Many people who access our services learn that they have the capability to resolve a conflict or dispute and that they can develop a better set of skills for interacting with other people in the future.
Virginia Tech recognizes that conflict between two or more members of any community is inevitable. While there are a variety of formal procedures available to address conflicts or disagreements there are many positive benefits to offering people the opportunity to address concerns in an informal setting where they maintain control of the decisions as to how a dispute or disagreement can be resolved in a way that meets their needs and interests as well as the needs and interests of the other person.
Conflict is not the exception, it is the norm; it is familiar to everyone. Conflicts have meaning and purpose. When disputants understand this meaning, they have an opportunity to understand their own goals better and find nondestructive means of achieving them.
Perhaps the easiest way for a campus community to assist in the resolution of conflict is to advocate for its early and peaceful expression, not waiting until it has escalated and can no longer be avoided before taking action.
The campus community can demonstrate its willingness to share responsibility for conflict resolution by making available to persons in conflict, a team of competent and trained mediators who volunteer to work with other members of the Virginia Tech community. However, the mediators must always place the responsibility on the disputants for the actual expression and resolution of the conflict. By establishing a new program, like a mediation services center on campus, the community is maintaining a vital mechanism for the direct expression and reduction of conflicts.
We can model advantages of cooperation and mutual responsibility-taking, if we keep participation strictly voluntary and work toward jointly constructed agreements that address the needs of both parties.
The mediation process can be used to model respect for diversity and may help provide a space where disputants can learn to understand, respect, and accept differences.
If a conflict is handled well it can:
Feel free to call Dale Robinson at (540)231-1824 and he will answer any questions, work with you to clarify your needs, and determine if we can be helpful to you.
Any season is a good time to arrange for a departmental workshop. New - short (45 minutes) program on e-mail.
New - half day workshop Understanding Ourselves and Our Multicultural Dynamics through the Diversity Development Institute (DDI). September 24, 2013.
The Managing Conflict workshop offered through the University Organizational and Professional Development (UOPD) program will be presented again October 15, 2013. Register with UOPD Now!
We know that dealing with conflict can be stressful. The Human Resources Health and Wellness team has resources available to help you. Be sure to check out the Hokie Wellness Multimedia section.
Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) are continuing to collaborate in a mediation partnership to provide mediation services to state employees in our region.The program began in 2009 and was extended in 2011.