It is the sincere goal of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering to maintain an environment in which a spirit of collegiality and mutual respect prevails, for such an environment fosters optimum productivity and satisfaction among its members. To provide faculty members, graduate students, postdoctorals, and staff with a well-defined mechanism for conflict mediation, the Department has a faculty member, Professor Heather Lechtman, as a "Department Mediator." The Department Mediator provides a resource for the DMSE community to assist with a wide range of problems that may arise in the course of their appointment to the department. One key role of the mediator is to offer advice to faculty members, students, postdoctoral personnel, and staff who find themselves in conflict with other members of the department, including their supervisors. Such conflicts with co-workers could include harassment, concerns over safety, and disagreements over authorship and over what constitutes an acceptable unit of work for publication or for the award of a degree. Although the mediator will help individuals deal with most problems locally, they are also well informed on the many services that MIT offers to members of the community who find themselves in distress. The mediator can maintain confidentially in most matters, but in cases where they cannot, they can refer individuals to resources where confidentiality can be guaranteed.
The mediators were trained through MEDIATION@MIT in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, c. 233, sec. 23C. All interaction with the DMSE Mediator is confidential and voluntary.
Text drawn from the MIT Chemistry Dept. website, with permission.
REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress) programs are for peer support within the Institute. REFS students are trained by Conflict Management at MIT to provide low barrier, confidential services to their peers in the form of support, coaching, listening, de-escalation, and informal mentoring and mediation. REFS share information about additional resources on campus and can make informed referrals. There are student REFS programs institute-wide (iREFS) or in departments (dREFS) as well as a staff initiative in MIT medical (medREFS).