The Fellows provide the guiding vision for the Institute and are responsible for initiating and conducting Institute projects .  The Fellows elect Board Members and make recommendations to the Board about policy and direction.


James R. Antes, Ph.D.


Dr. Antes is Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of North Dakota and former director of the UND Conflict Resolution Center. He has extensive experience in the field of conflict resolution as a mediator, workshop leader, and consultant. He is a Certified Transformative MediatorTM and conducts assessments of mediators seeking certification.

Holding a Ph.D. degree in psychology from Iowa State University, he has numerous publications and presentations at professional conferences on various aspects of conflict resolution, focusing especially on the practice of mediation from the transformative perspective. He has particular interest in the evaluation of transformative mediator practice.

Dr. Antes was a member of the national team that trained mediators and US Postal Service employees in the transformative mediation framework, and conducts mediations for the USPS.
He and his wife now live in Littleton, Colorado.


Winnie Backlund


Winnie Backlund has extensive experience and training in the field of
conflict resolution and mediation and has been a mediator for community,
family, organizational and workplace disputes. For over 25 years she was the
Director of a Community Mediation Center in Montgomery County, PA.  where she was a pioneer in the development and practice of Elder Mediation and shared that as work as author of ³Elder Mediation: Why a Relational Model Works² published in Transformative Mediation: A Sourcebook, (2010).

As an experienced conflict resolution trainer and educator, Winnie presents mediation and conflict resolution programs locally, state wide, nationally and internationally for various organizations. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York and Department of Psychological Studies in Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA. Winnie is a member of the Court Custody Mediation Advisory Panel in Montgomery County, PA. and a Court Approved Mediator Supervisor. In addition she is Vice Chair of the statewide Advisory Committee to the Task Force on Alternative Dispute Resolution coordinated by the PA Joint State Government Commission.


Robert A. Baruch Bush, J.D.


Professor Bush is the Rains Distinguished Professor of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Law at Hofstra University School of Law, Hempstead, NY. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Stanford Law School. At Hofstra, Professor Bush directs a clinical course in mediation and teaches other courses on ADR and on Tort Law. He has served as a consultant on dispute resolution to court and school systems in New York, California and Florida, and as a special consultant to the Hewlett Foundation’s Conflict Theory Center Program.

He recently finished co-directing a project in which fifty experienced mediation trainers from the US and Canada collaborated to develop new training materials focused on the transformative framework of mediation. He also recently completed co-directing the Practice Enrichment Initiative, a project aimed at enhancing the resources available to those interested in the transformative framework, in the key areas of practice, research and policy. Both of these project were funded jointly by the Hewlett and Surdna Foundations.

Professor Bush is co-author, with Dr. Joseph Folger of Temple University, of The Promise of Mediation (Jossey-Bass, 1994), which received the 1995 Annual Book Award from the International Association of Conflict Management. Bush is also the author of numerous articles on mediation and ADR, including an award-winning study of mediation ethics, The Dilemmas of Mediation Practice (National Institute for Dispute Resolution, 1992). Most recently, Professor Bush co-edited, with Folger, Designing Mediation: Approaches to Training and Practice within a Transformative Framework (Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2001).

Professor Bush has practiced mediation in various contexts since starting a community mediation program in San Francisco in 1976, and has developed and conducted many training programs on mediation and ADR, including training for lawyers and judges. He has been a featured speaker and panelist at international, national and regional programs on mediation and ADR.


Joseph P. Folger, Ph.D.


Dr. Folger is a Professor of Communication at Temple University in Philadelphia. He received a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Wisconsin and served on the faculty of the University of Michigan prior to his appointment at Temple. He is a former chair of the communication department and the former Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies at the School of Communications and Theater. He conducts research and teaches in the area of conflict management, mediation, group process and decision-making.

Dr. Folger has worked extensively as a third party intervener and mediator in organizational, community and family disputes. He has been the program chair for the National Conference on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution and has helped to establish several major conflict intervention programs. He is currently a senior consultant with Communication Research Associates where he conducts communication skills training, coaching and conflict intervention.

Dr. Folger has published extensively in the area of communication, conflict and mediation. His recent books include the award-winning volumes Working through Conflict: Strategies for Relationships, Groups and Organizations, 3rd Edition (with S. Poole and R.K. Stutman) and The Promise of Mediation: Responding to Conflict through Empowerment and Recognition (with R.A.B. Bush). He has also published numerous research articles as well as the edited volume, New directions in mediation (with T. S. Jones). Most recently he completed a two-year mediation training development project funded by the Hewlett and Surdna Foundations. He is also co-editor, with R.A.B. Bush of the new publication, Designing Mediation: Approaches to Training and Practice within a Transformative Framework (Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2001).


