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Volume 1, Number 4,  Nov/Dec 2000

FIPSE Funds New Conflict Management in Higher Education Resource Center
Premiering Spring 2001

A new online Resource Center,, will be premiering this Spring, thanks to a major 3-year grant from the federal Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). Wayne State University's College of Urban, Labor, and Metropolitan Affairs will administer the $364,000 grant, with REPORT Editor Bill Warters serving as the Program's Director.
As readers of the REPORT are aware, conflict is endemic in higher education, touching the lives of students, staff, faculty and administrators. We know that conflict handled well can provide valuable opportunities for learning and change. However, it is also clear that conflict handled poorly can be quite costly for colleges and universities in terms of time, motivation, perceptions of safety and security, interpersonal and intergroup relations, and direct and indirect financial costs.

Current Challenges

While campus conflict resolution and mediation efforts are growing in popularity, they still are only available on some 10-12% of campuses nationwide. Further growth of these efforts is hampered by difficulties relating to accessing relevant program development materials, wide dispersion of the relevant literature, programs of similar purpose being unable to locate and network with each other, the absence of a central publication serving the field, minimal program evaluation and assessment, and the lack of shared standards of practice.
To respond to these challenges the new Conflict Management in Higher Education Resource Center is being established to support the expanded use of constructive forms of conflict management in post-secondary education. The Resource Center builds on the success of the existing Campus Mediation Resources website which will be phased out. The primary objective of the project is to significantly increase campus administrator, faculty, staff and student awareness of, access to, and use of conflict resolution information specifically tailored to the higher education context.

Creative Solutions

Thanks to a collaborative arrangement with CRInfo's Higher Education Focus Project, the new clearinghouse will build on CRInfo's sophisticated Access database foundation. Similar to CRInfo, information will be served to the web with the dynamic middleware program known as ColdFusion. The Resource Center will provide:
  • mediation and conflict resolution program development and assessment tools;
  • a regularly updated database of existing campus conflict management projects or programs;
  • skill-training and in-service workshop exercises, case-studies and role-plays;
  • collections of full-text articles on campus conflict issues that can be searched, sorted, and then packaged as tailor-made "online coursepacs" to supplement teaching and training efforts;
  • annotated, searchable bibliographies;
  • topical briefing papers related to campus conflict;
  • information on upcoming professional development and networking opportunities specifically in the campus conflict management field;
  • a university dispute resolution policies index;
  • a searchable FAQ database; and
  • further development of the Conflict Management in Higher Education Report.

Carefully Targeted Working Groups

The project will have a broad-based steering committee, and in addition will sponsor a number of important working groups. These include a group focused on integrating high school mediators into college programs (to be developed in affiliation with CRENet and the Youth M-Power project); a group addressing the question of campus mediation program standards of practice; and a group focused on research and evaluation whose charge will be to develop a Campus Conflict Resolution Program Evaluation Kit to improve the ease and quality of program evaluation efforts.
FIPSE, a program of the Department of Education, has been funding innovations in postsecondary education since 1972. Along the way a number of other valuable campus conflict resolution projects have received FIPSE support. However, the current project is particularly welcome given the rapidly growing interest in Alternative Dispute Resolution on campus, the relative scarcity of useful information and isolation of existing programs, and the tremendous advances in information technology touching campuses across the globe that will facilitate the project's broad outreach goals.
For more information on the project, contact Program Director Bill Warters at 313 993-7482,
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Page last updated 11/27/2005

A project of Campus Conflict Resolution Resources.
Supported by a FIPSE grant from the US Department of Education
and seed money from the Hewlett Foundation-funded CRInfo project.

Correspondence to CMHE Report
(Attn: Bill Warters)
Campus Conflict Resolution Resources Project
Department of Communication
585 Manoogian Hall
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48201.

Please send comments, bug reports, etc. to the Editor.

© 2000-2005 William C. Warters & WSU, All rights reserved.