Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services

Facilitation Services

SMU offers assistance in group settings through the use of a neutral facilitator. The facilitator helps committees and groups achieve resolution by structuring a process that minimizes conflict and maximizes group functioning. Like mediation, facilitation can help larger groups talk through their differences and achieve a mutually satisfying outcome.  If groups agree to use facilitation, they may contact SMU directly to arrange for a convenient day and time.  Facilitation may be conducted at the SMU Clinic for groups of 15 or fewer; larger groups may request assistance in renting facilities at SMU-in-Plano.  Facilitators may also attend offsite gatherings.

How it works

Program alumni, faculty and current students who have completed at least 200 training hours, as well as local dispute resolution professionals, facilitate on a voluntary basis.  There is a $100.00 administrative fee to reserve the date and cover the costs of scheduling.  The facilitation itself will be conducted at no cost.  A facilitator will be assigned to the case after it is scheduled.

Facilitation… is fair and neutral

Facilitation participants are all given an equal opportunity to share their concerns and collaborate on constructive approaches to the issue in dispute.  The facilitator has no authority to impose a settlement without agreement of the group.  During facilitation all participants will be able to exchange information, express expectations and propose solutions for reaching resolution.  The facilitator will support this process by helping participants communicate clearly and appropriately.

Facilitation…can save time and money

Litigation can be expensive, time consuming, and emotionally costly.  Facilitation can help prevent litigation and conflict escalation by helping participants to identify the issues of concern and to corporately engage in constructive communication, option generation, and negotiation.  Facilitation is often completed in one meeting, often saving considerable time and expense.  More complicated matters may necessitate multiple sessions before an agreement is reached.  Legal or other representation is permitted in all cases, but not required.

Facilitation… can be binding if agreement is reached

Facilitation can result in a binding agreement to all participants.  Participants may collaborate in determining the form the agreement will take.  If an agreement is not reached, a lawsuit may then be filed.  Or, if already in litigation, the case will revert back to the court.

Facilitation… is confidential

The facilitation process is confidential.  Confidential information provided to the facilitator by participants during the facilitation process cannot be divulged by the facilitator.  Moreover, the participants’ settlement discussions cannot be used as evidence in any future court proceeding.

Facilitation Schedule

Facilitation may be scheduled at the convenience of the participants.  The SMU clinic is open Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. for groups wishing to meet at SMU.

Contact Information

If you would like to speak with someone regarding the process, or to schedule facilitation, please call the Center’s coordinator, Dana Vaden, at 972.473.3486, or contact us by email at to set a date and time.  If you would like to submit a request to the office directly, please print out the Facilitation Request Form and fax it to 972.473.3484.