SOWK 551 - Fundamentals of Mediation

  • 3 credits

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.

Textbook and Materials

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


  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In (2011)
    Fischer, R. and Ury, W.
  • Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, 3rd Ed. (2015)
    Rosenberg, M.
  • The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, 4th Ed. (2014)
    Moore, C.
  • The Mediator's Handbook, Revised and Expanded, 4th Ed. (2012)
    Beer, J. and Packard, C.

*completed online at:

Students should have all required texts/materials by the start of class. Books can be purchased through, the CSU Bookstore, or a bookstore of choice.


Dianne Peterson
Dianne Peterson

Dianne is the sole practitioner of Dianne H. Peterson, PC in Loveland, Colorado. Her practice focuses on family law, Guardian ad Litem, adoption and international custody disputes. Dianne also operates Partners in Resolution, Northern Colorado’s premier dispute resolution firm providing all modes of Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is also certified as a Child Welfare Law Specialist through the National Association of Counsel for Children. Having operated her solo mediation practice for over 23years, she is a Northern Colorado “alternative dispute resolution pioneer” of sorts.

She is a past president of the Larimer County Bar Association and has served on the Colorado Bar Association Family Law Section Executive Council as well as the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors, Colorado Bar Association Executive Council as a Vice President for the 3rd District and serves on the Colorado Bar Association Access to Justice Commission and Joint Judicial Task Force.

Her passion for working with children and extended families is evident as she is a frequent speaker for Foster and Adoptive Families of Larimer County, for the Northern Colorado, “Second time Around, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” support groups, is an annual guest speaker for the Colorado State University Human Development Department in their “Families and the Law” course as well as frequent lecturer throughout Colorado on alternative dispute resolution and families.