September 30, 2022

Duke Appoints First University Ombuds

Jessica Kuchta-Miller, CO-OP, has been hired to lead an expanded Ombuds Office that will serve all of Duke University. She joins Student Ombuds, Keegan Cary, Interim Ombuds, Ada Gregory, Interim Faculty Ombuds, and Ombuds for Medical Students and Post-Docs, Jean Spaulding. Kuchta-Miller comes to the position from Washington University St. Louis, where she has been the Ombuds for Staff since 2015.

September 29, 2022

Loudoun County Public Schools Selects Inaugural Ombuds

Carey Williams has been appointed the first Ombudsman for LCPS, the public school district in northeast Virginia with 84,000 students. In this full-time role, Williams will work with families, employees and community members, practicing to IOA standards and reporting to the district's Chief of Staff.

September 28, 2022

Coalition of Federal Ombudsman Posts Agenda and Registration for 2022 Conference

COFO has opened registration for is 2022 annual conference, “Practice in the Modern World,” which will be held (now only virtually) from 9 am – 5 pm EDT on Friday, October 14, 2022. As usual, 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 ADR practitioners anywhere, as well as those interested in other fields.

The CO-OP Recertification Committee has preapproved the conference for a total of 4.5 Professional Development Hours (PDH). David Schwartz’s presentation accounts for 0.5 PDH, with the other four presentations accounting for 1.0 PDH each.

September 27, 2022

Job Posting: InCommunity

The nonprofit that provides community-based services and support to people with developmental disabilities and their families is hiring its first Ombudsman. The part-time position will be based at InCommunity's headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia and provide assistant to individuals and family members. The position is confidential, informal, and neutral, and works under the general supervision of the Quality Assurance Director. Applicants must have a Bachelor's degree in education and/or other related area preferred or two or more related experience

Newberry College Creates Ombuds Program

The private Lutheran college in South Carolina has appointed Timothy Elston as its first Ombudsman. In this new role, Elston will serve faculty, staff, and about 1,250 students and their parents. He takes on the Ombuds position in addition to his duties as Associate Vice President for Academic Administration. 

Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Unveils Ombuds Office

FMCS recently updated its public website with a link to its Office of the Ombuds, which was established in 2020. The program "is uniquely positioned to serve as an independent, confidential, impartial, and informal resource for federal agencies" across the U.S. government. Karen J. Dean was selected in August 2020 to head the office as the FMCS Executive Ombuds.

September 26, 2022

New Ombuds to Expand Program at University of Oklahoma

After a national search that started in June 2021, the Sooners have announced the appointment of Jeffrey Harp as the next University Ombudsperson. In this full-time position, Harp reestablish a program that has been dormant since the untimely passing of Gloria Miller-White in 2018. Harp reports to the Vice President for Executive Affairs and will expand a program that previously served only faculty to all members of the OU campus.

Job Posting: United Health Services

The regional not-for-profit health care system based in Binghamton, New York, is hiring an "Employee Ombudsperson and Employee Engagement Specialist." The full-time position serves as a "designated neutral dispute resolution practitioner who provides confidential and informal assistance to UHS employees concerned about an issue in addition to working on Employee engagement initiatives." It appears that the system has about 7,500 employees and has hired Ombuds in the past, but none have had employee engagement duties.

Loyola University New Orleans Names Next Staff Ombuds

Kathy Gross has been appointed the Staff Ombudsman for the private, Jesuit university in Louisiana. She follows Robert Reed, and takes on Ombuds duties in addition to her wok as Director of Registration Services. Gross provides services to about 300 LoyNO employees. (LoyNO Staff Ombuds.)

September 23, 2022

ABA Sets 2022 Ombuds Day Panels

he American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution (ABA DR) has announced the panelists for Ombuds Day on October 13, 2022. ABA DR will present two sessions featuring a range of Ombuds practitioners: 

September 21, 2022

Duke University Names Student Ombuds

Keegan Cary has been named the Student Ombuds, joining Ada Gregory, Interim Faculty Ombuds, and Jean Spaulding, Ombuds for Medical Students and Post-Docs. (A search is currently underway for a University-wide Ombuds to be named later this fall.) Cary comes to the position from the University of Oregon, where she was the Ombuds Case Assistant and Interim Director of the Student Conflict Resolution Center.

September 20, 2022

IOA Steps Up Federal Lobbying Efforts

Last week, Ellen Miller, the Executive Director of the International Ombuds Association, updated the membership on the organization's advocacy efforts with the federal government. IOA has retained a lobbying firm (not named) in order to educate legislators about the role of Ombuds. 

September 19, 2022

Western Kentucky University Introduces Faculty Ombuds

Michelle Jones has been named the Faculty Ombudsperson for the public university in Bowling Green. She joins WKU Student Ombuds Officer, Emmeline Essler, and WKU Ombuds Officer Karl Laves. All three generally practice to IOA standards. Jones adds Ombuds duties and continues as Associate Professor of Mathematics.

