The UMBC Human Relations Office promotes equal opportunity and respect for all members of the UMBC campus community through education, training and formal and informal conflict management and resolution.
Interpersonal conflicts are inevitable in any work or educational setting. The University is committed to provide its constituents with an ongoing, confidential method for voluntary resolution of interpersonal conflict. At UMBC, strategies and tools to resolve them include formal grievance procedures, formal and ad hoc complaint investigations, mediation, counseling, coaching and, when appropriate, sanctions. However, early intervention can often avert both unnecessary suffering and workplace disruption. The Human Relations Office serves as a resource and an ally in identifying and executing an alternative first-step response to interpersonal conflict.
In addition to mediation services (outlined below), Human Relations offers:
These services will support the University’s goal to provide appropriate, alternate means for the resolution of campus conflicts.
Mediation is a voluntary, confidential process that allows individuals to resolve their conflicts with the assistance of a neutral third party. The UMBC Human Relations Office offers mediation services through professionally trained staff. Each mediation session is conducted by one mediator and each session is generally two (2) hours in duration. Often, individuals will participate in more than one mediation session to cover an array of issues. Except in special circumstances, the mediator will not have separate meetings with mediation participants so that all information is presented at one time. Individuals can decide not to participate at any time.
Prior to the start of the session, the mediator will present participants with a consent to mediate form, read it aloud to all participants and answer any questions/concerns that may arise. At that time, participants are welcome to set ground rules for the process. The mediator will not set ground rules; it will be up to the participants to propose and decide if it is necessary to incorporate any additional rules or guidelines for the discussion. Mediation participants must sign and date the consent form and will receive a copy for their records.
The mediation begins once all participants have consented to mediate. It is not a time for the mediator to talk, but rather a time for participants to have a meaningful discussion about anything that they would like to address. The mediator will be actively listening and taking notes and will often ask questions during the course of the discussion. At the end of the mediation, the mediator will share some of the themes that they heard throughout the conversation and will invite mediation participants to discuss methods of resolving some of the conflict that they are experiencing.
Although ideal, the goal is not to reach a resolution, but rather to open the channels of communication amongst mediation participants. Members of the campus community who are experiencing interpersonal conflicts are invited to contact the UMBC Human Relations Office to explore the possibilities of using the mediation services.
Information is available on a drop-in basis in the Human Relations Office, located in the Administration Building, 9th Floor. For more information, please contact:
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
1000 Hilltop Circle
Administration Building, Room 902
Baltimore, MD 21250