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As an impartial party, our staff facilitate mediation to provide opportunities to graduate students, staff, faculty, and campus leaders to engage in alternative dispute resolution.

The ombuds can facilitate mediation between two individuals or among a larger group of participants. Our mediation services are designed to help participants to communicate with one another in a direct and respectful manner. As impartial facilitators, the ombuds do not take sides, offer advice, or tell participants what to do.

Participation in mediation is voluntary and the ombuds provide an informal structure that fosters equitable engagement, mutual understanding, and informed decision-making. In mediation, participants engage in a collaborative joint problem-solving. The participants, themselves, maintain control of the content and outcomes of these conversations. When participants find that the mediation process is no longer facilitating a helpful conversation they can withdraw from the process at any time.

Facilitated Conversations

Facilitated Conversations is a service designed to help two individuals have a productive discussion about difficult situations. As impartial facilitators, the ombuds empowers participants to share and hear important information that each individual brings to a meeting so that they can make informed decisions. This voluntary process has the potential to disrupt unhelpful patterns of communication, promote mutual understanding, and foster collaborative problem-solving. Prior to the conversation, the ombuds meets with both individuals separately to prepare them to effectively engage in the process. Participants may decide that more than one facilitated conversation is needed. Prior to the conversation, Ombuds meet separately individuals meetings with both individuals to ensure they understand, and are prepared to effectively engage in, the process.

Group Facilitation

Group Facilitation is a means of fostering respectful and constructive dialogue among participants from a group, unit, or team. As impartial facilitators, the ombuds creates an informal structure in which all participants can share concerns, clarify interests, and collaboratively explore options for moving forward. Group conversations involve multiple sessions, each with a specific focus. Participation is voluntary and visitors can choose to withdraw from the process at any time. Ombuds staff meet individually with all visitors, prior to the group facilitation, to help them understand and prepare for the process. Prior to the group sessions, all potential participants will engage in one or more individual consultations with ombuds. These confidential individual sessions can help participants determine whether they want to participate in the process, what they want to get out of it, and how to communicate in a way that will be most effective.