University Ombuds Remains a Goal for Faculty and Students at Yale

Proposals for the creation of a University Ombuds are on the agendas for Yale's Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate and Graduate Students Association this year. Faculty and student remain frustrated in their efforts, despite a recommendation by the Advisory Committee on Campus Climate in 2001. Jill Campbell, English professor and former FAS Senate, explained to the Yale Daily News, “Yale wants you, the individual, to navigate all the very complicated and localized different kinds of offices and officers to figure out exactly where that

Job Posting: Federal Reserve System

The governing board of the U.S. central bank is hiring an Assistant Ombuds in Washington, DC. This Executive Ombuds position: acts as facilitator for the fair and timely resolution of complaints related to the System’s regulatory activities; receives, reviews, and decides claims of retaliatory conduct by System staff; and reports to Board members and senior Board staff on issues that may have a significant impact on the System’s mission, activities, or reputation, including patterns of issues that occur in multiple complaints. In addition, there are collateral administrative duties. This is a hybrid position, with on-site cadence of about six times per month.

September 16, 2022

Job Posting: South Texas College

The public community college in McAllen, Texas is hiring an Ombudsperson. Olga Moran has held the position for over nine years. The position, "provides guidance to the South Texas College community regarding college protocol and procedures and assists students in resolving disputes and conflicts in a way that facilitates individual responsibility, contributes to their maturation, and promotes the development of self-advocacy skills." October 3, 2022 is the desired start date.

Job Posting: Stockton University

The public university near Atlantic City, New Jersey is hiring a half-time Ombuds Officer. The position serves faculty, staff, and students--a total population of about 11,000. The search will fill a vacancy left by Lisa M. Lyle, who served in the position for a little more than one year. This is an in-person, non-remote position.

Virginia Commonwealth University Ombuds Resumes In-Person Conflict Resolution Day

Every year, VCU's Ombudsman, William King, sponsors a National Conflict Resolution Day program. After two years of online programs, the signature event returns to campus this year on October 20, 2022. The keynote speaker will be Mark Patterson, the inaugural Ombuds at Cal State Channel Islands. As usual, the event is free and open to the public.

September 15, 2022

2022 ACR Conference Includes Just One Session About Ombuds

The Association for Conflict Resolution's annual conference is underway in Orlando, Florida. Although ACR has an Ombuds Section and Ombuds are frequent presenters and attendees, there is just one session about Ombuds this year. Yesterday, Kira Nurieli gave a breakout presentation on "Workplace Culture and the Role of the Ombuds." Nurieli is the principal of Harmony Strategies Group, a consulting company that provides Ombuds services, conflict coaching, mediation, restorative practices, trainings, and dialogue facilitation. She is also an external Ombuds at science and healthcare organizations. (ACR 2022 Conf Info; LinkedIn.)

September 14, 2022

Dartmouth College Appoints Full-Time Ombuds

Tracey Brant, CO-OP, has been selected the Ombuds for the private Ivy League college in New Hampshire. She will report to the president and reopen an office that has been closed for nearly five years. The prior Ombuds was part-time and worked only with faculty and staff. Brant will serve Dartmouth's faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and professional and graduate students. Brant comes to the position for Cornell University, where she was the Assistant Ombudsman for four years.

September 13, 2022

Faculty Ombuds at Idaho State University Steps Down

Rick Wagoner, who has served as Faculty Ombuds at ISU for the past five years has taken a leave of absence and stepped down from his part-time Ombuds position. Idaho State is accepting internal nominations for his replacement. Meanwhile, the office will continue to provide services under the other Faculty Ombuds, David Delehanty. (ISU Faculty Senate Agenda.)

FEBS Letters: Ombuds Have Role in Mitigating Academic Bullying

Last week, FEBS Letters (an imprint of the not-for-profit Federation of European Biochemical Societies) featured an article on "The potential role of an Ombuds Office in addressing academic bullying concerns." The author, Morteza Mahmoudi, is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Radiology and Precision Health Program at Michigan State University. He urges his colleagues to consult an Ombuds when experiencing academic bullying. 

September 12, 2022

Call for Speakers: IOA In-Person, 2023 Conference

The International Ombuds Association is inviting presentation proposals and speaker suggestion for its 18th Annual Conference, "Ombuds as Change Agent? ReEngaging and Transforming Conflict." The in-person conference is scheduled for April 3-5, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (This call for proposals is for presentations that will be delivered in person.) Proposals are due by October 17, 2022 to be considered by the IOA Conference Committee Programming Subcommittee. Presenters will be notified of the committee’s decisions on November 15, 2022. (IOA Call for Presentations.)

