To choose the best dispute resolution programs, you first should consider your goals. For example, if you are interested in a full degree program, then you should look for universities that offer such programs. Consider factors such as housing and funding. Individuals who do not intend to earn degrees — who would simply like some training in mediation — can often find local programs run by schools and community organizations offering courses for interested individuals. Many dispute resolution programs are housed in conflict resolution centers that not only offer courses but actually offer resolution services to parties who are in disputes.
Dispute resolution is an alternative method for solving problems between community members that might otherwise end in litigation. A mediator normally oversees dispute resolution sessions. He or she might ask each party to state his or her case. Goals of a mediator may include encouraging each party to understand the perspective of the other and reaching a compromise in which each party's concerns are addressed. Many mediators have the ability to create legally binding documents that all disputing parties can sign at the end of a successful session.
A factor you may want to consider when it comes to choosing the best dispute resolution programs is the prestige or reputation of a program. Many students prefer programs that employ scholars who have spent years researching and writing about conflict resolution issues. Others might be more concerned with practical application and prefer programs taught by professors who have much real world experience. Many programs appeal to students with different approaches. These might employ a diverse range of faculty members with different levels of professional experience and varying academic interests.
Funding education is a concern for most students. Many look for dispute resolution programs that offer grants and scholarships to students on the basis of merit. These financial awards may cover all or part of tuition. Students who are not eligible for this kind of financial support may choose to take out student loans, which in some locations can have reduced interest rates.
If you would like to find dispute resolution programs because you want to receive some mediator training but you are not aiming to earn a degree, you should consider a community center. Local government agencies often provide conflict resolution services, part of which might include training. Local colleges and universities also might offer courses to individuals who are not seeking academic credit.