What is ADR?
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to a group of processes used to resolve disputes between individuals, groups, or businesses. These processes grew out of frustration with the significant time and cost associated with resolving problems in the court system as well as the rapid growth in the courts’ caseloads. There are many types of ADR processes and techniques.
Negotiation is the most basic type and serves as the foundation for the others. With negotiation, individuals/parties voluntarily confer with each other in order to settle a dispute. While the participant(s) on each side in negotiation typically seek terms they view as advantageous, the ultimate purpose is to craft outcomes that are satisfactory to all participants. No third party facilitates the process of reaching a settlement.
Mediation is facilitated negotiation. A neutral third party, or mediator, works with the individuals or parties involved in the dispute to help them settle the matter. The mediator, however, cannot impose a resolution. Only the parties can decide if the proposed settlement is satisfactory. In certain types of cases, many courts now require mediation in an effort to reduce the likelihood that the parties must go to trial to resolve conflict. For example, mediation is often mandatory in child-custody cases.
Arbitration is another type of ADR process. In arbitration, parties in a dispute may agree in advance to comply with the decision of a neural third party or arbiter. The resolution to the dispute may be binding and the parties cannot return to court (except in very limited circumstances) to challenge the arbiter’s decision. Arbitration is commonly used to settle business and labor disputes.
You can learn more about each of these processes in UNT’s ADR program from instructors who have real world experience dealing with different types of disputes. You can also learn how these processes and techniques can enhance your professional skills regardless of your choice of career!
Getting Started with ADR
If you are already a UNT student, you can learn more about the ADR program from your academic advisor or by contacting Leslie Roberts, the program coordinator, at Leslie.Roberts@unt.edu.
You may take ADR courses as electives, to earn an ADR certificate, or as a minor program of study. However, you must be enrolled as a student at UNT. These courses are not offered through a continuing education program.
The fastest and most efficient way to apply for admission to UNT is to complete the ApplyTexas application. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Go to ApplyTexas
- Create a profile by entering your personal information.
- Select "Create a New Four Year University Application" or update your existing ApplyTexas application. Select Continue to move to the next screen.
- Under "Target University," select University of North Texas (Denton).
- Under "Application Type," select either Freshman, U.S.; Transfer, U.S.; or Readmit, Undergraduate (if you are a returning UNT student.) Select Continue.
- Select a semester and select Continue.
- Under "Select School," click the "First Choice School" drop-box and choose the college at UNT that has your major and then select Continue. For example, select the College of Business if you are interested in Marketing as a major. Next, select a second College choice at UNT and then click Continue.
- Select your "First Choice Major.” Remember, you cannot major in ADR. However, ADR courses are a great complement to almost any major.
- Click Continue to my Application to get your application number and to save your input.
Careers and ADR
Whether you plan to pursue a career in business, human resources, law, education, criminal justice, or the clergy, training in ADR will give you a professional edge. There is a growing need for professionals able to:
- Negotiate disputes between employees or businesses
- Mediate family, marriage and child custody issues
- Resolve personnel issues in business, nonprofit, and governmental organizations
- Train business people and educators in effective approaches to conflict resolution
ADR skills also enhance your own personal negotiation skills. They are very useful in negotiating terms for a job, a salary increase, or in dealing with everyday conflicts.
There are professional mediators who charge for their services. They typically use ADR skills in conjunction with their other professional expertise. For example, many lawyers, psychologists, real estate brokers, and accountants employ their ADR training to enhance their professional practices.
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