Friday, December 10, 2010
This article is authored by Cynthia A. Savage and is available at 11 Cardozo J. Conflict Resol. 511 (2010). From the introduction:
There is widespread agreement that practical experience is an important component of advanced mediation training, whether within an academic program or in the private mediation training sector. In spite of this agreement, out of twenty-three Masters of Arts ("M.A.") Conflict Resolution Programs in the United States, only nine (39%) currently require students to complete a practicum course; seven (30%) offer a practicum as an option, and the remaining seven (30%) programs do not even offer a practicum. In Canada in 2006, only three out of fourteen academic institutions (21%) that taught advanced mediation training offered a practicum, and only three out of fifteen non-academic institutions (20%) offered practicum opportunities. Approximately thirty-five American law schools offer mediation clinical courses, which provide supervised experience in mediation. There may be many reasons for this discrepancy, including, in particular, difficulty in achieving sufficient caseloads and the cost of supervision. However, the need for competent, ethical mediators continues to increase.
This article proposes utilizing consistent terminology and goals and recommends methods and approaches for effective design and implementation of supervised, hands-on, mediation training programs within conflict resolution graduate programs. Although law school programs are not addressed directly in this article and might differ in some respects as to their goals, effective methods and approaches will be much the same regardless of the setting.
Part I of this article will discuss terminology and propose a consistent clinic definition and clinic goals, and Part II will explore and make recommendations concerning clinic design. Part III will outline additional recommendations. Part IV provides a summary of recommendations, and Part V concludes the article.