Former top federal mediator partners with Kennesaw State conflict management program

From left, C. Richard Barnes; Ansley Wood, program administrator; and Robin Dorff, dean, HSS

Master’s students will gain access and hands-on experience in workplace conflict resolution

 KENNESAW, Ga. (June 13, 2013) — Kennesaw State University’s Master of Science in Conflict Management Program has formed a partnership with the dispute resolution firm headed by C. Richard Barnes, former President Bill Clinton’s appointee to head the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. 

Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, the public-private partnership will provide MSCM students and faculty  access to “high-level mediations, facilitations and trainings that lead to a better understanding of complex, multi-party disputes and workplace and organizational conflict resolution.” In addition, Barnes will serve as an adjunct professor in Kennesaw State’s MSCM program.

 “The program administration and staff have been working for months to put together this partnership that will provide substantial benefits to our students, as well as compliment the academic program and the university’s commitment to engagement through this type of partnership,” said Robin Dorff, dean of Kennesaw State’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

 Barnes, a career mediator with experience in labor-management relations, negotiations, organizational change processes, mediation and dispute resolution, was appointed as director of the FMCS in 1998. He managed federal mediators in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam and led mediation teams that resolved high-profile labor-management disputes. Among them: the 1997 strike between the 185,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and several employers, including United Parcel Service, Kennedy Space Center and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; Boeing Company’s dispute with its engineering employees; and the 2002 West Coast Ports dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshoremen and Warehouse Union. In 2005, he formed Lawrenceville-based C. Richard Barnes and Associates.

 “I am committed to providing Kennesaw State students internships and to taking them into real live cases where they act as co-mediators,” Barnes pledged at a ceremony last month for program administrators, faculty and students.

 A current cohort of about 25 students is enrolled in Kennesaw State’s MSCM program. More than 250 students have earned the degree since the program was launched in 1999.

  Sherrill Hayes, MSCM director, said the partnership represents a substantial expansion of the program’s ability to prepare students to handle the complexities of managing conflict in the workplace. 

 “The experience and expertise represented in this partnership will further enhance Kennesaw State’s reputation as a premiere center for the study and practice of conflict management.” Hayes said.

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing, and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,600 students from more than 130 countries.