What is Mediation?

The mediation process provides a private and confidential setting in which persons experiencing conflict can discuss their issues and concerns, and work at creating a solution that is mutually acceptable. The process uses impartial mediators to help you discuss your dispute. The starting point of successful mediations is respect by both parties of each other despite differences or disagreements.

How Does Mediation Work?

The mediation process begins with an introduction by the two co-mediators who describe the process and ask for your commitment to participate. The parties then have time to describe their views of the situation. Please be prepared to discuss what has brought you to mediation and your needs and concerns related to the conflict. This is an opportunity to explain your concerns, not to “prove your case.” Mediation is not about proving anything; it is about resolving differences and finding a workable solution.

After each party’s comments, the mediators will then help you to specify issues you wish to address and to have a problem solving discussion. In problem solving, the parties look at possible ways to resolve the issues at hand. This part of the mediation focuses on proposing creative alternatives and on flexibility in considering the options. Both parties are encouraged to work together at tackling their problem and with devising solutions that work for them.

It may be that one solution or a set of solutions will best meet the needs of the parties. The mediators may write a mediation agreement that is dictated by the parties, will ask the parties to sign the agreement, and will provide the parties with copies of the statement. In signing the agreement, the parties agree to abide by the terms they have created. Written agreement are not required yet can serve as a guide for the parties.

What Do the Mediators Do?

The mediators provide a private, confidential and safe environment for the parties’ discussion of the conflict. They listen carefully, seek clarification, and ask questions to promote the discussion. They help to keep the discussion on track and encourage you to explore alternatives, even ones that you have not thought of before.

The mediators do not tell you what to do. They do not take sides, or offer suggestions and advice. They do not force you to come up with a solution. The mediators guide the discussion/problem solving process. The parties decide if and how to resolve the dispute. Most parties do want things to be better and are motivated to improve their working relationship and interactions.

What is My Role in the Mediation?

Several things help to promote the mediation process:

  • Before and during the mediation, please identify your issues and concerns.
  • Offer to explain what you want and why that is important to you.
  • As best you can, listen and hear with flexibility of mind and spirit; speak openly. You have what it takes to make this work!
  • Imagine working with the other person on possible ways to resolve the issues and concerns that both of you have identified. It can be done!
  • Mediation statistics have a very steady success rate of 70% agreements.
Why Might I Try Mediation?

Mediation can help you find creative solutions to conflicts. Mediation often results in agreements that improve the parties’ work experience. So much of the day is spent in work, and having a more constructive work experience certainly benefits you and others.

Many people prefer finding and making their own solution to their unique work conflict over having someone else tell them what they must do. When people create their own solutions, they are more likely to honor the terms of their agreement than when a decision is imposed upon them.

In mediations where the parties do not reach agreement, they frequently comment on having a much better understanding of the situation and each other, and they often are willing to sit down in the future to re-visit the situation.

It works! Should the mediation not result in a resolution by the parties, all procedural UNM grievance and legal options remain open to the parties.

Mediations are confidential to the parties at the table and people appreciate being able to keep their conflicts out of public knowledge and scrutiny. The Ombuds/Dispute Resolution Services for Faculty program does not keep files about mediation sessions and all mediators honor a professional code of ethics and confidentiality.

If you have questions or just want to learn more—Contact Jean Civikly-Powell at Ombuds/Dispute Resolution Services for Faculty:

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