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Based in the Department of Communication at Wayne State University, the MADR Program has a lot to offer to people interested in the study of communication, conflict, culture, negotiation and alternative dispute resolution.


MADR offers a challenging program, informed by a multicultural perspective. Part of a growing interdisciplinary field, the work is grounded in the fundamental idea that dispute resolution techniques should be inherently democratic, giving voice to disputants.


The MADR program is marked by a highly diverse student body; diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, age, work experience and educational background. Most MADR classes are relatively small with between 10 and 20 students enrolled.


All students participate in a practicum experience to extend learning, introduce new forms of dispute resolution and build professional relationships. Students in the Final Seminar help develop dispute resolution public events and projects.


To accommodate the scheduling needs of students, classes meet for two-hour & 30 minute periods weekday evenings. Our electives provide the ability to customize your experience. Try out some sample course rotations here.

MA Core Courses

  • Intro to Peace & Security Studies
  • Roots of Social Conflict
  • Communication, Culture & Conflict
  • Human Diversity & Human Conflict
  • Negotiating Theory & Practice
  • Neutral Intervention Theory & Practice
  • Practicum in Dispute Resolution
  • Final Seminar in DR

Graduate Certificate

The Graduate Certificate in Dispute Resolution provides professional study and certification to persons holding a graduate degree from an accredited educational institution or those actively pursuing a graduate degree from Wayne State University.

Joint Degree Option

The joint JD-MADR program allows WSU law students to save time & develop greater breadth and depth in alternative dispute resolution by combining the two programs. Separate acceptance into each program is still required.

Professional Development

The Association for Conflict Resolution's SE Michigan Chapter was formed at Wayne State. The group provides opportunities to meet with DR professionals from across the region. Browse some of the many organizations and resources dedicated to conflict resolution: Links of Interest.

For more than a decade we've been using the open source learning platform called Moodle. In 2017 we're migrating to Canvas.

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The Department of Communication is the academic powerhouse behind MADR.

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Your input matters. Our survey software helps us do research & gather feedback.

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We collect stuff. Check out our resources on conflict resolution in education.

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Conflict Resolution work can be exciting!

The December 11, 2009 issue of US News and World Report was devoted to careers, and they listed "mediator" as one of the 30 top careers. Check out the BLS Occupational Outlook for professionals in this sector. Mediation is but one of many tools used by conflict specialists. Others include negotiation, restorative justice processes, arbitration, conflict coaching, process consulting and more. Assembling the needed skills and knowledge is key.

Conflict Assessment
Problem Solving

Our Learning Goals - students are able to:

  • negotiate effectively drawing upon their knowledge of negotiation theory and best practice.
  • conduct appropriate analyses of a given situation when recommending conflict engagement strategies.
  • apply relevant cultural frameworks when working with social conflict situations.
  • mediate interpersonal or group conflicts using best practice approaches.
  • articulate their own professional identity as a conflict engagement specialist, cognizant of current methods, opportunities and constraints in the field.

On a Mission...

The Dispute Resolution program is designed to provide core academic knowledge and useful professional skills to individuals impacted by the costs of conflict and those proactively engaged in conflict resolution activities. Our goal is to develop and support reflective, culturally aware practitioners of conflict resolution who promote and advocate for nonviolent resolution and/or management of conflict using a range of best-practice techniques.  

Students, trained in negotiation and mediation skills and techniques of conflict assessment, will be prepared for employment opportunities in a variety of areas such as mediation firms, neighborhood justice centers, private and public bureaucracies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and the criminal justice system.


MADR's faculty are located in departments across campus and in the broader ADR Practitioner community.
The Core Team for MADR housed in the Department of Communication includes:

Bill Warters

Assistant Professor (Research) and MADR core faculty member with a specialization in conflict resolution in higher ed, tech & conflict. See recent "Future of ADR" article here.

Loraleigh Keashly

MADR Director, Associate Professor and Associate Dean, WSU CFCPA. Research focus: uncivil and bullying behaviors in the workplace. See sample article on workplace bullying here.

Donyale Padgett

Associate Professor, specialization in communication, culture & conflict, crisis rhetoric & organizational legitimacy. See article on third party roles in a scandal here.

Some of our Team Members from outside the Dept of Communication:

Susan Butterwick

A Part-time Faculty Member and Mediation Training Expert, Susan shepherded students through the mediation certification process. See article on Peacemaking Court Susan helped develop.

