Negotiating/Mediating Collaborative Project

For our final assignment, you will be working in a group of three or four. Each group will engage in a process of negotiating a compromise solution to a problem related to diversity at CSU. You will work together to understand the positions on the issue, identify key differences among opposing viewpoints, define the problem in terms of real interests, brainstorm solutions to the conflict, and propose a feasible solution. This work will culminate in each group writing a memo to the campus committee charged with reviewing the diversity plan. During the final exam period, we will discuss the various proposals made by each group. Finally, each person will write a postscript that will evaluate individual and group performance as well as the various proposals.


Each group will submit a group portfolio which contains the following:

  • group work plan
  • answers to questions on p. 172
  • definitions of problem in terms of real interests of sides (1 graph each)
  • brainstorm list of solutions
  • work log for each group member
  • postscript for each group member
  • all notes, drafts, etc. that support final memo
  • memo to diversity committee

Guidelines for the memo will include the following:

  • To "...[Move] beyond the stated positions and the facts of the dispute to expose the underlying interests, values, and beliefs of those in opposition ... [and] to show what interests they may have in common, to increase each side's understanding of the other, and to propose a solution to the dispute, a new position based on interests and values that will be acceptable to both sides."
  • The final memo will be 2-3 pages long, single-spaced.
  • We will look at sample memos to determine format.
  • The papers will be graded on these criteria, arranged in descending order of importance: attention to aim/audience, development (understanding of positions, addressing differences, clear and feasible solution), organization/coherence, style/mechanics/documentation.


4/23: Brief intro to project; complete questionnaires for group assignments

4/25: Receive group assignments and copy of diversity goals summary; groups meet and plan; turn in draft of work plan.

4/30: Groups work in class.

5/2: Groups work in class.

5/9: Final period: 7-9 a.m. Portfolio due. Discuss proposals. Complete postscript.


Each group will receive one grade. I reserve the right to give individual grades different from the group grade if circumstances warrant it. The memo itself counts for 70 % of the project grade. The process (everything else) counts for 30%. The grade on this project counts as 15% of the semester grade.


--Be sure to read Chapter 8 in Aims, "Negotiation and Mediation: Resolving Conflict" thoroughly. As always, the chapter has step-by-step analyses of sample essays and of the process as a whole.

--There is a copy of the entire diversity document in the library.

--Each group may schedule one meeting with me outside of class. All group members will need to be present at any such meeting. Meetings may be scheduled by e-mail memo only.

--The most effective and efficient method of communication for this project between us will be e-mail. Feel free, however, to talk to me in class, in my office, or on the phone for individual problems and questions. However, e-mail will allow me to send responses to the whole group at once, so I would prefer that all group business be handled that way.