In the Spring of 2016 the Board of Governors Awarded Dr. Charlene Berquist the Faculty Excellence in Public Affairs award for her distinctive work and accomplishments in support of the University’s Public Affairs mission as the Director of the Center for Dispute Resolution.
As stated by the Board, “ Dr. Charlene Berquist brings the public affairs mission to life through her visionary leadership, community collaborations, innovative programs and dedication to student success. Her programs in adult and juvenile restorative justice services, as well as mediation training programs through the Center, have brought national recognition to Missouri State University and Greene County. She has mentored future leaders and instilled the tenants of public affairs to an entire generation of conflict resolution providers.”
In May the CDR provided training for 50 Boys and Girls Club staff in Springfield, MO. The group, a mix of both new and returning employees, works closely with at-risk youth in our community. The interactive training focused on understanding our own and other’s conflict styles and offered advice on how to manage conflicts effectively with kids, peers, and parents.
The CDR regularly offers workshops for area community organizations that focus on a variety of conflict and communication-related topics. For more information on this service please visit the CDR website.
In the spring of 2016 the Center for Dispute Resolution partnered with Missouri State’s Childhood Education and Family Studies to offer the “Circles for Change” program Fairbanks program at The Fairbanks in Springfield.
Circles for Change is an interactive educational discussion group that uses a circle format to encourage participants to learn about and discuss a different topic each month. The circle format helps foster relationships among group members and encourages participants to express themselves and explore new ideas. Topics explored included managing stress, creating healthy relationships, and parenting. Circles were facilitated by staff from the CDR and the Childhood Education and Family Studies program, along with Missouri State student volunteers.
Circles for Change is one of many programs offered at The Fairbanks, which serves the Grant Beach community in center city Springfield. To learn more please visit http://www.thefairbankssgf.com/home.html
In May the CDR was pleased to provide a customized training in Family Group Decision-Making (also known as Family Group Conferencing) for child welfare professionals in Missouri.
This training, offered in Branson, MO, was sponsored by the Healthy Families Taskforce. Attendees included Children’s Division staff, Juvenile Officers, Guardian Ad Litems, CASA staff, and judges, mainly from Stone and Taney counties.
Family Group Decision-Making (FGDM) brings a family together with their relatives, friends, and other supportive people in their lives to take part in a family group conference so they can develop a plan to support an individual who is struggling and/or ensure the well-being of the children involved. Family group decision-making helps develop and strengthen a family’s support network, significantly benefiting the children and their family groups while putting the family at the center of decision-making as they create plans that fit their unique circumstances.
In April 2016 the CDR offered over 50 attendees the opportunity to learn from the renowned restorative justice practitioner and research Dr. Mark Umbreit.
Dr. Umbriet shared wisdom gained from his work in peacemaking and restorative justice efforts arory address at Missouri State’s 2016 Public Affairs Confereund the world in this intimate setting after offering a plenance.
His first session of the day focused on Restorative Justice in the Global Community, and he shared personal stories of his work in settings of violent and entrenched conflicts, including in Northern Ireland, West Africa, Ukraine, and Palestine.
His second session, Restorative Justice and Dialogue in Crimes of Violence, focused on the use of restorative practices to promote healing for victims of severe crime. Once again he shared his powerful experiences as a practitioner working in the field.
At the day’s end, Dr. Umbreit focused the discussion mindfulness and how this approach can benefit those working in the restorative justice field, as well as anyone who is struggling to manage the stresses of everyday life. He offered advice and techniques to help attendees learn to be present and mindful when dealing with strong emotions and conflicts with others.
Thank you to all who attended these sessions – we were inspired by the interest present in our community and look forward to continuing to work with you to promote justice and healing for all involved in harmful actions.
On April 14th at 3 p.m. in Plaster Student Union room 315 the CDR will present at Missouri State’s Criminology and Criminal Justice Conference. The session, titled “Restorative Justice for Youth: Hope for the Future” will focus on the programs offered by the CDR that serve at risk youth and juvenile offenders in our community.
