NCDS has taken its highly skilled training team virtual and has created a web-based, on-demand master curriculum. Advanced Training courses can be taken from the comfort of your home or office, on demand or via webinars with no interruption in your schedule.

Years of Knowledge

NCDS provided much of the vision and inspiration for the expanding use of ADR and dispute settlement techniques in the United States. Originally founded in 1968 by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, with the support of several highly regarded dispute settlement organizations, NCDS pioneered the use of training and skill building in negotiation, mediation, and dispute resolution procedures to resolve community, private, and public sector disputes. Since 1979, NCDS has conducted dispute prevention and resolution training programs for both neutrals in the field, as well as private sector groups. The NCDS core group of professionals who conduct the Advanced Training courses are highly regarded leaders in their respective fields.

About NCDS

NCDS is an independent, private organization that provides comprehensive training programs based upon an intense, “hands on” approach. This means that every step and technique taught are practiced and embraced within the entire organization. Our core organizational values are founded around the company motto of “quality, professionalism, and respect.” This motto guides NCDS’ employees and curriculum instructors to provide comprehensive, yet cost-effective, dispute prevention and resolution training programs. Now, through the virtual world of the internet, NCDS is able to bring its cost effective, yet superior quality, master curriculum of courses in dispute prevention and resolution to the entire global marketplace! Visit the NCDS website

Meet Your Instructors

Mary A. Bedikian

Mary A. Bedikian is Professor of Law in Residence and Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program at Michigan State University – College of Law. She is responsible for developing the curriculum pieces for a full-fledged ADR program, teaching, researching and writing in ADR, creating external training programs, and offering professional consulting services in ADR systems design. She previously served as District Vice-President of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) – Detroit Regional Office. The office provides arbitration and mediation services, education and training programs, election services, and ADR consulting.

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Ed Hartfield

Edward F. Hartfield is the Executive Director of the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS). He has been involved as a dispute resolution professional for over 30 years, including Commissioner with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and as a Member of the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a seven-person panel established to resolve disputes in the Federal Government. Edward has also served as the International President of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR), and as a State Mediator for the New Jersey Office of Dispute Settlement.

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Michael Nowakowski

Michael G. Nowakowski is an attorney, mediator and instructor with over three decades of experience in labor relations, employment matters and general arbitration. He has been involved in the traditional negotiation of collective bargaining agreements, as well as the new forms of collaborative bargaining. The resolution of disputes through mediation and the prevention of them through training, education and relationship building has been his focus in working for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, OH, and Detroit, MI.

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Craig Olson

Craig Olson is a Senior Vice President with the National Center for Dispute Settlement (NCDS). Craig has an A.A. degree from Jamestown Community College and a B.S. degree from S.U.N.Y. at Brockport including a certification program in secondary education. Craig had served as an independent arbitrator for over 15 years and had the privilege of serving as a court mediator in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

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Debbie Lech Shubnell

Debbie is the Operations Manager for the National Center for Dispute Settlement. Ms. Lech is active in the recruitment of arbitrators and mediators for NCDS, and participates in developing and conducting training programs for new and existing arbitrators and mediators. Debbie is also responsible for the content and quality of NCDS’ online education program, as well as conducting training sessions on the issues of customer service, quality, diversity, dispute resolution, communication skills, and difficult conversations.

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Calvin Smith

Calvin R. Smith owns and operates a private mediation service in the Dallas Metropolitan Area since 2003, after retiring from over 35 years of Federal service. He is also an Adjunct Professor for the U. S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School and serves as a Contract Professor teaching federal employees their duties and responsibilities related to Civil Rights Law, Equal Employment Opportunities, and Diversity. Mr. Smith serves as Vice-Chairman on the Board of Directors of Liberty One Credit Union, and serves as CEO and President for the non-profit Carrollton-Farmers Branch Basketball and Volleyball Association.

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The instructor knew the subject matter extremely well and made the class enjoyable. I found nothing missing and enjoyed the entire course.

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