CAHSS Faculty Articles

Higher Education’s Current State of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services for Students


0000-0002-7289-5670, 0000-0003-0031-0132

Publication Title

Journal of Conflict Management



Publication Date



Using the 9-step Schrage Thompson Spectrum Model (2008) of conflict resolution as the research framework, the first named author and his classes conducted a two-year study to identify institutions that utilized alternative or appropriate dispute resolution programs (ADR) to promote a balance of student rights, and institutional obligations and values. During the 2013-2014 fall terms, graduate students at Nova Southeastern University in Florida identified one hundred (100) higher education institutions with successful ADR practices, finding great variety in services, location, staffing, funding, and populations served. The research presented in this article demonstrates wide use of ADR practices consistent with recommendations from the Association of Conflict Resolution (ACR), the International Restorative Justice Association (IRJA), the Association of Student Conduct Administration (ASCA), the American Arbitration Association (AAA), globally recognized experts in the field of conflict resolution, and is believed to be reflective of the current student affairs’ ADR climate in higher education settings. The research identified realistic alternative resolution pathways to facilitate dialogue and creative problem solving, proactively manage risk mitigation with equitable social justice best practices to promote diversity of cultures and perspectives, and apply restorative practices to maintain community health and standards. Previously considered administrative trivia (Cordes, 2005), these ADR practices have received minimal empirical focus; thus, the information contained in the research provides a snapshot of the current state of ADR practices for students in higher education and makes a case for their utility and expanded use for students and other university personnel.





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