The CDR supports several community programs that offer a restorative justice focus for youth. These include both a Victim Offender Mediation program and a Victim Impact Program for youthful offenders referred by the Greene County Juvenile Office. Additionally, the CDR provides both Circles for Girls and Guys’ Gathering Circles for youth in area middle and high schools. These educational exploratory groups are designed to help increase kids’ protective factors and help them learn communication and decision-making skills. Each of these programs rely on community volunteers, many of who are students in either the graduate or undergraduate certificate programs in conflict and dispute resolution at Missouri State University.
In March the CDR held its bi-annual 40-hour civil and family mediation training, and once again filled the training to capacity with professionals and students anxious to build their mediation skills.
This training event brought together 25 experienced mediators who offered training, guest lectures, and coaching advice to the participants in attendance over the course of the 5-day training. The CDR was also thrilled to offer over $15,000 in scholarships to support the attendance of students at this professional training event.
What did attendees think of these event? Here are a few highlights from the training evaluations:
I really appreciated the multiple and varied learning modalities – gain content from a lecture, then see it on film, then try it in role play, then discuss it in small groups.
The information given by different coaches showed different ways of mediating.
The presenters who came in were wonderful and very good at facilitating dialogue between participants and sharing experiences.
I really appreciated meeting different people from different backgrounds to provide different perspectives – especially different coaches.
I definitely feel much better prepared to go out and mediate.
I believe this training will impact me professionally because I was able to learn a new skill, but anything with conflict helps me personally as well!
This will definitely help my communication skills with clients.
In February the CDR hosted a visit by Dr. David Karp, a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Project on Restorative Justice at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. Dr. Karp focuses on restorative justice (RJ) in community and campus settings, and while at Missouri State he led a roundtable discussion and offered a training on the use of RJ on college campuses.
Dr. Karp’s training was attended by student affairs and residence hall administrators, staff, and students from several area colleges and Universities. Dr. Karp offered an overview of RJ principles and practices and discussed both the benefits and challenges of applying RJ on college campuses. Specific contexts discussed included the use of RJ in campus misconduct cases, in residential life, and in sexual assault cases.
The CDR will continue to work to expand the use of restorative practices on the Missouri State campus in the coming months. Possibilities where such practices could be utilized include in the resolution of roommate disputes, in the case of violations of the campus code of conduct, with academic dishonesty cases, and in other selected circumstances. For more information on the use of RJ at a University level, or to get involved the CDR’s efforts at Missouri State, please contact CDR@MissouriState.edu.
The Center for Dispute Resolution is continuing its Campus Conflict Workshop series this spring with three sessions. These sessions are free for Missouri State students, faculty, and staff, and Master Advisors will receive one hour of recertification credit for participation. Save the date now and plan to attend these sessions!
Gender Differences in Conflict: Fact or Fiction? – Feb. 2, 12-1 p.m., in PSU 315
Presented by Dr. Isabelle Bauman and Dr. Jake Simmons
Is it true that men and women do conflict differently? This session will explore this question and the role gender differences may, or may not, play in conflict.
Personality Types in Conflict – March 15, 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.
Coaching: An Effective Tool in Conflict Management – April 20, 12-1 p.m., in PSU 315
Presented by Dr. Char Berquist and Heather Blades
This session will provide coaching strategies to help you assist others in conflict
Missouri State men – would you like to build your communication, facilitation, and conflict skills, enhance your resume, and serve as a role model and mentor for boys in our community? If so, consider becoming a Guys’ Gathering Circle facilitator!
About Guys’ Gathering Circles
Guys’ Gathering groups bring together 6-10 boys with two college-aged facilitators each week for 8 weeks for 1-2 hours. These meetings provide an action-oriented context where participants can explore the positive and not-so-positive definitions of masculinity and how these expectations impact their own diverse identities. Each Gathering group meeting follows the same format, which includes a warm up activity, a check-in with each participant, a focused activity exploring the weekly topic, and a reflection and group dialogue component. Topics explored include: