Missouri State University
The Center for Dispute Resolution
www.MissouriState.edu/CDR * CDR@MissouriState.edu * (417) 836-8831

Students in Conflict Certificate Win Top Prize at Missouri State Criminal Justice Conference

2015-04-09 18 13 56Congratulations!   MA student and Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR) graduate assistant Becky Saunders, along with her husband Johnathan (graduate student in Public Administration and the Conflict Certificate), submitted to and were accepted to the Missouri State Criminology and Criminal Justice Conference that happened last week on campus.  Not only did they present their paper, but they won top graduate student paper at the conference.  Becky and Johnathan wrote their paper, “Facilitators and Conflict Management in the Girls Circle Program” in Dr. Melissa Maier’s COM 611 class last fall.  The paper is quantitative, and Becky was able to conduct the analysis on her own based on what she learned in COM 712 the same semester.

Comment from Dr. Maier regarding this significant student accomplishment:  “I’m incredibly proud of the work they’ve done and they are very deserving of this award.  I’m especially excited that they’re representing the COM department across campus.”

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Free Training in Facilitating Family Group Conferences – April 18-19

Make a lasting difference for children and families in our community by volunteering as a Family Group Conference (FGC) Coordinator. T

Family group conferences bring a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to support the parent in recovery and ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved. Families are empowered to create their own plans to address problems and support the parents and children taking part in the program. Coordinators (working in pairs) are responsible for preparing family members for the family group conference and guiding the family meeting in a transparent, honest, and respectful way. Family group conferencing helps develop and strengthen a family’s support network, significantly benefiting children and their family groups, while putting the family at the center of decision-making as they create plans that fit their unique circumstances.

FGC Coordinators  apply their education and skills to assist families and make a difference in their lives. They also gain invaluable experience working directly with families and develop their interpersonal skills as they facilitate FGCs. Register now!

About This Program

Parents who wish to receive support in their recovery efforts sign up to be a part of Alternative Opportunities Regional Partnership Grant Program. This program provides treatment, education, support, and other services for families in recovery. As a part of this program, families are assigned a Program Advocate, who assists them in coordinating the various services they receive. One of these services is a Family Group Conference, which brings a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to support the parent in recovery and ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved.

Steps in the Family Group Conference (FGC) Process

1. Facilitators first meet with the core family for a pre-meeting. The goal of this meeting to begin to build the family’s trust, explain the FGC progress, prepare the family to talk about the issues and come up with an action plan, and plan the logistics of the FGC. Facilitators are not there to solve the family’s problems or tell them what to do. Instead, they are more like “event coordinators,” helping them plan their FGC and come up with their own ideas and solutions to problems.

2. Next, facilitators prepare the extended family and friends for the FGC. This preparation will typically take place by phone. The goal of this preparation is to ensure the extended family understands the purpose of the FGC, are prepared to talk about the issue at hand and help develop a plan of action, and to help with the logistics of the FGC itself.

3. Once everyone is prepared, the family group conference is held. Everyone present will be asked to share what they see as strengths of the  family; next they will share any concerns the family and children. After this time of sharing a Program Advocate will share any additional concerns related to the parent’s recovery to help the family understand the ways in which they can support the parent in recovery and ensure the safety and well-being of the children involved. Once this is completed, the family enters “private family time” where they meet to come up with their plan to address the identified concerns and support the parent and children while the parent is in recovery.

4. After the family has created their plan, the facilitators review the plan to ensure it addresses all the core concerns. When everyone agrees that the plan is complete, the FGC is concluded. The family will have the opportunity to come back together at a later date to revise the plan if necessary.

Benefits of Family Group Conferencing

FGC facilitators make it possible for families to reap the incredible benefits of these facilitated dialogues. Years of research into FGC show that the process helps to improve family communication, especially about difficult issues; engages youth, family and community partners to meet the needs of at-risk individuals; address both individual and family issues – a key component of effectively supporting parents in recovery; focuses on  family strengths – helping families to realize the power they already have; and develops plans that live on well beyond the involvement of the child welfare or other agencies.

FREE Training to Facilitate Family Group Conferences

Individuals with an interest in helping families and children in our community are encouraged to sign up for the CDR’s 2-day training Family Group Conference Training, which covers the history, philosophy, and theory of FGC, family dynamics, the FGC model, and FGC facilitation skills and practice. Completion of a background check is required for all program volunteers. The training is FREE for those who wish to volunteer with the program and/or learn more about the Family Group Conferencing process.


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Study Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland – Summer Short-Term Study Aboard this June

Study Conflict and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland – Summer Short-Term Study Aboard

June 16-26, 2015

Fly out of Springfield, and visit Dublin, Belfast, and Derry!

