February 29, 2024

IOC Introduces Anti-Doping Ombuds to Olympic Athletes

Athlete365, the official community for Olympians, Paralympians & other elite athletes, recently introduced Anna Thorstenson, the World Anti-Doping Agencys inaugural Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds. She explained that she hope to help athletes understand and navigate the complex anti-doping system rules. Thorstenson said, "The basic idea behind the Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds is to provide athletes with assistance in anti-doping proceedings. The service is cost-free, confidential, impartial and independent from Anti-Doping Organisations and other sporting federations."

Cal Poly Pomona Continuing Search for Next Ombuds

According to a campus newspaper, California State Polytechnic University in Pomona is still in the midst of hiring a Director of Conflict Resolution Services and University Ombuds. The search began in November 2023 and will restore a program that has been dormant since Cal Poly Pomona's last Ombuds, Lavada Austin, retired in 2020. This week, Dawn Osborne-Adams, Ombuds for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spent two days as Cal Poly to answer questions and offer guidance on the Ombuds role.

Podcast Features Villanova's Ombuds

Last week, Chinwe Egbunike-Umegbolu interviewed Megan P. Willoughby for her vid/podcast show, Expert Views on ADR. Willoughby, who became the the first Faculty Ombudsperson for Villanova University in 2020 and is currently the Co-Chair of the Ombuds Committee for the ABA Dispute Resolution Section, delved into the types of Ombuds and their relationship to the growing ADR field.

Ombuds at Universitat de València Delivers 2023 Report

In her annual report to the University Senate, Belén Cardona Rubert, said that she handled 132 as the Ombuds Officer in the 2022-23 academic year. Cardona was appointed in February 2023 and serves all members of the campus, including nearly 60,000 students. Cardona is a Professor of Labor and Social Security Law. (UV Web; UV Ombuds Report; UV Ombuds.)

February 27, 2024

Job Posting: International Organization for Migration, Panama

The intergovernmental organization that promotes international cooperation on migration issues is hiring a Conflict Resolution Officer to be based in Panama City. The reports to the IOM Ombudsperson (a position that is currently vacant pending a search that opened in November 2023). The initial term is for one year with the possibility of extensions. The posting indicates the starting date "as soon as possible."

February 26, 2024

Job Posting: United Nations, New York

The Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation Services (UNOMS) is seeking a Consultant for Conflict Resolution. The fully-remote position will report to the Regional Ombudsman in New York and provide Ombuds services to UN employees for nine months.

Call for Proposals: FCO-ACCUO 2024 Biennial Conference

The Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and the Association of Canadian College and University Ombudspersons are seeking speaker proposals for their 2024 biennial conference, "Ombuds on Edge: Tackling Challenges, Evolving Practices, Enduring Principles." The event is set for October 22-24 at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. The conference will include two and a half days of presentations, learning sessions, networking time, social events, and more.

University of Illinois College of Engineering Selects Next Ombuds

In September 2023, Douglas H. Beck was named the Ombudsperson for the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is the only Ombuds at the Big 10 university and succeeds Michael Hirschi, who served in the role for two years.

February 23, 2024

Cloud Native Computing Foundation Appoints Conference Ombuds

Colleen Passard has been hired as a Conference Ombuds for CNCF, a nonprofit that promotes Linux container technology. She will serve as the Ombudsperson and Mediator for CloudNativeCon on June 26-27 in Seattle and KubeDay in Tokyo on August 27, 2024. She also was the Ombuds for cdCon+GitOpsCon in Vancouver, May 8-9, 2023. In this role, Passard provides a "safe and confidential environment" for attendees to share concerns about the event, interactions with other attendees, and Code of Conduct incidents. 

February 22, 2024

COFO Updates Governance Structures

This week, the Coalition of Federal Ombudsman dramatically revised its governing documents, which included an updated name. A redrafted Charter serves as the primary governing document of the organization and, for the first time, creates an Executive Committee Charter to more clearly delineate leadership roles and responsibilities in the coalition. As part of the update, COFO also changed its name to “Coalition of Federal Ombuds.”

