January 31, 2024

Job Posting: Queen's University

The public research university in Kingston, Ontario, is seeking its next University Ombudsperson. The position leads an office which provide services to nearly 45,000 students, staff, and faculty. The position reports to the Board of Trustees with oversight by the University Culture Committee and Faculty Senate. The search will fill a position held by Lavonne Hood since 2019. (She moved to a DEI position at Queen's last summer.) Meanwhile, Heather Trojek, who joined the office in December 2022, has been promoted to Interim University Ombudsperson.

College of Charleston Ombuds Retires

Evie Nadel, who has been the Ombudsperson for South Carolina's oldest public university, retired recently. Nadel had worked for CofC for two decades, initially as Director of Community Relations and then in 2018. During her tenure, the university removed the Ombuds' collateral duties. There has not yet been an announcement regarding the future of the Ombuds program. (CofC Today.)

January 30, 2024

University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Debuts Ombuds Program

The scientific research center within the University System of Maryland has created an Ombuds program for its 300-500 employees. UMCES has contracted with the McCammon Group, an ADR consulting business headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. Jacqueline Villafañe and Tahirih Varner are the inaugural, part-time Ombuds and will practice to IOA standards. 

New Ombuds Joins Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

An updated website indicates that Zohar Granot-Mayer has joined Jeff Wickens in the OIST Ombuds Office. Granot-Mayer follows Evan Economo as a part-time Assistant Ombudsperson. Her LinkedIn page indicates the transition occurred in October 2022. The two Ombuds serve as a resource for all employees and students of the highly-ranked, graduate research institute (Okinawa Kagaku Gijutsu Daigakuin Daigaku).

Call for Presenters: USOA 2024 Conference

The United States Ombudsman Association is seeking speakers for its 43nd annual conference set for November 20-22, 2024, in Oceanside, California. Speakers should be interested in sharing their knowledge and experience relevant to the Public Sector Ombudsman profession—USOA membership is not required.

January 29, 2024

Job Posting: Scotiabank

The Canadian multinational banking and financial services company is hiring a Manager for its Staff Ombuds Office. The full-time, fully remote, and bilingual position "provides a safe, trustworthy and readily accessible source of early assistance for employees at all levels, contingent workers, retirees, and former employees when they have a workplace concern at Scotiabank or want information about where to seek assistance related to their work at Scotiabank."

Society for Personality and Social Psychology Renews Conference Ombuds for 2024

For the third year in a row, Kathleen Canul will serve as the Ombuds for SPSP's annual conference for social psychologists and personality psychologists. Canul is the former Campus Ombuds for the University of California Los Angeles and has served as conference Ombuds for several other professional associations. She is also a licensed psychologist. (SPSP Conf Program.)

January 26, 2024

UC Berkeley Staff Ombuds Set to Retire

Sara Thacker, the Director of UC Berkeley's Staff Ombuds Office, will retire at the end of January. A campus announcement from the Chancellor's Chief of Staff recapped Thacker's impressive Ombuds career and hinted at the next steps for the office:

Pennsylvania State University Appoints Interim Ombuds

Lisa Gatzke-Kopp has been named the Acting University Faculty Ombudsperson for Penn State. She follows Larry Catá Backer, who served in the role since 2022. Gatzke-Kopp previously served as the Unit Ombuds for the College of Health & Human Development. 

January 25, 2024

Job Posting: Atlanta Public Schools

The Ombuds Office for the public school system in Georgia is hiring an Organizational Ombuds. The office provides services to nearly 4,000 staff members and 55,000 enrolled students, families, and other stakeholders. The Organizational Ombuds team is part of the Center for Equity and Social Justice and reports directly to the Chief Equity and Social Justice Officer. It appears that the APS Ombuds Office has changed significantly since a similar pasting last summer. Deirdre Smith, who lead the office as the APS Organizational Ombuds, and Kyle Bolt, Coordinator of Multilingual Stakeholder Supports, are no longer with the office; only the Ombuds Specialist, Shonda Liddell, remains.

January 24, 2024

Cal State San Bernardino Shutters Ombuds Office

Earlier this month, California State University, San Bernardino closed its Office of Ombuds Services. CSUSB's Ombudsperson, Twillea Evans-Carthen, who had served in the role for nearly seven years, also quietly retired at the end of December 2023. (She plans to continue teaching a couple courses as a part-time instructor.) According to a message posted on the Ombuds Office's website, the closure was prompted by ongoing budgetary reductions. (CSUSB Ombuds; Precinct Reporter Group.)

Dispute Resolution Section 2024 Conference Registration Now Open

The American Bar Association has posted the agenda and opened registration for the Dispute Resolution Section's Spring Conference. The in-person event is touted as the world's largest ADR conference and will take place at the Westin hotel in San Diego, April 10-13, 2024. This year, the event includes a panel about Ombuds work:

January 23, 2024

Job Posting: Brookhaven National Lab

The U.S. Department of Energy laboratory located in Long Island, New York, is seeking its next Ombudsperson. (Susan Foster has served in the position since 2011.) The position serves all members of the Lab community, including employees, joint appointments from many universities, guests, and other onsite users. The full-time position reports to the Lab Director. 

