March 29, 2024

Prairie View A&M University Names Inaugural Ombuds

In October 2023, Aundrea Cudjoe-Jackson was selected to serve as the first Ombudsperson for PVAMU. In this new position, Cudjoe-Jackson reports directly to the President & CEO and provides services to about 540 faculty members at the largest HBCU in Texas. 

Meet the Ombuds for Con Edison

In January 2023, Ed Conway became the Corporate Ombudsman for Consolidated Edison, Inc., the large energy company based in New Yorck City. He reports to Con Ed's CEA and provides Organizational Ombuds services 15,000 employees. Conway is a long-time employee and started as a mechanical engineer in 1989. Most recently, he was the Director of Learning for the past five years. 

ENOHE Opens Registration for 2024 Conference in Portugal

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education has announced details for its 19th annual conference. The event will be hosted by University Beira Interior in Covilhã, Portugal. The theme is "From Plato's Academy to Portugal: Democracy, Diversity, and the Role of the Ombudsperson in Higher Education." The conference will be preceded by a Training Activity Programme for up to 20 participants.

March 28, 2024

Dane County Selects First Ombuds

Diana Pastrana has been appointed the first Employee Ombuds for the county government in Wisconsin. (Dane County is home to the state capital of Madison and the University of Wisconsin.) As an independent contractor, Pastrana will serve as a resource for about county 3,000 employees. 

Meet the Ombuds Team at McKinsey & Co

The global management company has three Firm Ombuds who have been appointed in the past two years: Kathrin Braunsteiner, based in Germany, in October 2023; Gretchen Scheidler, based in Chicago, in April 2022; and Caz Williamson, based in London, in October 2023. All three moved from other roles at McKinsey. 

March 27, 2024

Ombuds to Return for American Planning Association Conferences

The American Planning Association has renewed its contract with MWI for conference Ombuds services for two APA events in April and May 2024. Nnena Odim will return for a second year to provide in-person conference ombuds services at the APA’s National Planning Conference in Minneapolis, April 13-16, 2024, and remotely from May 8-10. Odim served as the conference Ombuds services for the Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation and the American Economic Association. According to the contract with MWI, Odim will practice to IOA standards. (NPC24 Ombuds.)

University of Massachusetts Boston Adopts Ombuds Charter

UMass Boston has adopted a charter for its Office of Ombuds Services, which was established by Martha Nelson Patrick, CO-OP , in June 2023. The charter assures that the office will practice entirely to IOA standards, including complete confidentiality and access to outside counsel. (UMB OO Charter.)

Meet the Newest Ombuds at the World Bank

Jules Baughns was added to the World Bank Office of Ombuds Services on May 1, 2023, and is based in Nairobi, Kenya. He joins three other Ombuds: Caroline Nekesa Wanyonyi in Bangkok, Thailand; Doris Cecilia Campos-Infantino in Washington, DC; and Axel R. Peuker in Washington, DC. 

March 26, 2024

Job Posting: Toronto Metropolitan University

The public university formerly known as Ryerson University, is seeking an Assistant Ombudsperson for a full-time, six month contract. (In April 2022, TMU became the first college or university in Northern America to change its name to address its colonial history.) The search will fill a position temporarily vacated by Ombudsperson Maureen Helt and will report to Acting Ombudsperson Gemma Kerr

Job Posting: SOS Children's Villages, Zimbabwe

As the Austria-based international development organization continues to build out its Ombuds program, it is seeking a National Ombuds to be based in Harare. As part of a global team of Ombuds, the position will report to a (yet to be named) Regional Ombuds. The initial appointment will be for one year.

Meet the First Ombuds for the African Union Commission

Fouad Hendel was named the inaugural Head of Ombudsman and Mediation Division for the African Union in August 2023. Based at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Hendel provides a of conflict management and employee relations services to Union employees throughout the continent. His appointment is contracted for three years, including an initial one year period. 

March 25, 2024

Job Posting: GAVI

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly known as the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, a public–private global health partnership that promotes immunization in poor countries), has issued a request for proposals for an Ombudsperson. Gavi conducted a search for a full-time employee Ombuds in December 2022, but did not make an appointment. The new, part-time contract position will assist internal stakeholders for an initial two -year term and is based at Gavi's headquarters in Geneva.

Austria's Student Ombuds Reports Surge in Cases in 2023

In her latest annual report, the head of the Austrian Student Ombuds Office (Ombudsstelle für Studierende), Anna-Katharina Rothwangl, said her office handled 777 cases in 2022-23, a 21% increase from the prior year. In addition to her statistical report to the Parliamentary Minister for Education, Science and Research, Rothwangl also made 23 proposals to improve higher education. Nine prior proposals were adopted by legislators or institutions last year. The Austrian Student Ombuds Office serves 405,000 students at 77 universities. (Austrian Student Ombuds 2022-23 Report to Parliament, Proposals, Facts & Figures.)

