Denise Pearson, Ph.D. Marquette University is the Assistant Dean of Academics and Director of Professional Studies at University College, which includes the programs in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Applied Communication. She worked on the three-year CRI project with the University of the West Indies to increase community mediation capacity and assist in the development of master's and certificate programs.
How did you become involved with Conflict Resolution – both the field and this program?
I came to DU 5 years ago and was automatically assigned to the role of Core Faculty in the Conflict Resolution program and the ADR program.
I have a doctorate in education administration with an emphasis in higher education, where conflict is inevitable. I took courses in community relations, dealing with faculty and parents and various other stakeholders, but I never really took a body of courses that dealt specifically with conflict resolution. Directing the program in ADR provided me the opportunity to expand on my doctoral studies by taking courses at the Conflict Resolution Institute such as mediation and conflict resolution and assessment.
What are your interests, activities and/or research topics?
Interests: organization conflict management and leadership development. Professor Pearson will be presenting her paper on Building Capacity Thru Evaluation of Our Conflict at the Gandhi/King Peace-Building Conference next month in Memphis, Tennessee.
What courses to you teach? What do conflict resolution students bring to them?
I have developed courses, such as ADR in Education and Managing Organizational Conflict, but I do not get to teach much due to administrative responsibilities. I occasionally teach these courses and sometimes fill in for Professor Ruth Parson on her course, Conflict Resolution for Social Work.
Conflict Resolution students consistently bring to the classroom a desire to find alternative means to find resolutions to conflicts. They are bright, determined and inquisitive, and set high standards not only for themselves, but for the program.
What do you think the future hold for the field of Conflict Resolution?
The opportunities are limitless. Conflict and its resolution are part of the human experience. It affects everything: healthcare, families – elderly, teenagers, faculty and students, etc.
What career opportunities do you see for current and/or prospective students?
Everyone can benefit from some training in conflict resolution/alternative dispute resolution. The ADR program, which offers a 40-hour certificate in mediation, has a very diverse student base (human resources, organization effectiveness, doctors, psychologists, etc.) . In fact, practicing mediators are a minority.
What is most important is how the knowledge and training are applied.I have found it has made me a more affective Assistant Dean and a better parent.
What advice would you offer current and/or prospective students?
Be clear on what you want to achieve professionally and then be strategic about how to apply these skills get there. However, you do not want to put yourself into a box. You may come here with one idea about what you would like to do with your degree, but you may find other interests.