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Timeline of Major Events in Higher Education Dispute Resolution

(2006 Update: See an Interactive Timeline available here)
Here is my subjective and incomplete timeline of events related to the use of mediation in higher education (this version does not include ombudsing history, another interesting story…). 

prepared by Bill Warters

1971- Two articles appear in the Educational Record. Walter Hobbs publishes “An Academic Dispute - Settlement Commission: A Proposal” (Spring, 52; 2; 181-85) and Steven Bailey publishes “Preparing Administrators for Conflict Resolution” (Summer, 52; 3; 233-39)

1979- Center for Mediation in Higher Education established by American Arbitration Association to encourage use of mediation for faculty, staff and administrative grievances

1980- Special issue of New Directions in Higher Education journal on Campus Conflict Management published, focusing mainly on staff and faculty concerns, but includes an article on new U. Mass. Amherst Legal Studies Mediation project serving students and one on the current state of student grievance procedures

1980- University of Hawaii and University of Massachusetts campus mediation projects underway, Grinnell College, Brigham Young University, Oberlin College soon follow (focus is mainly on student disputes, but other types included as well)

1981- Folger and Schubert’s survey of 741 colleges and universities finds that over half of the insitutions had implemented some kind of third party procedure (formal or adhoc) for handling student initiated grievances

1983- Oberlin College hosts 2 1/2 day residential life colloquium focusing on use of mediation in campus residence halls

1983- Maria Sakovich publishes working paper modifying the San Francisco Community Boards (SFCB) model for use on college campuses, some technical support is offered to campuses by SFCB

1984- NAME (National Association for Mediation in Education) is formed and has First National Conference (focus is strictly on elementary & secondary schools)

1984- Jane McCarthy and colleagues publish Managing Faculty Disputes (Jossey-Bass Publications) supporting increased use of mediation clauses in faculty contracts and university grievance procedures

1985- University of Massachusetts Mediation Project and National Institute for Dispute Resolution (NIDR) publish Peaceful Persuasion: a guide to creating university and college mediation and dispute resolution programs (Girard, Rifin and Townley)

1985- University of Massachusetts Mediation Program holds Student Affairs Administrators workshop to encourage adoption of mediation techniques by Student Affairs personnel

1986- Some workshops on managing disputes in higher education appear at 3rd National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution (NCPCR), emphasis is mainly on ombudsing

1986- Folger and Shubert publish NIDR-funded report Resolving Student Initiated Grievances in Higher Education

1987- Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a story “Colleges are Trying New Ways to Settle Campus Grievances: Mediation Techniques Used As Alternative to Litigation,” indicating new interest in campus mediation

1988- Videocast of 3-hr Conflict Resolution in Higher Education seminar by National University Teleconferencing Network. Broadcast featured Howard Gadlin and Janet Rifkin as guest experts; produced by Virgil Peterson, U of West Virginia.

1989- NCPCR in Montreal includes a preconference training on how to establish a Campus Mediation Center, and a regular conference workshop on A.D.R. in Higher Education. (Strong interest is expressed in building a more formal national campus mediation network and conference)

1990- First National Conference on Campus Mediation Programs hosted by Syracuse Campus Mediation Program (107 people attend, 18 campus mediation programs identified as in existance at this time)

1990- Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a story “Negotiation, Not Violence, Is the Rule Today When Students Clash with Administrators” noting shift away from use of police and force to end student protests

1991- Second Annual (Inter)national Campus Mediation Conference held at University of Waterloo, in Ontario (~100 people attend)

1991- Characteristics of the 35 known campus mediation programs documented in 3rd edition of Warters and Hedeen survey.

1991- First Special Issue of NAMEµs Fourth R published on Conflict Resolution and Higher Education

1991- Walter Gmelch’s survey of 808 department chairs at 101 research and doctoral-granting universities finds that chairs identify intercollegial conflict as THE major category of stress.

1992- Third National Campus Mediation Conference held at the University of Oregon, Eugene

1993- Fourth National Campus Mediation Conference held at St. Mary’s University, TX, where decision is made by Higher Ed network to formally affiliate with NAME

1993-94 American Association of Law Schools (AALS) new ADR Section lists more than 30 law schools that currently have or are developing mediation clinics that mediate cases referred from local courts

1994- Campus Conflict Resolution Network (CCRNet) listserv discussion list is established at Nova Southeastern University (~350 participants, relatively low traffic list)

1994- Network of Campus Mediators formerly joins NAME and hosts track of workshops at NAME’s National Conference in Amherst. NAME newsletter the Fourth R begins to publish regular section for higher education members (Estimates suggest 50+ campus mediation programs in existance by this point)

1994- Association for Student Judicial Affairs (ASJA) passes formal resolution supporting the use of mediation by university student judicial programs

1994-5 University of Georgia System Board of Regents supports the creation a Blue Ribbon Committee to study alternative forms of dispute resolution for Georgia State system, then passes Resolution for a System-wide ADR Initiative

1996- NAME merges with NIDR, creates Conflict Resolution Education Network (CREnet)

1997- Association for Student Judicial Affairs establishes formalized On Campus ADR Subcommittee, hosts post-conference mediation trainings for ASJA members

1997- Campus Mediation Resources Web Site established at Wayne State University

1997- NIDR estimates that there are over 8,500 elementary and secondary school-based conflict resolution programs in the United States, creating a feeder system into colleges

1998- CREnet and ASJA form joint committee to explore development of Standards of Practice for Campus Mediation Programs

1998- Invitational Symposium on Best Practices in Higher Education Dispute Systems Design hosted by Georgia State University

1998- First Summer Institutes on Dispute Resolution in Higher Education held at Wayne State University and the University of Victoria, British Columbia

1998- Approximately 165 campuses now have documented campus mediation projects

1998- The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) awards first prize ($10,000) to a campus conflict resolution project (University of Texas, San Antonio) in their annual Higher Education Awards Program recognizing initiatives that improve the quality and reduce the cost of higher education programs and services.