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." 

Central New Mexico Community College Unveils Ombuds Program

The public community college in Albuquerque, formerly known as Technical Vocational Institute (TVI), has created a Student Ombudsman office for its 22,000 students. The scope of services is generally consistent with other Ombuds programs in higher education, except that the website invites students to "report any concerns you may have." (Ombuds who practice to IOA standards do not act as an agent for notice and do not receive complaints for their organization.) The new Ombuds is located within the Dean of Students Office. The Ombuds is not identified nor did they respond to an email request for more information. (CNM Ombuds.)

June 20, 2024

Job Posting: Inter-American Development Bank

The Latin American development bank is hiring its next Head of Ombuds & Mediation Services. The search will fill a position that has been held by Ellen Connors since early 2023. The position is based at IDB's headquarters in Washington, DC, are reports directly to the President for a five-year term.

June 19, 2024

Podcast: Virginia Tech Ombuds on Academic Bullying

Bryan Hanson
, the Graduate School Ombudsperson for Virginia Tech, was a recent guest on "Peoples & Things," a podcast hosted by Lee Vinsel, a VT professor. Hanson talks about "Disrupting Academic Bullying" and a program with the same name that he developed for his campus.

Here's the full description:

Podcast: Harris Health Interviews its Ombuds

In May, Harris Health System interviewed its inaugural Ombuds, Jai McBride-Calloway, for its podcast "Heartbeat." The regular podcast has been featuring the Harris Health's leadership. McBride has brought significant Ombuds experience as she develops a program for the public health system in Texas.

Here's the summary of her show:

June 18, 2024

Job Posting: Toronto Metropolitan University

The public university formerly known as Ryerson University, is seeking its next Ombudsperson. The position will lead an office currently comprising the Acting Ombudsperson, Gemma Kerr, and Assistant Ombudsperson & Outreach Officer, Edmun Natkunarajah. (Maureen Helt is currently on leave from her position as University Ombuds.) TMU's Office of the Ombudsperson serves 48,000 enrolled students, plus applicants and former students, and follows ACCUO and FCO standards of practice. This is a hybrid job.

University of Beira Interior Hosts Iberian and Latin American Ombuds

On June 18 and 19, 2024, Universidade da Beira Interior and its Student Ombudsman, Afonso Mousaco Gomes, will host the first "Seminar of Good Practices" for University Ombuds from Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Honduras. The conference hopes to support and encourage Ombuds offices by sharing best practices from Ombuds and other higher education experts.

June 17, 2024

University of Tennessee Chattanooga Announces Ombuds

Next week, Anovia Slaughter will become the first full-time University Ombuds for all UTC faculty and staff. Slaughter will report to the University Chancellor through the Chief of Staff and will practice to IOA standards. She takes over from UT Chattanooga's Campus Ombudsperson, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, and Associate Ombudsperson, Brooke Wichmann, who have served as Interim Ombuds since last September.

June 14, 2024

Job Posting: Carnegie Mellon University

The private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will hire its first Student and Faculty Ombudsperson. The posting seems to imply that the new position will work closely with the inaugural Staff Ombudsperson, Jennifer Pablonis, who was hired in 2001. The full-time Student and Staff Ombuds will report to the Provost.

June 13, 2024

Job Re-Posting: Coastal Carolina University

The public university near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has reopened its search for a Faculty and Staff Ombuds (An earlier posting sought in have someone in place by November 2023, but there are no public details about the outcome of that search.) The part-time position (about 30% FTE) position reports to the President and practices to IOA standards.

UC Irvine Selects Associate Ombuds

Sequoia Hill has joined the Office of the Ombuds at the University of California Irvine. She joins Campus Ombuds Jennifer Moumneh and Senior Associate Ombuds Shawn Hutchens, and will assist in providing services to all campus stakeholders including members of the UCI medical center in Orange.

NACUA Hosts Ombuds Session at 2024 Conference

Shannon Burton will speak at the 2024 conference of the National Association of College and University Attorneys, the influential professional association of attorneys working in higher education. This is just the third time that NACUA has heard from a University Ombuds and the first conference session. (In May 2023, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, Ellen Miller, and Steve Prevaux gave a webinar, and in June 2023, Sarah Klaper and Chinyere Ukabiala represented IOA at NACUA's annual meeting.) Burton, the University Ombudsperson at Michigan State University, will speak at the conference in Columbus, Ohio later this month.

Ramapo College Ombuds Named to World Bank Arbitration Panel

Earlier this week, President Biden appointed Ramapo College of New Jersey's Ombuds, John Woods, Jr., to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes Panel of Arbitrators and Conciliators. Woods will serve a six-year term through 2030 on the panel, which arbitrates disputes between investors and countries. Woods has been the Ombuds at Ramapo, a public liberal arts college in Mawhaw, since establishing the program in 2008. (ROI-NJ.) 

