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All about the conferences!

Hard work pays off, and the almighty dollar is not always the reward you need; I’m talking about accepted conference proposals! One thing that the field of Student Affairs values is the notion that we must advance ourselves of Student Affairs professionals, and it is our responsibility to develop and grow out field. One such way of accomplishing this task is through conferences; both attending and presenting at them. Attendance at a conference however is something that anyone with a budget can do, presenting at one is a whole other ballgame. Justin Stern has been fortunate enough to have been selected for several conferences this academic year, and the best is still to come!

In the summer of 2017…

Justin Stern had the privilege of being accepted into the “Going Global with Your Course” cohort at Illinois State University through the Center for Teaching and Learning; this cohort was focused on the “design or revamp [of] your course to make it more globally engaged, in keeping with Educating Illinois and the University’s International Strategic Plan”. At the culmination of this 5 week workshop, Justin was invited to present on his work at the 2017 Summer Showcase. In this showcase, Justin presented on his work in Criminal Justice Sciences regarding his course on Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice (CJS 322) and his efforts to give the curriculum a more global lens.

In the fall of 2017…

Justin submitted a proposal to the Illinois State University Culturally Responsive Campus Community Committee and has his proposal accepted for the 2017 conference! During this conference Justin presented on Restorative Justice in Illinois and discussed its applicability in a range of areas including PK12, Higher Education, and the community at large.

In the spring of 2018…

Justin submitted a proposal to the Association for Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA) for the 2018 Annual Conference and had it accepted; this will be Justin’s first presentation at the ASCA Annual Conference! Justin will be presenting on “Creating an Academic Course in Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice”.

Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University starts Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Restorative Justice course

Sometimes, your dreams do end up coming true! As an undergrad Justin used to half joke that he would love to teach in Criminal Justice or Political Science at a college level; in truth, the half joke was that he really wished for this to happen. As of fall 2017, Justin has been hired on to teach in Criminal Justice Sciences at Illinois State University! Similar in some ways to the courses Justin has taught prior at Illinois State University in the School of Social Work, this course will have a broader focus on the field of conflict resolution with a unique focus on the Criminal Justice System both in the U.S. and Internationally. Justin’s course will have a theoretical foundation of restorative justice theory and cover mediation in a variety of settings including community policing, judicial (small claims and criminal courts), PK-16, community based (non-financial matter), international reconciliation projects, and other applications of conflict resolution. At the discrepancy of the Chief Judge, participants who complete the course are eligible for certification from the 11th Judicial Circuit of McLean County as a mediator for several mediation opportunities in McLean County.

A new approach to Conflict Resolution on college campuses is here!

For the last year and half, Justin had been laying down the groundwork to bring a new model of implementing conflict resolution training and services to college campuses; a student driven process that allowed for both conflict resolution training and services in a self-sustaining model. On September 9th 2015 this vision came to fruition in the form of Redbirds Resolving Conflict!


Excerpt from the official Redbirds Resolving Conflict website:

In the spirit of embracing conflict resolution at Illinois State University, Redbirds Resolving Conflict was founded in the fall of 2015 as an official registered student organization (RSO). Illinois State University has practiced conflict resolution for many years in the form of mediation, restorative justice, etc. however for much of this time, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution has been the facilitator of such services. As per its own constitution, Redbirds Resolving Conflict was created “to provide conflict resolution services including but not limited to mediation and restorative justice through a student driven organization and process that is in alignment with the Illinois State University Code of Student Conduct and the philosophy of the office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution”.

Members of Redbirds Resolving Conflict are trained in mediation and restorative justice through Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution; allowing these members to be considered Student Conflict Specialists as per the Code of Student Conduct. Student Conflict Specialists are an integral part of the Code of Student Conduct as well as the conflict resolution process; allowing students to facilitate conflict resolution through partnership with Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution

Training in mediation and restorative justice are just a few of the great advantages of being a member of Redbirds Resolving Conflict; all such training is also FREE! Redbirds Resolving Conflict operates just like any other RSO at Illinois State University in that it has an Executive Board, general meetings, official events, etc. Joining Redbirds Resolving Conflict also allows its members to not only provide a critical service to the Illinois State University community and beyond, but also to participate in “mock” mediations and restorative justice conferences, pre-professional events/ conferences, as well as travel to places that are rooted in conflict resolution.

During its inaugural year, Redbirds Resolving Conflict had a roster of over 20 undergraduate and graduate students!