First, please be assured that requesting a mediation or other assistance from the Mediation Program does not imply that you are somehow deficient in your ability to communicate and work with your colleagues or others in the campus community. Neither should a request for mediation be seen as an act of aggression in a conflict. People in our campus community request mediations and other assistance from the Mediation Program for a range of good reasons, many of which are described at Reasons for Seeking Help.
Basically, submitting a request for mediation signals a desire to strengthen your working relationship with your colleagues in your unit or other units. Generally the process begins when you have a conversation with one of the SCSU Mediators or with one of the Mediation Coordinators. This conversation helps both you and the mediator to analyze this conflict, and the mediator, by bringing an unbiased perspective to the situation, can give you a helpful "reality check." Together, you can consider a range of alternatives: moving ahead with the mediation request, requesting a facilitated meeting that's not a mediation, trying some strategies on your own, etc. Next, if you decide a formal mediation is appropriate and timely, you will submit the Request for Mediation form, which is available here as a PDF file. Your request will be reviewed by the Mediation Coordinating Committee and, if appropriate, a mediator (or, more commonly, a two-person mediation team) will be assigned.
The basic pattern of a mediation may be outlined as follows:
1. Deciding to do something about a conflict
2. Talking to a mediator or mediation coordination and signing a Request for Mediation
3. Discussing/exploring the situation, the issues, your interests, and your goals with the mediator
4. The mediated meeting with the other party or parties
• Orientation and signing of the Agreement to Mediate
• Framing the issues and identifying all the parties' interests
• Generating and assessing options
• Agreeing on options and (usually) writing an agreement
5. Following up, assessing progress on the agreement
At any step in the process, you, and the mediator(s) may decide that other strategies or formats for managing this conflict may be useful in addition to or instead of the mediation itself. You may decide, for example, that a more formal grievance process is preferable in these particular circumstances. Or you may decide that a less formal facilitated meeting with the other party, or perhaps with a larger number of people such as your whole department, is desirable. Or you may decide that a "shuttle" mediation, in which the mediator meets alternately with you and the other party, is preferable for a certain stage of the mediation. There is a good deal of flexibility in the approaches that are available in the management of your conflict, and as a conflict evolves, you and the mediator--and the other party as well--may decide collaboratively to add to or shift your current approach.