The mission of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution is to develop and promote:
- Appropriate methods for understanding, managing and resolving domestic and international conflict.
- The use of dispute resolution techniques to enhance informed decisionmaking.
In furtherance of that mission, the CSDR fosters comprehensive approaches to lawyering and decisionmaking and promotes the appropriate use of alternative processes of dispute resolution through engagement in:
- Legal and Interdisciplinary Scholarship
The CSDR's faculty -- the largest, most diverse collection of full-time law school faculty who focus on dispute resolution -- has published many leading articles, texts, and videotapes on dispute resolution. Areas of scholarship include:
- Group Facilitation
- Public Policy and Group Decisionmaking
- Democracy and Dispute Resolution
- International Dispute Resolution
- Mindfulness in Law and Dispute Resolution
- Government Dispute Resolution
- Behavioral Psychology and Dispute Resolution
- Cross-cultural Negotiations
- (See complete list of faculty publications)
- Law School Teaching and Curriculum Initiatives
Since its inception, CSDR has provided national leadership in developing law school curricula in dispute resolution. The keystone of this focus was a groundbreaking project in which dispute resolution instruction is integrated into all first-year courses. See Symposium: Dispute Resolution in the Law School Curriculum: Opportunities and Challenges, Part I., 50 Fla. L. Rev. 583 (1998). That project has evolved into a required, small section first-year course, Lawyering: Problem-Solving and Dispute Resolution.
The CSDR also provides many learning opportunities for upper level students. In recent years, course offerings include courses in Mediation, Negotiation, Arbitration and International Dispute Resolution, Client Counseling, Conflict Theory, Cross-Cultural Negotiation, Public Policy Dispute Resolution, and Damages: A Case Study, an innovative seminar based on an in-depth case study and taught by seven faculty members. Second and third year students also are eligible to enroll in a mediation clinic or serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Dispute Resolution.
The MU School of Law also offers a Master of Laws (LL.M.) program in Dispute Resolution. This program -- the first of its kind in the nation -- provides practitioners and scholars from around the world an opportunity for advanced study of dispute resolution that includes specialized courses, such as Understanding Conflict, Methods for Program Evaluation and Design, and courses offered by the School of Public Affairs, such as Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution, Organizational Analysis and Change, and Organizational Dynamics and Leadership.
- Educational Services to Legal and Dispute Resolution Professionals
The CSDR provides specialized training and continuing education programs for members of the bench and bar, state agencies, and other interested groups. Courses include overviews of dispute resolution processes, introductions to dispute resolution in substantive areas of law, comprehensive training in both mediation and negotiation skills, and programs in mindfulness in law and dispute resolution.
- Law Reform related to Dispute Resolution
CSDR faculty have been active participants in law reform related to dispute resolution as members, reporters or consultants to the American Bar Association and the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. At a national level faculty members have been involved in the creation of the Uniform Mediation Act, the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act, the Administrative Dispute Resolution and other administrative rules and regulations. In Missouri, CSDR members have served on Supreme Court Commissions and Missouri Bar committees that have drafted dispute resolution rules for the state courts.
- Direct Dispute Resolution Services
The CSDR provides direct mediation services though its mediation clinic in which students mediate cases referred by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the Missouri Commission for Human Rights, the Missouri Public Service Commission and the Small Claims Court for the 13th Judicial Circuit. The CSDR also houses the MU Campus Mediation Program, providing faculty and staff an opportunity to mediate workplace disputes. CSDR faculty also serve as mediators and facilitators for public and private organizations.