July 19, 2024

Meet the Ombuds for the National Association for Business Economics

Robyn B. Klinger has been appointed is the inaugural Ombuds for NABE, the international association for applied economics. (A webpage for an upcoming symposium says that NABE "recently retained" Klinger and the Terms of Reference is dated July 10, 2024; Klinger's LinkedIn profile, however, indicates that she has been serving in the role since 2019.) The NABE Ombuds serves the entire NABE community, including employees, conference participants, and other event attendees, and generally practices to IOA standards. 

USOA Elects 2024 Leadership

The United States Ombudsman Association announced its new Board of Directors and Chapter leaders. Directors serve two year terms and are elected by voting members of the Association. The new members of the Board are:

July 18, 2024

Job Posting: Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

The polytechnic institute in Calgary, Alberta is hiring a full-time Ombudsperson. The position, which was established by Kamini Bernard in 2021, provides services to all members of the SAIT campus community, a population of nearly 15,000. The SAIT Ombuds reports to the Vice President of External Relations and receives advice and direction from the Ombudsperson Leadership Committee, which includes student representatives.

Alameda County District Attorney Appoints First Ombuds

Pamela Y. Price, the District Attorney for Alameda County, California, has created an Ethical Ombudsperson Office and appointed Assistant District Attorney Kwixuan Maloof to the role. Price, who is facing a recall vote in November, said that the Ombuds would reinforce her commitment to transparency and accountability. Maloof is continuing as ADA and thus would be a collateral duty Ombuds and will report to Price. This appears to be the first Ombuds program within a prosecutor's office in the U.S.

European Southern Observatory Selects Experienced Ombuds

After an extended, international search, Tahirih Varner has been appointed the next Ombuds for the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere. She follows Camilo Azcarate, who established the position 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.

July 17, 2024

Environment and Climate Change Canada Appoints Next Ombuds

Environment Canada (Environnement et Changement climatique Canada) has confirmed Susie Roussel as its Ombuds. She leads an office of about six and provides services to 7,000 federal employees that oversee environmental policies and programs. She follows ECCC's inaugural Ombuds, Corinne Boudreault.

COFO 2024 Annual Conference: Call for Presentations

The Coalition of Federal Ombuds is now accepting proposals to present at its 2024 Annual Conference on Friday, October 25, 2024. The conference will be a hybrid event, with an in-person conference in Alexandria, Virginia, and a virtual component. COFO is soliciting proposals for both virtual and in-person presentations. 

July 16, 2024

Job Posting: Virginia Tech

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the public research university in Blacksburg, will expand its Ombuds Office with the hiring of its first Associate Ombuds. The position will report to the Director & University Ombuds, Reese Ramos, and provide services to all campus stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and students. This is not a remote position, but is eligible for a telework/hybrid schedule.

University of Washington Associate Ombud Retires

Ruthy Kohorn Rosenberg, an experienced and highly respected Ombuds, has announced her intention to retire in August. She was the inaugural University Ombuds for Brown and served in that position from 2012-2020. She has spent the last four years as an Associate Ombud at the University of Washington.

July 15, 2024

Job Posting: University of Cincinnati

The public research university in Ohio is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position reports to (now permanent) Ombuds, Jivanto P. van Hemert. The position provides services to about 60,000 students, staff, and faculty. The job posting explains that the Ombuds office is confidential and practices to IOA standards, except for matters within the scope of Title IX.

St. Johns River State College Creates Ombuds Program

Earlier this year, the public college in Northeast Florida unveiled a webpage for its new Student Support Ombuds Office. Iana Harris was appointed the inaugural Student Support Ombudsman for over 10,000 students across three campuses. According to the website, Harris can assist students with a wide range of academic and nonacademic matters, explaining: "The ombuds engages proactively with students to empower them to succeed at SJR State and beyond." 

Meet the Ombuds at the University of Lisbon

Maria Fernanda Oliveira was appointed the Student Ombudsman for Universidade de Lisboa in February 2022. She provides assistance with academic matters and serves a student body of 48,000 at the largest university in Portugal. She was appointed to a a four-year term by the General Council of the University. 

