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What types of ADR training are available and how do get it?

The Air Force offers a variety of ADR training, including basic and advanced mediation courses, negotiation courses, and ADR awareness training for all audiences.  Here is a brief rundown of the major courses offered:

Basic Mediation Training:  This centrally funded four-day course is held at the Air Force Human Resource Management School at Maxwell AFB AL at least once per year, and at other locations subject to funding and instructor availability.  Students selected to attend this course are generally expected to agree to serve as collateral duty mediators for a period of two years following completion of the training.

Advanced Mediation Training:  This centrally funded five-day course for experienced Air Force mediators is held at the HR Management School at Maxwell every other year.  It builds on the skills and techniques taught in basic mediation through more in-depth instruction, evaluated exercises and a written examination.

Negotaition and ADR Course (NADRC): This five-day course for attorneys is offered once a year at the Air Force Judge Advocate General's School at Maxwell AFB AL.  It is funded and presented by SAF/GCR to introduce students to Interest-Based Negotiation (IBN) and mediation advocacy skills in a wide variety of contexts, including workplace, acquisition, environmental, and international disputes.  

Can I count my facilitations as mediations for purposes of the mediator certification?

Facilitation is a term used for a variety of processes, not all of which equip an individual to serve among the certified mediator ranks. Military equal opportunity facilitations always counted. Facilitation of large groups in team-building activities or strategic discussion not involving the resolution of a dispute will not be counted.


Can I get a waiver if I have not been able to get any client evaluations back after my mediations?

No. We count on our mediators to make it convenient for the parties to complete the evaluations so that this does not occur. Mediators should consider giving the parties the evaluations prior to requesting signatures on the settlement agreement. Mediators can explain to the parties that the lack of evaluations will prevent the mediator from achieving certification. Mediators should bring blank envelopes into the mediation room so the parties can secure their evaluations in the envelope. ADR Managers should follow-up with the parties after the mediation session if a client evaluation was not received.


Can you give me an example of a pending complaint or ethical violation?

There are a number of situations in which a mediator's conduct needs to be examined by an ADR Manager to determine whether the mediator should continue mediating, although GCR sincerely hopes these situations are prevented by high-quality training and program management. An example of a complaint is a claim to the ADR Manager that the mediator shared information about the mediation session with individuals outside of the mediation.


Does GCR have a preference as to the format of certification packages (i.e. email versus postal mail)?

GCR prefers email submissions when feasible.


Getting an appointment by the installation commander or designee for our mediators seems burdensome. Do ADR Managers really have to send appointment letters every time we get a new mediator?

Typically installations elect to request signature on a blanket appointment letter for several mediators twice a year. This coincides with the completion of the basic mediation courses. Mediators who have transferred from other installations should be able to mediate under the previous commander's appointment until the new commander is able to make such an appointment. These appointments not only illustrate to our mediators how serious they should take their role as mediators, but it also keeps the mediation program as the forefront of the commander's mind.


How am I supposed to get refresher training? No one at my installation knows enough about mediation to teach it and we certainly are not proficient instructors.

The ADR Managers are responsible for securing annual refresher training. Each March the Managers can request, through the MAJCOM ADR Managers, funding to send mediators to conferences and other training courses. If GCR funds attendance at such courses, GCR expects that the attendee will return to the installation to share the knowledge with other mediators and present a one-hour webinar training. These webinar trainings satisfy refresher training requirements. Mock mediation role-plays satisfy refresher training. Mediation videos, lunch-hour round tables, avatar video games, and a number of other things can be used to satisfy the training requirement. If the ADR Manager is having difficulty in providing guidance on refresher training, the MAJCOM ADR Manager and GCR should be made aware.


How does the Air Force mediation course differ from other mediation courses?

The Air Force course addressed the Air Force mediation model and provides opportunities to practice scenarios that are realistic to the Air Force environment. There is a thorough discussion of confidentiality based on the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, the Air Force Instruction, and the installation ADR agreements addressing confidentiality. Prospective mediators who have not been instructed on the unique confidentiality considerations for federal mediations will need to receive a briefing from their ADR Managers prior to mediating Air Force cases.


How is the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) certificate different from the Air Force certificate?

The DEOMI certificate is issued upon course completion to certify that basic training has been completed. The Air Force certificate verifies that the mediator has been both trained and immersed into real-world mediations with favorable feedback from co-mediators and mediation clients.


I don't have any Level II mediators to mentor my new mediators at my installation. What do I do?

Request that your MAJCOM Manager facilitate the visit of a Level II mediator from another installation to co-mediate. GCR has a budget to assist in funding these visits upon request. If a mediator would qualify for Level II certification, but has not applied, that individual may serve as a mentor. The ADR Manager just needs to request the waiver from SAF/GCR when submitting Level I packages by indicating that the mediators have been mentored by a "Level II-equivalent" mediator.


I was a Navy mediator and now I'm joining an Air Force command, what do I need to do to mediate for the Air Force?

Contact our office to be put in touch with the ADR Manager at your respective installation.


Should I be concerned if the Air Force mediator assigned to my case is not certified?

Certification is a voluntary process. Some of our most skilled mediators have elected not to apply for the Air Force mediator certificate. Although a certificate ensures quality, the absence of a certificate does not necessarily indicate that the mediator is of poor quality. If you are concerned about the quality of your mediator, request to see client evaluations and training certificates prior to the mediation session. ADR Managers at each installation are tasked with ensuring that each of their Air Force mediators assigned to a case is competent.


What is considered an "assigned, coordinated, or approved" mediation?

GCR understands that not all installations have sufficient mediation sessions to provide all of its mediators with quarterly opportunities to utilize mediation skills. Therefore, GCR leaves judgment to the discretion of the MAJCOM and installation managers as to whether a mediation should be "counted" towards the sufficient number for certification purposes. Air Force mediators who offer their services to the Federal Executive Board or other federal agencies in workplace disputes should be able to count those mediation sessions. Private mediations not involving workplace cases and/or utilizing a model different from the Air Force mediation model may not necessarily be counted as an Air Force "approved" mediation.


Which mediation training courses, other than the Air Force course, will suffice for basic mediation training?

The Air Force routinely accepts the training of other federal agencies, such as the Army and Navy mediation courses as well as the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute mediation course. For private mediation courses, acceptance of the course is at GCR's discretion. GCR will consider the length of the course, the number of interactive role-play opportunities, the caliber of the instructors, and the subject areas addressed (requiring modules in Settlement Agreements and Ethics at a minimum). GCR is willing to pre-approve a course for at the ADR Manager's request so that the prospective mediators can be assured that their training will be accepted.


Why does GCR issues waivers for some re-certification packages and not others?

Certification packages that indicate the applicant has a commitment to receive up-to-date mediation training, even if the mediator is unable to find one mediation per quarter, will be looked upon more favorably than packages that demonstrate reluctance to receive refresher training or reluctance to accept mediation assignments offered.


Why should I bother getting certified?

Certified mediators are able to work with AFPC to receive occupation code in their personnel file, the certification can be listed on resumes for career advancement, and Level II mediators are approved to travel for Air Force mediations at other installations.