UMass Boston


MOPC deploys a range of proven collaborative methodologies to assist government entities and members of the public with problem-solving and the resolution of disputes. Services are delivered by MOPC staff, qualified affiliate practitioners and state-funded community mediation centers. MOPC ensures that services delivered under its auspices adhere to best practices and principles for successful collaboration including inclusiveness of participation, transparency of decision-making and shared responsibility for process and outcome. Public agencies can engage MOPC without the need to deploy a competitive procurement process.   

Conflict Assessment  

  • Process conducted by a neutral skilled in assessing disputes and convening stakeholders to collaborate.   
  • Helps stakeholders to determine whether an issue is appropriate for dispute resolution or consensus building.  
  • Provides the opportunity to clarify issues, design an appropriate problem-solving process, decide who should participate, and determine the costs involved.   


  • Collaborative negotiation process that helps stakeholders with diverse or competing interests to problem-solve and reach agreement.  
  • Neutral facilitators assess the issues and interests; assists public agencies as sponsors and conveners in defining the stakeholders and inviting them to the table; designing the ground rules and meeting structures; facilitating discussions; and drafting agreements; engaging the public.  
  • Results in policies and projects with wide support and reduces likelihood for divisiveness and legal challenges.   

Deliberative Dialogue  

  • Structured public discussion forums led by trained moderators that range from small study circles held in peoples’ homes to large community gatherings.  
  • Uses nonpartisan issue guides that outline several possible ways to address a problem. 
  • Participants deliberate together to explore options, weigh pros and cons, hear each other’s views, and identify common ground.   
  • Results may influence public policies formulation. 


  • Assisted negotiation process facilitated by a trained neutral who helps parties in conflict create their own resolution.  
  • Participation is voluntary and confidential and decision-making is based on informed consent.   
  • Mediator meets with the parties to explore issues, relationships, and possible solutions.  
  • Mediated agreements are binding by mutual consent of the parties.     

Program Design  

  • Helps organizations develop policies and programs to better manage systemic or recurring conflicts and promote collaborative problem-solving, internally, and externally.  
  • Provides expert consultation on development of goals, objectives, evaluation, and performance measures for conflict management programs. 
  • Involves reviewing relevant legislation and regulations; assessing organizational systems and stakeholder interests; creating a design that fits the larger organizational culture and motivates people to use dispute resolution; facilitating participatory design process; preparing policies, procedures, and forms; training neutrals; orienting on how to effectively use the program.  

Training & Capacity Building  

  • Skill-building workshops, including conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, facilitation, consensus-building, violence prevention, public deliberation, and community engagement.  
  • Integrates theory and practice; deploys role-play exercises in a safe learning environment.  
  • Off-the-shelf or custom-designed through needs assessment focus groups, surveys, interviews.   
  • Provides opportunities to learn skills to help participants handle conflicts within organizations.