SOWK 551 - Fundamentals of Mediation

  • 3 credits
View available sections

This interactive, comprehensive course combines both the historical and theoretical background, as well as the core skill sets necessary for the practice of professional alternative dispute resolution (ADR); specifically, basic mediation.

Students are guided through Moore's stages of mediation and will learn how these stages can be applied to actual case studies. Students will explore their own unique styles of engaging, avoiding or otherwise dealing with conflict, and are encouraged to examine how their own experiences can affect their role as an impartial mediator. There will be instruction, role plays, and discussion about the many different factors that influence conflict and its expression, such as culture, gender, age, etc.

Students will be guided through the essential skills and strategies needed to execute successful ADR/mediation practices. Coursework covers both tangible and more subtle skill sets (i.e. reframing inflammatory statements and body language interpretation, respectively). There will be an overview of the evolving code of ethical standards and business practices mediators must stay current on to meet the needs of an ever-changing society.

Successful students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of the nature of interpersonal conflict and communication, ethical standards, and will be able to apply a range of practical skills and strategies to their future experiences within the ADR/mediation field.


Bachelor's degree.

Important Information

Students will need a Webcam with a microphone and speakers installed and properly working before class begins.

Textbooks and Materials

Textbooks and materials can be purchased at the CSU Bookstore unless otherwise indicated.


  • The Mediator's Handbook, Revised and Expanded, 4th Ed. (2012)
    Beer, J. and Packard, C.


  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement… (2011)
    Fischer, R. and Ury, W.
  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Ed. (2015)
    Rosenberg, M.
  • Style Matters: The Kraybill Conflict Style Inventory*
    Not available at the CSU Bookstore
  • The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, 4th Ed. (2014)
    Moore, C.

*This is a conflict style questionnaire that shows users their preferred style of conflict management and provides tools for enhancing conflict resolution efforts. The inventory is accessible at


Holly Panetta
Holly Panetta

(970) 215-5974 |

Holly Panetta is an attorney who works primarily with families and children in Colorado. She provides mediation services and is routinely court-appointed as a Child and Family Investigator ("CFI") to make recommendations regarding allocation of parental responsibilities. She previously served as director of the Office of Dispute Resolution and as the Court Programs Manager for the State Court Administrator's Office.

In addition to "Families in the Legal Environment,"Holly Panetta also teaches mediation and public policy courses for the CSU School of Social Work.

Holly Panetta attended law school at the University of Denver and received her Juris Doctor in 2003. She holds a Master's of Science in Human Development and Family Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, both from Colorado State University.

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