Conflict resolution

Mediation and problem solving

Mediation provides an option to help resolve work-related conflict. Whether a problem developed last week or over a longer period of time, mediation offers two people an opportunity to discuss issues in a confidential atmosphere. To facilitate conflict resolution and problem-solving, VCU Human Resources offers staff and faculty mediation programs.


Who are the mediators?

The mediators are faculty and staff from all areas of the university who have received training in conflict resolution techniques and the mediation process. They have no prior knowledge of the dispute and enter the process as neutral third parties. If you and the other party agree to participate, two mediators will be assigned by the program administrator to help open the lines of communication in a non-threatening and supportive environment.

How does mediation work?

Each participant will have a chance to speak and the mediators will help clarify issues that you may wish to address. There is no time limit to this process. Mediation will take as long as needed to resolve the conflict and may include more than one session.

Once the issues have been identified and discussed, the mediators will assist in developing possible solutions. If a mutual agreement is reached, the mediators will help clarify the details in writing and the document will be signed by all participants.

What happens if we don’t reach an agreement?

Even if a formal agreement is not reached, we hope you will leave the mediation with a better understanding of all the issues.

Who will know about the mediation?

Mediation is a confidential process. All participants must agree to respect the private nature of the discussion before the session begins. If a resolution is reached, the program administrator will review the agreement to ensure that it is consistent with state policies and procedures. A copy of the agreement also will be kept by the program administrator.

Does mediation waive faculty and staff access to grievance procedures?

No. Although timeframes for initiating grievances and appeals are not automatically extended, you may decide to mediate even if you have already started the grievance process. Deadlines will be extended by written agreement when necessary. A grievance may still be initiated upon conclusion of the mediation.

How do I initiate mediation?

The first step in initiating mediation is to call the program administrator at (804) 828-1510. The other parties will be contacted and given an overview of the mediation process. If a mutual agreement to meet is reached, all parties will be notified by the program administrator of the date and time.