Hostage negotiator, detective to headline 2017 Southeast Conference on Conflict Management May 10

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Jeff Thompson_250Hostage negotiator and law enforcement detective Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., will headline the 2017 Southeast Conference on Conflict Management hosted by Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management, housed in the College of Leadership & Public Service.

The conference, set for May 10 on the Lipscomb University campus, is the only one of its type in the region, drawing participants from across sectors of government, business, legal, nonprofit and education. The subject matter of all presentations is related to the field of conflict management, dispute resolution and leadership in critical moments.

"Our conference is the premiere training center for conflict managers and attorneys," said Steve Joiner, dean of the College of Leadership & Public Service. "The Institute for Conflict Management continues to demonstrate its leadership in the field with this tradition of bringing together conflict managers and attorneys from a five-state region."

Thompson, who is an adjunct professor in the Institute for Conflict Management, is also a mediator and he has taught hostage negotiation to law enforcement agencies across the country in addition to his other professional expertise. He will lead a session on mental health crisis communication strategies during a morning breakout session and will discuss terrorism and hostage negotiation during the conference keynote luncheon.

“I look forward to sharing how crisis communication skills are used in distinct, incredibly tense incidents,” said Thompson. “Equally important, if these skills can be successfully applied in these incidents, they can be also be adapted to other crisis, conflict, and dispute situations people find themselves involved in."

Four break-out class sessions will feature a variety of experts in conflict management and dispute resolution discussing a variety of timely topics. In addition to Thompson, speakers include:

  • Tracy Allen, attorney, mediator and adjunct faculty at Pepperdine University School of Law, Lipscomb University and the University of Michigan;
  • Dr. Betty Gilmore, director and faculty member, Southern Methodist University Center for Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management;
  • Dr. Steve Joiner, dean, College of Leadership & Public Service, Lipscomb University;
  • L. Randolph Lowry, president, Lipscomb University;
  • Elyce Morris, director and counseling attorney at the University of California at San Diego and dean of students and assistant dean for student and diversity services at California Western School of Law;
  • Kate Payne, associate professor of nursing at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society at Vanderbilt University Medical Center;
  • Linda Seely, director of American Bar Association of Alternative Dispute Resolution, attorney and Rule 31 mediator;
  • Stephen Shields, president of Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators, Rule 31 mediator, partner, Jackson, Shields, Yeiser & Holt;
  • Mark Travis, attorney; and
  • Jack Waddey, attorney, Rule 31 mediator and adjunct faculty, Pepperdine University.

Topics covered will include diagnosing conflict, how to market a mediation practice, mental health crisis communication strategies, intergenerational conflict, conflict management in higher education, effective advocacy mediation and congregational conflict and peacemaking, among others.

The registration fee before April 10 is $250. After April 10, the registration fee is $300 per person. Lipscomb alumni may register for $150. The registration fee for Lipscomb University faculty, staff and students is $50. The registration fee includes all sessions and lunch. Continuing legal education (CLE) and continuing mediation education credits are available for attendance at the conference.

For a complete schedule, information on conference speakers and to register, visit

The Southeast Conference on Conflict Management has featured some of the nation’s leading experts in the fields of conflict management and dispute resolution since its inception in 2006. Previous keynote speakers and presenters include: “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, Former Secretary General of NATO Anders Rasmussen and former hostage negotiator-turned-hostage Terry Waite, among other international notables.

Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management offers a Master of Arts degree in conflict management in addition to a graduate certificate in conflict management. The institute also offers a Professional Skills Program, featuring a panel of nationally recognized experts in dispute resolution with three days of educational opportunities for practicing professionals; Rule 31 civil and family mediation training; and special programs for church leaders and members of faith groups in addition to other seminars and events.