Support the Work of the Center for Dispute Resolution

Why Support the CDR?

The Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR) is located in the Department of Communication and the College of Arts and Letters at Missouri State University.

The CDR provides educational and outreach services that give people, organizations, and communities the tools they need to productively manage conflicts. The CDR accomplishes this goal in several ways:

  • by offering conflict management, mediation, training, interventions, and educational services;

  • by supporting educational and community programs; and

  • by forming collaborative partnerships with key agencies to promote alternative forms of dispute resolution and innovative programs and processes in conflict management and resolution

The work of the CDR is directly related to the public affairs mission of Missouri State University, in particular the goal of community engagement, which states that, “Students will recognize the importance of contributing their knowledge and experiences to their own community and the broader society.”

By providing training and education, supporting high-impact community programs and outreach services, and advancing the field of conflict management, the CDR actively promotes and embodies the University’s public affairs mission while providing valuable services to this region and beyond.

The University provides the CDR with space, a graduate assistant, a full-time Associate Director (Ms. Heather Blades), and three hours of reassigned time for the Director (Dr. Charlene Berquist), who is also faculty in Communication. All of the funding for the CDR’s many community programs and outreach efforts comes solely from donations, grants, and training and facilitation services.

The Impact of Your Support

Your donation to the CDR will support the high-impact work of the CDR, impacting both students and our community. Examples of the work of the CDR that you can support include the following:

  • The CDR supports at-risk youth in area schools by offering talking circles that help them build communication and conflict management skills. In addition we provide peer mediation and conflict training in area schools and supervised college students who serve as mentors in the schools.
  • The CDR engages in a variety of restorative justice initiatives including collaborative relationships with the Greene County Juvenile Office and the Prosecutor’s office. As part of these collaborations, the Center facilitates victim-offender dialogue programs that bring together youthful and young adult offenders and their victims to help both youth and young adults understand the impact of crime and make amends for their actions.
  • Part of the mission of the Center is to provide educational opportunities in conflict. One of the many ways this mission is accomplished is through support of a Graduate and Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution. These 16- hour for-credit certificates allow students to understand the many aspects of conflict in interpersonal and organizational settings. Also, as part of its educational programming, the Center sponsors yearly education abroad programs for students that allow them to learn how international conflict is addressed and the strategies used to bring about peace in conflicted societies.
  • The Center has a strong reputation in the state for providing outstanding conflict and mediation training, as well as workshops and conflict intervention services for business, community organizations, and non-profits. These services not only strengthen communities and organizations but also provide experiential learning opportunities for students that allow them to build their conflict and communication skills and training expertise while addressing pressing community and organizational needs.
  • The CDR works closely with families in the community by offering free and reduced-cost mediation and conflict services including family group conferencing. We also strengthen families by offering conflict classes and coaching to high-conflict parents – helping them to work together in the best interests of their children.
  • The CDR is involved in a variety of local, statewide, and national initiatives. For example, locally the CDR was instrumental in the development of Greene County’s rule requiring mediation for divorcing parents, and the CDR supported the development of the Greene County Family Court’s Dependency Mediation Program (also known as child protection mediation). At the state level the CDR provides administrative support for the Missouri Restorative Justice Coalition and staff serve on the advisory boards of Association of Missouri Mediators and the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts (MO Chapter). At the national level the CDR regularly presents program research at conferences and the CDR’s Director serves on the board of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice.

These are only a few examples of the high-impact work of the CDR that YOUR support makes possible!

Donation Wish List

Your gift to the CDR in any amount is greatly appreciated! Below are just a few examples of how donations of varying amounts can support of the work of the CDR.

  • $50 - A contribution at this level allows the Center to update its conflict library through purchase of current conflict books and manuals.
  • $100 – The Center facilitates a variety of conflict programs in public schools including talking circles for at-risk middle and high school students, as well as peer mediation and conflict coaching programs. A $100 donation supports a talking circle or peer mediation/conflict program for one semester.
  • $250 – A donation at this level would support student travel to regional and national conferences to learn about cutting-edge conflict research and to develop advanced conflict management skills.
  • $500 – Each year the Center takes University students on a education abroad trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland to learn how international conflict is addressed and the strategies used to bring about peace in conflicted societies. A donation at this level provides scholarships, allowing students who might not otherwise be able to participate in a Education Abroad program to do so.
  • $25,000 – The Center has two needs that an endowment at $25,000 would allow us to realize. The first is an endowment that would provide scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students wishing to enroll in the Certificate in Conflict and Dispute Resolution; a second need would be to provide a stable source of funding to support the Center’s public school programs in conflict management and to expand these programs beyond the Springfield R-12 District.
  • $25,000-$50,000 -- An endowed gift of this level would allow the Center to establish a Conflict Lecture and Training Series wherein we could host nationally and internationally recognized conflict speakers and trainers twice yearly. This would provide an outstanding educational opportunity for the University, students, and the Springfield community. The lecture series would be named for an individual wishing to endow the program at the $50,000 level.

Contact the Missouri State Foundation at 417-836-4143 for more information on the impact YOUR gift can make!


The work of the CDR would not be possible without the generous support of many volunteers who give their time and expertise to the Center’s various projects and programs. Volunteers include Missouri State faculty and students, professional mediators, and community members. Please contact us to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the CDR.