May 31, 2022

Save the Date for Ombuds Day 2022

Mark your calendars! The 
American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution (ABA DR) Ombuds Day Planning Committee has announced that October 13, 2022 is Ombuds Day. This is an international event that celebrates all types of Ombuds. The theme for the fifth annual Ombuds Day is "Ombuds: Resilience, Respect, Resolve." The Planning Committee is being led by Ryan Smith (Michigan State University), and is comprised of liaisons from the ABA DR Ombuds Committee and various Ombuds organizations including IOA, USOA, NASOP, COFO and EON.

May 27, 2022

CCCUO Announces 2022 Summer Virtual Small Caucus

The California Caucus of College and University Ombuds will convene a half-day virtual caucus on June 22, 2022. The agenda is still being developed but is expected to feature small group discussions. the cost is minimal and registration limited to 100.

May 26, 2022

Retiring ETH Zurich Ombuds Reflects on Career

Gerhard Tröster, recently retired after serving four years as an Internal Ombuds for the public research university in Switzerland. Tröster joined the Ombudsstelle at ETH shortly after the office surfaced issues of bullying by a prominent professor that lead to the closure of the university's Institute of Astronomy. Tröster, also an Emeritus Professor, sat down for an interview for the ETH staff newsletter.

ACR Chicago Hosts Three Ombuds

This week, the Chicago chapter of Association for Conflict Resolution hosted a panel of three expert, local Ombuds: Brad Ginn from Argonne National Laboratory; Craig Mousin from DePaul University; and Sarah Klaper from Northwestern University. They talked about the role of the Ombuds, which is especially relevant as ACR is working on a program for its members. The full video is now available. 

May 25, 2022

Denver Public Schools Resumes Effort to Build Ombuds Program

Colorado the second largest public school system was dealt a sad setback last summer when its founding Ombudsperson, Sharon R. Bailey, passed away after just a few months on the job. Now, DPS has announced that Darlene LeDoux and Antoinette Hudson have been selected as the Ombudsperson and Associate Ombuds. Together, they will restart the effort to establish an Ombuds program for 15,000 DPS employees across more than 200 school sites. (DPS Announcements.)

UC Irvine Onboards an Associate Ombuds

Jared Lee has been named an Associate Ombuds for the University of California Irvine. He joins University and Medical Center Ombuds, Jennifer Moumneh, and Associate Ombuds, Shawn Hutchens. In this full-time role, Lee will be providing Ombuds services to all campus stakeholders.

May 24, 2022

Ivy Tech Community College Selects Ombuds to Reboot Office

Charlotte (Fontes) Bingham has been announced as the Student Ombudsperson for Indiana's community college system. She will take on the nation's second-largest community college with 40 campuses and 165,000 students, and revive a program that has been dormant since 2013. Bingham comes to the position after a little more than two years as the Assistant Ombuds at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Meet the New Ombuds at Southern Connecticut State University

In January 2021, SCSU appointed Audrey Kerr and Steven Larocco as its first Ombuds. Together, they serve faculty, staff, administration, and graduate students at the public university in New Haven and practice to IOA standards. Their Ombuds duties are collateral: both Kerr and Larocco are professors in the Department of English. Kerr is a member of IOA and earned a mediation certificat at the Center for Dispute Resolution at Quinnipiac University School of Law. (SCSU Ombuds.)

May 23, 2022

Job Posting: University of Idaho

Idaho's flagship public university has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. Reporting to the University President, the full-time position serves faculty, staff member, administrators, students, and groups -- a total population of almost 15,000. The search will fill the position held by Laura Smythe, who recently moved to a similar position at Iowa State University.

New Ombuds to Resume On-Campus Services at Iowa State University

Laura Smythe has been hired as the ISU University Ombuds. The appointment ends a two-year period during the pandemic when the university outsourced the service to MWI (Jai Calloway and Chuck Doran) who provided services virtually. Smythe comes to ISU after serving as the Ombuds for the University of Idaho since October 2018. According to an announcement from ISU, Smythe will begin providing services remotely until July and there will be an overlap with MWI. (LinkedIn; Inside IA State.)

May 20, 2022

IOA Lobbies U.S. Department of Education for Recognition of Ombuds

Ellen Miller, the Executive Director of the International Ombuds Association, reports on a meeting with federal regulators that could have significant effects on the work of Ombuds in public schools, colleges, and universities. This week, Miller and IOA's Advocacy Committee met with administrators from the Office of Management and Budget and Department of Education to explain why Ombuds should be exempt from mandatory reporting duties under Title IX. Along with Miller, IOA was represented by committee co-chairs, Mark Patterson (CSU Channel Islands) and Sarah Klaper (Northwestern). A response could come as early as this summer.

May 19, 2022

Job Posting: United Nations, Kenya

The United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services is hiring a Conflict Resolution Officer in Nairobi. The temporary position will serve the UN staff of the Resident Coordinator System. The position is currently through December 31, 2022 and may be extended based on funding availability and need.