Eboe Hutchful

A Professor in African-American Studies, Eboe formerly taught DR 6120, Human Diversity & Human Conflict. He is the Head of Secretariat for the African Security Sector Network.

Fred Pearson

A Professor of Political Science, Dr. Pearson directs the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at WSU. Publications by Dr. Pearson can be found here.

Bill Warters

This Aug 2014 interview with Bill Warters provides information about our program, the ESCRO project, and conflict resolution in higher education.

Blog Talk Radio Interviews featuring MADR Faculty

Loraleigh Keashly

This April 2014 interview with Loraleigh Keashly features her research and practice addressing workplace bullying.

Scenes from the Stanley "Hank" Marx Lecture Series In Dispute Resolution

Video of our 2013 Lecture by Zena Zumeta: "Conversations with a Long-time Mediator"

Video of our 2010 Lecture by Colin Rule: "Making Peace Online"

Hank Marx and Sue Marx Smock at kickoff of the Stanley 'Hank' Marx Lecture in Dispute Resolution series.


Robert Ackerman, Bernie Mayer and Zena Zumeta - a few of the bright stars in the South East Michigan ADR scene.

Bob Ackerman, Bernie Mayer & Zena Zumeta

Colin Rule, former Director of Dispute Resolution for Ebay and Paypal, speaking about ODR at the annual Hank Marx Lecture at Wayne State

Colin Rule

Department of Communication Professor and Chair Lee Wilkins provided words of welcome at our 2013 event. Dr. Wilkins, a specialist in media ethics, recently joined Wayne State's Faculty from the University of Missouri School of Journalism where she is a professor emeritus.

Lee Wilkins

Mediation Trainer and practitioner Zena Zumeta was our 2013 featured speaker. She reflected on 30 years of practice in her talk 'Conversations with a Long-time Mediator.' The event was livestreamed to the online conference ODR Cyberweek 2013.

Zena Zumeta

Michigan mediator John Turley is seen here representing the Association for Conflict Resolution Michigan SE Chapter membership development committee. The group is working to connect ADR students with experienced ADR practitioners.

John Turley

Author Bernie Mayer speaking at annual lecture series in dispute resolution. His new book Staying with Conflict was featured at a book signing afterwards.

Bernie Mayer

From the left: Marcia Lee, Susan Butterwick, Sue Marx, Loraleigh Keashly, Kenzi Bisbing, and Bonnie Hanes.

ADR Innovators Panel

Dispute Resolution Center Director Belinda Dulin explores the work of community mediation broadly defined.

Belinda Dulin

Senator Carl Levin speaking at the Hank Marx Lecture series.

Senator Carl Levin

Mediator and Trainer Susan Butterwick presenting on truancy mediation in Detroit Area schools.

Susan Butterwick

Congressman John Dingell speaking at Wayne State University's Hank Marx Lecture Series in Dispute Resolution.

Congressman John Dingell

(Former) WSU Law School Dean Robert Ackerman speaking at the Hank Marx Lecture in Dispute Resolution.

Robert Ackerman

Marcia Lee discusses restorative justice at the annual Hank Marx Lecture Series in Dispute Resolution.

Marcia Lee

Kenzi Bisbing, Education Manager at the Oakland Mediation Center, reviews the conflict resolution work being done in schools and with youth at her center and beyond.

Kenzi Bisbing

Howard Lischeron, Director (now retired) of the Wayne Mediation Center.

Howard Lischeron

Respondents explore roles of lawyers and 'non-lawyers' in the ADR field, responding to Dean Robert Ackerman's presentation. Cardboard cutout of 80-year old graduate Hank Marx 'photobombs' them from the back. From left: Robert Ackerman, Sheldon G. Larky, Esq, Janice Tracht, LMSW, ACSW, BCD and Howard Lischeron, Executive Director, Wayne Mediation Center.

ADR Field Panelists

Bill Warters, Director, Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution Program at WSU.

Bill Warters


Office Location

The MADR program is located in Wayne State's famous Manoogian Hall known for its beautiful heritage rooms. We're on the 5th floor in the Department of Communication.

Our email:
Our Phone: +1 313 577-5747

Handshake image by Nicola Corboy

Related Resources

These related resources developed by former MADR Director Bill Warters might interest you.

Visualizing ADR Board
ADR Tech Blog
Mediation Models Mindmap (interactive, requires flash)