ICM partners with nonprofit association to benefit victims of abuse through scholarship

By Janel Shoun on 12/19/2008

  
  
For the third year, Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management (ICM) and the Nashville Center for Nonprofit Management (CNM) have teamed up to provide a full-tuition scholarship to the conflict management master’s degree program for a Middle Tennessean working daily to benefit society through nonprofit management.

Jyl Shaffer
This year’s scholarship recipient is Jyl Shaffer, Sumner County director of the HomeSafe program, based in Gallatin, a domestic violence program that serves as a one-stop shop for survivors of abuse in Sumner County. As a provider of an emergency help line, legal advocacy, counseling and teen education, Shaffer and her small staff see plenty of conflict on a daily basis.

Shaffer said she is excited that over the next two years she will be learning how to better deal with conflict herself and how to teach victims of abuse to deal with conflict in a healthier way in the future. Since 2006, Lipscomb’s ICM has been teaching proven methods of conflict management that can be applied in a variety of settings from formal legal disputes or grassroots community discontent to unhealthy personal relationships.

“No one is comfortable with conflict, but (my clients) have been in situations where, when they stood up for themselves, they were hurt,” said Shaffer. “So I think these classes will help me to show them the options -- that it’s not just fight or flight. They also need an understanding of how to manage conflict in the future.”

Through a partnership with the CNM, Shaffer will receive more than $45,000 in tuition from Lipscomb to earn a master’s of arts in conflict management. Lipscomb’s program is unique in the mid-south region, and was established by Lipscomb President L. Randolph Lowry, also the founder of the nationally recognized Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution in California.

“CNM recognizes that conflict can arise in any nonprofit organization and this program helps individuals develop the skill set necessary to deal with conflict effectively. We are excited for the opportunity to bring high quality training to Tennessee’s nonprofit managers and grateful to Lipscomb University for making this scholarship available,” said Lewis Lavine, CNM president.

Shaffer will start working toward her degree in January as part of the ICM’s fifth class of students to participate in the 36-hour program, which includes courses on negotiation, mediation, arbitration, psychology of conflict, public policy and more.

Larry Bridgesmith, ICM’s executive director, stated, “We are very excited that Jyl will be joining approximately 70 other students in the ICM graduate program. All of our students have a specific professional purpose in pursuing these studies. However, Jyl’s application of the ICM skills will directly benefit victims of domestic violence and spouse abuse in Middle Tennessee. For that we are extremely grateful.”

HomeSafe is a 25-year-old domestic violence program covering Sumner, Robertson and Wilson counties. Shaffer, Gallatin resident, joined the organization as director of the Sumner County program in November 2006. The Sumner County program serves 30 to 50 people per month, she said. Shaffer has a degree in education and has worked in the legislative arena.

The last two recipients of the nonprofit management scholarship were Amy Jones, executive director of Madison County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), and Laura Swanson, executive director of Wilson County CASA.

About the Center for Nonprofit Management
The Center for Nonprofit Management creates and sustains nonprofit excellence through training, consulting, research, evaluation and recognition of nonprofit agencies. Established 21 years ago, it serves more than 700 member agencies.

About the Institute for Conflict Management
Lipscomb University established the ICM to provide graduate and professional training in dispute resolution. Good conflict management skills defuse explosive situations before they end up costing an organization through litigation, loss of employees or loss of production. The ICM provides a practical benefit to Middle Tennessee individuals working in law, health care, ministerial work, education and law enforcement, as well as the community at-large.