Webinar: Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds Outlines her Role

Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency’s offered a webinar featuring its inaugural Ombuds, Anna Thorstenson. She outlined her background and general mandate. through the end of 2024. Most of her remarks are about how she works with the unique concerns of athletes within the complex system of international competition and she also fielded questions. (YouTube.)

Cal Caucus Releases Agenda for 2024 Conclave

Registration is now open for the 51st California Caucus of College and University Ombuds. Set for November 10-13 at the Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove, the theme will be “Piloting Stormy Seas to Safe Waters.” Unlike most professional conferences, attendees eat meals and participate in all sessions together. The event has sold out quickly in recent years.

July 12, 2024

Job Posting: U.S. Antarctic Program

The U.S. National Science Foundation's Office of Polar Programs is seeking its first Ombudsperson. As the Antarctic Infrastructure and Logistics Section Program Liaison, the Ombuds will serve all USAP participants. The job requires travel to all program stations and vessels annually. In addition the USAP Ombuds will develop a training program, and "support the implementation of the Sexual Assault and Harassment Prevention and Response program." 

California State University Channel Islands Closes Ombuds Office

The public university in Ventura, California, abruptly closed its Ombuds Office this week. An announcement on the website for the office states: "We regret to announce that as of July 10, 2024, our Ombuds office has permanently closed." Mark Patterson established the office in July 2019, initially seeing only employees and later expanding the service to students in 2022. He had previously served as the Ombuds for the College of William & Mary. Patterson is active in the Ombuds community and was elected to the IOA Board of Directors in 2022. 

Community College of Denver Adopts Best Practices for Ombuds

Crystal D. Hernandez has served as the Student Support Ombudsperson for CCD since 2021. A new website for her office adopts a new title, "Student Ombuds," and makes it clear that her role is confidential, impartial, informal, and independent. The community college with three campuses in the Denver metro area enrolls over 8,000 students. 

Leiden University Names New Student Ombuds

In May 2024, Lonneke Hulst was hired as a Student Ombudsperson at Universiteit Leiden. She joins Eugène van der Heijden, who has served as Student Ombuds since 2015. Together, they serve 33,000 enrolled students at the oldest university in the Netherlands.

Introducing the Student Ombuds at the University of Zagreb Law School

In May 2023, Roko Roglić was appointed the Student Ombudsman for Pravnog fakulteta Sveučilišta u Zagrebu, the oldest continually-operating law school in Croatia. Roglic serves about 7,000 students at the school in Zagreb and was elected by the Student Union. He recently was renewed for a second, one-year term and is assisted by three deputies: Nika Bakula, Dora Bogdanović, Dora Dabac and Paola Jurković. Recently, his office adopted IOA standards of practice. (PFZG Studentski pravobranitelj.)

July 10, 2024

Job Re-Posting: Howard University

The private university in Washington, D.C. has reposted its opening for an inaugural Faculty Ombudsperson, a full-time position. Howard conducted similar searches in 2016, 2018, and earlier this year, but did not result in an appointment. The faculty handbook has included reference to a Faculty Ombuds Office since 2019 and stipulates that the position will be located within the Office of the President. 

July 09, 2024

Meet the Ombuds for the University of Rzeszów

In the last two years, Uniwersytet Rzeszowski in Poland has created two Ombuds programs. Jan Gałkowski was appointed the Academic Ombudsperson in June 2022. He serves all members of the community with conflicts related to academic work and practices to IOA standards. In June 2023, Wiktoria Bednarz was named the first Student Ombudsperson. She serves as a resource and advocate for about 20,000 students. (UR Academic Ombuds; Student Ombuds.) 

July 08, 2024

Canadian Military Names Interim Ombuds

Robyn Hynes has been appointed the Interim Ombuds for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. She follows Gregory Lick, who served in the positon since November 2018. Hynes will serve a one-year term through June 2025. Hynes has worked for the government for over 16 years in a variety of roles related to national defense. 

Journal of IOA Article Urges Ombuds to Employ Positive Psychology Tools

The latest peer-reviewed article in the Journal of the International Ombuds Association proposes that Ombuds integrate aspects of positive psychology in their case work. Author Julie A. Muroff, CO-OP, holds a Master's degree in Applied Positive Psychology. She is the inaugural Ombuds Director at Janelia Research Campus/Howard Hughes Medical Institute and previously was the Acting Ombudsman/Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution at the National Institutes of Health. She was also recently elected to the IOA Board of Directors.