Wake County Public School System Considering Ombuds

The public school district North Carolina with 160,000 students is considering an Ombuds to handle complaints from the public and school employees. Last week, administrators made a proposal to the Wake County School Board and provided materials from Ombuds offices at other school districts, including DC Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, Lakota Local Schools, and Pasadena Unified School District. According to the Charlotte News & Observer, "School leaders said the new position could help rebuild public trust in schools that has been shaken in recent years." (Board of Education Work Session; News & Observer.)

September 09, 2022

University College Cork Opens Ombuds Office

The National University of Ireland campus in Cork has appointed Fred Powell as its first Student Advisor and Ombudsman. In this new role, Powell will advise and assist nearly 20,000 students "with the resolution of difficulties, complaints or grievances involving staff or services of the University in an informal manner." Terms of Reference for his office make it clear that services will be confidential, impartial, independent, and informal. 

University of Nebraska Medical Center Adds an Ombuds

Jessica Koran-Scholl
has joined the UNMC Ombuds Program on a part-time basis. She joins David Carver, the long-time Ombuds Program Director, and succeeds Susan Swindells, who established the office with Carver in 1997. Koran-Scholl has been the Director of Behavioral Health at UNMC for the past ten years. She graduated from Kansas State University and earned her PhD at Palo Alto University. Koran-Schollis is active in the Nebraska Psychological Association as a member of the ethics committee and also is a member of IOA. (UNMC Newsroom; LinkedIn.)

De Gruyter Handbook of Organizational Conflict Management

The German academic publisher has released a new textbook about managing workplace conflict. Many of the topics and contributors will be familiar to practicing Ombuds. Chapter 19 deals with Ombuds specifically: "Functions and Benefits of an Organizational Ombuds." The contributors are Neil H Katz (Ombuds for the Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center at Nova Southeastern University), Neal J. Powless (Syracuse University Ombuds), and Gayle Hardison (graduate student at Nova Southeastern). Here's an abstract of their chapter: 

September 08, 2022

Connecticut College Ombuds Posts Charter and First Annual Report

In May 2020, Amy Sereday, CO-OP, was appointed the first Staff Ombudsperson for the private liberal arts college in New London. Since then, her mandate has expanded to include faculty issues. (The former Faculty Ombuds, David Dorfman, Christine Chung, and Simon Feldman are now designated as Faculty Intermediaries and are still part of the office.) This week Sereday published the Charter for her office, which ensures compliance with IOA standards. She also released her first Annual Report, which covers the 68 visitors who consulted her during the 2020-21  academic year. (Connecticut College Ombuds.)

Call for Submissions: ABA's 2023 Dispute Resolution Section Spring Conference

The American Bar Associations Dispute Resolution Section is seeking program proposals for next year’s Dispute Resolution Spring Conference! The conference will be held entirely in-person at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, May 10-13, 2023. This is the world’s largest ADR conference, where attendees gather to learn the latest in dispute resolution techniques and trends, exchange ideas with experts and peers, and strengthen their professional relationships. The theme of this year’s conference is “Leading Change Through ADR: Strategies for Navigating Our World Today.” 

September 07, 2022

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Opens Ombuds Office

Dale Buckles has been named the first Ombuds for ECTC, a community college in central Kentucky. He comes to the position after serving as the college's Chief Student Affairs Officer for two decades and, more recently, Title IX Officer. In this new role as the Ombudsperson, Buckles will serve as a resource for faculty, staff, students, and administrators. He reports to the President of the College and practices to IOA standards.

September 06, 2022

University of Missouri–St. Louis Tests Ombuds for Staff

The public university in St. Louis, Missouri, has selected Marlo Goldstein Hode as its first Staff Ombuds. (The university does not have analogs for students or faculty.) As the acting Ombuds, she will provide an resource for about 1,000 UMSL employees for the 2022-23 academic year. Hode comes to the position after about two years as the university's Senior Manager for Strategic Diversity Initiatives. 

New Directory of Federal Ombuds in Canada

The National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Ombudsman has published a list of Federal Ombuds and similar organizations. The list currently includes Classical and Organizational Ombuds in a range of government agencies: 

September 01, 2022

University of Kansas Confirms Acting Ombuds After National Search

KU has promoted its Acting University Ombuds, Ada Emmett, to the permanent position. Emmet joined the program in 2019 as a part-time Faculty Ombuds and, less than a year later, stepped up to the interim role. She was selected after a national search that opened in April 2022. The KU Ombuds reports to the provost and practices to IOA standards.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Selects Faculty Ombuds

Lisa PytlikZillig has been appointed to the open Faculty Ombuds position at Nebraska's flagship public university. She follows Marjorie Kostelnik, who retired, and joins Rodrigo Franco Cruz. PytlikZillig is a Research Associate Professor in the Public Policy Center and her research focuses on public engagement, trust in institutions, public acceptance of new policies and technologies, and alternative dispute resolution. She is a trained mediator,