Thursday, October 17, 2013

CDR-Sponsored Training “EEOC and Your Organization” a Success

This past August the CDR sponsored a free workshop, provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, titled “The EEOC and Your Organization.” More than 35 professionals participated in this session, which focuses on the purpose of the EEOC, the kinds of cases the EEOC addresses, how discrimination claims are process and the role of mediation and conflict management, and the EEOC’s new Strategic Enforcement Plan and how it impacts employment cases.

The CDR partners with the EEOC to provide pro bono mediation services for employment discrimination cases and was pleased to offer this free CE session for management and human resource professionals. For more information on training opportunities with the CDR please visit

Mediation Training Fills in Record Time

This October the CDR will provide its 40-hour Civil and Family Mediation Training for professionals and students who wish to learn the skills to mediate disputes. This training is offered by the CDR twice a year, and the October training filled in record time, providing a strong indication of the growth of mediation and the expansion of interest in training in conflict management skills.

Participants in the training include attorneys, counselors, clergy, and human resource professionals. Additionally, the CDR is providing nearly $7000 in scholarship assistance for students who will be attending the training.

The next Civil and Family Mediation Training will be offered February 26 – March 2, 2014. For more information please visit

Girls Circle Training for Internship Students

We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of young women participate in our Circles for Girls training this August at the CDR. Many of these women are participating in this program as a part of their internship experience for the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution.

Janelle Thacker, a graduate assistant with the CDR and one of the evening's trainers, said that "...the night went so well! I enjoyed getting to know all the women who participated. They are all very promising facilitators who are excited to work with the youth in this program. I look forward to a great semester with them!"

The CDR is currently wrapping up two Girls Circle groups and will be starting several new Circles for Girls groups in the next October. As always, we are pleased to be able to provide a program that meets the needs of youth while providing an invaluable experiential learning opportunity to University students.

“Circles for Girls” Begin in Area Middle Schools

This October the CDR began providing Circles for Girls groups for at-risk youth in four Springfield middle schools. These circles are facilitated by advanced students in the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution at Missouri State.

Circles for Girls is an 10 week educational group for young women. It brings together a group of 8-10 girls with trained facilitators to explore topics like communication skills, body image, healthy relationships, decision making, conflict resolution, and goal setting, among others. The program is designed to help girls realize their strengths, withstand social pressures, and maintain healthy relationships. Circles for Girls offer a fun, thoughtful, creative, and respectful experience for girls that challenges them to make positive changes for the future.

Circles for Girls are offered at Pipkin, Cherokee, Hickory, and Jarrett middle schools in Springfield. The program is an example of how the CDR upholds the public affairs mission of Missouri State University by providing high-impact community programs that meet pressing community needs while integrating students and providing them with opportunities for real-world applications of the knowledge they gain in their academic programs.

For more information on the Circles for Girls program please email

Family Group Conferencing for Parents in Recovery

The Center for Dispute Resolution has partnered with Alternative Opportunities, Inc., to offer family group conferences to parents who are in recovery for drug or alcohol abuse. These conferences are offered as a part of the Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) program, which provides treatment, education, support, and other services for families in recovery.

The CDR trains and coordinates volunteers, who provide the family group conference facilitations to families in the RPG program. Volunteers were trained in spring of 2013, and a second group of volunteers is currently in training. Referrals to the program have been steady, and already families are seeing the benefits of the program.

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.

This is not counseling or mediation; instead families are empowered to create their own plans to address problems and support the parents and children taking part in the program. Volunteer 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. 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.

In the words of some family members who have taken part in the family group conferences:
  • “This really helped us figure out who is able to be there for support.” 
  • “I thought the plan went well. Our family pulled together and did great.”
  • “I am very glad this group happened.”
The CDR will be providing additional training opportunities for volunteers who are interested in facilitating family group conferences as a part of this program in the coming months. For more information please visit or email

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Introducing Becky Saunders - Graduate Assistant at the CDR

I graduated from Missouri Southern State University in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. I am now pursuing a Masters in Communication along with the Graduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. I am not sure of my exact career path at this point, but I have always been interested in diplomacy, mediation and law to some degree. I am seeking the experience and confidence in this field that I know the certificate will provide. In fact, the sole reason that I chose to pursue my degree here at Missouri State University is because of this certificate program and the Center for Dispute Resolution. I felt that my degree would be worth more to me with the many opportunities in the conflict/dispute resolution field that Missouri State offers. Having an assistantship at the CDR is definitely a bonus!

So far one of the most interesting things I've discovered about the CDR is the range of programs offered. In the past, "conflict resolution" brought negative images to mind of large-scale international conflicts and bitter divorce cases involving children. While these extreme examples are part of conflict resolution, they are not the entire picture. The Center addresses the conflict in our everyday lives by offering trainings, Restorative Justice programs and Girls Network programs, to name a few. Conflict is an opportunity to strengthen relationships and empower others as well as yourself. I have quickly realized that if handled effectively, conflict can be a very positive experience.

I plan on pursing a career in conflict resolution and will use my experience at MSU and the CDR to research the many options available in this field. I would recommend getting involved in the CDR to anyone, whether or not you are planning a career in this field. The skills acquired while volunteering, interning or taking classes at the CDR translate into all areas of life and are very attractive to potential employers. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Introducing Kristin Gearhart - Graduate Assistant for the CDR

I graduated from MSU with my B.S. in Communication and the UndergraduateCertificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution.  Currently I am studying Mental Health Counseling at MSU to receive my master's degree.  After my master's program, I am going to receive training in coaching to use in life coaching.  I plan to use what I learn in my master's program and coaching training to develop my own technique of life coaching, and eventually my own company called "beautysoundgrace."
When I was an undergrad, it was really important to me to develop my skills as a communicator.  Pursuing the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution was a choice I made to make myself a well-rounded communicator.  Something I learned that I consider valuable from the program is that conflict is normal.  Society doesn't tell us that!  Conflict is normal and the certificate program educates a person in how to deal with it.

Since working at the CDR as a GA, what I think might surprise people to know is how involved I am.  Working here has been my first real-world professional experience, and my contribution matters.  Of the CDR’s programs, I work directly with the Victim Impact Panel (VIP) and help keep it running.  I also help organize data for trainings, theRPG program, and other administrative assistant duties.  The CDR reaches out to the community in so many ways, and being directly involved as a GA is an amazing opportunity to see first-hand the positive affects it makes in other’s lives.  I feel blessed to be here.