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About the Campus Conflict Resolution Resources Project

The primary objective of the Campus Conflict Resolution Resources project (Campus-adr.org) is to significantly increase administrator, faculty, staff and student awareness of, access to, and use of conflict resolution information specifically tailored to the higher education context. The project came into being thanks to seed funds from the Conflict Resolution Information Source project followed by 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 (now disbanded in a university reorganization) administered the $364,000 FIPSE grant, which began October 1, 2000. Bill Warters still serves as the Program’s Director. Administration of the project has moved to the Department of Communication at Wayne State University, housed within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts.

Our belief is that 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 apparently available on less than 25% of campuses nationwide.

Further growth of these efforts had been 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 Conflict Management in Higher Education Resource Center was 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 Campus Mediation Resources (CMR) website built by Bill Warters and hosted by the Mediating Theory and Democratic Systems program at Wayne State. The CMR site has been phased out.

Creative Solutions

Our site is served from a webserver housed at Walter P. Reuther Labor Archives at Wayne State University. The Resource Center is working to 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 used a broad-based steering committee, and sponsored a number of important working groups. These included a group focused on integrating high school mediators into college programs; a group addressing the question of campus mediation program standards of practice; and a group focused on research and evaluation who have developed a Campus Conflict Resolution Program Evaluation Kit to improve the ease and quality of program evaluation efforts.

Please explore our site and learn more about constructive conflict management work being done on today’s campuses.