Spotlight on...

LeAnne Jones

photo of LeAnne JonesFormer IPA research assistant makes an impact through campus mediation at Grinnell College

Working as a residence life coordinator at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, LeAnne E. Jones (MPA ’04), a former research assistant with IPA’s Conflict Resolution Program (CRP), is exposed to many of the everyday conflicts that college students encounter—roommate feuds, dating woes, alcohol breaches, or cases much worse.  In addition, Jones serves as the coordinator of the college’s Campus Mediation Program. 

Jones’s interest in the field stemmed from her experience at IPA and her interest in collaborative problem-solving.  Her work with alternative dispute resolution through CRP allowed her to transfer such skills to her position at Grinnell.

Jones sees mediation as a useful means of helping students take more responsibility and ownership of their problems, which aligns with one of Grinnell College’s core values.

photo of student mediation session at Grinnell CollegeThe Campus Mediation Program provides students the opportunity to “take responsibility for resolving their problems” through a real-life mediation setting. Each year at Grinnell, ten students take 25 hours of training to become student mediators.

More often than not, however, students choose to bypass the mediation process and go to a student advisor or directly to Jones with their problem. Jones says that for a peer mediation program to truly work, a residence life coordinator must say to a student, “Do you know about peer mediation, and would you like to use it before we discuss the problem?”

Although Jones would love to see more students take advantage of Grinnell’s Campus Mediation Program (there were only four cases one year), she has enjoyed her work as a mediation trainer and residence life coordinator.  Working with bright students helps motivate her to do her job better.  She takes pride in engaging them in dialogue that challenges new thinking and ideas.  Jones says that like most college campuses, Grinnell’s is one of constant change, so the school needs to continue to find ways to improve the student experience.

Jones advises other schools that are considering building their own mediation programs to integrate it within their judicial process.  This better mirrors real life in that students are given the option to choose mediation or the court system.