Dr. Su-Mi Lee

Alternative Dispute Resolution Certificate

"The term alternative dispute resolution (ADR) means any procedure, agreed to by the parties to a dispute, in which they use the services of a neutral party to assist them in reaching agreement and avoiding litigation. Types of ADR include arbitration, mediation, negotiated rule-making, neutral fact-finding, and mini-trials. With the exception of binding arbitration, the goal of ADR is to provide a forum for the parties to work toward a voluntary, consensual agreement, as opposed to having a judge or other authority decide the case.

In addition to serving as a potential means of avoiding the expense, delay, and uncertainty associated with traditional litigation, ADR also is intended as a vehicle for improving communication between the parties. ADR provides a forum for creative solutions to disputes that better meet the needs of the parties." --U.S. Department of Labor

Why do I want the ADR certificate?

Conflict exists as long as humankind exists. It occurs in interpersonal, intergroup, and international spheres. Marital tension, family issues, disputes between neighbors, hostile work environments, labor-management disagreements, and war are all too common. While it is impossible to eliminate conflict in our lives, we can learn how to manage or resolve conflicts so that we all can live and thrive harmoniously.

For this reason, many workplaces, including both private and public institutions, across all types of career paths, list conflict management skills as one of the desirable qualifications for job positions. Conflict management skills are not only useful for your personal purpose, but also help you stand out among many job applicants.

At UH Hilo, we offer the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Certificate program that will help you manage conflict, reconcile emotions, reach an understanding, and prevent future conflict in any setting, from your daily life to your workplace. The ADR certificate’s ultimate goal is to help you become an effective conflict manager in your personal and professional spheres.

The ADR certificate is ideal for

Conflict management skills are useful and essential for anyone. The ADR certificate is particularly ideal for those who pursue the following careers.

  • Mediator
  • Arbitrator
  • Conciliator
  • Conflict negotiation manager
  • Ombuds
  • Litigation lawyer
  • Insurance appraisers, examiners, claims adjusters, and investigators
  • Policy analysts
  • Fact-finders
  • Family law facilitator
  • Victim advocate
  • Social worker
  • Human services case manager
  • School counselor
  • Human resources investigator
  • Equal employment opportunity officer
  • Employee relations specialist
  • Crisis intervention specialist
  • Community violence specialist
  • Conflict resolution instructor/consultant
  • Humanitarian aid worker

In addition, anyone who would like to work in the following areas would benefit from the ADR certificate.

  • Family law facilitation
  • Environmental/Public policy
  • Education
  • Organization/Workplace
  • Labor/Management
  • Criminal justice
  • Counseling
  • Community
  • International
  • Academic


Core (6 credits)

  • POLS 270 Negotiation
  • POLS 479 ADR in Action

Electives (15 credits)

Conflict (Choose one course listed below)

  • COM 420 Family Communication
  • MGT 300 Mgt, Orgs & Human Behavior
  • POLS 328 Rights
  • POLS 348 International Human Rights
  • POLS 442 War and State
  • SOC 260 Social Problems
  • SOC 300 Family in World Perspective

Conflict management/resolution (Choose three courses listed below)

  • COM 351 Com in Multicultural Workplace
  • COM 442 Communication & Conflict
  • MGT 330 Human Resource Mgt
  • POLS 342 International law
  • POLS 374 Indigenous Dispute Resolution
  • POLS 377 Restorative Justice
  • POLS 443 International Conflict Management
  • SOC 409 Seminar in Social Movements

Conflict prevention (Choose one course listed below)

  • COM 200 Interpersonal Communication
  • COM 240 Professional Communication
  • COM 359 Intercultural Communication
  • MGT 423 Business Ethics (Business & Society)
  • POLS 220 Law, Politics, & Society
  • POLS 346 International organizations
  • SOC 420 Sem in Social Institutions


If you have any questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Su-Mi Lee at sumilee@hawaii.edu.