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Finding a home for classes or setting up a dispute resolution program varies depending on the setting and the environment in which you are working. The rules differ depending on the conflict management, mediation, ADR or dispute resolution orientation of your discipline and setting. While there is an organization that is devoted to materials on the topic (http://www.crenet.org/) you may find this summary more applied and accessible in some areas.
This web page discusses approaches for several environments in which dispute currently seems to have a substantial home, some with proposals, suggestions and thoughts, some with links, some with just a note. The thought is to give people ideas of where to start and where to consider going, not a complete blueprint. In the proposals that are made, I acknowledge that because of discipline lines most suggestions will not be complete from a theoretical view and will be limited to the discipline. In addition, some areas are extremely mature and I only note them with links to established resources (e.g. education and crenet.org).
I would appreciate comments and suggestions. The areas discussed below are (in alphabetical order):
Business (conflict management)
Law Schools are by far the easiest program to set up. Out of the top ten law school programs, more than half have implemented the Missouri Plan and the complete plan, program details, class room materials and aids are all available to any law school that wants to use them. The only modification I would make to that approach is to add a more substantive negotiation option and for that I would advise individual law schools interested in fully teaching mediation to consult with Fred Moss (of which, interestingly, there are two Fred Mosses in Dallas who teach or have taught in law schools and/or dispute resolution. If you find the wrong one, Ill be glad to point you to the right one).
The Missouri Plan approach involves integrating ADR concepts into existing
classes in addition to direct instruction. The entire process and some excellent
reflections have all been published in related journals (law
After reading them, I really dont find myself disagreeing
with what they are doing. If
this is your area of interest, start with their documents and read through
the September 1998 issue of the Florida Law Review (Volume 50, Number 4,
pages 583 to 760).
Continuing Education oriented programs I have discussed at
Dispute Resolution (as an undergraduate minor) is a growing
area, and a natural one for many college campuses, often as a subdivision
of a sociology or a law and justice program or as a part of the general studies
program. A proposed curriculum
Before attempting to start such a program (rather than a sub-set) I would
be certain of institutional support.
Sociology is an interesting field and a natural for conflict analysis and dispute resolution applications, especially in the wider context. A dispute resolution program in that context is one that provides students with tools and foundational understanding and is intended to prepare students to have an impact in the area of public policy. The Cornell Graduate Minor is headed by a sociology professor (see http://www.einaudi.cornell.edu/PeaceProgram/minor.html) as is the Humboldt program (see http://www.humboldt.edu/~isadr/staff.htm). The classes I recommend that you consider in deciding how to work into starting a program are:
INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION: This class is an introduction to the field of conflict analysis and resolution. It examines definitions of conflict and dispute resolution. It surveys, briefly, thinking about human behavior and social systems as they relate to the origins of conflict and the role of conflict in social change it considers appropriate responses to conflict at interpersonal, intergroup, community, and national levels. However, the class focuses on foundational elements, including mediation and conflict management so that students can understand these terms and processes when exposed to broader concepts and applications.
INTRODUCTION TO NEGOTIATION: This class introduces negotiation concepts. While it covers the basics of understanding needs and attempting to build stable resolutions, it addresses the broader theory of negotiation and the techniques and approaches used by professional negotiators as well as normal human patterns of reaction as they apply to casual negotiators.
PUBLIC POLICY NEGOTIATION: This class introduces the methods by which public policy disputes are mismanaged and managed, including how third party neutrals are used and how managers can apply conflict resolution techniques and principles to developing conflicts. While the focus is on the processes by which environmental, developmental and other public disputes are successfully resolved by the use of third parties, the class also addresses how conflicts are magnified by poor responses and how individuals involved in such disputes can channel or affect the process.
PATTERNS, PATHOLOGIES AND PARADIGMS: This class surveys human behavior and social systems as they relate to the origins of conflict and the role of conflict in violent and peaceful social change in the context of human social patterns and paradigms. Where the introductory class is foundational and focuses on mediation and direct (small group/employment settings) conflict resolution, this class takes the broader theoretical approach.
PEACE AND CONFLICT STUDIES: Understanding war and peace, includes simulations.
SEMINAR ON FACILITATION INITIATIVES: This seminar surveys facilitation initiatives and how one participates in or initiates one.
Business (conflict management) is a growing field. Most of the early action was in labor related and in Industrial and Labor relations (e.g. see PERC at Cornell http://www.ilr.cornell.edu/depts/icr/) but the current significant focus is on the Academy of Managements Conflict Management Division (at http://aom.pace.edu/cmd). For a professors web site see http://www.kenanflagler.unc.edu/faculty/directory/53.html. For an academic division that approaches conflict resolution from the perspective of law faculty in business schools, see http://cba.unomaha.edu/faculty/mohara/web/ADRopen.htm.
