serving a student population of 27,000. 

January 19, 2022

U.S. Dragon Boat Federation Seeks Volunteer Ombuds

The national, non-profit, volunteer organization for the dragon boat sport is seeking its first Ombuds. "The USDBF Ombuds is a designated neutral appointed by the USDBF to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns, or potential violation of the following Standards of Conduct found in the USDBF Code of Conduct." The Ombuds will serve all persons involved in USDBF activities. The position is explicitly confidential, neutral, independent of other duties, and an alternate to formal processes. (USDBF News.)

Kennesaw State University Adds Two New Ombuds

Akanmu G. Adebayo and Luc Guglielmi have joined Hope Torkornoo as members of the KSU Office of the Ombuds. Together, the three Ombuds serve all members of the Kennesaw campus.

January 18, 2022

Sam Houston State University Names First Ombuds

Falguni Mukherjee has been selected the first Ombudsperson for the public university in Huntsville, Texas. She will serve a one-year term and serve the university’s faculty and staff. According to an announcement, Mukherjee will spend the spring semester developing the office, including establishing an office charter and participating in professional training, and will begin seening visitors this summer. 

University of Texas Austin Seeks Next Faculty Ombuds

UT Austin's Faculty Council and Provost are seeking applications for a Faculty Ombuds. The two-year position is eligible for a single course release each academic year and over the summer. Currently, Caroline Bartel and Chris McCarthy share the position and it is not clear who will be replaced by the current search. Only tenured full professors are eligible to be Faculty Ombuds. Applications and nominations are due by the end of January 2022. (UT Provost Announcement.)

January 13, 2022

LinkedIn Discussion Group Offers Independent Forum for All Ombuds

Established in October 2021, OmbudsLinked has become an important place for all types of practicing Ombuds (regardless of model, sector, standards of practice, etc.) to gather, network, share information and ideas, build camaraderie, and unite the profession. Moreover, OmbudsLinked is independent and not affiliated with any of the Ombuds professional associations. The closed, LinkedIn group is moderated by Caroline Adams, Elizabeth Hill, and Jennifer Mahony.

January 12, 2022

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is seeking two expert consultants. The part-time positions will "support the induction and training of new staff in the Office, with a focus on the main principles and tools of workplace conflict resolution and its application in the UN System under the relevant terms of reference." The work is expected to begin February 1 and last through June 30, 2022.

University of Wisconsin–Madison Opens Internal Search for Ombuds

The provost at UW–Madison has announced the search for an Ombudsperson to begin service in mid-2022. The Ombuds Office serves all employees at the public university and is comprised of retired faculty and staff.
The current team includes Bruno Browning, Jane Dymond, Gery Essenmacher, Erik (Rick) Nordheim, and Lezli Redmond. (UW-M Ombuds.)

January 11, 2022

Call for Papers: ENOHE 2022 Conference in Greece

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education is requesting presentation proposals (including papers, workshops, and roundtables) for its annual conference set for June 8-10, 2022 in Athens. The conference theme is "Students’ Rights and Ombuds’ Values: Ensuring Inclusion in Higher Education."

New Ombuds Institute to Offer Professional Training

Teresa Ralicki, an experienced Ombuds and currently the Campus Ombuds at CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, has created the Ombuds Institute, LLC. Her new company aims to provide needed services to Ombuds and Ombuds offices. The company’s initial focus will be online, asynchronous courses, aimed to provide skills and content that is otherwise missing from other sources. Her hope is “to host a bank of robust and accessible online trainings created by other expert ombuds and ADR professionals aimed to elevate the confidence and skills of all aspiring, new, and experienced ombuds.” 

January 10, 2022

Job Posting: U.S. Green Building Council

The non-profit that promotes sustainable buildings (best known for its LEED rating scheme) is seeking its next Ombuds. The part-time, hourly position is endorsed by USGBC's board and serves 250 employees worldwide. (Scott Deyo established role in May 2021.) The organization is based in Washington, DC, but the position may work remotely.

