Marquette discontinues dispute resolution due to declining enrollment

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This summer, the College of Professional Studies will eliminate dispute resolution offerings due to declining enrollment in the program and to align with the college’s increased focus on undergraduate programming.

“Recent economic events have made it increasingly difficult to attract qualified, professional, adult students, and the program was no longer sustainable,” said Robert Deahl, dean of the College of Professional Studies, in an email.

Deahl also said the college will work with students who are part of the program to develop customized completion plans.

Dispute resolution is a field focused on resolving issues in a professional setting, sometimes in a courtroom, but also in businesses.

Deahl said the Board of Graduate Studies, University Academic Senate and University Board of Trustees approved the program’s termination effective June 30.

Marquette developed the Center for Dispute Resolution in 1993 and created a graduate certificate in dispute resolution in 1995. The university added a master’s degree in 2006.

The Center for Dispute Resolution focuses on law, business, communication, education and psychology as they relate to issues in dispute resolution. It engages students in training and research, mostly with community based partners.

The graduate certificate is a post-baccalaureate program that trains professionals to act as third-party neutrals in dispute resolution or be knowledgeable participants in the dispute resolution process.

Students in the program need to demonstrate dispute resolution skills and address the emotional parts of a dispute. The master’s program also trains professionals to practice as a neutral third-party. As part of the program, students must mediate a case with multiple parties and issues, keep ethical standards in mind and show they can offer research assistance.

A number of people in the college declined to comment on the discontinuation and deferred to Deahl.

“The College of Professional Studies will continue to focus on delivering undergraduate programming to adult, non-traditional students as well as to administer and deliver the long-standing community development program, Future Milwaukee,” Deahl said.

The program’s discontinuation is one of several changes in the College of Professional Studies throughout the past few years. Last year, the college announced it was transferring the master’s in leadership studies program  — including the master’s certificate in sports leadership — to the College of Business Administration and the Graduate School of Management. The master’s in public service program also moved to the Graduate School.