Application Deadline February 27th

In this course you will travel to Ireland to explore the dynamics of conflict and peacemaking that has transformed the country over the past decades. Travel to Dublin, Belfast, and Derry/Londonderry and examine the historical and cultural roots of the conflict and the subsequent peacemaking processes and reconciliation.

On our 10-day trip you’ll get the chance to:

This 3-credit- hour course will provide you with a foundation for understanding the background and evolution of conflict in Ireland and as well as insights into the knowledge, skills, and processes necessary to bring about reconciliation and conflict transformation.

Read more about this trip or apply to the program now on the Study Away website, or contact Dr. Charlene Berquist at 417-836-8831 or charleneberquist@missouristate.edu. The application deadline to apply to the program is February 27th.

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Spring Campus Conflict Workshop Series

Take part in this spring’s Campus Conflict Workshop Series! These 1-hour workshops are designed specifically for the Missouri State University audience, and faculty, staff, and students are invited to attend!

Bullying in the Workplace – Feb. 4, 12-1 p.m. in PSU 317- Presented by Dr. Stephanie Norander

Workplace bullying is a common phenomenon that often goes unrecognized even though it can cause much personal stress and group conflict. This workshop will discuss bullying behaviors, techniques for dealing with bullying, and prevention strategies.

Personality Types and Conflict –  March 17, 12-1 p.m. in PSU 315 – Presented by Dr. Gloria Galanes

Although conflict with others is inevitable, resolving conflict is easier when you understand the impact that a person’s personality type has on their reactions and perceptions. The session investigates the implications of personality types on conflict situations.

Dealing with Difficult People - April 22, 12-1 p.m. in PSU 315 – Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Heather Blades

It seems that some people are just hard to handle: grumpy, obnoxious, unreasonable, stubborn – the list goes on and on. So, how do you cope when you have a conflict with one of these “difficult” people? This session will explore ways to deal with difficult people.

Managing Conflict in the Workplace May 5, 12-1 p.m. in PSU 315 – Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Heather Blades

Basic skills for managing conflicts in the workplace are a must-have for anyone who interacts with supervisors, colleagues, students, customers…pretty much anyone! This session will help you think about conflict in productive ways and build conflict skills you can use every day in the workplace.

Registration for these workshops is encouraged but not required – register via MyLearning Connection in MyMissouriState.

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October Mediation Training a Success

Participants take part in mediation role plays at the October training.

The CDR recently wrapped up its latest offering 40-hour Civil and Family Mediation Training. More than $9000 in scholarships enabled students from across campus to attend this event, which also garnered participation from attorneys, counselors, social workers, and human resource professionals from all regions of Missouri.

This training offers a valuable learning opportunity to students in the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at Missouri State. In the words of one student participant, “Overall I am so happy I took the training. As a graduate student I found it to act as a capstone for what I learned over the last two years. It has helped me reflect on where I am today and where I want to go in the future.” The professional attendees as well commented on the value of the training for them:

  • “This will help me as an attorney, husband, and friend. I have learned so much about personalities and connecting with people where they are at.”
  • “It was great to use the new skills learned and to have the coaches grading me and helping with the areas where I needed to improve. I have already found that I am using the skills with my family, particularly with my teenage children. I have seen how these skills are helpful!”
  • “I have wanted to help people for a while now. In my profession I see communication breakdowns where one party loses. Without this training I would never have felt comfortable  helping the parties.
  • “All of this training was extremely helpful. I have been mediating for over 20 years and have attended numerous mediation trainings, as well as a master’s in dispute resolution, and I thought every aspect of this training was invaluable.”

The CDR’s next Civil and Family Mediation Training will be offered March 25-29, 2015. Potential participants are encouraged to register early, as this training regularly fills to capacity. For more information email CDR@MissouriState.edu or call 417-836-8831.


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Free Training in Facilitating Victim-Offender Dialogues – Nov. 14-15

Fri., Nov.14 (5:30-8:30 p.m.) – Sat., Nov. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

At Missouri State University in Springfield, MO


Picture1When individuals break the law they harm their victims, society, and themselves. Restorative justice is about healing and addressing wrongs that have been committed and repairing the relationships in the community.

About Victim-Offender Dialogue/Mediation

This training applies the principles of restorative justice to prepare participants to facilitate structured dialogues between selected juvenile and adult offenders and their victims.

These dialogues offer individuals impacted by crime the opportunity to explain how they have been affected by a crime and to ask the person who committed the offense questions like, “Why me?” and “Will you do this again?” Participation empowers victims, offering them closure and providing peace of mind.

