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George Mason Ombuds Office Anniversary and Ombuds Day Celebration Reflection

By, Sarah Ahmed Atif,
Program Coordinator, George Mason University Ombuds Office

The current George Mason University Ombudsperson, Kimberly Jackson Davidson, was introduced in February 2022, and the Office Charter was signed in October of the same year by University President Gregory Washington. We identify this moment of a signed charter as the official act of launching the Office. This October, completing one year of operations, the Office celebrated its anniversary by hosting various programs for different audiences.

The office hosted an Ombuds Gathering for academic ombuds from the DMV area at the beautiful Potomac Science Center on October 20. This program was an effort to bring the academic ombuds in one room to have a dialogue on events pertaining to the field. Following were the program topics: 

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Gratitude: One Year Anniversary of Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch

By Ronnie Thomson,
Corporate Ombuds - Sandia National Laboratories

Have you ever felt the excitement of a new adventure plus the doubts of whether you’re ready? What is the purpose of that internal voice murmuring doubts? Perhaps it’s a catalyst to bring your best self, pursue excellence, and watch the beauty of the adventure unfold. Or maybe that catalyst is spurring you to ask for support. Upon the one-year anniversary of the Sandia Ombuds Office Re-launch, I am reflecting on my current adventure with its mountain-top highs and valley lows, plus the pursuit of excellence and the support I have found. I’m hoping that my sharing this reflection will be of help to you.

Beginning at the Trailhead 

The Sandia National Laboratories Director re-launched and chartered the Sandia Ombuds Office to again provide the workforce with an independent, informal, impartial, and confidential resource. Admirably, the Labs Director even made suggestions to strengthen the agreement before he signed it. Sandia’s Chief of Staff located options for the construction of the office in Albuquerque, NM, established the budget, and supported my launch plan which included my own orientation to a whole new world of premier research and national security with a targeted soft launch for virtual and phone visits during the pandemic. For the first few months, my husband remained in Texas as I navigated my new surroundings working at a military base for the first time in my career, having no colleagues working anywhere close to my temporary office (a bit lonely), and house shopping at the peak of a low inventory, high priced market.

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Office Openings and Expansions: Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Arts and Sciences (HCAS) Announces its First Ombuds

By Neil Katz, PhD

Responding to a recommendation of the HCAS Faculty Advisory Committee, Dean Holly Lynn Baumgartner has appointed Dr. Neil Katz to serve as the first Ombuds for the faculty and staff of the Halmos College of Arts and Sciences and the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Research Center’s seven departments at Nova Southeastern University’s main campus in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Katz will initially serve collateral duties while he maintains his faculty status as a member of the graduate Department of Conflict Resolution Studies (DCRS) offering masters and doctoral degrees.  The Ombuds will be guided by the IOA standards of practice as he consults with office visitors.

Neil Katz brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new role including 50 years as a professor at five universities, 37 years of which were with the renowned Maxwell School of Syracuse University where he initiated several conflict resolution programs, served as Director of Training for the Executive Education Program, and conducted workshops for over 10,000 supervisors, managers, union leaders, and employees. In addition, he is the author or co-author of over 60 publications including several on organizational ombuds in higher education, the 600+ page ACUS report on The Nature and Value of Ombuds in Federal Agencies (2016) and three editions of the popular book Communication and Conflict Resolution Skills, which has been in print now for 37 years.  During his professional career in academia, he has received many accolades including the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award from the Syracuse community for career long commitment to principles embodied in Dr. King’s life and work, the Distinguished College Professor of the Year Award at NSU, and an Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Conflict Resolution from the Association of Conflict Resolution.

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