October 31, 2023

Grand Rapids Public Schools Introduces First Ombuds

Maleika Joubert Brown has been appointed the first Ombudsperson for GRPS, public school system in Western Michigan. Reporting to the district superintendent, Brown will establish the Office of the Ombuds to serve district employees, 14,500 students, and community members following IOA standards. “Our goal is to ensure every family feels heard and cared for and that’s what this is all about,” explained GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby.

October 27, 2023

IOA Offers Scholarships to 2024 Conference

The International Ombuds Association is offering scholarships for its annual conference on March 18-20, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 December 17, 2023 (which is about a month earlier than last year).

October 26, 2023

Job Posting: Coastal Carolina University

The public university near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is hiring a Faculty and Staff Ombuds for a part-time, temporary appointment. (Renée Smith has served as the Faculty Ombuds since 2021 and John Dooley was appointed the Staff Ombuds in mid-2022; the Student Ombuds position apparently was discontinued during the pandemic.) The position reports to the President and practices to IOA standards. The desired start date is November 6, 2023

City of Philadelphia Establishes Employee Ombuds

According to an Executive Order, Shakeya Foreman has been appointed the inaugural Employee Ombudsperson for Pennsylvania's largest city. In this new role, she will build a program to provide "confidential, independent and impartial assistance to City employees, through voluntary dispute resolution and problem-solving methods such as conflict coaching, mediation, facilitation, and shuttle diplomacy." She reports to to the City’s Chief Administrative Officer and with additional oversight by an Advisory Board of executive leaders and other City employees. 

California State University, Bakersfield Debuts Faculty Ombuds

Jianjun (JJ) Wang has been appointed the first Faculty Ombuds for CSUB, the public university in California's Central Valley. He will supplement the work of Maria Palaiologou, who has served as Student Ombudsperson since 2015. The job title seems reflect Wang's status as a Professor of Research Design and Statistics. He will serve all university employees and practice to IOA standards. 

October 24, 2023

UCLA Hires an Ombuds

Nearly a year after it opened a search, UCLA has selected Ariella Morrison as an an Ombudsperson for a one-year contract (and which may be extended up to four additional years). She reports to Interim Campus Ombuds Thomas Griffin and joins Natalie Gibson and Brenda Woods-Patin.

October 23, 2023

Job Posting: UC Davis

The UC Davis Ombuds Office is hiring an Associate Ombuds (Ombuds 3) with some hybrid possibilities and occasional work in Sacramento. The position serves primarily as the first point of contact for visitors and 25% of the work will be administrative in nature. 
The Associate Ombuds will join a team includes Lauren Bloom, Director, CO-OP, Lindsey Ensor, Associate Ombuds, CO-OP, Jenny Vaccari, Assistant Ombuds, CO-OP, Catherine Langlois, Ombuds for Special Projects, and Kyra Coke Duffy, Interim Assistant Ombuds.

Cases Surge for Ombuds at University of British Columbia

In her latest annual report, UBC's Ombudsperson for Students, Shirley Nakata reports that her office handled 685 cases in 2022, a 17% increase from the prior year and a 52% increase from five years ago. As usual, however, the focus of the annual report is not on data but Nakata's calls to improve equity and inclusive access for students by offering examples and recommendations. 

October 20, 2023

Job Posting: South Texas College

The public community college in McAllen, Texas is hiring an Ombudsperson. It is not clear whether this search will replace or supplement the work of Erica R. Hansen and Michelle A. Miller, who have have served in the role for the past several years. The position serves all primarily students (31,000 enrolled across six campuses) and practices to IOA standards. The anticipated start date is November 13, 2023.

October 19, 2023

National Institutes of Health Gains Experienced Ombuds

Elisa Enriquez, CO-OP, has joined the NIH Office of the Ombuds as an Associate Ombuds. She comes to the position after over 12 years in a similar position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She joins a highly respected Ombuds team directed by Victor Voloshin.

October 16, 2023

Job Posting: Oregon State University

OSU, the large public university in Corvallis has opened a national search for an Associate Ombuds. The full-time position will report to University Ombuds Michael Steinberg, who was hired last month. The OSU Ombuds Office practices to IOA standards and provides services to over 40,000 faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders. The expected start date is January 15, 2024.

Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation Appoints First Ombuds

CERF, a nonprofit federation of professional societies, has contracted with MWI for Conference Ombuds services. MWI’s Ombuds panel member, Nnena Odim, will serve as Ombuds and practice to IOA standards. This is the first Conference Ombuds for CERF and the conference will take place November 12–16, 2023, in Portland, Oregon. Odim will serve as a resource for all attendees, staff, exhibitors, and others participating in CERF 2023. Odim has served as the Ombuds for the American Planning Association, CVS, and other organizations through MWI. (LinkedIn.) 

