November 30, 2023

Job Posting: Cal Poly Pomona

California State Polytechnic University in Pomona is hiring a Director of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds. The position will lead the development of a new program for students, faculty, and staff as "part of the newly created organizational unit of People, Culture, and Institutional Affairs." The position reports directly to the university's president. (Cal Poly Pomona's last Ombuds, Lavada Austin, retired in 2020 after nearly a decade in the role.)

November 29, 2023

Call for Papers and Posters: ENOHE 2024 Conference

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education seeks presenters for its 19th annual conference at Universidade da Beira Interior in Covilhã, Portugal, on June 12-14, 2024. Proposals are due by January 10, 2024. 

Full details from ENOHE: 

Utah Valley University to Pilot Faculty Ombuds Program

The public university in Orem has opened an internal search for its first Faculty Ombuds. Located within UVU's Academic Affairs, the new program will serve nearly 3,000 faculty members, beginning next semester. (The search will not fill the Student Ombuds position recently vacated by the inauguralTalatou Abdoulaye, who recently moved to the public school system in Eugene, Oregon.)

November 28, 2023

Job Posting: University of Miami

The University Miami/UHealth Department of Faculty Affairs is seeking an Associate Ombudsperson. The full-time position reports to the Ombudsperson, Helen Bramlett, as the initial point of contact for visitors and "plays an important administrative role in the Office." Among other duties, the Associate Ombuds will work to increase awareness of the office at the undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty levels. 

Auburn University Names First Associate Ombuds

Dona Yarbrough has been hired as the first Associate Ombuds at Auburn. She will will report to Auburn University Ombuds, Kevin Coonrod, CO-OP, and provide services to all campus stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and students. Yarbrough comes to the position from Emory University, where she has worked since 2008, most recently as the part-time Student Ombuds and Special Assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School. 

November 27, 2023

European Ombuds & Mediators Group Restarts

Last month, the European Ombuds & Mediators Group convened for its first meeting in almost four years. The in-person meeting took place in Munich and the IOA Board of Directors joined for the morning session. The group was established in about 2005 by Steve Cordery and Willem Kweens. Now, Jutta Reitmeier (Regional Ombudsman for Europe & CIS for Mars, Inc.) and Diana Vermeul (Respectful Workplace Advisor for the World Bank Group, and Consulting Ombudsperson) have stepped up to manage the group as co-chairs.

After Cal Poly Humboldt Spurns Offer from Ombuds, Student Issue Goes Public

The California State Polytechnic University Arcata has a housing crisis. Many students, unable to afford rent in the small town, have been living in campers, vans, and other vehicles in a campus parking lot. When the university decided to begin enforcing a ban on overnight parking the week before Thanksgiving, the students turned to the University Ombuds to seek a meeting with administrators. According to an email from the Ombuds, the administrators refused to meet. Now, the local issue has been picked up by the mainstream media, including the Los Angeles Times. (LA Times, via Yahoo; Lumberjack; Reddit.)

George Mason University Hosts Regional Ombuds Meeting

Om October 20, 2023, GMU's University Ombudsperson, Kimberly Davidson, hosted a meeting of Academic Ombuds from around the region. Most of the attendees were from the higher education sector, but there were a few other practitioners who participated. A news item about the gathering also revealed that GMU formally adopted an Ombuds Charter one year ago, in October 2022. (GMU News, GMU Ombuds Charter.)

November 24, 2023

Job Posting: European Southern Observatory

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere has reopened its search for an Ombuds, a position established by Camilo Azcarate in 2019. Although ESO is headquartered near Munich, the position is primarily based in Santiago, with frequent visits to various observatories in Chile and at least three months per year in Munich.

November 22, 2023

Eugene School District 4J Selects First Ombuds

Talatou A. Maiga has been appointed the first Ombuds for the public school district in Western Oregon. He comes to the position after serving as the first full-time Ombudsperson at Utah Valley University since 2017. In this new position, Maiga will establish an Ombuds program for over 16,000 enrolled K-12 students and their families, district employees, and community members. He is expected to practice to IOA standards and report to the district superintendent.

November 21, 2023

Prince William County Schools Ombuds Shares 2023 Report

In her fourth annual report as the PWCS Ombudsman, Monique Bookstein says that cases rose 54% in the 2022-23 school year. Overall, there has been an 89% increase in visitors since she established the program in 2019. Employees made up over 78% of visitors. Bookstein uses the IOA's Uniform Reporting Categories to classify her case issues. (PWCS Ombuds 2023 Report.)

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis Continues Ombuds Program

Susan Kolodny has served as the Ombudsperson for the psychoanalytic research, training, and education facility for the past two years. Last month, the SFCO Board of Trustees accepted her offer to stay on for up to a year.

