headshot of Conflict Resolution grad Beth DeLashmutt

Student Spotlight: Beth DeLashmutt

Beth DeLashmutt is in her third act of life. Currently a substitute teacher for the Rocklin Unified School District in Rocklin, California, she returned to college after raising a family and completed her bachelor’s degree with honors in communication studies. Inspired by learning how communication impacts daily life, she decided to continue her education in mediation and completed UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s (CPE) Conflict Resolution Professional Concentration. Now, she’s looking ahead to gaining experience in the field and continuing to expand her knowledge.

What made you want to get into facilitation and mediation?

I’m a firm believer that poor communication is at the root of most all problems we face, and good communication can be the platform for solving those problems. One of my favorite words is consensus, which means everyone agrees they can ‘live with’ a decision or outcome of the group’s reaching resolution with each other. I have an avid interest in becoming highly skilled at helping people communicate well.

What have you been up to since you completed the Professional Concentration in Conflict Resolution?

I have been laying out a plan of action to put my Conflict Resolution training to good use. I plan to do several informational interviews with prospective agencies that provide mediation or conflict resolution services. With the pandemic, it’s hard for me to say what impact it has had on the industry, so I want to do an assessment first of its status to date.

What was the biggest challenge you faced upon entering the program?

One of the biggest challenges I faced was being very nervous to role play a position I had never been in and with people I did not know at all. I had to learn to set aside the anxious feelings and focus on the issues at hand and speak to them from a new place of learning. With each class I took, it got easier and easier.

How did you benefit from the program?

The most valuable thing I received from the program was the know-how to discern the issues within a conflict and prepare to address them in ways that would lend to a potential, positive outcome, possibly for all parties involved.

Another huge benefit was the experience the instructors brought to the table. As a student, I was constantly told about real-life situations requiring mediation or conflict resolution and how the end result was reached. It was not only educational, but also very inspiring.

Learn more about our Conflict Resolution Program

Discover how you can turn conflict into consensus and gain skills for successful collaboration. 

Tell me about the instructors in the program. Was there something an instructor said that really stuck with you?

Greg Bourne, the instructor for the last course, Advanced Conflict Resolution, said two things that really stuck with me and ended up aiding me in our mock negotiation at the end of the class. He said early on in the class, ‘If we (mediators/negotiators) are going to get to the source of the issue, it’s helpful to know our own style.’ This made me sit up and pay attention and note those attributes that I may already have and look at others’ qualities to see what I want to gain.

As we prepared for our negotiation, he said, ‘Always look for co-mediators who understand the importance of the collaborative approach.’ It really brought the process into focus for me and helped me prepare to discuss the issues with all parties involved and do my best to understand where they were coming from. Once I knew who they were and what views they brought, I could discern who the potential co-mediators with me would be!

How do you feel the program prepared you for being able to provide conflict resolution?

I felt very good after completing the final mock negotiation. I was able to articulate my side and reach some give-and-take agreements with the other stakeholders. The material covered in the program provided me with a perspective for negotiating with and on behalf of others that is reasonable and achievable.

What are your future plans?

Within the next six months, my intention is to either be working as an intern or volunteer with an agency that provides mediation and negotiation services. I want to gain some solid experience and continue expanding my knowledge in the field. Even though I am in the third act of my life, I feel inspired to bring this skill set to the table and help people resolve their issues. I would also like to help train people in improving their communication skills in this age of technology.

Would you recommend CPE’s Conflict Resolution Program?

Absolutely! The three courses built on each other, and I gained much new knowledge and classroom role playing experience. I look forward to taking additional coursework as I progress in the field.

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