July 05, 2024

Leiden University Medical Center Appoints First Ombuds

In January 2024, Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum, the teaching hospital affiliated with Leiden University in the Netherlands, named Margot Snelders-Pouw as its first Ombudsfunctionaris. As the LUMC Ombuds, she serves as a confidential, independent, and neutral resource for employees, including PhD students. 

July 04, 2024

Canadian Government Compiles List of Federal Ombuds Offices

A new entry on GCwiki, a public wiki hosted by the Government of Canada, provides the most comprehensive list of Organizational Ombuds programs in the federal sector. A total of 50 different programs are listed and details include the name of the primary Ombuds and email.

As in the U.S., information about federal Ombuds is often not available to the general public. Moreover, some Ombuds with security clearances are private about their employment details. Therefore, many of these Ombuds and programs have not been mentioned previously in this blog.

July 03, 2024

Job Posting: University of Washington

The Office of the Ombud at UW has opened a search for a new Associate Ombud. (The office consistently uses "Ombud" rather than "Ombuds.") The university in Seattle includes three academic campuses and two medical centers. With minimal supervision, the position is expected to work with over 300 visitors a year and take a frontline role in the office’s outreach efforts. The Associate Ombud reports to the University Ombud, Chuck Sloan, and is eligible for a hybrid work arrangement.

UN World Food Programme Selects Next Ombuds

Katya Melluish has been appointed the next WFP Ombudsman and Director.  She follows Dolores Gómez-Morán, CO-OP, who served in an interim role and the prior permanent Ombuds, Gabrielle Kluck. From the WFP headquarters in Italy, Melluish will lead a team that provides Ombuds services to employees worldwide. She will serve an initial four-year contract.

July 02, 2024

Job Re-Posting: World Health Organization, Philippines

WHO has reopened its search for a Regional Ombudsperson to be based in Manila. The full-time position serves WHO personnel in the country and region, and reports directly to WHO's Regional Director. This is a fixed-term appointment for two years.

University of Massachusetts Amherst Hires MWI to Bridge Ombuds Office

Following the departure of Interim University Ombuds, Lea Occhialini, at the end of 2023, UMass Amherst asked MWI to provide Ombuds services to over 38,000 students, faculty, and staff across 12 schools and colleges. The initial six-month contract was renewed July 1, 2024 for an additional six months. The UMass Amherst Ombuds Team of Derrick Johnson, Birthe Reimers, and Larry Hunt work with the existing Ombuds office manager, Kristen Farrell, and reports to the Chancellor. As with all of their clients, MWI's Ombuds Team practices to IOA Standards as specified in a written agreement.

Update on Ombuds Transitions at Washington State University

There have been recent changes in the WSU Ombuds Office. Last month, Sheri Glaesman ended her work as an Ombuds after six years in the position. In May 2023, Debbie (DJ) Lee, completed eight years in the role. The two current part-time University Ombuds are Justin Denney, who started in January 2022, and Karen Sanguinet, who started in August 2022. The office serves nearly 40,000 WSU stakeholders, particularly administrative professionals and classified staff.

July 01, 2024

Virginia Institute of Marine Science Creates Ombuds Panel

VIMS, the marine research and education center in Gloucester Point, has unveiled a Graduate Program Ombuds. Comprised of faculty Ombuds and student peer advisors, the volunteer Ombuds assist VIMS graduate students. (VIMS' School of Marine Science is one of a graduate school of the College of William & Mary.) "The School of Marine Science Ombuds are trained faculty volunteers. Peer advisors are trained graduate student volunteers who can assist students by providing a peer's perspective and an additional avenue to ombuds resources." 

Podcast: NGO Ombuds on the Impact of Incorrect Assumptions

Brian Bloch, an experienced Ombuds was a guest this week on "Conflict Managed," a podcast hosted by Merry Brown, a workplace conflict restoration consultant and mediator. Bloch has been an Ombuds for over two decades and currently is the OMbuds for the Global Green Growth Institute, the World Central Kitchen, ISKCONResolve, and is co-Ombuds at Ashoka and NASA. 