Jody B. Miller


Jody Miller is the executive director of the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, a community mediation center in Poughkeepsie, New York. She has worked closely with courts and the community to develop and provide mediation and conflict resolution training programs over her more than 20 years in the alternative dispute resolution field. During her tenure and in partnership with the domestic violence community, Jody and her team created the award winning Domestic Violence and Mediation Safety Project, the first collaboration of its kind where domestic violence assessment and safety planning is built into the preparation and execution of the mediation process. This project was the first of its kind in the country.

Jody is an adjunct professor of mediation at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and is a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. She trains volunteers and professional mediators and develops conflict resolution and communication training for public and private organizations. She is a certified trainer through the New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Court Improvement Programs (ADRCI) and in July, 2013, earned Part 146 (court rule) approval for Initial mediation training. She serves as an appointed member of the Mediation Ethics Advisory Committee. She is the author of the chapter, “Choosing to Change: Transitioning to the Transformative Model in a Community Mediation Center,” in the publication, Transformative Mediation: A Sourcebook: Resources for Conflict Intervention Practitioners and Programs, Association for Conflict Resolution/Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, 2010 as well as the recent article, “Mediating Commercial Cases in U. S. Municipal Courts: A Case for Transformative Mediation,” Opinio Juris in Comparatione (Studies in Comparative and National Law), August 6, 2012. Lider-Lab, Scuole Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. In 2013, with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, she created a video of a transformative commercial mediation that includes parties who are represented by their attorneys. She has been a presenter at conferences throughout the United States, as well as in Italy and China, most recently presenting at the 2nd Italian Congress on Transformative Mediation in Rome, Italy.


Janet Mueller

Janet Mueller began her work in the field of Conflict Resolution as a volunteer for the Dayton Mediation Center, a community mediation program in Dayton, Ohio in 1995. In 1997, she was hired by the Center to develop a mediation project with the Dayton Police Department and continues to work for the Center today. Her work includes mediation, group facilitation, training, and case management.

Janet was instrumental in the Dayton Mediation Center’s shift to a Transformative Mediation Center. She is a lead trainer for the Center, and has trained hundreds of new volunteers in the Transformative Approach. She adapted the basic Transformative Mediation training for adults for a youth audience and she has worked with numerous schools systems to create, develop, and implement peer mediation training programs.

Ms. Mueller earned a BA in Applied Conflict Management from Kent State University, Ohio, and graduated with her MS in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. She is a certified mediator with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation


Kristine Paranica, J.D.


Ms. Paranica has been the Director of the Conflict Resolution Center at the University of North Dakota for more than five years, a transformative mediator for seven years and is a trainer and facilitator of transformative mediation, conflict management, and other processes. She serves as Adjunct Professor of Law in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the UND School of Law. She serves on the North Dakota’s Joint Committee on A.D.R., the UND Council on Campus Climate, and the American Indian Program Council. She is a family practitioner member of ACR. Kristine previously served as a District Court Staff Attorney where she helped to establish and oversee the district’s mediation program and served as a Judicial Referee.

Ms. Paranica has published works in the North Dakota Law Review,  Mediate.Com and has presented nationally at the International Conference of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) in Toronto in 2001, the Family Section Conference of the ACR in 2002, the National Conference for ACR in Florida in 2003, the ISCT Workplace Symposium in Houston, keynote speaker at the 2004 Conference of the Family Mediators Canada, area human resources conferences, and other statewide and regional conferences. She has co-developed online courses in Leadership and Conflict Resolution through the UND Medical School and Mayo Clinic, and Conflict Resolution: Basics of Conflict Management through UND’s Continuing Education program.


Judith A. Saul


Judith A. Saul has over two decades of experience in mediation, facilitation and training. She founded the Community Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (CDRC) based in Ithaca, New York in 1983 and served as its Executive Director for over 25 years. CDRC developed programs to respond to community and organizational conflicts and to accept cases from civil, criminal and family court cases, including parent-teen and visitation and custody conflicts. The center was among the first in the state to develop an elder mediation program and a program to handle child welfare cases. In addition to running the organization, Ms. Saul directed the center’s training of community volunteers and developed conflict education curricula for young people, adults and professionals. Under her leadership, CDRC became a nationally-recognized leader in the community mediation field.

Ms. Saul is a Certified Transformative Mediator, Fellow and Board member of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. She is also certified as a mediation trainer by the New York State Unified Court System for both basic mediation and advanced training in mediating visitation and custody cases. She has designed and implemented basic and advanced training for mediators as well as mediator coaching and assessment processes. She is an adjunct faculty member at Hofstra University School of Law, where she teaches basic and advanced mediation. She has trained nationally for the Institute and for the United States Postal Service’s REDRESS Program as well as internationally in Australia, China, England, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand and Norway.