March 22, 2024

Journal Article Connects Ombuds and Organizational Health

A new, peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being explains how Ombuds create a more resilient and inclusive workplace culture with a positive impact on the organization’s overall health and success. The authors of "Enhancing Organizational Well-being and Growth: The Value of Ombud services and the Development of Ombud Consultation Evaluation Survey" are Katy Kamkar and Mario Baril. Both are Ombuds with Public Services and Procurement Canada.

ENOHE Report Documents Two Decades of Progress

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education is commemorating its 20th anniversary with a special publication had been prepared, “20 Years ENOHE. Looking Back – Looking Forward.” The book was edited by Josef Leidenfrost and Jean Grier and is now available for download.

Young Harris College Assigns New Ombuds Duties to Title IX Officer

The private liberal arts college in Georgia has created an Ombuds program for students and named its Associate Vice President for Policy and Compliance and Title IX Coordinator, Laura Whitaker-Lea, as the inaugural College Ombuds. According to the current student handbook, the Ombuds provides typical services, but confidentiality does not cover Title IX and campus safety issues. 

March 21, 2024

Job Posting: SOS Children's Villages, Uganda

The Austria-based international development organization continues to build out its Ombuds program. Currently, it is seeking a National Ombuds to be based in Kampala. As part of a team of Ombuds, the position will report to a (yet to be named) Regional Ombuds. The initial appointment will be for one year.

CppCon Names 2024 Conference Ombuds

Colleen Passard will serve as the first Ombudsperson for the annual, week-long conference for the C++ community in Aurora, Colorado, September 15-20, 2024. The event is sponsored by Standard C++ Foundation and usually draws over 700 attendees. Passard has or will serve as the Ombuds for other software conferences, including CloudNativeCon, KubeDay, and cdCon+GitOpsCon. (CppCon Ombuds.)

Kent State University Appoints Faculty Ombuds, Adopts Charter

After an 11-month search, Shannon Driscoll was selected as the first Faculty Ombuds for the public research university in Ohio. She joins an existing Student Ombuds, Amy Quillin, and will serve the university's 2,700 faculty members. Kent State also adopted a charter for the program. According to the independent campus newspaper, Kent Wired, the Ombuds will be required to report Title IX matters.

University of Oregon Ombuds Posts 2023 Annual Report

UO's University Ombudsperson, Brett Harris, said that her office handled 8% fewer cases in 2022-23. The decline to 321 cases followed a robust increase in the prior year. However, the number of hours spent working on cases by Harris and Assistant Ombuds Sarah Ash increased, from 2,600 to 2,800, due to the complexity of cases and other factors. The report indicated that about half of the cases involved "evaluative relationships." (Around the O.)

March 15, 2024

Conference Guide for IOA 2024

Organizational Ombuds are gathering in Indianapolis, Indiana, this week for the International Ombuds Association's 19th annual conference.

Here's list of posts about the conference for easy reference:

March 14, 2024

Job Posting: Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General

The U.S. Defense Department's OIG is hiring an Ombuds (Organizational Development Specialist). The full-time position is located in the DoD OIG Front Office in Alexandria, Virginia, and serves all department personnel seeking informal and early resolution of workplace related concerns. Up to 25% travel may be required for the position.

U.S. Department of Energy Selects an Associate Ombuds

Stephanie Luckam Garner has joined the DOE Office of the Ombudsman. She brings significant experience to the job, having worked as an Ombuds for nearly a decade. Most recently, Garner has worked as an Ombuds and Respectful Workplace Advisor at the World Bank Group. She has also held the position at the Transportation Security Administration, Interamerican Development Bank, and American Red Cross. (LinkedIn.)

ENOHE Awards Honorary Memberships to Longtime Advocates

The European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education bestowed lifetime memberships to five long-standing activists for ENOHE – two from the UK, one from Spain, one from Mexico, and one from Austria. ENOHE statutes allow the General Assembly to award the honor "whose services to the Association have been of outstanding merit and who have contributed to the development of the Association." The following five individuals were awarded:

March 13, 2024

Job Posting: National Institutes of Health

The NIH Ombuds Office is seeking a contractor for a full-time Associate Ombuds position. The contract is renewed yearly by mutual agreement and does not have a specified start or termination date. The job may be performed remotely from anywhere in the U.S., but periodic travel to NIH locations will be required with and travel expenses reimbursed. The position will conform to IOA standards and will focus on one of two areas: working with groups (i.e., assessments, analysis, facilitations, etc.); or scientific/clinical conflicts.

