August 30, 2016

Survey of Higher Ed ADR Programs Reveals Prominence of Ombuds for Students

A study published in the latest issue of the Journal of Conflict Management surveyed 100 colleges and universities with regard to their alternative dispute resolution resources for students.  The authors, Professor Neil H. Katz and Researcher Linda N. Kovack at Nova Southeastern University, paid particular attention to Ombuds and mediation programs that serve students. 

They found wide use of ADR practices that are consistent with recommendations from globally-recognized experts in the field of conflict resolution. They go on to urge that higher education adopt these practices for the benefits of other stakeholders:
Although the authors of this article and the many students who contributed their research are encouraged about the prevalence and variety of innovative ADR practices on campus for college students and others, they are concerned that the research found only isolated examples of these same ADR practices being made readily available and promoted for faculty, staff and administrator disputes. Some institutions seem to rely almost exclusively on traditional investigation and punitive measures in their university offices of legal affairs and human resources while neglecting the Spectrum-based options.
This finding is disturbing because it raises serious questions as to why universities would offer and encourage dialogue, problem solving and possible relationship saving methods among transient student populations, but not promote these processes more publicly to their more permanent staff.
The full article is available online.  (JOCM, 4:1.)

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