Ms. Saul has extensive experience mediating interpersonal disputes and facilitating strategic planning, organizational, multi-party, environmental and public participation processes. She is on the roster of the US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. She trains others in facilitation and in designing and running complex interventions. Most recently she has worked with colleagues at the Institute to develop Transformative Dialogue and taught it to international practitioners in Kenya and Norway.


Jeff Shepardson


Jeff Shepardson is the Director of Training & Facilitation Services at the Community Dispute Resolution Center, Ithaca, NY and has been on staff for the agency since 2005.

Jeff is a certified trainer for the New York State Office of ADR/CDRCP and collaborates extensively around various facilitation and training initiatives in the region. Jeff’s focus has been on creating training tools for processes that parallel the work of mediation and are based on the premises of Transformative Mediation’s theoretical model. Most recent endeavors have included; a training for faith communities entitled “Toward Authentic Community: Transforming Conflict as a Spiritual Practice,” and a facilitation skills training for Elected / Appointed officials, entitled “Facilitating Effective Participation in the Public Meeting.” Jeff is also currently exploring a promising partnership between the ISCT and a leader in the field of Gerontology as a potential platform for the Wise Talk Elder Mediation program.
As a certified Transformative mediator whose program development work initially focused on elder mediation (Wise Talk), Jeff is actively involved in mediation and facilitation across a spectrum of settings, including the workplace, families in the home, public forums, faith communities, nursing facilities, local governments and town boards, schools, and social service centers.

Jeff regularly provides basic and advanced mediation skill training throughout the Northeast US, and serves as Adjunct Faculty for Cornell University Law School, Cornell School of Industrial & Labor Relations’ (Scheinman Institute) and Hofstra University Maurice A. Deane School of Law. He holds degrees in Literature, Communications, and Theology.


Basia Solarz, MAdEd


Basia Solarz brings over twenty-five years’ experience facilitating conversations in educational, workplace, and community settings on behalf of non-profit organizations such as Delaware County Crime Victims Services Center and the urban greening program, Philly Green. Currently, she serves as the inaugural Consultant, Communications and Conflict Competence, for the award-winning Workplace Conflict Resolution Program at the Nova Scotia Health Authority. In this role, Basia provides mediation, conflict coaching, and education and training across the province-wide organization.

Basia is a member of the Partnership for Productive Organizational Conflict (Saint Mary’s University, Nova Scotia) which connects top conflict resolution researchers, practitioners, and organizations to generate and share best practices in organizational conflict resolution.

She has been a keynote speaker for a variety of Canadian medical association conferences, including the Canadian Medical Association’s Physician Leadership Conference (2012, 2013) and the Canadian Association for Nurses of Oncology Annual Conference (2011, 2016).

Basia completed a master’s degree in adult education from Saint Francis Xavier University with a research focus on conflict coaching and received the Audrey Fenwick Memorial Award for Excellence in the Study of Adult Education. A scholar-practitioner, she has presented papers at adult education conferences, including the Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Brock University 2014) and the Transformative Learning Conference (Columbia University, 2014). Most recently, she co-authored a chapter, “Re-Narrating a moral self: Transformative and restorative learning for rebuilding social solidarity” in Transformative Learning Meets Bildung: An International Exchange (2017).

A Certified Transformative Mediator™ and Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (ISCT), Basia is particularly interested in the moral-ethical dimensions of conflict transformation as well as the intersection of adult learning and the transformative approach (Bush & Folger) to working with conflict. She has been a panelist and workshop presenter for ISCT conferences in North America and Europe and serves as an ISCT transformative mediator certification assessor.

Currently, Basia is pursuing certification as a Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaches Training Institute.



Thomas J. Wahlrab


Tom Wahlrab is the former Executive Director of the City of Dayton (Ohio) Human Relations Council and the Dayton Mediation Center.
Mr. Wahlrab is one of the principal facilitators of the community conversation that resulted in the Welcome Dayton Plan. He supported the process that resulted in the City of Dayton’s Second Generation Disparity Study and subsequent Procurement Enhancement Plan Ordinance and Policy.

He has thirty years working in government and private sector environments involving affirmative action, contract compliance, civil rights, mediation and conflict management, community building, civic engagement and workplace team systems development. Tom received a BA from Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio and a MS Ed. from the University of Dayton.

Mr. Wahlrab is a Fellow and Board member with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (ISCT), a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) and a founding member and first chairperson of the Ohio Community Mediation Association.


