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A unit of the University System of Georgia

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Gordon State College offers confidential assistance to faculty and staff of the campus community with informally resolving conflict or other concerns and issues. The college supports the goals of the Board of Regents initiative and policy on conflict resolution whereby its employees may seek timely, equitable, and satisfactory resolutions to disputes in an efficient manner.

ADR Program

Enacted in 1995, the Board of Regents’ Initiative and Policy Direction on Conflict Resolution and the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) established a system wide conflict resolution program whereby its employees may resolve conflict at the lowest level, communicate differences without opposition, and improve the institution environment. In collaboration with the chancellor’s office, the consortium provides technical expertise and training support for the initiative; administers the System-wide Mediation Program; and conducts periodic evaluation on the development and implementation of conflict management. To learn more about the CNCR go to http://law.gsu.edu/centers/consortium-on-negotiation-and-conflict-resolution/higher-education/.

This initiative resulted in Campus Conflict Resolution Committees being formed at colleges and universities across Georgia including Gordon State College’s ADR Committee. The committee is intended to represent the full range of stakeholders on campus. The college’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee also includes campus liaisons. The campus liaisons are appointed by the President of the college and are designated as coordinators and liaisons to the University System Advisory Committee and the Chancellor’s office.

Members:

Dr. Peter Boltz – Faculty Liaison
Ms. Sherri Gooch – Staff Liaison
Mrs. Sue Gilpin
Dr. Lynn Rumfelt

How does it work?

Alternative Dispute Resolution is a confidential process intended to be non-threatening and accessible to all employees of Gordon State College. The process is non-binding and voluntary mediation process for disputes involving one or more of the college’s faculty and/or staff. The process does not apply to unlawful discrimination and/or harassment complaints to include sexual assault or violence which should be reported as outlined in the Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment policy.

In the event that conflict should arise, the first and most important consideration is that the persons involved in the problem should attempt to communicate and resolve the problem at each supervisory level to exclude the President.

Should the parties in conflict find they are not able to resolve the problem at the supervisory level, a member of the college’s ADR Committee is available for consultation. At this step, a facilitated discussion may be a valid option in resolving the conflict.

If the dispute cannot be resolved through the efforts outlined above, the employee(s) should make contact with a Campus Liaison to initiate the option of mediation.

Mediation

This is a confidential process in which a neutral third-party facilitator helps parties discuss issues and negotiate an agreement. Parties in mediation create their own solutions and the mediator does not have any decision-making power over the outcome. The process fosters understanding, cooperation, and agreements that are acceptable to all parties.

The primary purpose of mediation is to facilitate communication between disputants and allow disputants to find mutually agreeable terms for the resolution of conflict. All parties in the dispute must agree to voluntarily participate in mediation.  All who are involved in the process should participate in good faith, seek to determine the respective interests of the conflicting parties, and create conditions for compromise. If an agreement is reached through mediation, it is expected that disputants will hold to the terms established and respect the results of the process, which should be socially binding.

All mediations shall be organized and shall proceed under the guidance of mediators and trainers certified through the Consortium for Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. The proceedings in the mediation are held as confidential. The mediator and the parties should consider the statements made during mediation to be private.  After the mediation, notes are destroyed.  However, all participants, including the mediators, are required to report statements that reveal conduct that is criminal or poses a significant risk to the safety of others or the operations of the college.

Summer Institute on Conflict Management in Higher Education