TU Delft Names Two New Ombuds

In January, Delft University of Technology appointed Birgitte Peters the Ombuds Officer for Staff (Ombudsfunctionaris personeel) and Carin Wensveen the Ombuds Officer for Students (Ombudsfunctionaris studenten). The announcement brings the university into compliance with a 2020 agreement between the Association of Universities in the Netherlands and four leading labor unions. Peters and Wensveen succeed Job van Luyken, who served a two-year terms as the Ombuds. (TU Delft Delta.)

May 18, 2022

Job Posting: Florida Institute of Technology

The private research university in Melbourne, Florida is hiring its first full-time University Ombudsperson. (For a short time, Rebecca Crook, the Executive Assistant to the University President, served in the role on a part-time basis.) The new Ombuds will establish a program for faculty, staff, and students at Florida Tech, following IOA standards. 

Job Posting: Oslo Metropolitan University

The state university with campuses in Oslo and Akershus is hiring a Studentombud (Seniorrådgiver). The position provides services to over 20,000 students at Norway's third largest and most urban university. Responsibilities include: providing guidance and assistance to students about their rights; ensuring that student cases are handled properly; promoting the Ombuds function as a low-threshold service; assist in resolving issues at the lowest possible level; providing training to students; and reporting important issues to the university board. 

May 17, 2022

Job Posting: Duke University

The private university in Durham, North Carolina is hiring two University Ombudspersons who will serve all faculty, staff, and students. The search seems to indicate that Duke's administrators have heeded widespread feedback campus groups urging the consolidation and professionalization of its various Ombuds programs. The job posting also stated that, "The Ombuds Office will be staffed initially with two full-time professional Ombuds (with potential expansion if additional or more specialized expertise is needed) and sufficient administrative support for managing a high-volume and diverse case load, as well as for tracking and reporting on case volume and trends."

May 16, 2022

Job Posting: University of Virginia

UVA is seeking its next University Ombuds. The search will fill a position held by Brad Holland since 1997. The full-time position serves nearly 40,000 faculty, staff, and students at Virginia's flagship public university following IOA standards. Administratively, the Ombuds office sits within the Division for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and reports to the AVP of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights. UVA hopes to have the position filled by the Fall 2022 semester.

May 13, 2022

Job Posting: Washington State Education Ombuds

The Ombuds program that serves all of Washington's K-12 public schools is hiring an Associate Education Ombuds. The full-time, remote position is the first point of contact and will co-lead an important triage process for cases and work with other Ombuds. Applicants should "bring an experience and a commitment to anti-ableist, anti-racist practices as well as a commitment to ongoing learning to provide information for navigating questions and concerns in K-12 public education."

May 12, 2022

Statewide Candidate in New Mexico Touts IOA Credentials

Ant Thornton is a Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Mexico. He is ramping up his campaign ahead of the primary, where he faces another Republican contender. Thornton is a retired aerospace engineer from Sandia National Labs. When asked about his relevant experience in an interview with the Albuquerque Journal, Thornton mentions IOA: 

May 11, 2022

University of Leiden Appoints First Staff Ombuds

Universiteit Leiden
, the oldest university in the Netherlands, has appointed Marjan van Dasselaar as its first Staff Ombuds Officer. The announcement stems from an agreement between the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (Vereniging van Universiteiten) reached four employee labor organizations in 2020. Dasselaar joins Eugène van der Heijden, who has served as Ombuds for Students since 2015.

Cal Poly Pomona Faculty Urge Restoration of Ombuds Office

Despite persistent efforts by the Academic Senate at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, the university has refused to hire a replacement for Lavada Austin, who retired as Ombuds in 2020. A spokesperson for Cal Poly's President said, “The university is taking the time to re-envision the best way to offer a broader range of assistance. A lot of resources are being put into Student Affairs.

May 10, 2022

SOS Children's Villages is Developing an Ombuds Program

The Austria-based international development organization that provides aid and advocacy for children has been developing an Ombuds program since June 2021. "According to a recent update, "The system will provide checks and balances to existing safeguarding procedures, support children, young people and adults in resolving concerns and complaints, and serve as a focal point between the complainant and the organization." A non-profit consulting company tasked with the project, Proteknon, has been engaging children and youth in the development process.

Faculty Ombuds Urge Duke University to Professionalize Ombuds Office

Last week, Duke's two collateral-duty Ombuds told the university's Academic Council that the campus should have a centralized, full-time program with professional Ombuds. The message was delivered by Laura Svetkey, professor of medicine and School of Medicine Ombuds, and Paul Manos, professor in the department of biology and Duke faculty Ombuds along with their annual report. “It's very timely for us to make this presentation as we transition out of what is called ‘collateral ombudsman’ or part-time ombudsman,” Manos said.

