Current Research

The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the State of California have provided grants and contracts to conduct applied research by evaluating and assessing court based and workplace alternative dispute resolution programs and processes. Our current research agenda includes an in depth study of the evolution and development of alternative dispute resolution programs throughout the Maryland court system.  Included in this study is a path analysis of the various processes participants’ may choose to use within the court system to settle or resolve their cases.   The major focus of the study is on the internal dynamics of various ADR processes.  A secondary emphasis of the study will be to why parties and courts often go to specific mediators for high profile, complex or controversial cases. Under a Hewlett grant, the Center for Conflict Resolution is sponsoring research by Dr. Lorig Charkoudian that examines the situational conduct of mediators in live mediation sessions. The Center is also conducting research with Dr. Lorig Charkoudian and Dr. Cristian DeRitis on mediators' perceptions of the process.  Using (inductive) cluster analysis we are examining mediators' responses to what they think and do in the mediation process. The Center is currently conducting a major needs assessment of local clergy using focus groups (n=40) and survey research (n=+50).  The focus is to understand the sources of conflict, how clergy respond to them as well as to assess how well prepared they are prepared to do so.  Some of the types of conflict or challenges clergy report that they  face on the job includes conflicts with: lay leaders, the congregation, other clergy, people within a denominational hierarchy.  They experience conflict over issues such as: clergy roles and responsibilities, finances, liturgy, outreach programs, endowments, worship styles, major national issues that play out in factionalism within the local church,  using the pulpit for political reasons, intergenerational conflict, issues surrounding a growing or shrinking congregation, the type of church certain factions want to maintain or change into (family, program, mission, corporate) and many more critical issues.
houseFounded by Dr. Phil Bosserman in 1992, the Center for Teaching Peace was the Center for Conflict Resolution’s precursor. It was designed to support the 1992 launch of the Peace Studies minor in Salisbury State’s Sociology Department. As the Peace Studies minor grew in popularity and the need for mediation and other conflict resolution services in the local community became apparent, the Center slowly started to grow. In 1995 under Dr. Bosserman’s continuous leadership, the Center for Teaching Peace was renamed the Center for Conflict Resolution and relocated to a large old house directly across the street from Salisbury University’s Holloway Hall. The Center for Conflict Resolution became incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1997 and experienced even more growth and success in the late 1990’s. In 2000, Dr. Brian Polkinghorn took over as Executive Director of the Center from Dr. Bosserman and in the same year the Center started operating under its own budget separately from the university through grant and contracts. In 2001 through collaborative and joint efforts with the university, the Center was reconstructed along with the development of one of the first conflict analysis and dispute resolution majors at a public university in the United States. In 2008, the Center had grown to a staff of eight and the Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution was created as a separate entity from the Sociology department where it was previously housed. The Department for Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution welcomed its first cohort into the newly formed Master of Arts degree program in 2009. The Center’s reach and programs were expanded further in 2010 with 14 staff members and 12 professional affiliates making it one of the largest academic, practice, and research based centers in the United States. The Center’s work continues through major grant research, ongoing graduate and undergraduate education, and innovative and impactful training at the local, national, and international levels. In 2012, the Center for Conflict Resolution changed its name to The Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution in recognition of our founder’s lifelong dedication towards building a more peaceful world.

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The Center has come a long way since its inception in 1992 when its main mission was to teach peace to local school children. In 1997 the center was spun off from Salisbury University to become an internal 501(c)3 nonprofit with the intention of allowing it to pursue grants and contracts to fulfill an evolving mission. In 2000 the center, in conjunction with Salisbury University, […]


In the fall of 2001, with cooperation and guidance from the Center for Conflict Resolution, Salisbury University began offering one of the first undergraduate degree programs in the field of conflict resolution at a public institution. This program expands on the previously established undergraduate minor in Conflict Analysis Dispute Resolution that was created in the early 90’s through the efforts of Dr. Phillip Bosserman. In […]


The center is fortunate to be associated with so many researchers that come from many academic disciplines and areas of practice.  Our research agenda is wide and diverse.  Some examples of current research include an examination of the use of arbitration in labor disputes in rural China, the development of state wide cross institutionally based conflict management programs in Ukraine, an examination of the impact […]


As part of the educational experience and a service to the local community at Salisbury University and township, we offer events that deal with many luminaries from all over the world, including M.K. Gandhi’s grandson, Dr. Arun Gandhi, whom speaks at our events. Please check out our Gandhi Legacy Series and Lecture Series to see what has happened over the last few years.

Latest Posts

Reverend Desmond Tutu with a Special Message…

Reverend Desmond Tutu with a Special Message…

Reverend Desmond Tutu send a video message to his daughter, Reverend Mpho A. Tutu when she spoke to our students at Salisbury University for our Lecture Series on February 15, 2011.

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His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta to Speak in September 2016

His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta to Speak in September 2016

Speaker: His Excellency Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta Former Prime Minister and President of Timor-Leste Co-Recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize United Nations’ Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace Building Office in Guinea-Bissau Title:  “The USA and Us:  A View from a Remote Village in Southeast Asia” Event Page Description: Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, human rights champion, former Prime Minister and President […]

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Graduation Spring 2016

Graduation Spring 2016

On May 18, 2016, some 201 students received their master’s degrees from Salisbury University as part of the largest class in its 90-year history. Among them were our Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution graduate students Xiwen Jin (China), Melissa Aristizabal (Colombia) and Alexandra Ginta Martin (Romania). For the past two years they have been actively involved in several research projects at the Bosserman Center, as […]

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compassThe Mission of the Bosserman Center for Conflict Resolution is to promote conflict prevention, management, and resolution through teaching, training, research, and practice of both conflict analysis techniques and conflict process skills.  This requires the careful study of conflict process dynamics, introspection and practice all of which prepares an individual to effectively promote and foster nonviolent, collaborative and peaceful ways to resolve conflicts. In pursuit of this mission the Center is engaged in:
  • Developing a “teaching hospital” model in partnership with Salisbury University’s Department of Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution that merges undergraduate and graduate education with field-based student practice and research.
  • Supporting and advancing a robust quantitative and qualitative research agenda in the examination of conflict processes, systems, and programs.
  • Offering a variety of needs-based training opportunities for local, state, regional, national, and international organizations and agencies in both the public and private sectors to effectively address conflict.
  • Developing and implementing expert third-party intervention services and flexible conflict prevention and conflict management in a multitude of settings through our staff and affiliates.
  • Maintaining and offering on-campus programs and events including the student-run Conflict Resolution Club, the “One Person Can Make a Difference” Lecture Series, and regular contributions to collaborative processes at the university.
  • Providing free mediation services in the local community through the Community Mediation Initiative and in partnership with the Community Mediation Maryland system.

Lecture Series

"One Person Can Make a Difference" Lecture Series

Beginning in the fall of 2001, the "One Person Can Make a Difference" lecture series provides the campus community with the opportunity to be exposed to pioneering individuals in the field of conflict resolution. It not only provides students exposure to these prominent figures but it also provides them with a forum to discuss a variety of current issues in the field of conflict resolution and peace studies. Each person in the lecture series provides a first person account of some of the most inspiring stories of our age and focuses our attention on the power of creative problem solving, non-violent action and the power of spoken word. In the past, this lecture series has hosted such notable speakers as Giandomenico Picco, the former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, and Ambassador John McDonald. The speakers have covered such topics as terrorism, the recent events transpiring in the Middle East, and international development. The entire campus community and general public are encouraged to come share the wealth of knowledge and experiences offered by these individuals.

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