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