Volume 5, Number 1, Sept 2004
Resource Center Funding
Ends, Work Continues
at Reduced Pace
The Conflict Management in Higher Education Resource Center development grant Wayne State University received from the Fund for the Improvement of PostSecondary Education (FIPSE) came to a close in late December of 2003. The funds were used to build a web-based clearinghouse, to publish this Report, and to develop a number of special projects including a best practices statement for the field (see pdf).
We are quite proud of our project's accomplishments and are very grateful to FIPSE for supporting our initiative. The grant was important both as a needed source of funds to hire staff and necessary resources, and because of the valuable legitimacy and accountability it bestowed on our efforts.
While all the project staff and student assistants have now moved on to other activities (we do miss them!), as Project Director I will continue to maintain and develop the site as time permits. Wayne State University remains committed to supporting the technical needs of the project. Currently I'm developing a weblog-like system that I hope will enable project volunteers across the country to help expand and enhance the site from their home locations. Look for more information in a future issue of the Report.
The site is in pretty good shape as it is. After 3 years of development the Conflict Management in Higher Education clearinghouse http://www.campus-adr.org combines dynamic, searchable content from a backend FileMaker database of training roleplays, conflict studies syllabi, program listings, events, jobs and more with approximately 350 static web pages developed specifically for the project. In addition, every semester the project published an issue of the Conflict Management in Higher Education Report, our freestanding online journal that provides an outlet for new and reprinted articles, briefing papers, research citations, resource reviews and more. The Report now in its 5th volume accounts for an additional 350+ web pages of content, extending the site significantly.
The clearinghouse also takes advantage of its location on the web by using more than 1000 web links leading to external content. In addition to the links found in the body of various pages, we now provide a number of specialized web search portals of campus mediation sites, university policy handbooks, Google news on campus conflict, and much more via a metasearch launchpad that has been designed to help narrow and focus the users search to particularly relevant information sources.
In keeping with its mission to serve people who work, teach and study at colleges and universities, the site adopted a virtual campus design metaphor as the framework for organizing all this content. Website visitors start on the Main Quad (an image map of an imaginary campus) where they can choose to visit the Welcome Center, the Student Center, the Faculty Club, the Classroom Building, the Main Library, the Newsstand, the Skill Training Complex, the Staff & Admin Building or the Conflict Resolution Services Center where they find content tailored to the particular user groups associated with that virtual building. Apparently this campus-centric strategy has worked, because our site logs now show referrer links coming from more than 1150 different campuses (.edu), many of whom are regular visitors.
Perhaps closest to the core of the project mission is the content found within the virtual Conflict Resolution Services Center building. This is the portion of the site that houses, among other items, a searchable directory of more than 200 campus conflict resolution programs with a web presence; a section of the site labeled the Conflict Resolution Program Development Incubator that provides a host of information supporting the building of new programs; a section devoted to program outreach and marketing strategies; and a section devoted to program evaluation tools and research.
In a current average day the site receives more than 850 unique visitors who may traverse a range of pages during their “stay” on campus. The bulk of the site is freely available for browsing, with a select portion of the higher value content areas being restricted to the more than 2200 users who take the time to register with the project using an online form.
While the battle against "link rot" and spam continues, the Campus Conflict Resolution Resources Site now provides a rich foundation for individuals and programs wishing to work with and learn from conflict in higher education.