Missouri State University


Shared Spaces is a program for co-parents who want to communicate more effectively as a family, manage conflicts positively, and parent their children successfully. 

In Shared Spaces co-parents attend a series of three interactive workshops facilitated by an interdisciplinary group of Missouri State University faculty with expertise in family communication and child development. These sessions focus on vital information and teach concrete skills to help co-parents improve their communication and make it easier for them to work together in the best interests of their children and families.

The Shared Spaces program is ideal for anyone who is co-parenting a child, including:

  • Married or co-habitating couples
  • Divorced or separated co-parents
  • Never-married co-parents
  • Multigenerational families

Program Staffing

The Shared Spaces program was developed by an interdisciplinary group of faculty and students working under the auspices of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Missouri State University. The initiative is supported by faculty, professionals in counseling and social work, and advanced students in communication, social work, counseling, and child and family development.

Workshops for Co-Parents

Shared Spaces classes cover a variety of topics including:

  • Parenting and disciplining children consistently and effectively
  • Avoiding common co-parenting mistakes
  • Employing positive family communication skills
  • Managing conflicts effectively

These sessions are research-based and are constantly updated and customized to fit the needs of specific groups and couples. These aspects make the sessions particularly responsive to the varied needs of co-parents in a variety of life situations.

Workshops for Children - "Kids' Kourse"

Family communication is about more than just parents – it is about kids too! The Shared Spaces Kids’ Kourse is a fun, FREE workshop that kids can enjoy while their parents are in the adult program.

In the Kids’ Kourse youth ages 8-16 enjoy a customized learning experience in which they explore communication and conflict skills through games, art, theatre, role playing, and more.

Kids’ Kourse teaches tools for healthy communication, teamwork, bullying prevention, and conflict management so that youth can be involved in creating a cooperative, supportive family. Skills learned also help young people better communicate at school and with peers. Topics in the class include:

  • Communicating effectively
  • Perception, emotion, and listening
  • Conflict styles and strategies
  • Making choices in conflict

Program Availability and Fees

Shared Spaces classes meet for 3 weeks from 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. each night, and the Kids Kourse workshop runs concurrently with the co-parents’ sessions. Dinner is provided prior to each session. 

The current schedule includes the following dates. 

  • October 16, 23, and 30, 2012 (Tuesdays)
  • February 12, 19, and 26, 2013 (Tuesdays)
  • April 10, 17, and 24, 2013 (Wednesdays)

Registration is $75/adult* and includes:

  •  The 3-week Shared Spaces workshop
  • A detailed workshop binder
  • The Kids’ Kourse workshop for kids ages 8-16
  • Dinner for the whole family each night

*Scholarships available based on need.

Program Enrollment

Enroll in the Shared Spaces program by contacting the Center for Dispute Resolution at 417-836-8831 or CDR@MissouriState.edu.

Contact Information

Physical Address: Missouri State University, Park Central Office Building room 212, 117 Park Central Square, Springfield MO (View a map of the CDR's downtown location.)

Mailing Address: Missouri State University, Center for Dispute Resolution, 901 S. National, Springfield MO 65897

CDR Phone: (417) 836-8831

Fax: (417) 836-8288

E-mail: CDR@MissouriState.edu

CDR Staff

Charlene Berquist, Director, Center for Dispute Resolution; Professor, Department of Communication
Heather Blades, Associate Director, Center for Dispute Resolution
Janelle Thacker, Kristin Gearhart, and Becky Saunders, Graduate Assistants
Taylor Friedli, and Cassie Kite, Student Workers

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