Nominations Open for 2024 IOA Board of Directors

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 2024. The four directors have terms expiring in 2024 and are eligible to be reelected to a second term: Jennifer Mahoney, current Board Secretary; Sue Diviney, CO-OP; Thomas Griffin; and Jacqueline Villafane. Ronnie Thompson, the Immediate Past President, is ending her officer term and is not eligible for reelection. 

October 13, 2023

Job Posting: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Canada's nuclear science and technology research lab (Laboratoires Nucléaires Canadiens) will expand its Ombuds Office with the hiring of its first Associate Ombuds. The full-time position will report to CNL's first Ombuds, Tricia Gazarek, and help provide services to the laboratory's workforce. The office is located Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, but the work may be performed remotely.

University of California Santa Cruz Selects First Associate Ombuds

Anthony Keen-Louie has been hired as the first Associate Ombuds at UCSC. He joins Campus Ombuds, Deidre "De" Acker, and and will assist in developing a program to serve the entire campus. Keen-Louie is an experienced student affairs professional and mediator and has worked on other UC campuses.

Tarion Appoints New Ombuds

The Tarion Warranty Corporation's Board of Directors has selected Tom Barber as its next New Home Ombuds. In this role, he oversee
complaints, complaint review, and facilitation of early resolution of issues for the non-profit consumer protection organization in Ontario. Andy Kenins, Tarion’s Board Chair, said Barber “brings a wealth of experience in this area from other important Ontario organizations which, like Tarion, are there to serve the public. I am confident he will be a valuable resource for home buyers to address questions or concerns.”

San Jose State University Ombuds Shares 2023 Annual Report

Feyon Lau, the Student Ombudsperson for the California State University Silicon Valley, reports that she handled 250 cases in 2022-23, down slightly from 255 in the prior year. Lau said that grades and classroom issues were the predominant reasons that students sought her assistance.

October 11, 2023

Ombuds Day 2023 Spans the Globe

The 6th Annual Ombuds Day is tomorrow: October 12, 2023. The website hosted by the ABA DR Ombuds Day subcommittee summarizes the many events taking place and, for most, it's not too late to register. The lead evenit is a a webinar featuring Thomas Zgambo, the Ombudsman for the International Monetary Fund. Zgambo has served as an Ombuds for 26 years, including stints at Polaroid, Coca Cola, MIT, and the World Bank. He will offer his insights and a conversation about the growth and evolution of the Ombuds profession. 

October 10, 2023

Denver Public Schools Onboards an Ombuds

Kevin Linder has joined the DPS Office of the Ombuds as an Associate Ombudsperson. He reports to Antoinette Hudson and will assist in providing Ombuds services for 15,000 public school district employees across more than 200 school sites.

October 09, 2023

European Central Bank Appoints First Ombuds

The ECB has recently appointed Spyridon (Spyros) Antonelos as its inaugural Organizational Ombuds and Mediator. He will be based in Frankfurt, Germany, and will serve an initial four-year term. As the first Ombuds, he will establish a program to serve the bank's staff and consultants.

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society Creates Conference Ombuds

Sylvain Bruni will serve as the inaugural Ombuds for HFES, an international professional association. Bruni will serve as Ombuds at the annual meeting in Washington, DC, October 23-27, 2023 (and be available to participants before and after the event). According to a charter, he will follow IOA standards and report directly to the association's executive director.

Exceptions Swallow the Role of New Ombuds at San Mateo County Community College

The community college system in California recently unveiled its Office of the Ombuds, which will serve nearly 50,000 stakeholders across three campuses. O'KenZoe Brian J. Selassie was appointed Chief Diversity Officer and Ombuds. The position clearly violates the IOA standards of practice due to the inherent conflicts of duty. Nonetheless, the website asserts that the SMCCC Ombuds, "utilizes the [IOA Code] to inform aspects of its approach to ombuds work and operation where possible." (Emphasis added.)

October 06, 2023

Mount St. Mary's University Unveils Ombuds Office

The private Roman Catholic university in Emmitsburg, Maryland, has created an Ombuds Office to serve students, faculty, administrators, and staff (a total population of about 3,000). Two collateral-duty Ombuds were appointed: John "Jack" Trammell, as lead Ombuds; and Love Sechrest, as backup Ombuds. MSMU's President personally introduced the office on YouTube. A charter states that the office will adhere to IOA standards. 