Michelle Zaremba, MPA, Director (Coordinator) Dayton Mediation Center


zaremba-picMichelle began her career with the Center in 1999. She has been the director of the Center since 2009. She is a “Certified Transformative Mediator” ™ and Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc., the lead organization in the field of Transformative framework for conflict management practice, and has more than 17 years of experience as a practitioner.

Michelle is responsible for increasing the Center’s operating budget through various community partnerships with courts, police departments, universities, school systems, non-profit agencies, and private companies.  She worked collaboratively with officials from the Dayton Municipal Court and the Montgomery County Juvenile Court to revise court rules to fund the Center’s mediation services to the courts. Additionally, as a result of her leadership, several innovative new programs have been developed including a pilot project turned city-wide program with the Dayton Police Department, Citizen-Police Conversations, as well as a cutting-edge pilot program, Conversations for Change, developed and implemented in conjunction with East End Community Center, Dayton Police Department, and Wright State University to support persons challenged with heroin addiction to discuss recovery options. The Center is also involved in other areas of emerging practice in the field of community mediation including homelessness prevention through a partnership with Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio in Columbus, Ohio, to provide landlord-tenant eviction mediation services throughout Montgomery County, and support of grassroots efforts by Dayton Police Officers utilizing their own time to create dialogue opportunities between police officers and citizens. Other areas of emerging practice the Center is involved in include prisoner reentry, veteran reintegration, truancy/attendance mediation, and parenting/visitation mediation.

Since 2013, the Center has served as the sole conflict management consultant working to design, develop, and implement the State of Ohio’s Employee Assistance Program’s Employee Workplace Mediation Program.  Additionally, in 2013, due of Michelle’s leadership, the Center was selected to become the international headquarters for the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc., the lead organization in the field of Transformative framework for conflict management practice.

In addition to 17 years with the Center, and 19 years of professional and academic conflict engagement experience, Michelle earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the Department of Urban Affairs and Geography at Wright State University, Fairborn, OH, and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Conflict Management from Kent State University, Kent, OH.

In 2014, Michelle was selected as a recipient of the Joseph T. Cline award which honors current City of Dayton workers who display excellence and dedication in their career as a City employee.
Michelle is highly decorated Staff Sergeant with the United States National Guard and was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart for her leadership, valor, and bravery in the Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004. Michelle is a published author who has written about her experiences as a female officer in the Iraqi war, Wheels on Fire: My Year of Driving (and surviving) in Iraq, Hellgate Press, which was published in 2008 and in 2016, “Walking the Talk with the Neighbors,” in Transforming Conflict from the Inside Out: Stories and Reflections from Transformative Practitioners.


Cherise D. Hairston, MA/ABD

c-green-blouseCherise is a conflict intervention practitioner with 21 years of professional experience, a “Certified Transformative Mediator” ™ with Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc. and serves as the Dayton Mediation Center’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. Cherise provides a range of conflict intervention services including team building consultation, conflict coaching, large and small group facilitation, and conflict management systems design services. She also customizes conflict management training for organizations. Cherise was one of the principal conflict management consultants and trainers for the State of Ohio’s Employee Assistance Program’s new Employee Workplace Mediation Program. Cherise currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Community Mediation. She is a prolific presenter at national conferences including most recently the Kennesaw State University’s (Kennesaw, Georgia) International Conference on Negotiation, Association for Conflict Resolution, Antioch University Midwest, Introduction to Negotiation, and Wright State University’s National Education Renewal 2014 and 2015 Conference. Cherise is a published author in two academic publications, Mediation Quarterly and the book, Re-Centering: Culture and Knowledge in Conflict Resolution, Syracuse University Press, 2008 and in 2016, “The Professional is Personal” in Transforming Conflict from the Inside Out: Stories and Reflections from Transformative Practitioners. With more than 10 years of professional teaching experience at the undergraduate and graduate level (Wright State University, Miami University, and Antioch University Midwest), Cherise is a former adjunct professor at Antioch University Midwest (Yellow Springs, OH) in the graduate departments of Conflict Analysis and Engagement and Management and Leading Change. Cherise completed doctoral level studies (all but dissertation) at Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, earning honors as an Advanced Practitioner in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the Department of Conflict Resolution at Antioch University McGregor, Yellow Springs, OH, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Miami University, Oxford, OH.

Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.

Dan Simon

Dan Simon, MA, J.D. practices and teaches transformative mediation in Saint Paul and Los Angeles.  He is the author of chapters in Transformative Mediation:  A Sourcebook (ISCT & ACR, 2010) and The Mediation Handbook (Routledge, 2017). He served as Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s ADR Section and for 6 years on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ADR Ethics Board. He also writes the blog at