June 28, 2024

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Energy

The department responsible for U.S. energy and nuclear safety policies is hiring an Ombudsman Specialist. This is a new position for the DOE Office of the Ombudsman and it is intended for recent graduates at either a GS-9 or GS-11 level with room for promotion up to GS-13 The Ombudsman Specialist will join a team led by Director Tonya Mackey and including Associate Ombuds Lexi Wolfe, Stephanie Garner, and Jeff Anderson. The job is approved to work remotely "within a realistic commuting distance of the DOE Worksite (125 miles)." Some travel is required.

Job Posting: University of Pittsburgh

The Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (the liberal arts college at Pitt with  12,000 students) is hiring its first full-time Ombudsperson. The school previously had a collateral duty Ombuds, Philippa Carter, who served only graduate students. The new position will serve faculty, postdocs, staff, and students. The job is eligible for hybrid work.

Job Posting: University of Massachusetts Boston

The public research university in Boston seeks an Ombuds Graduate Employee. The part-time, hourly position will support the activities of the new Office of Ombuds Services "with a focus on undergraduate student outreach and assistance" under the direction of Martha Nelson Patrick, CO-OP.

University Ombuds in Central Europe Convene for "Little Olomouc Summit"

Recently, the two board members of the Czech School Ombuds Platform (ŠOP), Jaroslav Šotola and Michaela Antonín-Malaniková, both Ombuds at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic, met with Josef Leidenfrost, the immediate past president and former coordinator of the Austrian Ombuds Network. (Antonín-Malaniková and Leidenfrost also both serve on the ENOHE Board and ENOHE International Relations Committee.) The bilateral talks focused on current developments in their respective countries and across Europe.

Podcast: Ombuds Reviews Options for Working with Campus Protesters

Law and politics researcher İdil Elveriş has another podcast with an Ombuds for her podcast ,"We can Find a Way" (Anlaşabiliriz). This time, she interviews Tom Kosakowski, a University Ombuds and publisher of this blog. He talks about whether and how Ombuds can work with students engaged in protests over the war in Gaza that have been sweeping campuses in the U.S.

June 27, 2024

Job Posting: Loudoun County Public Schools

The public school district in Northeast Virginia is hiring a part-time Associate Ombuds. The new position will report to the FCPS Ombudsman, Carey Williams, who established the office in 2022. The Associate Ombuds will serve families, employees and community members of the district which enrolls 84,000 students. This position is on an as needed basis, up to 5 hours per month.

Florida SouthWestern State College Names Next Student Ombuds

April Palmer has been appointed the FWS's Student Ombudsperson. She follows Gail Murphy, who served in the position since 2021. In this role, she Palmer serves 14,000 enrolled students at the college's main campus in Fort Meyers and satellite locations in Southwest Florida. She holds the title of Assistant Vice President of Student Life. Palmer earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees at Clemson University and her EdD from William & Mary. (FSW Ombuds.)

University of Utah Seeks Two Internal Candidates for Ombuds Role

The U of U has opened an internal search for two Ombuds. One will work with staff and the other faculty, and both will work collaboratively with the two current health sciences Ombuds to make up the university’s Ombuds Office. The search will fill a role recently vacated by Maureen Condic, who will beome the inaugural Ombuds at the Catholic University of America. The two positions are quarter time and open only to current university employees. (At the U.)

June 26, 2024

ENOHE Publishes 2024 Yearbook

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education has published its first yearbook. Discussions about creating a yearbook started in the mid-2010s, and plans became concrete when the network transitioned into an association. This initiative was included in the ENOHE Annual Work Plan 2024. The 2024 Yearbook is the first to offer reviews of emerging topics in Ombuds work and examine pending developments and issues related to the profession. Contributions come from colleagues across four continents, reflecting ENOHE’s international reach beyond Europe.

University of Tennessee Knoxville Ombuds Shares 2023 Annual Report

The Office of Ombuds Services at UT Knoxville reports that it assisted 513 visitors with 339 cases in 2022-23 academic year, with staff comprising almost 50% of visitors. Campus Ombudsperson, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, Associate Ombudsperson, Brooke Wichmann, and Educational Program Coordinator, Duren Thompson, significantly increased their outreach. Workshops and other events counted 950 participants, a two-fold gain from the previous year.

