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Doug Fischer, MCR ’16, took time from his busy career to tell us how Dominican’s MCR helped him get where he is and thrive in a satisfying and meaningful job.

Doug Fischer, Civil Harassment Court Mediation (CHCM) Coordinator and Youth Mediators in School (YMS) Coordinator, California Lawyers for the Arts (Sacramento, CA)

Talk about your two areas of responsibility. How do you spend your days?

As the CHCM Coordinator, I lead and design the court mediation program in collaboration with the court officers. I schedule, mentor and train volunteer mediators to mediate civil harassment disputes (restraining orders) that the judges refer to us, as well as mediate the disputes myself.

For YMS, I co-launch peer mediation centers in middle and high schools. We design the curriculum, train the students to resolve conflict and then assist in the implementation and coordination of the program, allowing students to mediate their peers’ disputes on the school grounds.

Did your Dominican MCR help you get your job?

I wouldn’t have been hired or even considered without this degree. Mediator and ombudsperson positions are popping up with greater frequency, especially in courts and higher education; this degree is essential to being considered.

What did you appreciate about the Dominican MCR program?

Honestly, everything about the Dominican MCR program was helpful. In comparison to other schools and programs it is very cost-efficient; it is extremely convenient and offers both in-person and online courses. When I began the program I was living in Chicago and then moved to Bend, Oregon, as I finished the degree. I literally traveled across the country, worked several jobs and maintained an active lifestyle while completing this degree. I can’t imagine too many other master’s programs offer that kind of flexibility.

How about your instructors and advisors? Were they accessible—during the program and after?

Yes, the instructors and advisors were dedicated to the program’s and students’ success. I have reached out to Matt Hlinak and Monica Halloran for recommendations and advice and they have always provided that in an eager and supportive manner. In fact, I wouldn’t have known about the MCR program had it not been for Monica.

Getting back to your current job, how applicable is what you learned in the MCR program to what you do now?

Every day I apply what I learned, especially from the Interpersonal Communications and Psychology of Conflict classes. Interpersonal Communications is a class that every individual should be required to take—it truly revolutionized the way I communicate in all situations, and especially in conflict. In teaching youth how to mediate I use a similar facilitative/transformative style to what I learned in the Mediation Skills Training: I break up the process into building blocks and teach mediation as several distinct steps, basically the same way we were taught. In the courtroom I mediate an extremely diverse population, so the Intercultural Conflict Resolution class has proven vital. I haven’t necessarily used the Online Dispute Resolution or International Conflict Resolution classes, but I did find those tremendously interesting and with huge potential for future conflict.

Finally, a big-picture question: how does the MCR connect with your life goals?

The vast majority of people don’t learn the conflict resolution, communication, emotional intelligence, or leadership skills that I and other MCR graduates have been blessed with. In that sense, this degree is worthwhile just for the education, however mediation and alternative dispute resolution are growing fields that will continue to increase in relevance and impact. You’ll have to work hard, but ultimately this degree has transformed me into a better person and every day, despite the challenges, I find solace in knowing that I am helping others and making the world a more peaceful place.

Learn more about the career pathways available from a masters in Mediation and Conflict Resolution or request information and we'll be in touch with more details.