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.

University of Oklahoma Adopts Ombuds Charter

In September 2022, Jeffrey Harp was named as Oklahoma's next University Ombudsperson with a mandate to expand the program to the entire campus. Now a new charter for the office ensures that Harp will practice to IOA standards (including confidentiality for Title IX matters). The University of Oklahoma Ombuds Office Charter was endorsed by President Joseph Harroz, Jr. on November 1, 2022. (OU Charter.)

November 17, 2022

Job Posting: California State University, Monterey Bay

The public university in Central California has opened a search for its first Ombudsperson. The CSUMB Ombuds will serve faculty, staff, and students at the mid-size university. Generally, the position will practice to IOA standards. However, a Cal State University system policy requires Ombuds to report sexual misconduct and gender discrimination to the campus Title IX officer. 

Canadian Journal of Bioethics Highlights Role of Ombuds

The current issue of CJB, a peer-reviewed open-access academic journal published by Université de Montréal, includes several articles relevant to Ombuds. Authors include: Brent Epperson (Ombuds at the University of Luxembourg); Julie Boncompain (Ombudsman at Polytechnique de Montreal and Mila – Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute); Heather McGhee Peggs (Patient Ombudsman for Toronto); and Shirley R. Nakata (Ombuds at the University of British Columbia).

City of Ann Arbor Exploring Ombuds Program

The city outside Detroit and home to the University of Michigan is investigating the establishment and funding of an Ombuds office. Last week, the Ann Arbor City Council passed a resolution directing the City Administrator to begin researching and evaluating an Ombuds program to serve residents and users of City services. The resolution specifically referenced USOA and IOA, as well as the Ombuds in place at the cities of Flint and Detroit, and the University of Michigan. The City Administrator is expected to report back on findings prior to the finalization of the City's 2023-24 budget. (City of Ann Arbor Resolution.)

November 16, 2022

IOA Seeks Authors for First Book

The International Ombuds Association is calling for authors for its first book. Led by Shannon L. Burton (Ombuds at Michigan State University) and Loraleigh Keashly (Professor of Communication at Wayne State University), the book aims "to be a comprehensive handbook that addresses the interdisciplinary and nuanced history, theory and practices found within the field."

November 15, 2022

Job Posting: Rutgers University

The State University of New Jersey has opened a search for its next Ombudsperson. The position has been held for many years by Sybil James, who recently became the Dean of Students. The Rutgers Ombuds single-handedly serves a student body of nearly 70,000. (A separate Ombuds Office serves students and house staff at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.) The position reports to the university chancellor. 

Job Posting: Springfield College

The private college in Western Massachusetts is hiring its first Ombudsperson. The part-time position will serve all faculty, staff, and students—a total population of nearly 7,000. The new Ombuds will report to the Director of Human Resources with oversight by the Audit and Compliance Committee of the Board of Trustees. The position is expected to practice to IOA standards. 

Job Posting: Kaiser Permanente, Southern California

KP is hiring a full-time HealthCare Ombuds/Mediator for its medical facilities in Downey, California. The Kaiser HCOM, "functions as a trained alternative dispute professional offering patients, family members, staff & providers a conflict management program to resolve patient/provider healthcare disputes early thereby improving patient safety & reducing the costs of health care dispute resolution."

Pacific University Developing Ombuds Program

The private university in Forest Grove, Oregon, is taking steps to create an Ombuds program for employees. An ad hoc task force was appointed in September to develop a position description and charter for the role. The move comes after discussions between the faculty senate and administration last year. Pacific is not planning to provide Ombuds services to its 4,000 students "because of a comprehensive and well-established support structure already in place within Student Affairs." (Pacific Ombuds Task Force.)

November 14, 2022

Job Posting: University of Alberta

The Office of the Student Ombuds at the public research university in Edmonton is hiring an Undergraduate Ombudsperson. The full-time position reports to the Director of the Student Ombuds, Natalie Sharpe and joins Graduate Ombudsperson, Remonia Stoddart-Morrison and Undergraduate Ombudsperson, Marc Johnson. UAlberta's OSO serves over 40,000 students across four campuses.

Job Posting: Chevron, England

Chevron’s Global Office of Ombuds is hiring an Ombuds Manager based in London. The full-time position reports to the Global Principal Ombuds Manager, Sana Manjeshwar and provides Ombuds services to Chevron's employees in Europe, Eurasia, Africa, Middle East. Chevron’s Ombuds program practices to IOA standards. Expatriates will not be considered for the position and travel is expected (about 30-40% time).

Philosophy of Science Association Unveils Ombuds Program

The international academic organization focused on the philosophy of science has announced the creation of an Ombuds Office for its members. Joyce C. Havstad is PSA's Ombuds and Anya Plutynski is the Deputy Ombuds. They were in place for PSA's annual conference last week in Pittsburgh. According to a published Charter, the PSA Ombuds is structured and operates pursuant to IOA standards. (PSA Ombuds.) 

IOA to Fund New Ombuds Research

A new Research Grant Program from the International Ombuds Association will award funds for new research that investigates Organizational Ombuds. This is in addition to a separate initiative to new published research in the field. The window for grant proposals opened on November 3, 2022, and will continue until the fund are exhausted (a total amount which has not been announced). Grants will be awarded beginning in February 2023.

November 11, 2022

Job Posting: University of Minnesota

The Student Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Minnesota is accepting applications for an Ombudsperson. The full-time, hybrid remote (2-3 days per week in Minneapolis) position will report to the Director and University Ombud, finn j. schneider. The SCRC provides services to nearly 50,000 students, postdocs, and medical residents following IOA and ACCUO standards.