June 25, 2024

Internship: World Intellectual Property Organization

The United Nations agency which promotes the protection of intellectual property is offering an Internship opportunity with the WIPO Office of the Ombudsperson in Geneva. The fulltime position will last at least 6 months, extendable to 12 months, and offers the opportunity to gain practical skills working for an international organization. The intern will report to the WIPO Interim Ombuds, Rahele (Stoessel) Malanca. The expected start date is September 2, 2024.

Texas A&M University–Kingsville Opens Internal Search for First Ombuds

TAMUK, the southernmost campus of the Texas A&M University System, has opened an internal search for its first Faculty Ombudsperson. The half-time position had the backing of the Faculty Senate begins in the Fall semester. The new Ombuds will report to the University President and practice to IOA standards. The position is open only to tenured TAMUK faculty and applications are due by July 2, 2024. The role will carry an administrative stipend of $400/month for the nine month appointment. (TAMUK Ombuds Solicitation.) 

Cal Poly Pomona Offers Educational Series to Prepare for Ombuds Search

California State Polytechnic University in Pomona continues its search for a Director of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds. The search, which began in November 2023, will restore a program that has been dormant for over four years. The university has announced a series of campus events to educate its stakeholders about Ombuds. These events will feature Dawn Osborne-Adams, Ombuds for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Andrew Larratt-Smith, the Campus Ombuds at the University of California Riverside.

June 24, 2024

Job Posting: Georgia Institute of Technology

The public research university in Atlanta has opened a search for its next Ombudsman. (Georgia Tech consolidated its faculty, staff, and graduate student Ombuds programs in 2009, but it appears that all have been defunct since early 2012.) The full-time, hybrid position will single-handedly serve a total population of about 38,000, including faculty, staff, and students. 

UC Berkeley Contracts with MWI for Staff Ombuds Office

In a surprising announcement to the campus last Friday, UC Berkeley's Chancellor said that MWI had been hired to "relaunch" the Staff Ombuds Office. In January 2024, Sara Thacker retired after 16 years as the Director, leaving Shatika Ricketts as Assistant Ombudsperson and uncertainty about the future of the office. MWI will provide a team of three experienced Ombuds: Tera Bisbee (former Ombuds at Cal State University San Bernardino); Ralph Johnson (former America Ombuds at McKinsey & Company); and Jen Sims (former Staff Ombuds Office at the University of Texas). The full announcement has many more details:

Czech Network of Ombudspersons in Higher Education Launches Website

Školská Ombuds Platforma came together as an independent nonprofit organization in 2023 and provides support and connecting for the rapidly expanding number of University Ombuds in the Czech Republic. The organization's two dozen members are led by a committee comprised of Jaroslav Šotola, Chair (Deputy Ombuds at the University of Applied Sciences in Olomouc); Pavlína Junová, Vice President (Ombuds at the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague); Petr Polák, Secretary (Ombuds at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague); Pavla Špondrová, Member (Ombuds at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University); and Michaela Antonín Malaníková, Member (Ombuds at the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University, and ENOHE Board Member). 

June 21, 2024

Catholic University of America Announces Inaugural Ombuds

The private Catholic research university in Washington, D.C., has appointed Maureen Condic as its first Faculty Ombudsman and Mediator. According to an announcement from Catholic University, Condic "will be charged with providing faculty guidance on policies, rules, and laws pertaining to their positions as well as advising the University's administration on faculty trends. She will also handle, when necessary, mediations with faculty members, students and the University’s administration." 

Catalan Institute of Human Paleoecology and Social Evolution Names First Ombuds

Francisco ("Paco") Zapater has been appointed the first Ombudsperson for IPHES (Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social), the transdisciplinary research institution in Catalonia, Spain. In this new role, he will serve as a resource for IPHES staff, including affiliated employees of the Research Centers of Catalonia (CERCA, Centres de Recerca de Catalunya). Regulations adopted in 2022 state that the Ombuds "will act with complete discretion and be guided by the principles of neutrality, independence, and confidentiality, with more auctoritas than power, more justice than right, and more humanism than bureaucracy."