February 21, 2024

Job Posting: Department of Defense Education Activity

The federal K-12 school system is hiring an ADR/CM Program Manager. The full-time position serves as an "informal, independent, confidential, and neutral third-party technical expert who is responsible for delivering and maintaining the integrity of the ADR/CM Program through a variety of ADR/CM strategies." This position is within the Office of the Chief of Staff Ombuds and Resolution Services Branch in Alexandria, Virginia. (The DoDEA Ombuds program was established in 2019 and practices to IOA standards.) The position is telework eligible.

Gallaudet University Ombuds Explains the Evolution of Her Sign for 'Ombuds'

In a new video posted on YouTube, Gallaudet's University Ombuds, Liz Stone, CO-OP, explains how she adapted the standard American Sign language sign for 'Ombuds.' She incorporates references for confidentiality, informality, independence, and impartiality into a sign she feels better conveys the role.

University of Wisconsin–Madison Seeks Two Internal Ombuds

UW-Madison has opened an internal search for two new Ombuds. They will serve three-year terms, one starting in June and the other December 2024. Only retired UW faculty, academic staff, and university staff are eligible for the part-time, stipended positions. The UM Ombuds office is currently comprised of six Ombuds:
Bruno Browning, Beth Dawson, Jane Dymond, Rob Howell, Gloria Hawkins, and Thomas Kuech. (UW-M News.)

February 20, 2024

Job Posting: Howard University

The private university in Washington, D.C. is seeking its first Faculty Ombudsperson, a full-time position. Previously, Howard conducted similar searches in 2016 and 2018 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. 

University of South Carolina Debuts Staff Ombuds Office

Robynn Pease has been appointed the inaugural Staff Ombudsperson for USC, the public research university in Columbia, South Carolina. In this new, full-time position, Pease will serve nearly 15,000 staff and report to the Director of Organizational Development. She supplements the work Robin DiPietro, who has became USC's Faculty Ombuds last summer.

February 16, 2024

Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada Appoints First Ombuds

The Canadian nonprofit that licenses music and collects royalties on behalf of four million musicians, artists, and publishers, has named Mireille Tabib as its first Ombudsperson. Her role is still being defined, but SOCAN said that "Tabib will act as an independent third party, stepping in to handle certain SOCAN member disputes and complaints, in English and French, that cannot be directly resolved by the organization." 

February 15, 2024

Louisiana State University Selects Associate Ombuds

Catherine Briley has joined the University Ombuds Office at LSU. She reports to Michael Brochu in Baron Rouge and will be serving the university's Health Science Centers in New Orleans and Shreveport.

February 14, 2024

Job Posting (RFP): National Aeronautics and Space Administration

The federal agency that manages U.S. civil space programs and aeronautics/space research seeks bids for seeking a consultant to provide advisory Ombuds services. The contractor will provide training, develop materials and reports, manage a case management system, creating/analyze surveys, and provide policy and procedure support to 30 mostly collateral duty Ombuds. The one-year contract anticipates travel expenses.

February 13, 2024

SOS Children's Villages Seeks Experts for Ombuds Board

The Austria-based international development organization for children is looking for volunteers to serve on its Ombuds Board. The panel of expert board members will support and oversee the growing Ombuds program, especially the hiring of a Global Ombuds. Board members are expected to serve a four-year term and provide at least 40 hours per year. The main activities of the Ombuds Board are:

Job Posting: University of British Columbia

UBC, the large public university in Vancouver, is hiring its first Director of Conflict Management Services. While not an Ombuds position by definition, the campus lacks an Ombuds Office for employees and this job is similar in many significant respects. The full-time position reports to the Associate VP of HR and will supervise a team of people to provide independent conflict management services to faculty, staff, and student employees. The position is expected to work with the Ombudsperson for Students, Shirley Nakata.

