Learn More: Mediators on Campus

Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process provided by the Office of the Dean of Faculties for faculty and administrators who are interested in managing or resolving conflict. It is a process in which individuals strive to find mutually satisfactory management or resolution of their dispute. A dispute can be a disagreement, difference of opinion, conflict of opinion, or conflict. Volunteer mediators help the disputants engage in dialogue and, if they choose, reach a written memorandum of understanding. The mediator skill set includes managing strong emotions, moving from positions to interests and needs, finding common ground, active listening, conflict resolution, creativity, and using a guided process for mediation.

Why do we need mediation?

Faculty and administrators are not always best equipped in knowing how to frame and manage conflict. Conflict is defined as "a struggle or contest between people with opposing ideas, needs, values, beliefs, or goals. Conflict arises when the needs or interests of one person are perceived by that person as being denied to them by another. Conflict exists even if only one person perceives it" (Center for Change and Conflict Resolution, 2002, p. 2). The nature and origin of conflicts can be based on relationships, data, interests, values, and the environment.

Leaders spend over 40% of their workday managing and resolving conflict. Conflict exists in many institutions of higher education. Texas A&M University is no exception. Many individuals would be hard pressed to deny that they have encountered some level of conflict in their personal and/or professional lives. A commonly held assumption and image is that conflict is a negative force. In fact, many people work to ignore or avoid conflict. However, research has shown that conflict can lead to positive outcomes when it is assessed and managed well (Center for Change and Conflict Resolution, 2002). It is our hope that mediation services can serve as a method to resolve conflicts when they occur. Conflict, when it occurs, if framed and managed well, can enhance understanding, foster creativity, increase workplace productivity, and improve working relationships.

Where can I obtain mediation services?

To initiate mediation for yourself or to refer parties for mediation, please contact the Dean of Faculties and Associate Provost - Dr. John August at: j-august@tamu.edu or 979-845-4274.

What conflict resolution services are available for staff?

The Employee Assistance Program offers services for all employees who are interested in resolving conflict through facilitated dialogue.

What mediation services are available for students?

Student Legal Services in the Division of Student Affairs offers free mediation services to all Texas A&M students as an option to help resolve conflicts and disagreements. Mediation is a problem solving process facilitated by a neutral third party who promotes understanding and settlement in a safe and confidential environment. Student issues that benefit from mediation range from civil and commercial disputes to family and interpersonal disagreements.

What opportunities are there to receive training in mediation?

Throughout the year, the Office of the Dean of Faculties offers a variety of workshop and training opportunities in mediation for faculty and administrators, including the 40-hour Basic Mediation Training. If you are interested in receiving information about these training opportunities please email the Office of the Dean of Faculties at dof@tamu.edu.

Are there Mediators on campus?

Yes, we have trained mediators on campus. The individuals reflect the group of volunteer faculty and administrators who have been trained as "Mediators". These individuals completed a minimum of 40 hours of basic training for mediators recommended by the State Bar of Texas. Upon completion of these sessions, participants received a 40-hour Basic Mediation Training certificate and are now able to serve (or are now serving) as mediators. Training sessions were designed for active participation through the use of intensive case study scenarios, conflict management models, and mini lectures.