Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
Board of Regents
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, 3 state colleges, and 13 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.
Chancellor's OfficeThe 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.
Individual InstitutionsThe University System of Georgia is composed of 35 universities and colleges. The Initiative and Policy Direction on Conflict Management mandates each campus to follow the six steps outlined in the System Design for implementing their conflict management system.
Appoint Liaison and Form Committee
Presidents at each institution are required to appoint Campus ADR Liaisons. The campus liaison provides the “communication bridge” both within their institution and between their institution and outside contacts. This boundary spanning role requires the selection of a person with an excellent grasp of institutional culture, leadership skill to facilitate a committee of diverse constituents, position of influence to promote the Initiative and the interest in improving conflict management on their campus. Over the past decade the roles and responsibilities of these key players have expanded. For example, today the campus liaison is obliged to:
- provide/coordinate on-going education and training in CM theory, design and skills;
- disseminate information received from the CNCR and the ADR Advisory Committee;
- conduct periodic evaluation of CM program/services;
- review campus policies to assure integration of ADR;
- determine ways to accomplish all goals of the Initiative on their campus; and,
- when referring mediation to the System-wide Mediation Program, handle logistics of mediation including reimbursement of funds to off-campus mediators.
The first task of the campus liaison was to form a Campus Conflict Resolution Committee (CCRC) that was charged to identify current conflicts, anticipate future conflicts, analyze current conflict handling procedures, and design and implement an improved CMS if necessary. The CCRC is representative of the full range of stakeholders on campus.
Educate and Train
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 facilitate the internal capacity to provide the ongoing education and training required.
The CNCR offers training through our Summer Institute.
For other training opportunities through the CNCR, please visit our Outreach section.
Before you can implement a system, it is important to know what your particular campus' needs are. Each institution is directed to take an honest, in-depth assessment of its conflict environment including the types of disputes present, dispute handling mechanisms in place, and the effectiveness of those mechanisms. Here we have three resources that might assist in thinking about your assessment:
After conducting the assessment, the CCRC determines what conflict management system improvements, if any, to recommend.
For a more complete look at best practices in this field, we suggest using Institutional and Program Level Guidelines for Conflict Management in Higher Education from Campus-ADR.org.
The CCRC is charged with formulating and carrying out a detailed plan for implementing its system design recommendations. The following information follows some of the implementation steps...
Build support from key stakeholders to undertake your system. The more buy-in they have for a system, the more likely they are to use and promote it.
The following articles from Campus-ADR.org, suggest why three important stakeholders at your institution might want a conflict resolution program:
After deciding what kind of system you want to put in place, the next step is to decide how to expand the design. Two methods often used are to go directly into full implementation of your design or to create a pilot project.
A pilot project is a small-scale version of your system that you might run to see how the system reacts to a few cases of conflict. Once you see how it reacts, you can adjust the sytem or expand it to greater use. The advantage of the pilot project is that it can allow you to see upcoming problems and correct them before the system goes into effect. The disadvatage of the pilot project is that it can take more resources to monitor.
Marketing your program is an important step to consider! After all, who can use your program if no one knows it is there. Information about your program should be contained visibly on your institute's website, on flyers about campus and through channels often used by your administration, faculty and staff.
For more on this subject, please read Strategies for Public Relations and Marketing from Campus-ADR.org.
Evaluate and Improve
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 CCRCs to engage in ongoing or periodic assessment and evaluation of their conflict management system. Perform routine evalutions, and then tailor your program with the feedback generated from your evaluation.
The Evaluation Toolkit from Campus-ADR.org has many useful resources to assist in your evaluation.