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Restorative Practices

Students having a discussion

“It’s about bringing people together in a safe, confidential space so they can have the difficult conversations that will help them begin to move forward.”

In an effort to strengthen a culture of respect, the University is launching an initiative focused on restorative practices, a method of conflict resolution that can be an effective way to rebuild trust when conflict arises.

Beth Olivares, dean for diversity in Arts, Sciences & Engineering (AS&E), has taken a leadership role in this initiative, working with other administrators and faculty. Olivares and a steering committee, including faculty from AS&E, the Warner School of Education, and the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, have engaged restorative practices experts Toni McMurphy and Duke Fisher.

According to McMurphy and Fisher, restorative practices employ informal and formal strategies and processes to encourage authentic communication and support collaborative conflict resolution. It’s about bringing people together in a safe, confidential space so they can have the difficult conversations that will help them begin to move forward. Most of all it’s about respect, trust, and holding people accountable in ways that restore community and help ensure safe environments to study, work, and live.

How Restorative Practices Work

What restorative practices are NOT:
× Skirting responsibility
× Avoiding difficult conversations
× Glossing over
× A guaranteed apology
× Pretending everything is OK
× Forced closure

What restorative practices actually involve:
Honest authentic communication
Identifying and repairing harm
Accepting responsibility and being accountable
Rebuilding trust and community
Collaborative problem-solving
Working with those who CHOOSE to participate
Collateral healing
Guiding principles

(Source: Skidmore College Project on Restorative Justice)

Register for a Training Session

Faculty, staff, and students are invited to receive training on restorative practices at one of the following workshops. The sessions will introduce the circle process and ways that restorative practices can enhance communication, demonstrate how to use a restorative lens to manage conflict, and provide methods for enhancing collaboration in meetings.

Tuesday, June 19
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Douglass 401

Tuesday, June 26
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Douglass 401

Wednesday, June 27
1 to 5 p.m.
Douglass 401

Monday, July 16
1 to 5 p.m.
Dewey 4-162

Wednesday, July 18
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Genesee 325


How You Can Learn More

“Rebuilding Community”: Experts Host Workshop for University Community

McMurphy and Fisher held a workshop on March 26 at the University to listen to comments, answer questions, and explain some processes of restorative practices.

Read More


For more information, please email Beth Olivares.