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FA Mediation Project

The Mediation Team is a valuable resource within MCC, dedicated to helping employees resolve interpersonal issues and conflicts effectively, in a respectful and unbiased manner. We encourage open communication and a harmonious work environment.


What is Mediation?

Mediation is a structured and respectful collaborative process designed to assist parties in resolving conflicts amicably. It is characterized by several key principles:

1. Impartial: Mediators are neutral third parties who do not take sides or favor       any party involved. Their role is to facilitate communication and guide the         process toward a mutually agreeable resolution.

2. Confidential, Private, and Safe: Mediation sessions are conducted in a                 confidential and private setting, providing a secure environment for parties       to express their concerns openly. The confidentiality of discussions allows         participants to explore potential solutions without fear of information being       used against them in the future.

3. Voluntary: Participation in mediation is entirely voluntary, and parties are not     compelled to reach an agreement. This voluntary nature empowers                   individuals to actively engage in the process and work towards a resolution       that meets their needs.

4. Structured: Mediation follows a structured framework to ensure a systematic     approach to conflict resolution. The process typically involves the following         key steps:

  • Set Expectations: At the beginning of the mediation, the mediator outlines the process and establishes expectations for the participants.

  • Define Roles: The mediator clarifies the roles of each participant, emphasizing their active involvement in the resolution process.

  • Explore and Identify Party Interests: Parties are encouraged to express their interests and concerns, allowing the mediator to clarify and confirm the underlying issues that need to be addressed.

  • Brainstorm Options for Resolution: The collaborative nature of mediation encourages participants to generate and explore various options for resolving the conflict. This brainstorming phase fosters creativity and helps identify mutually acceptable solutions.

What is Conflict Coaching?

Conflict coaching is a confidential and personalized process aimed at addressing and resolving a current conflict.

Here are key aspects of conflict coaching:

1.  Confidential Setting for Problem Solving: Conflict coaching takes place in a          confidential environment, allowing individuals to openly discuss and analyze      the details of their current conflict. This setting promotes a sense of safety        and encourages participants to explore the issues at the heart of the conflict.

2.  Development of Stronger Communication Skills: A significant goal of conflict      coaching is to help individuals enhance their communication skills. This              involves improving the ability to express thoughts and emotions effectively,      actively listen to others, and choose appropriate communication strategies        to navigate conflicts.

3.  Shift from Debilitative to Facilitative Behaviors: Conflict coaching focuses on       transforming debilitative behaviors, which may contribute to or escalate             conflicts, into facilitative behaviors that promote resolution. This shift               involves  helping individuals identify unproductive patterns and providing         guidance on adopting more constructive approaches to conflict.

4.  Self-Determination and Discovery: Like mediation, conflict coaching is               centered around the principles of self-determination and personal                     discovery. Individuals actively participate in the process, taking ownership         of their role in the conflict and exploring ways to reach a resolution that           aligns with their values and goals.


Workshop Offerings

Workshops tailored to meet specific needs offer a dynamic and interactive approach to skill development for individuals and their colleagues. These workshops provide valuable insights and practical techniques to enhance professional and interpersonal skills. Presentation formats can be customized, ranging from single-session skill training to multiple sessions, depending on the depth and breadth of the topic.

1. How to Improve Your Active Listening Skills:

  •  Objective: This workshop focuses on cultivating effective listening   skills to foster better communication and understanding in both   professional and personal interactions.

  •  Content:

    • Understanding the components of active listening.

    • Practicing reflective and empathetic listening techniques.

    • Overcoming barriers to active listening.

    • Developing strategies for enhancing concentration and focus during conversations.

2. How to Respond Assertively to Criticism:

  • Objective: This workshop is designed to empower participants to respond confidently and constructively to criticism, fostering a positive and assertive communication style.

  •  Content:

    • Recognizing the difference between passive, assertive, and aggressive responses.

    • Developing assertiveness techniques to express thoughts and feelings.

    • Handling criticism with grace and using it as a constructive tool for personal and professional growth.

    • Role-playing scenarios to practice assertive responses.

3. How to Give Criticism Assertively:

  • Objective: This workshop provides participants with the skills and strategies to deliver constructive criticism in a manner that promotes growth and maintains positive relationships.

  • Content:

    •  Understanding the principles of assertive communication when   providing feedback.

    •  Constructing feedback using the "I" statements to express   observations and feelings.

    •  Balancing positive and constructive feedback for a well-rounded   communication approach.

    •  Practicing effective communication techniques through role-   playing exercises.

4. How to Resolve Conflict:

  •  Objective: This comprehensive workshop aims to equip participants   with conflict resolution strategies and techniques to navigate and   resolve conflicts in various contexts.

  •  Content:

    •  Identifying different conflict resolution styles.

    •  Developing active listening and communication skills in conflict   situations.

    •  Understanding the root causes of conflicts and addressing them   proactively.

    •  Implementing collaborative problem-solving approaches to reach   mutually beneficial resolutions.

These workshops provide a platform for individuals and teams to actively engage in skill-building activities, fostering a collaborative and growth-oriented professional environment. Participants not only gain valuable knowledge but also have the opportunity to practice and apply these skills in a supportive learning environment.

Ask A Mediator

If you have a question, but wish to remain anonymous, you can use the service, Ask A Mediator. The services aims to address common questions and concerns related to mediation, conflict resolution, and related topics.

The Mediation Team is here to address interpersonal issues that arise between individuals that may include conflicts, communication breakdowns, or other matters that affect relationships and collaboration within your department. Any issue or question that pertains to the FA contract, your department policy, or MCC policy should be brought through those respective channels.


Submit your question via our Mediator Question Form. You will be directed to a form where you can enter your question without revealing your identity. Questions received will be carefully reviewed and selected for inclusion in an upcoming edition of the FAN publication.

If you have an interpersonal matter that you believe requires mediation or conflict coaching, please feel free to email Susan Bender ( or call her at (585) 685-6220.


MCC/FA Mediation Team Members

Susan Bender (Pearlberg), Coordinator (VaPA)

Elizabeth Baxter (Academic Services)

Marj Crum (VaPA)

Michael Johnson, (Counseling and Disability Services)

Robert Muhlnickel (English and Philosophy)

Jodell Raymond (Workforce Development)

Jessica Strollo (ESOL/Transitional Studies)

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