September 23, 2014


Dispute Resolution Services Can Assist APs

By Katherine Vega

DISPUTE RESOLUTION Services (DRS) is a resource available to all staff, as well as faculty and students, that provides interpersonal counseling services for those facing conflicts in the workplace or the classroom.

“DRS PROVIDES private consultation, facilitation, and mediation services to faculty, staff, and students on a wide variety of issues,” said Kathy Irving, Assistant Equal Opportunity Officer. They work by exploring the concerns of the affected parties, meeting with the parties together, and ultimately helping the students, faculty, or staff members come up with a solution to their problem.

DRS IS a proactive program that aims to help solve problems before they grow bigger. “Its purpose is to bring parties to a mutually agreeable resolution of differences before they escalate into formal time-intense grievances, charges, or costly lawsuits,” said Irving.

PEOPLE CAN contact DRS in a wide range of situations, but early intervention is encouraged. “It is suggested that as soon as an individual believes there is unresolved conflict in the workplace, they should contact DRS for an initial consultation,” added Irving. Common issues that DRS mediators address are interpersonal conflicts, lack of communication, toxic work environments, and unclear job expectations.

DRS ENSURES that all inquiries are handled on a case-by-case basis, so there is no “typical” solution to any problem. “Because each inquiry is different…the appropriate handling of an inquiry is best determined only after an initial consultation,” concluded Irving.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION Services began operation 15 years ago and has been used successfully by all employment groups. DRS also offers team-building training and unit assessments for a small fee. To learn more about DRS or to inquire about their programs, visit or call Caryn Bills, Director for the Office of Access and Equity, at (312) 996-8670 or Kathy Irving at (312) 996-5979.

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