Article Offers Guidance for Ombuds Giving Upward Feedback (Repost)

The Social Science Research Network has posted a new article by James Claxton, "Generic Options, Particular Challenges: Hazards of Ombuds Raising Workplace Issues for Anonymous Visitors." Claxton is an Ombudsperson Specialist with the Office of the Ombudsman for United Nations Funds and Programmes in Senegal and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Waseda University. The article examines a critical Ombuds function that has not been extensively examined in the literature. 

University of Nevada Las Vegas Ombuds Reports Strong Demand in 2023

In his latest annual report, UNLV's Ombuds David G. Schwartz said that he assisted 486 individuals in 2022-23, a 34% increase from the prior year. Schwartz said the visitors were "a diverse selection of the 35,000 or so people who learn or work at UNLV." Numbers aside, his review acknowledges the campus shooting on December 6 that will forever dominate any discussion about 2023. (UNLV Ombuds.)

January 22, 2024

Allen College Names First Ombuds

The private healthcare university in Waterloo, Iowa, has created an Ombuds program for its 700 students. Kara Howard will serve nursing students and Abigail Nieman will serve all other health sciences students. Both have other roles at the college and report to the the College President for their Ombuds work. 

Duke University Ombuds Shares 2023 Annual Report

In a report to Duke's Academic Council, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, CO-OP, said that the Ombuds Office had assisted 297 visitors in 2023, with nearly a third of visitors being faculty. Kuchta-Miller, who has headed a unified Ombuds program at Duke since September 2022, said the top reason for visits was evaluative relationships in the workplace. The Duke Chronicle also reported that the university adopted a new charter for the Ombuds Office, that follows IOA standards. (Duke Chronicle.)

January 19, 2024

Northern Virginia Community College Adds an Ombuds

Shawn Addison has been named the Employee Ombuds for the large community college in Virginia. Addison joins Tanneh Kamara, who was named the first Student Ombuds in 2021. Addison has worked at NOVA as a Professor and Counselor, and earned an EdD from Shenandoah University. (NVCC Ombuds.)

American Society for Aesthetics Expands with Divisional Ombuds

ASA has announced the appointment of six new Divisional Ombudsperson. These new positions will attend each of the four regional meetings and supplement the work of the philosophical organization's founding Ombuds, Jeanette Bicknell. The new Divisional Ombuds are: Remei Capdevila-Werning, Lecturer on Philosophy and Resident Dean at Harvard University; Ley David Elliette Cray, Dialectical Programming Coordinator for Growth thru Change; Charles Peterson, Associate Professor and Chair of Africana Studies at Oberlin College; Sue Spaid (alternate Ombuds), Curator and Author in Belgium; and J. Lenore Wright, Professor of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies at Baylor University. They will all serve two-year terms beginning January 31, 2024. (ASA News.)

Idaho State University Affirms Commitment to Staff Ombuds During Transition

Stacey Marshall, who managed the Staff Ombuds program at ISU for the past decade recently retired. In an update to the campus, the university said that "HR and ISU leadership have been collaboratively evaluating the best options for the sustained continuation of the Staff Ombuds Program." In the short term, the seven Staff Ombuds will be coordinated by Karey Steed, assistant HR director for employee relations and organizational development. The Staff Ombuds currently are: Stefanie Shadduck, Research Associate - Institute of Rural Health; Todd Johnson, Director - Veterans Student Services Center; Kurtis Moser, Interactive Video Conferencing Classroom Specialist; and Patty Overy, Financial Technician. (ISU News.)

January 18, 2024

Job Posting: City of Atlanta

The City of Atlanta is seeking a full-time Ombudsman Specialist/Neighborhoods Relationship Manager. (The City advertised the position last April, but it is unclear whether that search was ever completed.) The position will report to Jodi Merriday, the City's Ombudsman of Neighborhoods and provide Ombuds services to residents following IOA and USOA standards. Merriday was appointed by Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens in February and previously was the inaugural Ombudsman for the Atlanta Public Schools.

Call for Presenters (Updated): Centre for Informal Dispute Resolution

Organizers for "The Ombuds: Foundations, Best Practices, and Development" on May 6-7, 2024, have extended the submission deadline for speakers. This international and online event hosted by CIDR at Saint Paul University in Ottawa will bring together practitioners and researchers in conflict resolution and the Ombuds field to discuss the evolution of Ombuds practice. The organizers are Brent Epperson (part-time Ombuds at the University of Luxembourg and Assistant Professor at USP) and Jean-François Rioux (Associate Professor at USP).

