The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents was created in 1931 as a part of a reorganization of Georgia’s state government. With this act, public higher education in Georgia was unified for the first time under a single governing and management authority. The governor appoints members to the Board, who each serve seven years. Today the Board of Regents is composed of 18 members, five of whom are appointed from the state-at-large, and one from each of the 13 congressional districts. The Board elects a chancellor who serves as its chief executive officer and the chief administrative officer of the University System.
The Board oversees 35 colleges and universities: four research universities, 2 regional universities, 13 state universities, 7 state colleges, and 9 two-year colleges. These institutions enroll more than 233,000 students and employ more than 9,000 faculty and 35,000 employees to provide teaching and related services to students and the communities in which they are located.
The initiative calls for the formation of a University System Advisory Committee on conflict resolution. The Advisory committee is responsible for developing an educational program and System-wide plan and for advising the Chancellor’s Office on implementation of that plan.
The Chancellor appointed the Advisory Committee in the early Fall of 1995. In order to benefit from diverse ideas, experience, and opinions, the Regents’ Blue Ribbon committee recommended that the Advisory committee be composed of members who are representative of the full range of stakeholders within the University System- faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The Chancellor invited all the presidents to nominate potential committee members from their institutions and then selected a broadly representative group of 11 members. A list of the Advisory Committee members is available.
The chancellor’s office is charged to provide education, training and support; assemble a panel of system-wide mediators; compile data for assessment; and use ADR in contracts.
Once the policy was adopted the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (CNCR) was immediately designated as the technical consultant to the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on ADR who has oversight for the Initiative and to each of the systems’ institutions as they developed and implemented a conflict management program/services. The CNCR was given partial funding to hire a manager and full funding for the position of a director of education and mediation.
The role of technical advisor to the Initiative is consistent with the mission of the CNCR. That mission is to understand the institutionalization of conflict prevention and resolution in organizations or through policies and disseminate the resulting knowledge.
The ADR Liaison’s initial task is to form a Campus Resolution Committee representative of the full range of stakeholders on campus. The committee’s task is to help identify current conflicts, anticipate future conflicts, analyze current conflict handling procedures and design an improved conflict management system if necessary.
It is necessary for Liaisons, Committee members, other stakeholders, and key decision-makers to learn about conflict management theory and design as quickly as possible. The intent of this education and training phase is to help each campus develop the internal capacity to provide the ongoing education and training required.
Each institution is directed to take an honest, in-depth assessment of its conflict environment including the types of disputes present, disputes handling mechanism in place, and the effectiveness of those mechanisms.
After conducting the assessment, the Committee will determine what conflict management system improvements, if any, to recommend.
The Committee is charge with formulating and carrying out a detailed plan for implementing its system design recommendations.
Every good conflict management system contains a feedback mechanism that alerts designers to emerging needs for modification and hot spots for conflict and disputing. Recognizing this, the initiative directs Committees to engage in ongoing or periodic assessment and evaluation of their conflict management system.