Retirement Marks Transition in Student Ombuds at VU Amsterdam

Lies Poesiat, who has been the Student Ombudsman at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam for the past 15 years, has announced her retirement. Poesiat will wind down her duties and work one day a week as Staff Ombuds until May 2024. Poesiat's career was capped by a book published in English and Dutch (Ombuds Work in Higher Education / Ombudswerk in het hoger onderwijs),

UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Adds an Associate

Shatika Ricketts has been hired as an Assistant Ombudsperson in the Staff Ombuds Office at Berkeley. She joins Director, Sara Thacker, and Associate Ombuds, Julia Horvath, and will provide conflict resolution and problem-solving services for non-senate university employees.

Ombuds Cases Rise Slightly at University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2022

Martha Patrick, CO-OP, the University Ombudsperson at UMass Amherst, reports that visitors to her office rose 1.8% in 2021-22 to 438. She notes that, although in-person appointments were available starting in August 2021, only 27 visitors opted to do so. Nearly 94% of visitors communicated by phone, video, and email. Patrick was assisted last year by Susan Pearson, part-time Consulting Ombudsperson, and Kristen Farrell, part-time office manager.

November 08, 2022

University of Minnesota Selects Next Ombuds

In June 2022, finn j. schneider was named the Director & Ombud of the Student Conflict Resolution Center for the large public university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They follow Jan Morse, who retired from after 32 years in the role. schneider (who does not capitalize their name) leads a program that serves nearly 50,000 students, postdocs, and medical residents following IOA and ACCUO standards. The former Interim Director of the SCRC, Michael V. Huyen, has become the HR Director for the university.

November 07, 2022

Job Posting: Cornell University

The Ivy League university in Ithaca, New York, is hiring an Assistant Ombuds. The part-time position (0.80 FTE) will join the University Ombuds, Bruce Lewenstein, and Linda Falkson, the full-time Director of the office, and replace Tracey Brant, who recently moved to a fulltime position at Dartmouth College. The Cornell Ombuds Office serves faculty, staff, and students, a total population of about 32,000.

IOA Seeks Nominations for 2023 Board

The International Ombuds Association is accepting nominations for its Board of Directors. Five member-elected directors will serve a three-year term starting in April 2023
. The five directors with terms expiring in 2023 are: Lee Twyman (current Treasurer); Hector Escalante; Sarah Klaper; Marcia Gee Riley CO-OP; and Diana Mosonyi. (IOA's Board President, Ronnie Thomson, will complete her elected board term in 2023, but will stay on another year as Immediate Past President.)

November 04, 2022

The Wildlife Society Names First Conference Ombuds

Jen Graf Sims will serve as the inaugural Conference Ombuds for the international non-profit association that promotes wildlife stewardship through science and education. In this contracted position, Sims will IOA-compliant services for attendees and TWS members during its Annual Conference in Spokane, Washington, November 6-10, 2022. Sims has more than a decade of Ombuds experience.

University of Michigan⁠—Ann Arbor Opens Internal Search for Faculty Ombuds

The Office of the Provost at Michigan is accepting applications for its Faculty Ombuds. The half-time appointment is open only to current faculty and is expected to last three years. Michele Hannoosh and Robert Ortega have both served in the role since 2018. In addition to serving 7,700 faculty members in Ann Arbor, the Faculty Ombuds are also expected to liaise with other Ombuds within the University of Michigan system. (UMich Provost Announcement.)

IOA Launches Awards for Ombuds Research

The International Ombuds Association has announced two annual awards to encourage and recognize research on the Organizational Ombuds profession. Award recipients will receive monetary awards of $250 and recognition at the IOA Annual Conference in April. The Professional Research Award will be given to a current IOA member for original, published research and up to three Student Research Awards may be given for original research conducted by undergraduate, Master's, and PhD students (IOA membership not required). 

November 03, 2022

Introducing the New Ombuds at Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Gary Coulton was appointed the first Faculty Ombudsperson for the Texas A&M University System's newest campus last summer. Coulton said that the pandemic significantly slowed the introduction of the new service. The Faculty Senate created the position in March 2021 "for the betterment of the faculty/staff relations with the university." Presently, Coulton is available for Ombuds consultations about four hours a week and he serves about 800 faculty and staff members. Meanwhile, he continues his full-time work as an associate professor of psychology. 

Ombuds Return for Association for the Study of Higher Education 2022 Conference

For the second year in a row, Dawn Osborne-Adams and Chuck Sloane will serve as Conference Ombuds for the Association for the Study of Higher Education. ASHE, the professional society of higher education research, will hold its 2022 conference November 16-19, in Las Vegas. Both bring significant academic Ombuds experience to the job: Osborne-Adams is the Ombuds at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Sloane is the Ombud at the University of Washington. (ASHE Ombuds.)

After Year of Transition, New Ombuds at University of Iowa Reports Growth in Cases

In her first annual report as the University Ombudsperson, Chanelle Reese said that the number of visitors to her office increased from 646 in 2020-21 to 661 last year. UI staff made up 46% of the total visitors. Nearly one in three visitors indicated that disrespectful behavior was a primary concern. Iowa's Office of the Ombudsperson, includes
Faculty Ombuds, Meenakshi (Gigi) Durham.(Associate Ombuds, Jennifer Lynch and Associate Ombuds, Nadia Sabbagh Steinberg left the office within the past year).