January 16, 2024

Job Posting: UC Irvine

The Orange County campus of the University of California has opened a search for an Associate Ombuds. The search will fill a position previously held by Jared Lee. The full-time position provides Ombuds services to all campus stakeholders including members of the UCI medical center in Orange and reports to the Director of the Office of the Ombuds, Jennifer Moumneh. The position is eligible for a hybrid work schedule.

January 10, 2024

Job Re-Posting: Colorado State University

The public land-grant university in Fort Collins has reopened its search for two Assistant Directors of Conflict Resolution Services. The positions manages voluntary, neutral, confidential, and informal conflict resolution programs for 33,000 students. The roles will be delegated to two areas: Campus Communities (supporting on-campus communities such as University Housing and student organizations) and Academic Life (conflicts related to the student academic experience). The university hopes to fill the hybrid-eligible positions by February 26, 2024.

January 09, 2024

Warsaw University of Life Sciences Appoints First Ombuds

Mateusz Niedbała has been named the first Ombuds for SGGW (Szkoła Główna Gospodarstwa Wiejskiego), Poland's largest agricultural university. Niedbała's title, "Rzecznikiem Akademickim," translates to Academic Spokesperson, but his role is defined by the IOA standards of practice. In this new position, he will serve as a resource for over 45,000 students and nearly 8,000 employees. Niedbała has been a Lecturer in SGGW's Department of Technology and Entrepreneurship in Wood Industry. (SGGW People.)

University of Wyoming Elevates Ombuds Reporting Line

Wy0ming's flagship public university has realigned its Ombuds to report to the Office of the President. Previously, UW's Ombudsperson for staff and students, Nellie Haddad, was within the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. The move brings the program more in line with IOA standards. (UW News.)

Oakland School for the Arts Signs Ombuds Charter

This week, OSA, the California Bay Area visual and performing arts charter school, published an Ombuds Office Charter. The document was enacted in July 2023 and states that the school's inaugural Ombuds, Genevieve Mage, will practice to IOA standards. (OSA Ombuds Charter.)

January 08, 2024

Job Posting: Universitetet i Bergen

The University of Bergen is hiring its a second Studentombud. The full-time position will join current Ombuds, Karsten Olav Aarestrup, and expand the services to Norges Handelshøyskole (the Norwegian School of Economics) and Bergen Arkitekthøgskule (Bergen School of Architecture). 

Colorado State University Selects an Ombuds

Matt Ricke has been hired as a full-time Ombuds for CSU in Colorado Springs. The appointment expands the Office of the Ombuds headed by University Ombuds Director, Melissa Emerson. The part-time Faculty Ombuds, Kathy Rickard, is no longer with the office.

Czech Network of University Ombuds Sets Second Meeting

Later this month, the Czech National Ombudsman will host a meeting of Czech and Polish university Ombuds. This year, Jan Gałkowski, the University Ombudsperson for the University of Rzeszów (Uniwersytet Rzeszowski) will be the keynote speaker. Galkowski became the first Ombuds at the University Rzeszow in 2022 and was a speaker at the 2023 ENOHE conference. (LinkedIn: Akademicka Sieć Bezpieczeństwa i Równości; Jan Gałkowski.) 

January 05, 2024

Journal Article Examines Adoption of Ombuds Programs in Japanese Universities

Science and Public Policy
, a peer-reviewed scientific journal from Oxford University Press, has published a new article: "The Early Emergence of Ombuds Systems in Japanese Science Universities." The authors, Matthew Brummer and Sam Bamkin, conducted "elite interviews" of three Ombuds for qualitative data: Jeff Wickens, Ombudsperson for Okinawa Institute of Technology (OIST); Masako Miyatake, Ombudsperson for Kyushu Institute of Technology (KyuTech); and Shirley Nakata, Ombudsperson for the University of British Columbia (UBC). 

IOA Seeks Noms for 2024 Distinguished Emeriti

The International Ombuds Association is asking its members to submit names for its annual Distinguished Emeritus Award. The IOA Nominating Committee recognizes a small number of retired Ombuds for their outstanding and dedicated service to the association and to the Ombuds profession more broadly.

January 04, 2024

Benton White: San Jose State University's Founding Ombuds

J Benton White, the former Ombudsman for San José State, passed away on December 6, 2023, at the age of 92. White came to what was then San Jose State College in 1961 as a Methodist campus minister and was quickly involved in the effort to secure housing for students of color. As a progressive activist, he helped recruit students to participate in voter registration drives taking place in the Deep South during the Freedom Summer of 1964. After student protests over continued racial segregation roiled the campus in 1967, the University President

January 02, 2024

Job Posting: United Nations, Lebanon

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services (UNOMS) is seeking a Conflict Resolution Officer Consultant based in Beirut. The is a temporary position that provide Ombuds services for UN employees in offices and peacekeeping missions in the region. The term will expire on June 30, 2024. The position will be supervised of the UNOMS Chief of Office.