Internship: Department of Energy

The DOE's Office of the Ombudsman is seeking a student intern for the summer or fall. The position will work on outreach, develop training and other materials, assist with facilitations and consultations, and analyze data for insights and trends. Candidates should have some knowledge of Ombuds or ADR practices, and have some relevant skills. The position will be remote with the option for limited in-person meetings, depending on the intern’s location and ability to travel. Hours, start date, and duration are negotiable.

May 06, 2022

Job Posting: Salesforce

The American cloud-based software company is hiring a (Director Employee Relations) Americas Ombudsperson. The company's first full-time Ombuds will report to the Vice President of Global Employee Relations and cover the company's operations in the Americas. The position "will provide safe spaces for employees to share feedback and concerns,... provide mentorship to executive leadership, build playbooks crafted to address specific employee -company situations / scenarios, and build a framework for the Ombudsperson function."

Job Posting: University of California Merced

The UC campus in Central California is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. The search will fill a position vacated by Chanelle Reese, who was recently named the Ombuds and Directors at the University of Iowa. The full-time position reports to UC Merced's Campus Ombuds, Hector Escalante, and provides services to students, staff, and faculty at a rapidly-growing university.

Job Posting: University of the Pacific

The private Methodist-affiliated university with its main campus in Stockton, California, is hiring a Senior Director of Community, Culture & Belonging/Ombuds. The full-time position reports to the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and "provides early detection for arising issues and is a source of suggestions for systemic change to improve existing university culture and processes." The position was last held by Hector Escalante, who left to become the Campus Ombuds for the University of California Merced.

Southern Illinois University Restores Ombuds Program for Employees

SIU Carbondale has appointed Michelle Kibby and Lori Foster as the first Ombuds for faculty and staff since the positions were eliminated over decade ago. (Renada Greer has been the Ombuds for students since 2017.) The Faculty and Staff Ombuds were re-established by SIU's Chancellor Austin A. Lane, after an extensive Listening and Learning Tour following his appointment in 2020.

May 05, 2022

Louisiana State University Adds an Associate Ombuds

Michael Brochu has joined the Ombuds Office at LSU as its first Associate Ombudsperson. Brochu left a similar position at the University of Cincinnati and will now report to the LSU Ombudsperson, Retha Niedecken, CO-OP. In this new role, Brochu will serve faculty, staff, and students at LSU Health New Orleans and LSU Health Shreveport

University of Minho Names Next Student Ombuds and First Institutional Ombuds

Rosa Vasconcelos has been named the next Student Ombudsperson for the public university in Braga, Portugal, succeeding Paula Cristina Martins, who established the position in 2016. In addition, Minho announced the appointment of Aníbal Augusto Alves as its first Institutional Ombudsperson. His mandate is broader and is otherwise consistent with a mandate of independence, neutrality, and confidentiality. Both new Ombuds will serve a four-year term.

May 04, 2022

Job Posting: Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Schools

The Board of Cooperative Educational Services for Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus, a public school district in western New York, is seeking its first Ombuds Officer. The full-time position will serve employees, students, and others in the school community in three counties (Chautauqua County, southern Erie County, and part of Cattaraugus County, a geographical area of 1,791 square miles) and 27 component school districts. Significant travel is required.

May 03, 2022

Job Posting: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

The UNHCR's Office of the Ombudsman in Budapest, Hungary is hiring Conflict Resolution & Mediation Officer.
The position provides Ombuds services for UNHRC personnel with employment-related concerns and conduct mediations, facilitated dialogues and other conflict resolution processes.

Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Creates Ombuds Program

College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, a 125 year old constituent, semi-autonomous part of Pennsylvania, has unveiled a Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Ombuds Program. "The program is comprised of graduate faculty volunteers serving as ombuds in their own departments [selected by their department, rather than elected and] students and postdocs within EMS can choose to meet with any ombudsperson across the college." The program is independent of the existing Penn State Ombuds offices for faculty and graduate students.

May 02, 2022

University of Iowa Selects Experienced Ombuds

Chanelle Reese has been appointed the new University Ombudsperson at Iowa starting June 21, 2022. Reese comes to the position from the University of California Merced, where she was the Associate Ombuds, and succeeds
Cynthia Joyce. Reese will head an office that includes Faculty Ombuds, Meenakshi (Gigi) Durham, Associate Ombuds, Jennifer Lynch (who was also a finalist for the position), and Interim Associate Ombuds, Nadia Sabbagh Steinberg. In an email announcement, Iowa's President, Barbara Wilson, said “The university ombudsperson plays a vital role for our students, faculty, and staff, and I know Chanelle’s leadership and experience will ensure our community has a safe, neutral, and empathic place to go for advice and conflict resolution.”

West Virginia University Opens Internal Search for Next Faculty Ombuds

WVU is soliciting internal applicants for its Faculty Ombudsperson, a part-time (0.25 FTE), three-year appointment. The search will replace Professor of Management, Jodi Goodman, who has been the Ombuds since the Fall of 2019. The Ombuds reports to WVU's provost and practices to IOA standards..