Campus Conflict Resolution Services

UC Santa Cruz

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Conflict Resolution at UCSC

Welcome to Campus Conflict Resolution Services (CCRS). The office was opened in January 2009 to provide professional consultation, mediation and training to members of the UCSC community. Its emphasis is on prevention, effective management, and informal resolution of conflict at all levels. All services are free, voluntary and confidential.


Below you'll find a list of most frequently asked questions.
Feel free to contact the office if you have further questions or need additional information.

What happens when I contact CCRS?

By contacting the office, you are not making a commitment to any particular course of action. The decision about whether and how to proceed is always in your hands. In most cases, we will arrange a private, confidential consultation to discuss your situation and explore options for resolution.

What options are available to help me deal with conflict?

One option is individual consultation or coaching, to help you determine your own course of action and prepare to carry it out. A second option is mediation or facilitated dialogue between you and other(s) involved in a conflict or decision-making process. A third option is customized skills training for your unit, department, or group of colleagues. A fourth option is referral to another resource, on or off campus. Each situation is unique, and is approached accordingly.

What do you mean by “confidential?”

Professional ethics and California law protect the confidentiality of mediation discussions. In the absence of a clear threat to personal or public safety, all contacts made with and services provided by Campus Conflict Resolution Services are strictly confidential. No information generated from your consultation or mediation is placed in any personnel or other administrative file. Reports on the activities of the Campus Conflict Resolution Services office omit identifying information, citing only numbers of participants and types of services provided in a given period.

What does individual consultation involve?

An individual consultation is a good first step in exploring options for conflict management. In some cases a consultation may lead to mediation, training, or referral to other resources (on or off campus). In other cases, a person may simply want feedback, coaching or support in making a plan to address the situation on their own. If you would like help preparing for a difficult conversation or meeting, or are interested in developing new strategies or skills to deal more effectively with a conflict situation – please call to arrange a confidential consultation.

What types of issues can I bring to mediation?

Mediation is often said to be most effective in the early stages of a dispute; yet even long-standing conflicts can be addressed in mediation -- particularly when both / all parties want to resolve the issues and move on. Mediation can help participants address difficult interpersonal dynamics, as well as issues that might otherwise escalate into a formal complaint and / or discipline process. Examples of issues that have been successfully resolved in mediation include:

• Communication breakdowns
  (between individuals or groups, or within a group)
• Difficult working relationships
  (between colleagues or supervisors and subordinates)
• Dissatisfaction with teamwork on a project
• Perceived hostility or disrespect (in language, tone or behavior)
• Perceived unfairness or favoritism
  (e.g. in work assignments or responsibilities)
• Performance problems
• Contested performance appraisals
• Pending grievances or legal actions
• Neighborhood disputes (e.g. in on-campus housing).

Please do not hesitate to call and discuss your situation!

How long does mediation take?

The mediation process generally begins with separate meetings with each participant or allied group. The purpose of these preliminary meetings is to identify issues for discussion and prepare for mediation. The mediation itself may take as little as an hour and a half — or it may extend over a period of weeks. The factors that most influence the length of mediation are the number of participants, the “stakes” involved for each, the history of the conflict, and the desired outcome. In many cases mediated agreements simply address how participants will communicate and interact going forward. In some cases the result of mediation may be a more complex document — for example, outlining new policies, procedures, systems or long-term plans.

What happens if mediation doesn’t work?

Most mediations result in mutual agreement: resolution rates are typically 90% or higher. In questionable cases it is usually possible to determine, from preliminary meetings, if mediation will not be successful, and identify an alternative course of action. In the rare cases in which mediation does not produce agreement on the issues, it almost always produces agreement about what participants’ next steps will be — for example, to pursue an alternate process for resolution, such as grievance or binding arbitration.

What kind of training is available?

Tailored workshops ranging in length from one to six hours may be arranged for your unit, department, or group of colleagues. Classes are also offered through Staff Training and Development on a regular basis. Workshop topics include:

• Understanding, preventing, and deescalating conflict
• Making a conflict “action plan:” choosing the best strategy for your situation
• Listening as a means of discovering and building common ground
• Coming to terms with big differences
• Speaking up to bias
• Rebuilding trust
• Conflict management skills for supervisors
• Conflict “clinic”

Click here for more detailed workshop descriptions.

What's the difference between CCRS and the Ombuds Office?

Campus Conflict Resolution Services’ primary purpose is to assist members of the UCSC community in preventing, managing, and resolving conflict at all levels. We do this through training, mediation, consultation and referral. The Campus Ombuds serves as a resource for students, faculty and staff who have questions about University policies, procedures or regulations, or who find themselves at odds with a decision, for example, about financial aid, housing, or a merit increase. The Campus Ombuds also facilitates group planning and decision-making processes.
View more information about the Campus Ombuds >

For further information, please contact Nancy Heischman at
(831) 459-2290 or

Campus Conflict
Resolution Services

107 Kerr Hall
1156 High Street
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077
Phone: (831) 459-2290

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