Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to use the services of the Office of Conflict Management Services?

OCMS serves all University employees: full-time and part-time faculty and staff.

What services does the Office of Conflict Management Services provide?

We offer workshops and training in conflict management as well as consultation and group facilitation.  Upon request from other campus units, we also provide facilitated dialogue.

How can I contact the Office of Conflict Management Services?

Employees can contact OCMS by email or telephone 828-262-6618. Messages are received directly by the Director and are confidential.

When should I contact the Office of Conflict Management Services?

  • You want to learn how to communicate effectively when opinions diverge and emotions are high.
  • You want to build your or your unit's skills in pro-active communication and interpersonal conflict management skills. 
  • You want to improve relationships with co-workers to reduce stress and improve productivity.
  • You want to brainstorm about possible ways to handle conflict, either for yourself or someone you supervise.

When should I contact a different University office?

OCMS seeks to assist faculty and staff in proactively prevent and settle conflicts before they escalate.   Other offices on campus handle disputes related to federal or state law or University policy or procedure:

  • If you have a conflict that relates to the professional conduct of SHRA staff or EHRA non-faculty or temporary employees (such as performance issues and evaluation, violation of University policy, retaliation, etc.), contact Human Resources.
  • If you have a conflict that relates to the professional conduct of faculty and academic administrators (such as faculty fraud, violation of University policy, salary, scientific misconduct, etc.), contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Affairs.
  • If you have a conflict that relates to your personal life (such as anxiety, caregiving, legal issues, etc.) or to your professional life (such as anger, career issues, etc.), contact Counseling for Faculty and Staff.
  • If you have a conflict that relates to accommodations at work for a temporary impairment or permanent disability, contact the Office of Disability Services.
  • If you wish to speak to someone about campus-related concerns or problems that are not articulated above, contact the University Ombuds Office.

What happens if I decide to consult OCMS?

The Director will meet with you at the earliest convenient time. If a face-to-face meeting is not possible, alternatives are talking by telephone or video (such as Skype or Google Hangout).

Will you serve as my advocate?

No. OCMS does not advocate for any party involved in a conflict. Further, OCMS strives to assist conflicting parties in collaborating to develop their own resolutions to the conflict. The goal of conflict management is to preserve, repair, and improve relationships, not end them.

What is conflict coaching?

Conflict coaching is a process used to support an employee’s ability to productively resolve conflict.  As a neutral third party, the conflict coach can help you articulate the conflict, consider options for managing the conflict, acquire skills in conflict management, and/or design an approach to discuss the conflict with the other person.

To whom does the Office of Conflict Management Services report?

OCMS reports jointly to Academic Affairs and Human Resources.

What information is shared and with whom?

OCMS will not share information obtained in a training, consultation, or group facilitation unless all agree, OR if there is serious risk of harm to self or others.

Is there a permanent record of our discussions?

No, there is no permanent record of any conversations in OCMS.

How are data reported?

Data are reported in the aggregate to Academic Affairs and Human Resources in an annual report. No identifying information of individuals served by OCMS is reported to anyone.

Is there an assessment of satisfaction?

Each workshop and group facilitation is assessed for quality and utility at the time of the event.  Similarly, an email survey is sent to those who consult with the office.  Responses are anonymous and only used to improve services.