How Are We Doing?
MACRO and the Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University collaborated in planning a conference specifically on the issue of evaluating Marylandís conflict resolution programs. The Evaluation Summit brought together four working groups composed primarily of representatives from Maryland government agencies, courts, schools and community mediation programs. National and international ADR evaluation experts were invited to work with the four groups of Maryland ADR program managers. The overall task of the summit was to map out a year long process to plan and design a series of context specific practical and effective evaluation tools and systems for Maryland ADR programs.
The Summit was held in Ocean City from November 7-9, 2001 with 74 participants mostly from Maryland but quite a few with ADR evaluation expertise from other state programs, community mediation centers and universities in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Illinois, California, Minnesota, the District of Columbia, and Australia. Evaluation experts from Canada, New Mexico, Florida, Oregon and Michigan who could not attend were kind enough to send materials, describing their evaluation protocols and research results.
The four groups
worked for a day and a half with professional facilitators Dan Dozier, Bruce
Emory, Juliette Falkner, and Peter Swanson to produce detailed outlines and
guides for developing ADR evaluation programs in courts, community mediation
centers, government agencies and schools.
The big questions that continue to drive this agenda into late 2004 include: What do we want our program to achieve? How can we measure our achievements? How can we capture the benefits and costs of our program? How can we determine what we need to do to improve our processes, delivery systems and user access? With answers to questions like these, ADR program directors will be able to make smart choices for the future.
Work Books and Notes
Work books provide members of the four groups (courts, schools, government and community) a means to assist them in focusing their efforts on the present state of programs and how they might develop in the future. The work books contain specific information/guidance for each group and the original notes generated by these groups are attached. These documents help outline steps toward the evaluation of various programs in each of the four sectors and the ongoing work from this endeavor can be found in many of the recent MACRO grant projects.
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Each participant was given an example agenda/advice document so as to provide MACRO with concrete ideas on next steps and possible one to two year projects that move the process along. Most groups provided both a group agenda, based on general consensus, along with personal agenda/advice.
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