November 17, 2023

ENOHE Webinar to Examine Data Management for Ombuds

On December 4, 2024, the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education will offer a webinar on data management software for Ombuds Offices, with insights from three Student Ombuds at the University of Beira Interior: Afonso Gomes; Miguel Manteigueiro; and Pedro Inácio.

November 16, 2023

Job Posting: Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior's Office of Collaborative Action and Dispute Resolution ("CADR") is hiring an Organizational Ombuds for a four-year appointment in Arlington, Virginia. The position will join a team of Organizational Ombuds, including: Sigal Shoham; Tahirih Varner; Mary Chavez Rudolph; and Vikram Kapoor. The position is eligible for telework and travel of up to 25% may be required.

American Economic Association Remakes Ombuds Program

AEA, the leading professional society for economists, has contracted with MWI for a revamped Ombuds program. The association initially opted for a Classical Ombuds model in 2019 and Leto Copely served in the role until recently. (Notably, AEA's president specifically reassured members that information obtained by Copely would not be transferred to the new MWI Ombuds.) The contract with MWI explicitly adopts IOA standards. The move brings AEA in line with most professional associations in the U.S., who have opted to follow NASEM's recommendation for Ombuds. 

November 14, 2023

Job Posting: Concordia University

The public university in Montreal is hiring a full-time Associate Ombudsperson for a parental leave replacement contract until February 14, 2025. The position will report to Concordia's Ombudsperson, Amy Fish. The search will fill a position held by Dorothée Beaupré-Bernier. Nicole Marie Macoretta served as the prior Interim Associate Ombuds for a little over a year.

Staff Ombuds at Eindhoven University of Technology Offers First Report

In her first report as the Ombudsperson for Staff at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, Anna Soedira says that she handled 88 matters from December 2021 through June 2023. Visitor data is similar to other Dutch universities, although the overall number of visitors was slightly lower. According to an article in the campus newspaper, "She is highly critical of many social safety aspects: incidents shouldn’t just lead to good intentions, but to actual change." The public report will be presented to the University Council next month. (TU/e Ombuds Report; TU/e Cursor.)

University of Missouri–St. Louis Confirms and Expands Ombuds

After a one-year test period with Marlo Goldstein Hode as its first Staff Ombuds, USML will now offer Ombuds services to its faculty. Hode is now the Director of Conflict Resolution and Mediation Services. "Working in collaboration with Human Resources and Academic Affairs to ensure mediation services align and integrate with campus policies, she will continue to offer many of the same services as the ombuds program, including both individual conflict coaching and group facilitation, but expand the scope of these services – which are now available to both faculty and staff." (UMSL Blog.)

November 13, 2023

Job Posting: Illinois State University

The large public university in Central Illinois is hiring a full-time Ombudsperson. It appears that this will be a new position for ISU, which has had a Ombudsperson Council comprised of three collateral duty Ombuds since about 2010. (Current members of the Ombudsperson Council are appointed to three-year terms: Joe Goodman, Professor of Management; Quanisha Kumi-Darfour, Associate Director of Student Relations; and Ryan Brown, Associate Dean and Professor of Education.) It is not clear whether the new Ombuds will replace or supplement the Council's work. The new Ombuds will serve nearly 30,000 faculty, staff, and students on the urban campus.

Job Posting: Providence College

The private Catholic university in Rhode Island is seeking its first Faculty Ombuds. The full-time position will create a program to serve over 350 faculty members adhering to IOA standards. The job is not expected to start until 2024. 

University of Toronto Scarborough Reappoints Ombuds

In July 2023, Emma Thacker was named UTSC's Assistant Secretary of the Governing Council & Ombuds Officer. She follows Cindy Ferencz Hammond in the position, which has two roles and a dual reporting structure. As the Assistant Secretary, Thacker supports the campus's Governing Council on policies, precedents, and procedures. As Ombuds Officer, she reports to the University Ombudsperson, Bruce Kidd, and serves as a primary contact for faculty, staff and students seeking assistance from the Office of the Ombudsperson.

November 10, 2023

Job Posting: SOS Children's Villages, Lebanon

The Austria-based international development organization for children is hiring a National Ombuds to be based in Lebanon. As part of a team of Ombuds, the position will report to a Regional Ombuds (to be named soon). The initial appointment will be for twelve months.

Job Posting: City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia is hiring an Assistant Employee Ombudsperson. The new position will report to the inaugural Employee Ombudsperson, Shakeya Foreman. The full-time position will be responsible for case management, data collection, and administrative tasks. The work will be hybrid with some in-office days.

Job Posting: Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

The state agency headquartered in Austin is hiring an Employee Ombudsman. This is a hybrid/remote position with aspects of both Organizational and Classical Ombuds work. In addition to providing conflict management and dispute resolution services, the position also: "Conducts analysis of workplace situations by interviewing employees, conducting investigations, and fact finding. Prepares final decisions or reports and provides findings to appropriate chain of command or Human Resources." Travel may be required.