June 12, 2024

Job Posting: Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana's flagship public university has opened a search for its first Graduate Ombudsperson (Student Support Specialist). The full-time position will establish an Ombuds office to serve about 11,000 graduate students on the Bloomington campus and also work closely with regional graduate programs. According to the position, the Ombuds will be part of the University Graduate School.

June 11, 2024

Job Posting: Austin Independent School District

Austin ISD, the public school district for the capital of Texas, is seeking an Associate Ombudsperson for Special Education. The position will report to the District's newly-appointed Ombudsperson, Dawn Spinozza, and will serve as a confidential, informal, impartial, and independent resource to support families with students who have or may have a disability. Local travel will be required.

Thomas Jefferson University Names Ombuds

The private research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has appointed Stephen Weinstein as its next Faculty Ombudsperson. He follows Michael Vergare and will assist about 3,200 full and part-time faculty with workplace concerns. Weinstein is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry. He joined the faculty in 1977 and his research had focused on addiction treatment. In addition, he served in several administrative positions, including division director. Weinstein graduated from Brooklyn College and he earned his PhD at Temple University. (TJU Ombuds.)

ENOHE Webinar to Explore AI and Ombuds Work

As part of a series of online events, the European Network of Ombuds in Higher Education is offering a special interactive webinar on AI and ChatGPT and Ombuds offices. The two-hour online program, "Artificial Intelligence, ChatGPT and Ombuds Offices: Overhyped or Overlooked?," is set for June 21, 2024 at 1400-1600pm CEST.

June 10, 2024

Job Posting: U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs is hiring an Associate Ombudsperson. According to a recent presentation the OWCP Ombuds serves "as an independent, impartial and confidential resource that receives and helps to resolve inquiries and concerns from OWCP claimants and other external interested parties." The full-time position reports to OWCP Ombudsperson Shalonda Cawthon and will be based in a DOL office (Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Lakewood, Long Beach, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.). 

MWI Roundtable will Highlight Ombuds

MWI, a global provider of outsourced Ombuds and other ADR services, hosts regular virtual events for its mediators and guests. On August 28, 2024, the topic will be "The Organizational Ombuds; What a Mediator or Other Dispute Resolution Professionals Might Want to Know About This Unique Role." This presentation explores the role of an Organizational Ombuds and the various benefits they can bring to the organizations they partner with. Dana Hinojosa and Elise Ramos will be the speakers. (MWI Mediator Roundtables.)

June 06, 2024

Ombuds Blog: New Policy on Comments

To date, I have approved about 3,700 comments on the Ombuds Blog. For the first several years, no one really commented. But that eventually changed and now comments are frequent and there is even some dialog. I find it deeply rewarding to provide a forum for our profession. 

Managing the comments takes some time as I personally approve each and every comment. This is primarily to weed out spambots, which post multiple times the number of legitimate comments. But I often have to evaluate authentic comments. Sometimes, I face a difficult choice when deciding how to handle an anonymous comment. A legitimate point can be embedded in a longer, inappropriate comment. Without knowing the author, I am unable to engage in a dialog and I have been uncomfortable editing someone else's viewpoint. So, I have had to chose between approving or rejecting the entire comment. 

Some have urged me to reject all anonymous comments, especially those critical of IOA. The reasoning is that people should feel comfortable raising issues directly with IOA leadership or going to the IOA Ombuds if they are concerned about retaliation. But I feel it is important to provide an independent public space for dissent. Moreover, anonymous comments can promote free speech by separating the content of the comment from the identity and status of the commenter.

With all of these thoughts in mind, I have decided on the following guidelines for comments on the Ombuds Blog. My hope is that these will make my work more transparent and promote healthy commentary.

June 05, 2024

Czech and Polish University Ombuds Gather for First Meeting

On March 8-9, 2024, the national Czech and Polish University Ombuds networks held their first joint meeting. Members of the two associations executive committees met symbolically on both sides of the Olše River: the Polish Academic Network for Safety and Equality (Akademicka Sieć Bezpieczeństwa i Równości) and the Czech School Ombuds Platform (ŠOP). The meeting was hosted on the campus of the Silesian University in Katowice first ever meeting took place in Szczecin, Poland,

June 04, 2024

Job Posting: Duke University

The private university in Durham, North Carolina is hiring an Associate Ombuds. The position will report to the University Ombuds, Jessica Kuchta-Miller, CO-OP, and serve all faculty, staff, and students (with the exception of unionized employees and employees of Duke Health System). The Duke Ombuds Office practices to IOA standards.

Call for Papers: JIOA Special Issue on Power, Politics & Polarization

The Journal of the International Ombuds Association has issued a call for submissions for a special issue on: "Power, Politics, and Polarization." Papers should be submitted by May 1, 2025. 

Here are more details from the Journal: