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Center for the Study and Resolution of Conflict

Center for the Study and Resolution of Conflict

WMU-Cooley’s Center for the Study and Resolution of Conflict educates not only practitioners, but the principals and participants who use conflict resolution forums. We instruct clients and students in better ways to deal with conflict.  We also show ways for parties to find the potential benefits asiding from the conflict. We do this by:

  • Demonstrating better ways to “listen” and “hear”
  • Showing how to benefit by “understanding” the other side
  • Teaching the value of addressing conflict early 
  • Considering processes and deciding how to decide
  • Determining the best procedures for the selected process
  • Appreciating the value of creative options and alternatives
  • Showing the “wonder” of being able to choose your guide or decider

Introducing ways to minimize damage to relationships or actually improve them

The Center offers the expertise of practitioners experienced in problem-solving skills and sciences, supplemented by academics, consultants, and the synergies of their collaboration within a major research university. In addition to future attorneys, the Center trains and educates:

  • Business leaders and managers
  • Judges.
  • Practicing attorneys
  • Governmental leaders and managers
  • Community members
  • Anyone who negotiates in their business and professional lives

Along with offering a number of specific law school courses, participants can attend continuing education courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, seminars, and specially tailored in-house programs. They also have the opportunity to observe efforts to resolve disputes with actual participants.

The Center will introduce the many ways of “Getting To Yes,” as well as introduce different negotiating styles. Participants will receive advice on how to set up in-house procedures to resolve conflicts in their own environment, as well as with their suppliers, customers and anyone else with whom they interact. The program recognizes that most, but not all, conflict arises between people and organizations with a pre-existing or even long-term relationship.

Although civil and criminal trials are mostly known to the public, largely through television, few parties enter into their own legal dispute situation in comfort. Parties often have an enormous lack of understanding of the “what” and “why.” Even in a civil case, the participation of the parties is minimal and often seemingly less important than that of the judge, jury, and attorneys. In contrast, dispute resolution processes let the parties vent and say what matters to them, using their own words and conveying their own feelings. The parties each get to address who they feel has harmed them and receive the opportunity to listen to, and perhaps even understand, why the other party did what it did.

Parties are thus empowered to be creative in coming up with the resolutions they devise and to decide how those resolutions will be monitored for compliance. Participants will discover why agreed-upon resolutions are complied with much more frequently that those which have been ordered. Most importantly, participants will learn the difference between “giving in” and “resolving a problem,” which is, of course, the “ultimate due process.”

Contact Information

Graham Ward
Director, Center for the Study and Resolution of Conflict
(616) 301-6800 ext. 6727 or (586) 612-1704
Email: [email protected]