Journal of IOA Article Proposes Scheme for Ombuds Audit

Martha N. Patrick
, the inaugural University Ombudsperson for UMass Boston, is the author of the latest article in the Journal of the International Ombuds Association: "The Visitor Experience and Standards Alignment Audit: A Framework for Ombuds Programs." Patrick drew on her experience as an Ombuds at UMass Amherst, where the program when through significant changes in a six-year period. She designed an audit to assess the experience of her visitors. 

October 05, 2023

Job Posting: World Wildlife Fund

The global conservation network is hiring its next Ombudsperson. It appears that search will fill a position established by Gina Barbieri in 2021. The position reports to the WWF Director General and International Board, and serves internal and external stakeholders. In addition, the position will manage the office and administer staff. The position will be based in Switzerland, the UK, or Netherlands.

COFO Sets Agenda and Opens Registration for 2023 Annual Conference

The Coalition of Federal Ombudsman has opened registration is now open for its 2023 Annual Conference, which will be held for both in-person and virtual attendees from 9–5 on Friday, October 13, 2023. The in-person portion of the conference will be held at the Clara Barton Auditorium at the US Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. As always, the conference is free and open to all.

October 04, 2023

Springfield College Welcomes Inaugural Ombuds

Amy Sereday, CO-OP, has been appointed the first Ombuds for the private college in Western Massachusetts. She is establishing a program to serve about 5,000 faculty, staff, and students, following IOA standards and reporting to the College President. In addition to serving as the Springfield College Ombuds, she will continue teaching in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution program at Columbia University.

Ombuds at Virginia Commonwealth University Celebrates 10th Annual Conflict Resolution Day

For the past decade, VCU's Ombudsperson, William King, sponsors a National Conflict Resolution Day program. This year, his signature event on October 19, 2023, will feature a keynote by Donna Douglass-Williams, Senior Director of the Ombuds program at Pinterest. The theme for her address is "The Conflict Reframe: Maintaining Richness Inspiring Hope for Dialogue and Resolution." The day is rounded out with panel discussions on managing conflict in a range of situations, including Geetha Ravindra, former Ombuds for the IMF and Center for Global Development. As usual, the event is free and open to the public.

NASEM's Conference Ombuds Set to Return

Maureen Brodie, CO-OP, will again serve as the Ombuds for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Public Summit that will be held for the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education on October 17 and 18, 2023, in Washington, D.C. She will practice to IOA standards, serving as a support resource for all attendees who participate either in-person or remotely. 

October 03, 2023

Job Posting: Colorado State University

The public land-grant university in Fort Collins is hiring a full-time Ombuds. The new position will expand the office and report to the University Ombuds Director, Melissa Emerson , and join the part-time Faculty Ombuds, Kathy Rickard. The job is eligible for a hybrid work schedule.

William & Mary Adds Another Ombuds

Liz M. Cascone has joined the Ombuds Office at the public university in Williamsburg, Virginia. The program was restructured in early 2021 with collateral duty Ombuds. Cascone joins Professors Rebecca Green and Charles Gressard, who have served as Ombuds since the restructuring. Cascone takes on the Ombuds position in addition to serving as Director of The Haven, a confidential on-campus resource for students coping with sexual violence, relationship abuse and other forms of harassment and discrimination.

October 02, 2023

Job Posting: Asian Development Bank

The regional development bank based in Metro Manila, Philippines, is hiring an Senior Ombuds Programs Officer. The full-time position that will provide Ombuds services to all ADB stakeholders and report to the ADB Ombuds, Wayne Blair. The position will also supervise administrative staff in the office. The initial appointment is for three years.

Job Re-Posting: Kent State University

The public research university in Kent, Ohio has re-opened its search for a Faculty Ombuds for the second time. The position was originally posted in February 2023 and then reposted in July. This is a new position for the campus, which already has a Student Ombuds: Amy Quillin. The full-time Faculty Ombuds will report to an associate provost and serve over 2,700 faculty members.

Colorado Ombuds Resume In-Person Meetings

The Colorado Ombuds Group will first in-person gathering since the pandemic this Friday. Melissa Connell, Ombuds Director, University of Colorado Denver|Anschutz and Mary Chavez Rudolph, Ombuds for the Department of the Interior, will host the group at The Meeting Sanctuary in Indian Hills on October 6, 2023, from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The gathering will include a networking breakfast and lunch, welcome and introductions, case discussion, announcements/updates, topical discussions and a nature walk at Mt. Falcon Park.

Development Bank of Latin America Hosts UN Ombuds Meeting

Last week, CAF (Corporacion Andina de Fomento – Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina) and its inaugural Ombudsperson, José Martínez-Aragón, hosted the annual UNARIO meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay. UNARIO is the United Nations and Related International Organizations network of Ombuds and Mediators, and about 18 UNARIO members attended in person, with several others joining by video.