Our Services

 

The Ombuds office assists visitors with informal options for resolving campus concerns. These include individual and group facilitation where persons involved in conflict have the opportunity to discuss problems and generate options for resolving the dispute. The Ombudsperson is not a decision maker in this informal process, and the persons involved participate voluntarily. All discussions remain confidential. Other informal options are consultation, coaching, and training and education in the areas of conflict resolution, effective communication, and cultural awareness.

 

If you have questions/concerns... We can help by...

Now what do I do? Listening to you
I keep getting the runaround! Facilitating to help you reach agreement
I need help! Clarifying policy and procedure
No one seems to listen to me. Facilitating meetings
Something has to be done! Coaching you through conflicts
No one cares! Assisting you in pursing solutions
How can I get this resolved? Recommending action or change
This is unfair! Educating about conflict resolution
Who can change this? Referring you to other resources


What we offer...

 

  • Individual Facil.
  • Consultation
  • Group Facil.
  • Coaching
  • Training and Edu.

Facilitating conversations between individuals is an important service provided by the Office of the Ombudsperson. It is free of charge and available to students, staff, and faculty on request. Individual facilitation is a voluntary process in which one or more impartial person(s), the ombudsperson(s), facilitate communication between/among parties in conflict. We do not make decisions on the substance of the matter, only the parties do.


Why use facilitation in this way?
Because it works. Parties entering the meeting in good faith are successful on average about 80 percent of the time in finding an agreement they can live with. In many cases, the process serves to mend relationships that have been damaged by a conflict. The process is a fast, informal and confidential way of solving interpersonal issues.

Steps for Faciliated Conversations:

Step 1
Introduction: The neutral third party (or Ombudsperson) sets the parties at ease and explains the ground rules. The Ombudsperson's role is not to make a decision but to help both parties reach a mutual agreement by explaining that he/she will not take sides.

Step 2
Telling the Story: Each party tells what happened. The person bringing the complaint tells his/her side of the story first. Then, the other party explains his/her version of the facts. No interruptions are allowed.

Step 3
Identifying Facts and Issues: The Ombudsperson attempts to identify agreed upon facts and issues. This is done by listening to each side, summarizing each party's views, and asking if these are the facts and issues as each party understands them.

Step 4
Identifying Alternative Solutions: Everyone thinks of possible solutions to the Problem. The Ombudsperson makes a list and asks each party to explain his/her feelings about each possible solution.

Step 5
Revising and Discussing Solutions: Based on the expressed feelings of the parties, the Ombudsperson revises possible solutions and attempts to identify a solution to which both parties can agree.

Step 6
Reaching Agreement: The Ombudsperson helps the parties to reach an agreement with which both can live. The parties should also discuss what will happen if either of them breaks the agreement.

When an individual contacts us, we schedule an appointment to meet and discuss the issues. During this meeting, the visitor will be able to:

  • Talk about the problem in confidence with an impartial person
  • Inquire about and get information regarding applicable policies, procedures, rules, regulations, and other resources
  • Discuss goals and alternatives and plan a strategy for dealing with the problem, trying mediation and other alternatives
  • Get referrals to other University offices that may provide additional help (Dean of Students, Financial Aid, ODDEP, Human Resources, FASA, the Counseling Center, and more)
  • Recommend changes in existing University policies, procedures and practices
  • Request other services such as mediation, coaching, training and consulting

A visit to the Office of the Ombudsperson is CONFIDENTIAL.  The Ombudsperson will not discuss visits with others or take any action without the permission of the person seeking the services.

Group Facilitation is the art of making things easier for groups. By managing the process and structure of complex problem-solving sessions, a facilitator allows groups to focus and get clearer on the group/team challenges. A skillful meeting facilitator can focus key meetings and energize participants while freeing the meeting leader to participate fully in the subject matter.

A facilitator who is independent from the department also brings a sense of impartiality that helps when groups are dealing with difficult decisions.

Why use group facilitation?

When the Ombudsperson facilitates groups dealing with difficult or controversial issues, it brings a sense of impartiality that helps the communication process. The facilitator can concentrate on the process while participants (including the management) are free to focus on the content. The facilitator also provides summaries of the discussions to the participants. The Office of the Ombudsperson protects the confidentiality of the contents of the discussion.

Steps for Facilitation

Step 1
The group’s leadership contacts the Office of the Ombudsperson to discuss the project and desired outcome.

Step 2
The Office of the Ombudsperson assists the leader(s) in identifying the stakeholders who need to participate in the facilitation process.

Step 3
The Ombudsperson, as facilitator, individually meets with participants to better understand the issues and needs.

Step 4
The facilitator convenes a meeting of all participants and helps the group establish ground rules for how the facilitation will be conducted.

Step 5
The facilitator leads the group through the process and keeps track of the decisions the group makes during the process and at the end of the process.

Coaching is the art and practice of inspiring, energizing and facilitating a person’s performance, learning and development.  During coaching, you will be able to you identify your conflict management style and focus on the skills you need to build to become a better conflict manager.


Conflict Coaching
Conflict can be a tremendous opportunity to learn. Our Office offers high-quality coaching and training services in conflict management, negotiation and mediation for University members.
We work with individuals for the purpose of developing conflict-related understanding and interaction skills.

Courses

The Office of the Ombudsperson facilitates training and educational workshops in the areas of:

  • Conflict Management 101
  • Civility
  • Team Building
  • Bullying
  • Violence Prevention
  • Understanding and Managing Conflict
  • Cultural Awareness
  • Effective Communication
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Motivation and Empowerment
  • Cross Cultural Communication
  • Personality, Learning and Work Styles
  • GSU Complaint Resolution Procedures
  • Introduction to Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes

Sessions can be scheduled as part of faculty and staff professional development, classroom presentations, planning workshops, or department retreats. Training can also be tailored to address other specific departmental needs.

Conflict Management 101

This is our basic course, which includes a general review of conflict and its management. We address:

  • What is conflict?
  • Why do we have conflict?
  • What are our choices and how do we make them?
  • What are the likely consequences of these choices?
  • How should we use problem-solving skills and steps?
  • How do we look for integrative solutions?

The course also includes practical skill building through role playing. (4 to 8 hours)

 

 

 

 

TIP OF THE MONTH

Every problem has a gift for you in its hands.

~ Richard Bach

 


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