Western University Ombuds Caseload Moderated in 2022-23

Western University's Acting Ombudsperson, Whitney Barrett, says her caseload declined 15.8% in the most recent academic year. The decrease followed a 13% jump in 2021-22, which reflected a post-COVID rebound. The total number of visitors, 956, was more in line with historical numbers and long-term growth. (Western Annual Reports.)

WADA Extends Contract for Athletes’ Anti-Doping Ombuds

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee has extended the contract with its inaugural Ombuds, Anna Thorstenson, through the end of 2024. Thorstenson will work on promoting her program outside Europe. In September 2024, the Executive Committee is expected to consider a long-term strategy for the Ombuds program. (WADA News.)

March 12, 2024

IOA Elects 2024 Board of Directors

In an email to members today, the International Ombuds Association announced the results of its latest election for the Board of Directors. Five directors, including two incumbents, will begin three-year terms starting later this month. Shortly after the annual IOA business meeting, the board will elect officers for the current year.

Here are the newly elected IOA board members:

Centre for Informal Dispute Resolution Opens Registration for First Ombuds Conference

CIDR at Saint Paul University in Ottawa has announced details for its first Ombuds-focused conference on May 6-7, 2024. The hybrid event, "The Ombuds: Foundations, Best Practices, and Development," will bring together practitioners and researchers in conflict resolution and the Ombuds field to discuss the evolution of Ombuds practice. The organizers, Brent Epperson and Jean-François Rioux, have released the full agenda:

March 11, 2024

Job Posting: Widener University

The private university in Chester, Pennsylvania, is seeking its first University Ombudsperson. The full-time position will report to the Chief Diversity Officer and provide services to faculty and staff. (In 2007, an undergraduate proposed the creation of a student Ombuds, but that was never taken seriously by the university.) The position is expected to practice to IOA standards and is eligible for hybrid or remote work.

March 08, 2024

Job Posting: World Health Organization, India

WHO is hiring a Regional Ombudsperson in New Delhi. The full-time position will serve WHO personnel in Europe and report directly to WHO's Regional Director. 

Oregon State University Selects an Associate Ombuds

Susie Brubaker-Cole has been appointed Associate Ombuds for Oregon State University. She joins Michael Steinberg, University Ombuds, and Jennifer Allemann, Administrative Program Coordinator. The OSU Ombuds Office practices to IOA standards and provides services to over 40,000 faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders.

City of Seattle Promotes and Adds Ombuds Staff

Seattle's Office of the Employee Ombud has promoted Assistant Ombud Emma Phan to the position of Senior Ombud & Head of ADR, and Rachel Nicholson to Ombud & Head of Capacity Building. The office also recently promoted some of its newer staff members: Associate Ombuds, Isar Mahanian and Barbara Allen, and Assistant Ombud & Training Specialist, Cesar Seguil. According to the office's latest annual report from Director Amarah Y. Khan, the program handled 299 cases and provided 73 training sessions in 2022. (LinkedIn; Seattle OEO 2022 Report.)

March 07, 2024

Canadian Ski Instructors’ Alliance Announces Ombuds Program

CSIA, an association of more than twenty thousand professional skiers in Canada, has named its first-ever Ombuds: Julie Boncompain and Brent Epperson. Together, they will provide services for CSIA members with concerns and complaints related to the association's policies, rules, and procedures. A document setting out the "Function and description of the Ombuds Office" ensures that Boncompain and Epperson will practice to IOA standards. 

New Book Captures Wisdom of Leading Dutch Ombuds

Paul Herfs has released his book, The Importance of Ombuds Work, as a paperback and ebook. Herfs was the Ombuds for Staff and Faculty at Utrecht University for 16 years. He has written for JIOA, ENOHE, and the Cal Caucus Journal. He served as a board member of ENOHE and has spoken at many Ombuds conferences. In 2021, he was appointed Knight of the Order of Oranje-Nassau for his many years of service to Dutch society.

UN World Food Programme Names Interim Ombuds

Dolores Gómez-Morán, CO-OP, has been promoted to interim WFP Ombudsman and Director. She succeeds Gabrielle Kluck, who retired last year and is based in Rome. Gomez-Moran joined the office in 2022 as a Senior Ombuds Officer.

