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Restorative Practices in an Organizational Setting

Faculty: Kay Pranis and Barbara Sugarman Grochal

Whether in business, education, government, local community, or criminal justice settings, people are more effective decision makers and problem solvers when they function as part of a genuine community.

Conflicts are inevitable; yet many organizations primarily respond in a limited, top-down, code-reliant discipline approach that fails the harness the potential for community engagement and long-term cultural shifts to bring about reduced conflict reoccurrence.

Derived from the principles of restorative justice, restorative practices transform conflict management in many organizations. This highly interactive course provides leaders, mediators, educators, and human resource professionals with restorative-practices tools designed to develop positive environments, address conflict in a way that strengthens relationships, foster the development of empathy and responsibility, and engage parties in collaborative problem-solving. Participants will gain insight into circle use for community building, decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and celebrations in a wide variety of settings. Through circle experience followed by reflection and analysis, participants will learn skills for designing and facilitating circles and developing a more restorative culture.

What you will learn:

  • Framework of restorative justice
  • Foundational values and philosophy of a restorative environment
  • Role of the facilitator in community-building and peacemaking circles
  • Structure and preparation for the circle process
  • Ways to redesign workplaces and organizations to transform the conflict environment through adaptive trainings and proactive and reactive practices
  • Practical applications of circle processes such as for consensus decision-making, problem-solving, and community building
  • Solutions to common challenges in implementing restorative practices

Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as "peacemaking circles." Since her initial exposure in the mid-1990s, Kay has become a recognized leader in developing the use of peacemaking circles in schools, social services agencies, churches, families, museums, universities, municipal planning entities, and workplaces. Kay has authored or coauthored several books about circles: Peacemaking Circles - From Crime to Community; The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning; and Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing, and Build Healthy Relationships. Working primarily as a trainer in the peacemaking circle process, she is also a senior associate at the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, as well as an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, Eastern Mennonite University, and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Barbara Sugarman Grochal is the director of School Conflict Resolution Education Programs at the Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. For over 10 years she has supported schools in developing stronger conflict management programs, through training, mediation, coaching, strategic planning, and consulting. She facilitates formal community conferences and circles in schools, workplaces, nonprofit organizations, and homeless shelters. She is a licensed trainer with the International Institute of Restorative Practices.