Faculty Senate

Case Western Reserve University
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Faculty Conciliation and frame image
Mediation Program


The Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program provides an alternative to the grievance process for faculty members to resolve conflicts between and among themselves. This program is available at no cost to faculty members of the university. In addition to providing conciliation and mediation internally, the program also makes outside mediators available as needed. Faculty members who are experiencing a conflict or disagreement that interferes with their work are encouraged to request a meeting with the conciliation counselor to explore the nature of the conflict and the various alternatives available for resolving the conflict. Conversations with the conciliation counselor and other mediators are confidential and completely voluntary.

You can contact the conciliation counselor directly at (216) 368-0313, or email conciliator@case.edu. You can also phone the office of the Secretary of the University Faculty at (216) 368-4316.

The Faculty Conciliation and Mediation Program was established permanently in April 2011, following an 18-month pilot program.

What is conciliation/mediation?

A confidential, semi-structured process in which an impartial third party helps disputing parties resolve their work-related problems or conflicts. It is a non-judgmental, voluntary process that helps parties find mutually satisfying resolutions to their problems without resorting to formal grievance proceedings.

How does it work?

One party to a conflict calls the Office of Conciliation/Mediation and asks for an initial meeting to determine the nature of the problem and explore possible options for resolving it. Options may include:

  • Individual consultation
  • Facilitated dialogue
  • Informal conciliation
  • Formal mediation by an outside mediator
  • Referral to another resource

If informal conciliation is desired, the initiating party or the conciliation counselor will contact the other party to determine their interest in participating in the process. If both parties agree, an informal conciliation process proceeds with the conciliation counselor serving as the impartial third party. For a variety of reasons (confidentiality, conflict of interest, or legal issues), one or both parties may request the use of an outside professional mediator, which can be provided in most cases.

What topics are appropriate for conciliation and mediation?

Personal or professional disputes with a faculty colleague
Complaints against the administration or an officer of the university
Procedural disputes regarding the promotion and tenure process
Issues of respect and cooperation
Resource allocation

What issues are not appropriate for conciliation and mediation?

Violation of the university constitution or by-laws
Academic misconduct
Decisions on tenure and promotion
Sexual harassment
Discrimination
Any issue in which legal action is pending

Who will know about the mediation?

Under Ohio law, the content of discussions with the conciliation counselor and any outside mediator are confidential. Only the names of individuals involved, meeting dates, and whether a resolution was reached may be disclosed to the Office of the Provost.

Is the grievance process still available?

Yes. The grievance process is still available to faculty when there is an alleged violation of university policies and procedures. Although conciliation and mediation are recommended alternatives or pre-cursors to the grievance process, they are not required. Participants in a conciliation or mediation will be asked not to file a grievance or legal action while the conciliation or mediation is ongoing.

How do I initiate the process?

Phone the conciliation counselor directly at 368-0313 or email conciliator@case.edu, or phone the office of the Secretary of the University Faculty at (216) 368-4316.

Who is the conciliation counselor?

Wallace Gingerich, Professor Emeritus at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, is the conciliation counselor. Wally holds MSW and PhD degrees in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. He facilitated farm mediations in Wisconsin during the farm crisis of the 1980's, and recently completed a mediation training program at Community Mediation Services in Columbus, Ohio. Wally was a member of the team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where solution-focused brief therapy was developed, an approach that helps participants visualize their futures without the problem and take concrete steps to make it happen. At Case Western Reserve University since 1990,Wally has been involved in governance at many levels. He has served as associate dean and interim dean at the Mandel School. He chaired the Faculty Senate in 1996-97, and has served on many university committees including the Faculty Senate Grievance Committee and the Personnel Committee. Learn more about Professor Emeritus Wallace Gingerich.

Comparing Grievance Process to Conciliation/Mediation

grievance process conciliation/mediation
An adversarial, rights-based process A conciliatory, interests-based process
An entitlement. The complainant grieves and the university is obligated to respond A mutually voluntary process -- either party may request it, and either may accept or decline
An alleged violation of policies and procedures Broad range of conflicts and disputes
Reviews two opposing views and decides for or against the complainant Seeks common understanding and mutual agreement
A third party makes the final determination Both parties search for a mutually acceptable solution
May result in redress for the complainant Parties decide on an acceptable solution within their authority
Often stretches out over a period of months Can be completed in as little as a few weeks
Is confidential Is confidential, protected by law
A formal and structured proceeding An informal and facilitated process

PDF of Conciliation & Mediation brochure