Offenders also benefit from meeting the victims of their crimes. By putting a human face on their crimes these youth and adults realize that their thoughtless acts hurt others, and they often feel empathy for their victims for the first time. Additionally, these dialogues offer the opportunity for those who commit offenses to make personally meaningful restitution to their victims. Through this process they learn accountability and are reaffirmed as members of the community, thereby decreasing the likelihood that they will re-offend.

About this Training

This training covers basic restorative justice principles and will prepare participants to facilitate Victim-Offender Dialogues with juvenile and adult offenders. Potential volunteers, as well as other with an interest in this training, are encouraged to register. No prior mediation experience is necessary to become a volunteer victim-offender mediator with the Center for Dispute Resolution.

FREE Training

Space in the training is limited, so interested individuals are encouraged to register as early as possible. Completion of a background check is required for all program volunteers. Register now!

Learn more about this training

What it’s like to be a Victim-Offender Dialogue volunteer

About the Greene County Victim-Offender Dialogue programs

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CDR Director Receives AMM President’s Award

On October 17, CDR Director Dr. Charlene Berquist was awarded the Association of Missouri Mediator’s President’s Award. The award recognizes those who have made substantial contributions to the field of mediation in the state of Missouri. This honor acknowledges Dr. Berquist’s outstanding work and further raises the profile of the Center for Dispute Resolution within the state.

Learn more about the Association of Missouri Mediators at www.mediate.com/amm/index.cfm 

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CDR Work Highlighted for University and Community Leaders

Bear picture cropped
CDR interns, graduate assistants, and staff assisted with the “Bears in the Know” presentation. Left to right: Katheleen Norman, Kristin Gearhart, Becky Saunders, Char Berquist, Heather Blades, Kelly Dudley, and Melissa Maier

This fall the CDR has two unique opportunities to highlight the work of the Center and its students for Missouri State donors and leadership.

On September 17th the CDR was featured at the Missouri State Foundation’s “Bears in the Know” luncheon lecture series. This event brought together nearly 80 of the areas most prominent leaders, as well as University donors, to hear about the work of the Center and its impact on students and community members. Presenters included COAL Dean Dr. Gloria Galanes, CDR Director Dr. Char Berquist, Associate Director Heather Blades, graduate assistants Becky Saunders and Kelly Dudley, COM faculty Dr. Melissa Maier, and CFD faculty Dr. Jim Meyer.

Following this event University President Clif Smart chose to highlight the CDR as a “Point of Pride” at the University’s Board of Governors meeting on October 17th. At this session Dr. Berquist had the opportunity to share with the board information about the programs, research, and teaching associated with the Center.

The CDR was thrilled with the recognition both events represented and welcomed the opportunity to highlight the wonderful work being done by students and community volunteers, as well as the impact of CDR programs on our community.

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CDR Presents Circle Research at National Conference

Becky and Shaley at ACR
COM master’s and conflict certificate students Shaley Moore (left) and Becky Saunders (right) presented with CDR staff at the ACR National Conference.

On October 9th the CDR presented its “Circles for Girls” research at the National Conference of the Association for Conflict Resolution in Cincinnati, Ohio. Communication master’s and Conflict Certificate students and  Rebecca Saunders and Shaley Moore presented “From Both Sides Now: The Circle Experiences of Girls and Facilitators and What It Means for Practice” alongside CDR Director Dr. Char Berquist and Associate Director Heather Blades.

The session was enthusiastically received by an audience comprised of practitioners and researchers. The conference also provided a valuable learning and networking opportunity for members of the research team.

For  more information on the Circles for Girls program visit http://www.missouristate.edu/cdr/Circles-for-Girls.htm.




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Family Group Conference Facilitator Training – Sept. 27-28

Saturday, September 27th – Sunday, September 28th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Make a lasting difference for children and families in our community by taking part in this free training and potentially volunteering as a Family Group Conference (FGC) Coordinator.

Family group conferences bring a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to develop a plan to address a challenging issue or situation. In a family group conference, families are empowered to create their own plans to address problems and support the individuals taking part in the program. Facilitators (working in pairs) are responsible for preparing family members for the family group conference and guiding the family meeting in a transparent, honest, and respectful way.

The Family Group Conference format is applicable in a wide range of school and social service settings. The CDR has several programs that provide family group conferences, including a program that conducts family group conferences for families with a parent who is in recovery for substance abuse, and a program that offers family group conferences for youth who are referred by the Juvenile Office, their school, or their family.

Learn more about what it is like to volunteer as a family group conference facilitator, or REGISTER NOW for this free training!

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