CHADRON – At times, disagreements can occur in client services. The Chadron State College (START) Office experiences that firsthand by serving students each semester who have issues with class schedules, financial concerns or grades.
Heather Crofutt, START adviser, is now better equipped to handle contentious situations after mediation training.
In early June, Crofutt enrolled in a week-long intensive Nebraska Mediation Association course in Lincoln. She is convinced she came away more qualified to help meet the needs of those she works with.
She has worked in student services at CSC for eight years and before that was employed in insurance and journalism. In each position she saw the need for mediation.
“It’s great to have tools like this to facilitate communication among colleagues, with faculty, students and their parents. Mediation skills are beneficial to have,” she said.
The course involved learning about the process, mechanics, statutes and ethics related to mediation. Crofutt and other participants also observed and participated in role play scenarios and learned from professional, experienced mediators.
“Role playing may sound a little cheesy, but this was intense and serious practice,” she said.
Mediation is a one-time interaction rather than an ongoing relationship, Crofutt said. Some individuals seek out mediation on their own while others discover mediation through recommendations from school or personal counselors, clergy, judges or attorneys.
“Anybody could benefit from completing this training. It really teaches you to truly listen and let both parties know they’ve been heard without providing a resolution. Often they will come up with creative solutions to the problem that you would never think of,” Crofutt said. “You remain unbiased and help them understand the issue and each other better but you don’t give them answers.”
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