There is also an excellent position paper ALSB ADR Positon Paper on Need for ADR in Business (posted with permission).
INTRODUCTION TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION: This class is an introduction to the field of conflict analysis and resolution. It class focuses on foundational elements, including mediation and conflict management from a managers perspective so that a student has useful skills, understandings and applications.
INTRODUCTION TO NEGOTIATION: This class introduces negotiation concepts. While it covers the basics of the broader theory of negotiation, it focuses on direct applications the techniques and approaches used by professional negotiators in labor and business.
SEMINAR ON [SPECIFIC FIELD]: This seminar applies the foundational information and knowledge to the conflict resolution needs of a particular field to provide the perspective and tools that a consultant or manager needs to be able to understand and apply. Examples include health care, EEOC, Power and Influence in Organizations, Team Leading,
For perspective, Negotiation and Conflict Management, Public Affaris Dispute Resolution, and Managing Organizational Conflict are classes taught by CMD members. Often conflict management is seen as a sub-division of Organizational Behavior and a willingness to teach the intro OB class is a large plus for anyone interested in teaching in such a program.
Legal Studies (law and justice) is often seen as the natural home of conflict resolution. The leading discussed program of this type is at Brenau University (the web page being: http://www.brenau.edu/sfah/humanities/ConflictRes.htm). Often, interdisciplinary groups take their shelter in law and legal studies (e.g. the Marquette University Center for Dispute Resolution Education which was created in 1993 as an interdisciplinary academic center that combined the fields of law, business, psychology, sociology, political science, health sciences, education, and communication in order to develop a program, web page at http://www.marquette.edu/disputeres/). The University of Arizona is also a leader in hosting conflict resolution under the school of justice studies (on the web at http://www.asu.edu/copp/justice/index.htm or http://www.asu.edu/copp/justice/home.htm). For other perspectives see http://www.alsb.org/.
CAMPUS MEDIATION CENTERS: this is a participatory class that includes orientation, training and participation in a campus mediation center.
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE: this class introduces and discusses restorative justice in the dispute resolution context.
INTRODUCTION TO DISPUTE RESOLUTION: this class surveys ADR and the dispute resolution field.
Government/Political Science is exemplified by the Bryn Mawr program at http://www.brynmawr.edu/depts/peace/. The best known professor in this type of program is William Warters in the Wayne State College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs (see http://www.mtds.wayne.edu/campus.htm). An example of a mature program is PARC at Syracuse in The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs or the University of New Mexico School of Public Administration (at http://www.unm.edu/~spagrad/). For a professors page, see http://ncinfo.iog.unc.edu/programs/dispute/index.html.
Education: See the UMass program (at http://site.www.umb.edu/forum/1/Dispute_Resolution/res/overview.htm) for a good start. This is a huge area as teachers are trained to reduce conflict. The entire area of Peer Mediation is encompassed in the education realm and the topic is beyond the scope of this simple paper but is well addressed at http://crinfo.org/k12.cfm. CRENET was focused on this area (http://www.crenet.org/).
Religion (peacemaking). Visit the Mennonite centers for that (or some of the other groups). This is beyond the scope of this article, but you should be aware that there is an entire field centered in religious peacemaking which is why I mention it here. http://www.justpeaceumc.org/home.htm is an excellent website in this regards.
Other areas include Psychology (a professors web page is at http://gobi.stanford.edu/facultybios/bio.asp?ID=115) and Economics (visit http://unt.edu/).
There are two different ways that dispute resolution may be addressed in a program. The first (as in a law school) is dispute resolution as a useful sub-set of the program rather than a definite focus. Just as business schools include business law without being law schools, many programs benefit from including some elements of dispute resolution in the education that they provide their students.
The second way to address a dispute resolution program is as a core program (either as a minor as at Cornell or as a major, as at Brenau). These can be under the roof of an existing discipline, as a reinterpretation of the discipline (e.g. ICAR and sociology) or as a cross-disciplinary approach.
The advantage to the first approach is that the classes and instruction provide immediate, direct benefit to the students. Negotiation and conflict management skills can make life calmer, more friendly and peaceful immediately, and the same skills are often very useful in employment, in academia and in the real world. Your major is intended to get you hired, dispute resolution skills will often get you promoted.
The second approach has its benefits, but its limits as well. I admire the programs that are striving to succeed in this area, especially those that provide academic minors to undergraduates and graduates.
In either case, the
In designing classes or in building a program, keep in mind the students who benefit from your classes or who might be attracted to them, on every level.
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