Dean of Students
Student Conflict Resolution Services
Welcome to SCRS!
Student Conflict Resolution Services has gone virtual.
While MSU Denver responds to covid-19, the SCRS will be working remotely. Meetings can occur over Microsoft Teams and the phone and we are also reachable over email. Please don't hesitate to reach out!
Elise Krumholz | Coordinator for Student Conflict Resolution Services | 303-605-7018 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's talk Conflict.
Conflict is a normal part of life. It can be stressful, frustrating, and bring uncertainty. In fact, many see conflict as a negative. However, conflict can result in stronger relationships, encouraging growth, and building understanding.
There are ways to engage in conflict through the discomfort and challenges it may bring. Student Conflict Resolution Services (SCRS) provides a variety of programs and services to support students experiencing conflict in both individual and group settings, and through skill-building and facilitation support.
SCRS recognizes that individuals have differing needs and interests when approaching conflicts. SCRS also acknowledges that our personal experiences and social identities are fundamental to how we do and see conflict, and therefore we cannot ignore, undervalue, or avoid talking about identity when we are in conflict. As mentioned, conflict can bring discomfort and it can leave us feeling vulnerable. SCRS helps students navigate these situations in a way that works for them.
SCRC works with students in many different scenarios, including:
- issues with a classmate or group project
- conflict with a roommate
- disagreement with a professor
- student employment and internship related concerns
- student organization
- student employment training and retreats
Programs & Services
Please check out the available resources to you, your team, student organization, or program, and contact Student Conflict Resolution Services for more information!
Conflict coaching sessions are one-on-one meetings or mini-trainings on conflict. If you feel like you need a sounding board, to strategize on how you would like to approach a conflict situation, and grow your conflict management skills, then you may find conflict coaching helpful.
Conflict coaching is individualized and student-led. In other words, the student determines what they would like to get out of conflict coaching. Conflict coaching is not therapy and the conflict resolution professional will not tell the student what to do or give advice. Rather, the session will frame the conflict and/or the situation around what the student is interested in and what they need.
A facilitated conversation is guided by a 3rd party facilitator and is voluntary for all participants. Every facilitated conversation starts with norms and follows a particular flow that helps parties clear the air and determine how to move forward successfully. All participants must meet with the Coordinator for Student Conflict Resolution Services for individual meetings prior to the conversation to prepare. A facilitated conversation is an opportunity for individuals to:
- Re-establish meaningful communication
- Speak openly about their needs and perspectives, and to understand the other’s point of view
- Mutually decide on the best way to move forward
The main steps of a facilitated conversation include:
- Intake and prep meeting
- Facilitated conversation
- If an agreement is reached, it is done so collectively by all parties
- Follow-up with SCRS about the agreement and how things are going
About restorative justice.
Restorative processes address conflicts or wrongdoing that has resulted in harm. Restorative practices actively engages all parties (the responsible party, impacted party(ies), and the community) to collaboratively address what happened, the needs of the parties, and how those needs can be addressed.
Restorative justice values the voice of the participants and allows parties to share their story. Restorative justice also focuses on how the parties were impacted and repairing the harm caused. Lastly, restorative justice elevates active accountability, meaning that the responsible party must not only recognize and take responsibility for the harm caused, but they must be willing to repair the harms caused.
About a restorative justice process.
Student Conflict Resolution Services uses a variety of restorative approaches. All restorative processes are guided by facilitators and requires prep meetings before coming together. All restorative processes are completely voluntary. To move forward, the impacted parties must be interested in participating in the process and/or be ok with the process moving forward in a way that works best for them.
The main steps of a restorative process are:
- Intake and prep meeting
- Restorative process or conference
- A restorative agreement is collaboratively created by all parties
- Follow-up with SCRS about the agreement and how things are going
SCRS may receive referrals from anywhere in the campus community, including referrals from the Student Conduct Process.
Coming together in circle and dialogue allows groups to build community, explore conflict, brainstorm, and make decisions. Community-building circles are guided by a facilitator and encourages groups to engage in a deep and meaningful process that promotes effective listening and invites group members to share their voice.
