A new program is being developed at Roger Williams – one that will allow legal studies students, having been trained in a dispute resolution course, to serve as mediators for their peers in resolving student conflicts.
Spearheading the effort is associate professor of legal studies Lisa Newcity, who received a 2006-2007 Faculty Fellowship to support her work. During her fellowship, Professor Newcity developed a course in conflict resolution that will be offered to legal studies majors as a program elective, and to all interested members of the University community.
“Effective conflict resolution skills are crucial for the legal professional and the legal studies student,” Newcity said. “Alternative methods, such as mediation and arbitration, are the wave of the future as more and more people in society recognize the value of non-adversarial conflict resolution.” And those skills are equally effective in other facets of a student’s life, both on and off campus.
So, Newcity decided to explore the efficacy of a formal peer mediation program at RWU. Meeting with members of the RWU student life community, she discussed how conflict resolution and mediation services might be of benefit to their staff and students. After further investigation, she saw the benefits of including the School of Law’s Mediation Clinic in developing the program. After a meeting with law professor and clinic director Bruce Kogan, a new collaboration between the law school and the undergraduate community was born.
The short-run result? Trained staff and studentsare now mediators at the law school clinic. From concept to completion, professor Lisa Newcity exemplifies collaboration in action at RWU.