Skip to main content

Serving Idaho Through Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution

Boise State at the Capitol

April, 2019

Conflict is all around us. Whether in the political sphere, the academic world, or in our own personalrelationships, any time two individuals come into contact, disagreements will arise. In many cases, such differences are healthy and positive, sparking creativity and encouraging personal growth. But unmanaged conflict can damage the lives of the innocent as well as poison our public spaces.

In this issue of Public Interest, we’ll show you how our Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution programs are engaging in the community to help individuals, agencies, businesses and families manage conflict better.

Conflict is unavoidable, but the work of our faculty and students is bringing conflict management skills to more and more Idahoans. These skills help improve lives, minimize damage to others, and make our communities a little more peaceful.

Thanks for listening,

Corey Cook
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University

Conflict Management Faculty Participating in Rotary Peace Institute

The School of Public Service Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution program is proud to sponsor and participate in Rotary International’s 2019 Peace Institute. Part of the 2019 District Celebration, the Peace Institute develops leaders to become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution. It will take place at the Boise Centre on May 17.

Adjunct Professor Carol Barkes will participate in a Peace Panel facilitated by Gemma Gaudette of Idaho Matters. Associate Director of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution Ashley Orme will facilitate a breakout session on Conflict Resolution. She will also participate in the Peace Panel.

Colin Fitzmaurice

Conflict Management Student Professional Spotlight

I Get to Bring My Whole Self to Work – Colin FitzMaurice 

Other than the death of a spouse, divorce is considered to be the most stressful life event an individual can experience. Colin FitzMaurice is using the mediation skills he is developing as a Conflict Management student to make this traumatic experience a little less stressful for others. FitzMaurice works at WeVorce, a Boise-based company offering mediation services for divorcing couples.

As a law student a few years ago, FitzMaurice found himself disillusioned with many aspects of the legal system. In particular, he was unhappy with the idea of an attorney being used as a “sword,” hired to attack and injure the opposition party in a dispute. A “soul-cleansing” summer concrete-pouring job helped him look for ways to bring his career goals in line with his desire to help others. When an opportunity arose at WeVorce, he jumped on it. “WeVorce gives me a chance to use legal skills, and also my heart to solve problems and make peace,” he said.

In contrast to the adversarial model often associated with the legal system, the mediation skills taught in Boise State’s Conflict Management program and used at WeVorce guide people through a process and helps them understand that they are able to come up with their own solutions. Beyond helping people in their current conflict, this also helps them gain skills to solve future problems.“This is a big one for me,” said FitzMaurice. “Not approaching with the goal of just an agreement, but having people communicate.”

Read the Complete Student Spotlight on the SPS Website >

Student Testimonial: Simran Crowley

My name is Simran Crowley, and I am a professional mediator. I obtained a certificate in Dispute Resolution: Mediation from Boise State University. Through my studies I was able to gain first hand experience in managing conflict, which has proved to be invaluable in my life, not only on the professional level but the personal one as well. This program helped me explore the ways in which conflict is all around us, and though many of us run away from conflict, there are ways that we can utilize conflict productively.

Today I am the founder and mediator of 5 Rivers Mediation. I encompass my life around conflict. I mediate and educate communities and businesses on the benefits of alternative methods of dispute resolution. I focus my specialties and knowledge in mediating divorcing or separating individuals and co-parents who are navigating through the conflict that impacts their lives. Through mediation the parties are able to craft their own unique resolutions and keep the focus on the children and/or the important relationships. All in all, my clients benefit from a greater sense of peace and more cost-effective solutions. I am able to aid them in doing so through the many skills and strategies I learned through this program.

ashley orme, brian pappas, emily sommer

Conflict Management Students, Faculty and Staff Facilitated Discussions at The Idaho Department of Education’s Transition Institute

Conflict management students, faculty and staff facilitated discussions at the Idaho Department of Education’s Transition Institute. The event brought more than 200 administrators, educators and counselors to Boise State’s campus to build interagency collaboration for developing programs and actionable plans to assist students with disabilities as they prepare for adulthood.

Participating faculty and staff included Brian Pappas, an associate professor and director of the dispute resolution and conflict management certificate program; Ashley Orme, the program’s associate director and a lecturer; and Emily Sommer, an administrative assistant and adjunct professor.