November 09, 2023

Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Launches Ombuds Office

Scott C. Williamson
has been named the inaugural Ombuds for LPTS, a seminary in Kentucky affiliated with the Presbyterian Church. Williamson will serve all members of the 170 year old seminary, including about 130 students. A Charter for the office states that the Ombuds will practice to IOA standards, although there is no confidentiality for sexual misconduct covered by Title IX. The LPTS Ombuds is a part-time position that reports to the Seminary President. 

November 07, 2023

Job Posting: U.S. Census Bureau

The Census Bureau is growing the Ombuds program and is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The full-time position will be based either in the Washington, D.C. metro area (Suitland, MD) or in the Louisville metro area (Jeffersonville, Indiana). The position will report to the Census Bureau Ombuds, Bill Maurer, CO-OP, and join two Associate Ombuds, Julie Smith and Chris Vermillion. Occasional travel may be required and telework may also be possible. Relocation expenses may be paid.

UC Santa Barbara Selects an Ombuds

In April of this year, Lana Smith-Hale joined the Office of the Ombuds at the University of California Santa Barbara as an Assistant Ombuds. She follows Lise Prisarojn in the position and joins Campus Ombuds, Caroline Adams, and Associate Ombuds, David Rasch and Don Lubach. Smith-Hale is responsible for undergraduate student cases and programming, office administration, and managing the UCSB Ombuds Instagram account.

November 06, 2023

Job Posting: International Organization for Migration

The intergovernmental organization that promotes international cooperation on migration issues is hiring an Ombudsperson. The full-time position is based in Geneva and reports to the IOM Director General. Rogelio Bernal has served in the role for the past several years. The initial term is for one year with the possibility of extensions. The posting indicates a starting date "as soon as possible."

McGill University Names Interim Ombuds

Christopher Moraes has been appointed the Interim Student Ombudsperson for the public university in Montreal. He follows Patricia Faison Hewlin, who served three years of a five-year mandate in the part-time position. Morales will also continue teaching as an Associate Professor of Engineering. He heads an office that serves over 40,000 students and joins Carmela Parzanese, the Assistant to the Ombudsperson. It is not clear how long he will serve in the interim role.

North Carolina Regional Ombuds Group Gathers in Chapel Hill

Elon University's Faculty Ombudsperson Jeff Clark was one of several Ombuds who attended the Fall meeting of the North Carolina Regional Ombuds Group in Chapel Hill last week. Ombuds from the central region of the state representing universities, government agencies, and private corporations met to share their experiences and for professional development. (Elon News.)

November 03, 2023

Job Posting: University of Waterloo

The public research university Ontario has opened a search for a full-time Student Ombudsperson.  The position will serve approximately 40,000 students. UWaterloo closed its Office of the Ombudsperson, which served the entire campus in 2010. The position is expected to comply with ACCUO's professional standards. 

Independent Review Vindicates Former UCT Ombuds

Last month, an independent panel of retired judges and education and equity experts, issued a report on issues at the University of Cape Town in 2018 through 2022. The report revealed governance failures involving former Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng and other leaders. At the time, UCT's inaugural Ombud Zetu Makamandela-Mguqulwa was one of the very few voices raising concerns. After speaking out, she was publicly threatened with disciplinary charges and ultimately terminated. The new independent commission fully vindicates the Ombud.

November 01, 2023

Job Posting: University of Minnesota

The U of M is seeking its next Director of the Office for Conflict Resolution. The position provides leadership for an office that serves faculty, staff, and student workers, and reports to the Office for Equity and Diversity. The search will fill a position held by Tamar Gronvall since 2019 and who was recently appointed Minnesota's Commissioner of Administration. (Meanwhile, finn j. schneider continues as University Ombud and Director of the similarly-named but separate Student Conflict Resolution Center).

Saint Louis University Auditioning Faculty Ombuds

The private, Jesuit university in Missouri has appointed Lisa Israel as its first Interim Ombuds. For the past five years, Israel has been SLU's Medical School Ombudsperson, serving students, residents, and faculty. Details about the Faculty Ombuds pilot, including the duration, have not been published.

The Wildlife Society Renews its Conference Ombuds

Jen Graf Sims will return as the Conference Ombuds for the international wildlife stewardship association, a role she established in 2022. As conference Ombuds, Sims will IOA-compliant services for attendees and TWS members during its annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 5-9, 2023. Sims brings more than a decade of Ombuds experience to the role, including work at the University of Texas Austin, San Manuel Band of Indians, Ashford University, and the University of Hawai'i. (TWS News.)

Janet Eckhouse: Former Kaiser Permanente Ombuds

Janet Frearer Eckhouse, who served as a Kaiser HealthCare Ombuds/Mediator in Woodland Hills, California, from 2004 to 2009, passed away last week. After she retired from KP, she was a social and political activist in Southern California. (Cumberland Times News.)