From 2016-2020 the Graduate Conflict Resolution Centre (Grad CRC) provided trusted conflict coaching services and training on all three U of T campuses emphasizing proactive, positive and respectful ways of managing, preventing and resolving conflict.
Learn more about our unique model of graduate support in this February 2020 University Affairs article or review our annual report summaries:
The Grad CRC was created in response to grad-specific recommendations.
The Grad CRC responded to some of the recommendations that were put forward in the Report of the Provostial Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health, including:
3.3 Create programming for graduate students that will foster a greater sense of community within and across departments and faculties, and enhance support for graduate students in their interactions with their supervisors…
3.7 Develop programming and training that supports faculty, graduate supervisors, and teaching assistants to create learning environments that encourage students to seek help without fear of judgment or repercussions.
We helped to build a supportive graduate community.
The School of Graduate Studies (SGS), Student Life – St. George and the Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) recognized that early informal support could help all members of the graduate community to more effectively manage conflict. They formed a partnership in 2015 to create and pilot a conflict resolution support centre – a pilot that was made permanent in Fall 2017.
Launching in January 2016 after 3 months of extensive university-wide consultation by Heather McGhee Peggs, Manager, the Grad CRC provided individual, confidential, conflict coaching to over 900 students, staff and faculty and facilitated conflict resolution training for over 2900 faculty, staff and students.
The Grad CRC approach involved the entire graduate community and university-wide supports as part of conflict management. Graduate students at UTM, UTSC and UTSG spoke confidentially with members of the Grad CRC’s trained peer-to-peer support team (G2G Peer Advisors) about university-related issues or conflict. Faculty and staff connected with the Manager, Heather McGhee Peggs, to talk off the record about concerns. We also customized and facilitated training and workshops for faculty, administrators and students.
We reported annually to the Partners.
Identifying trends and sharing back with the Partners is an important component of an effective conflict management system. Our year for data purposes was July to June, and each summer Heather put together a report that was sent to the partners for discussion.
We were a confidential service, without files or records of individual interactions.
When connecting with someone from the Grad CRC about ways to manage or resolve a specific conflict or concern, discussions were confidential, subject to exceptions set out in the Grad CRC Terms of Reference. In other words, we did not share information about a situation with anyone outside of Grad CRC staff. We did not keep files or records of conversations. The exceptions to confidentiality were:
- You gave us express permission to talk with someone outside of the Grad CRC;
- There was a compelling health & safety or emergency reason for disclosing the information;
- We were contacted by the U of T Office of the Ombudsperson because a concern has been raised with that office; or
- We were legally required to do so.
We collected anonymous data about our discussions in order to identify trends, report on our services, and improve training and services. All aggregate data was reviewed by the Grad CRC to ensure that it was non-identifiable before it was shared with the university community.
If you would like to learn more about this unique model of graduate support, please connect with Heather McGhee Peggs, BA (Hons), LL.B.