IOA Opens Election for 2023 Board of Directors

IOA members are now voting on the slate of Directors for 2024. Eight candidates are running for five open seats with three-year terms starting in April 2024
. Two current directors are running for reappointment. 

The Ombuds Blog does not endorse candidates; information is provided only for reference. Candidate statements and biographies are available to members only on the IOA website. Here are the nominees, along with links to any prior posts on the Ombuds Blog:

February 12, 2024

Job Posting: Salesforce

The American cloud-based software company is hiring an Employee Relations Director to serve as its first Ombudsperson. (Salesforce posted an equivalent position in May 2022 and it is unclear what happened to that search.) The company's first full-time Ombuds will report to the Vice President of Global Employee Relations and cover the company's operations in the Americas. The position "will provide safe spaces for employees to share feedback and concerns,... provide mentorship to executive leadership, build playbooks crafted to address specific employee -company situations / scenarios, and build a framework for the Ombudsperson function."

IOA Announces New CO-OP Board Members and Progress on Program Certification

Last week, the International Ombuds Association shared news about its certification program. First off, the Board of Certification for Certified Organizational Ombuds Practitioners has new members. The volunteer Board is the certifying body authorized to award the CO-OP credential. Board members serve three year terms. The current CO-OP directors and officers are:

February 09, 2024

Hope College Names Inaugural Ombuds

Sonja Trent-Brown
has been appointed the first Ombudsperson for the private Christian liberal arts college in Holland, Michigan. She provides services to faculty, staff, and students—a total population of nearly 5,000—and practices to IOA standards. Trent-Brown has worked at the college since 2005 in a variety of faculty and administrative roles. Most recently, she has been Professor of Psychology and Vice President for Culture and Inclusive Excellence.

American Bar Association Endorses Ombuds Again

At its Midyear Meeting last week, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a resolution supports the use of Ombuds for early dispute resolution. Although brief, the measure underscores the association's continued acknowledgement and support for Ombuds as ADR providers.

February 08, 2024

College of San Mateo Debuts Ombuds Program

Kohya Lu has been appointed the inaugural Ombudsperson for the public community college in the California Bay Area. In this new, full-time role, he will serve a student body of about 10,000 and practice to IOA standards. The position was created by the College's former President as part of an Education Master Plan created in 2022. 

CSM is part of the San Mateo County Community College District, which last year created a concerning hybrid role of Chief Diversity Officer and Ombuds. The District recently branded that that program as the Office of Collaborative Resolution, which will serve only District employees. The new San Mateo College Office of the Ombuds is a separate program. 

February 07, 2024

Job Posting: University of Luxembourg

Université du Luxembourg
has opened a search for an Ombudsperson. The position will expand the university's Ombuds Service, which was established by Brent Epperson in February 2021. (Initially a full-time Ombuds, Epperson is now part-time.) The new full-time, permanent position reports to the University's Governing Council.

Job Posting: Montgomery County Public Schools

The Montgomery County Board of Education in the DC suburb of Rockville, Maryland, is hiring an Ombudsperson. This full-time position reports to the school board of Maryland's largest school district and serves parents, community members, 28,000 employees, and 160,000 students. Ryvell D. Fitzpatrick has served in the position since October 2021.

February 06, 2024

UC Davis Rounds Out Ombuds Team

Katie Ranney has joined the Ombuds Office at the University of California Davis as an Assistant Ombuds. She joins Senior Associate Ombuds, Jason Karim-Baker, who was hired in December, and reports to Director Lauren Bloom, CO-OP, along with Senior Associate Ombuds Lindsey Ensor, CO-OP, Associate Ombuds Jenny Vaccari, CO-OP, and Ombuds for Special Projects, Catherine Langlois.

February 01, 2024

University of Connecticut Adds an Assistant Ombuds

Cinnamon Adams has joined Jim Wohl in the UConn Ombuds Office. As the Assistant Ombuds, Adams will initially focus on serving graduate students and postdocs and move into serving faculty and staff. She comes to the position after serving as Director of Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Support.