March 06, 2024

Victoria University of Wellington Creates an Ombuds Service for Staff

In September 2023, Te Herenga Waka, in Wellington, New Zealand, established an Employee Assistance Resolution Services (EARS) Te Rauawa. The new program provides Organizational Ombuds services for staff at the public university: "a confidential, impartial, informal service which can provide independent advice and resolution assistance for workplace issues." (The use of the term "Ombudsman" is limited by law in New Zealand, which may explain the name of the program.) 

Baylor University Names Inaugural Staff Ombuds

Susan Anz has been appointed the first Ombuds to Staff at the private university in Waco, Texas. She will provide services to about 1,000 non-academic employees following IOA standards. In addition to her part-time Ombuds duties, Anz continues as Deputy Chief Business Officer.

Longtime Ombuds Departs University of Cincinnati

University Ombuds Kim Fulbright will be leaving UC to take the position of constituent liaison for Ohio’s first congressional district. During this time of transition, Jivanto van Hemert will step up to serve as Interim University Ombuds.

March 05, 2024

Job Posting: Wake County Public School System

WCPSS, a public school district in North Carolina, is hiring its first Ombuds. The new position will report directly to the superintendent and serve employees, students (160,000 currently enrolled), families, volunteers, and community partners. According to a news report in 2022, "Wake Superintendent Cathy Moore said that the idea for the position had been brought up in 2020 before being put on hold during the pandemic." The position will be available April 1, 2024, and is not available for a hybrid telework workweek.

Austin Independent School District Reopens Ombuds Office

The public school district for the capital city of Texas, has tapped Dawn Spinozza to restart its Ombuds Office. She will provide services to community members, families, and 75,000 enrolled students and will will practice to IOA standards. Her office is located within the Office for Organizational Transformation. Spinozza will restore a program that has been dormant since 2015.

United Nations Ombuds Explains Pandemic Pivot to Virtual Casework

An article in the United Nations' official magazine, UN Today, recounts how the UN Ombudsman and Mediation Services (UNOMS) embraced virtual and hybrid solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Charles Chauvel, the Regional Ombudsman for Asia and the Pacific, explains the benefits and drawbacks of this new approach to managing conflict:

March 04, 2024

Job Posting: Northwestern University

The private research university north of Chicago seeks an Associate Ombudsperson. The new position expand Northwestern's Office of the Ombudsperson and report to the University Ombuds, Sarah Klaper. The hybrid, full-time position will assist in providing Ombuds services to faculty, staff, and students following IOA standards.

Job Posting: Department of Defense Education Activity

The federal K-12 school system is hiring an Associate Ombudsman. (It is unclear whether this position will join the ADR/CM Program Manager, which is being filled currently, or if this is a rebranded position.) The full-time position is within the Office of the Chief of Staff Ombuds and Resolution Services Branch in Alexandria, Virginia.  The position is telework eligible and up to 20% travel may be expected.

Canada's Department of Justice Now Favors Use of 'Ombuds' in Move to Gender Inclusivity

The Government of Canada has updated its legislative drafting guidance to promote gender-inclusive language. The new guidelines specifically urge drafters to avoid ombudsman in favor of ombuds, ombud or ombudsperson.

The guidance cites IOA in its explanation:

March 01, 2024

Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Seeks to Build University Ombuds Programs in Latin America

UC3M (Charles III University of Madrid), an international university in Spain, has launched an initiative to establish or modernize University Ombuds offices in eight universities in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Honduras. The project is part of Erasmus+, a European Union program to promote closer cooperation between universities. Known as BRAVIOO, the UC3M initiative is coordinated by UC3M's University Ombudsman Office and involves collaboration with the University Ombudsman Office for Students at the Universidade da Beira Interior in Portugal (which will host ENOHE's 2024 conference). 

Alfred University Names Two Ombuds

The small private university in the Southern Tier of New York has named two new, collateral-duty Ombuds: Frederic Beaudry and Jenny McCumiskey. Together, they provide services to about 2,800 faculty, staff, and students. Beaudry is a Professor of Environmental Studies and McCumiskey is the Director of Advancement Services. (Alfred Ombuds.)

Wichita State University Seeks Internal Ombuds, Begins Work on Charter

Wichita State created a Faculty Senate Ombudsperson program in 2018 to serve about 520 academic staff at the public university in Kansas. Four faculty serve four-year, staggered terms. The current Ombuds are Carolyn Shaw (Professor of Political Science), Mehmet Barut (Professor of Finance, Real Estate and Decision Sciences), and Bayram Yildirim (Professor of Industrial, Systems and Manufacturing Engineering). Shaw, who also coordinates the Ombuds program has proposed a Charter, that would codify the program and ensure compliance with IOA standards.