A closer look at the Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program

Workplace conflicts are a common occurrence, often leading to tension, stress, and decreased productivity. However, there are effective ways to address and resolve these conflicts, and one such method is through the Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program. Read on to learn more about the services offered by this program and how it helps individuals navigate challenging situations.

Understanding the program

The Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program is designed to provide a confidential and impartial process for resolving faculty work-related conflicts or problems. Led by experienced conciliation counselor Sandra Russ, the program aims to facilitate constructive communication and find mutually agreeable solutions.

How it works

The process begins when one party contacts the conciliation counselor and asks for an initial meeting to determine the nature of the problem and explore possible options for resolving it. Options for resolving conflicts might include individual consultation, facilitated dialogue, conciliation/mediation by a conciliation counselor, or mediation by an outside mediator. 

One party, or the counselor, then contacts the other party to gauge interest. If both agree, the counselor acts as a mediator. If needed, parties can request an outside mediator paid for by the university. 

“Often, one session is sufficient to discuss possible options about how to handle the issue,” said Russ. “It is up to the individual as to whether they then want the other party to be contacted.”

Types of conflicts addressed

The program is equipped to handle a wide range of work-related conflicts, including complaints against the administration or an officer of the university, procedural disputes regarding the promotion and tenure process, resource allocation, personal or professional disputes with a faculty colleague; and/or issues of respect and cooperation. The program offers a safe and supportive environment for finding resolution.

How does conciliation/mediation differ from the grievance process?

The grievance process is characterized by its adversarial nature and rights-based framework, where the complainant initiates a formal complaint against the university for an alleged violation of policies and procedures. This process involves a committee hearing facts and making recommendations to the university president, who ultimately makes the final decision. It often spans over several months, is confidential, and follows a structured proceeding.

On the other hand, conciliation/mediation is a conciliatory and interests-based approach, entirely voluntary, and focused on achieving mutual understanding and agreement. It encompasses a broad range of conflicts and disputes, with parties actively seeking a solution within their authority. Completed in as little as a few weeks, this process is also confidential but operates in a more informal and facilitated manner, protected by law.

Benefits of conciliation and mediation

One of the key benefits of using this program is the emphasis on collaboration and mutual understanding. Rather than resorting to adversarial methods, conciliation and mediation promote dialogue and compromise. This approach not only helps resolve the immediate conflict but also fosters healthier relationships and a more positive work environment in the long run.

The Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program offers a valuable resource for individuals and organizations facing work-related conflicts. Through a confidential and collaborative process, the program helps parties navigate through challenging situations and reach mutually beneficial resolutions. If you are a member of the faculty and you find yourself in a workplace conflict, consider reaching out to this program for support and guidance.