Community-building circles can be tailored to what the group needs, including:
- Learning about and processing issues or conflict
- Building team values and norms
- Teambuilding on leadership, communication, or another relevant topic
- Team/Individual recognition and support
- Decision-making for a policy, project or process
- Discussion of a difficult topic
Community-building can occur in many different formats, including:
- One-time or on-going circles
- Paired with training
- Team retreats
SCRS offers a number of conflict management workshops. Each workshop offers content about conflict resolution practices and approaches, while also inviting discussion and giving space to skill-building. While a training can be tailored to what a specific group needs, here are a few workshops that are available by contacting SCRS:
- Conflict Management 101: This workshop sets the stage for understanding the dynamics at play during a conflict. Participants will explore conflict in three parts: a) know thyself, b) know the situation, and c) know how to respond. The workshop first focuses on one’s individual approach to conflict, as we know that it is different based on our experiences and identities. The workshop then invites discussion about the different types of the conflict and how to engage in a difficult conversation.
- Effective Communication Skills: This workshop is a deeper dive into communication skill-building, where individuals learn and practice different approaches to difficult conversations. Exercises include uncovering the Position-Interest Iceberg and practicing how to start a challenging conversation using both facts and your story. This workshop focuses on skills that help you be understood, while also emphasizing the importance of inviting the other to share their viewpoint to encourage mutual understanding.
- Group Dynamics & Accountability: This workshop is helpful for groups to dissect the different dynamics at play during conflict and while working together as a team. It also tackles individual and shared accountability on a team in a way that considers relationships and the tasks that need to be accomplished. This workshop gives time for dialogue on these topics and how it relates specifically to each individual and group.
- Facilitation Skills: A facilitator's job is to lead the group through a process to achieve their goals. This particular role helps groups navigate difficult situations, lead meetings, find solutions to problems, accomplish tasks, make decisions, and much more. Effective facilitators have certain skills that help to keep the group on track, while also managing conflict. This workshop will cover facilitation tools, such as reframing a problem, redirecting challenging comments, and how to encourage collaboration. This workshop has both content to learn and opportunity to practice skills.
- Conflict Styles: We all respond to conflict in different ways and depending on any given situation. To reflect on how you respond to conflict, participants will complete a conflict styles survey prior to the workshop. During the workshop, the different styles will be explained and participants will have a chance to discuss how they address conflict situations and their preferred style(s) personally and within teams.
If you are experiencing a concern and/or would like to file a complaint about an experience at MSU Denver, you can contact SCRS to get support in navigating the different pathways that may be available to you to address your concerns. Some processes that you may find additional support navigating, include the Student Complaint Policy and Grade Appeals Process. You can find a full list of appeals and other related policies here.
While SCRS cannot address the concern directly or advocate on behalf of a student, SCRS can help students understand the options available to them, act as a sounding board, offer conflict coaching, and make referrals to different resources on campus that can also support the student through their situation.
In partnership with the Communication Studies Department, SCRS coordinates the MSU Denver Dialouges Program. The Dialogues Program is modeled off of intergroup dialogue from the University of Michigan, which is a social justice-centered approach to engaging in conflict. Dialogue encourages critical analysis of inequities and systems, deep listening, and meaningful engagement across differences. The Dialouges Program offers several opportunities to engage in dialogue each semester, including opportunities to be trained and serve as a volunteer facilitator. Please check out the Dialouges Program website for more information on how to get involved!
To develop a supportive environment, SCRS approaches conflict, it's services and programs, with the below values in mind:
Community: SCRS is committed to serving the MSU Denver community by being responsive, collaborative, and supportive of community-building efforts across campus, which encourage dialogue and problem-solving across differences.
Inclusion & Equity: SCRS values conflict resolution practices that are aligned with social justice, equity, and inclusion, by offering students conflict resolution options to the MSU Denver community that are culturally responsive and challenge normative views of conflict resolution.
Voice & Self-Determination: All SCRS services and programs are voluntary, builds spaces that honors and empowers the voices of those involved, and in-which all outcomes of any process is in the power of those involved, not the facilitator.
Multipartiality: In any conflict resolution process, a facilitator or mediator's role must be clear. Honesty and trust are fundamental for any relationship with individuals seeking support from SCRS. To support a peaceful and just resolution, SCRS promotes multipartiality, which upholds each sides' voice while also understanding that many conflict are asymmetric, where one side may have more power than another. In addition, the facilitator is clear with all involved about their own affiliations and biases.