Law Journal Article Outlines Path to Ombuds Privilege

A forthcoming paper by Diana Simon, a law professor at the University of Arizona, examines the legal issues surrounding Ombuds' confidentiality and privilege. Despite the pessimistic title, "The Ombudsman Privilege is a House of Cards," Simon lays out the arguments that could lead a federal court to find a privilege for an Organizational Ombuds. The article is currently available as an Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper and will be published later in the University of Texas School of Law Review of Litigation.

IOA Seeks Nominations for 2022 Distinguished Emeriti

The International Ombuds Association is asking its members to submit names for its annual Distinguished Emeritus Award. Most years, the IOA Nominations & Governance Committee recognizes retired Ombuds for their outstanding and dedicated service to the association and Ombuds profession more broadly. Completed nomination forms are due February 11, 2022.

January 07, 2022

Original Research Highlights Issues for Higher Ed Ombuds

The latest article in the Journal of the International Ombuds Association presents original research by Diane Van Hoose, an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Hawaiʻi Hilo. As part of a Graduate Certificate in Conflict Resolution at UH Manoa, she surveyed 76 working Ombuds (and IOA members) on their best practices for their services in higher education settings. 

January 06, 2022

Job Posting: Denver Public Schools

DPS, the second largest public school system in Colorado, is hiring its next Ombudsperson. The program was established in June 2021 by Sharon R. Bailey and who passed away unexpectedly last month. The position serves only employees, currently about 15,000, who work at more than 200 school sites.

Job Re-Posting: University of Northern Colorado

The public university in Greeley has re-opened the 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. Criteria for the position have not changed since the initial search in November 2021.

January 05, 2022

Job Posting: Claremont Graduate University

The private, all-graduate research university and member of the Claremont Colleges in Southern California is hiring a University Ombudsperson. The position serves faculty, staff, students, and other members of the campus community with complaints and concerns relating to conflict within the institution and practices to IOA standards. The part-time (1 day/week, 0.2 FTE) position is telecommuting eligible. 

January 04, 2022

Harvard Adds Two Experienced Ombuds

Adam Barak Kleinberger, CO-OP, and Colette Carmouche have joined the newly unified Harvard University Ombuds Office which brings all Ombuds services under one office, with sites in Boston and Cambridge. (The change was precipitated by the retirement of Lydia Cummings in December 2020.) Kleinberger and Carmouche join Ombuds colleagues at Harvard's medical campus, Melissa Brodrick and Justin Neiman.

Ombuds Offers Insights on "The Great Resignation"

Ombuds have seen firsthand the change in communities, personal lives, and organizations brought on by the Covid pandemic. While the mandates to work from home are slowly lifting, and the transition to a hybrid work place is gradually taking place, employees have recognized that working is simply an option. Government assistance and working for companies that offer decent wages by the hour have created new jobs for individuals seeking flexibility. All of which has resulted in an economic phenomenon called "The Great Resignation." In an interview with Authority Magazine at Medium.com, Ombuds Bina Patel, shares strategies on how employers and employees can work together to mitigate the impact of The Great Resignation. Among the top five strategies, Patel suggests is to put 'people first' by establishing an Organizational Ombuds program. (Medium.)

Hamline University Students and Faculty Urge Restoration of Ombuds Program

From 2011 to 2016, the private liberal arts college in Saint Paul, Minnesota had a thriving Ombuds Office headed by Molly McAvoy. Now, concerns about sexual assault and harassment prevention and reporting are leading some stakeholdes to ask about reviving the Ombuds office. Hamline's campus newspaper, The Oracle, reports "Junior Kayla Tester is currently drafting a resolution to propose to HUSC regarding Hamline hiring some form of an Ombuds office." The paper says that faculty have also voiced interest and support for an Ombuds office. The administration has responded that an Ombuds program is not financial viable. (The Oracle.)

January 01, 2022

2021 Year in Review: Setting the Stage for Positive Change

Many of the most important events in the Ombuds field in 2021 were relatively quiet, but will gain significance in time. Then there was obviously important work of the IOA leadership, which was immediately notable and which will also set the stage for continued growth in the profession.