The MCDR Certification Committee has offered performance-based certificationto mediators since 1995, often twice a year. In addition it has used its performance-based certification to evaluate roster mediators in Anne Arundel and other counties, and most recently, to certify mediator candidates wishing to be placed on the roster of the Talbot County Circuit Court. This document describes the entire process in detail so that subsequent certification committee chairmen and members can implement a certification event with as much knowledge about the process as it is possible to convey and do it in a professional and competent manner.

    The MCDR certification day occurs: either to satisfy requests coming from prospective candidates, because the Certification Committee wishes to continue its tradition of offering two certification days in the course of a year, or as a result of a court program involving MCDR’S performance based-certification.

     Determining a date for a certification day is usually decided after looking at a calendar three to four months ahead of time so as to find a date that is not competing with other mediation activities scheduled around the state. Factoring in the availability of certification committee members who will be available on that date is a key factor, and, of course, locating and reserving a suitable site that is appropriate for use.

     When there is a candidate(s) who appears to have the necessary skill sets, and who is ready to seek certification(s), take the following steps:

   Review the completed MCDR application checking it for compliance with all requirements, including the self statement and payment (which should be processed according to procedures established by the Treasurer),

    Determine date(s) by projecting forward for at least two months; there is much more flexibility if only there are only one or two candidates. Letting the candidates who have already applied know the date as soon as it is determined is also important so they can be better prepared and committed.

   Chose the appropriate space and lock in a commitment for its use. Appropriate space means there is at least one meeting room, and that the rooms for each assessment are comfortable and flexible so that tables, chairs, flip chart, cameras and writing for assessors can be accommodated, all with relative quiet. If an institutional setting is being used there will be additional steps of providing directions to site, parking, directional signage at site to find the rooms, and arranging for payment for the use of the space and for the insurance to use the space. All these steps are critical to a smoothly running certification day.

   Sign up Assessors: It is helpful to state what you want from them, reading the self statement ahead of time, respecting the time frame, checking out the room and its layout, being familiar with operating the camera (if this is required), arriving on time, timing the event so there is an hour for the candidate to mediate, then giving 15 minutes for role player feedback, and finishing the oral feedback in 30 minutes. And, finally, turning in a signed FMC document on time with correct numbers. See also the separate paper, “Instructions for Assessors”.

   Sign up Role Players:  Role Players should be experienced mediators, or, persons who have had training and are seeking to learn more about how mediation and certification work, or, MCDR board members. No one should serve in this capacity who is an unknown quantity. If the ranks are thin, be prepared to give specific instructions and a personal briefing prior to the day of performance.  Also see the separate paper, “Instructions for Role Players”.

Four Weeks

1. Assign the Assessors to the candidate.

2. Ascertain if the Assessor initially assigned to a candidate has any issues or 

            concerns about  the assignment. 

3. Determine which of the available Assessors would complement each other.

4. Organize cell phone, e-mail, and mailing address for all participants.

Three Weeks

    Develop a Draft Agenda for the Certification Event with the names of the candidates paired up with role players and assessors by date and time. It is strongly recommended that the Certification Event organizer develop a back up participant for each position.

    Stipulate when the candidates self statement must be completed (in the event the self statement was not prepared as part of the application process). Obtain type of mediation role play preference from each candidate.  Choose the preferred role play(s) for each candidate. 

      Learn how the candidate would like the room set up.

Two Weeks

    Finalize Agenda and print out. Keep a Master Copy to record all events such as for date and time preferred for the Candidates, Assessors, and Role-Players, as well as for all e-mails sent, current self-statement for each candidate, check payment(s), and location.  

      Organize the role plays for each role player and the candidate (precis) and, as the date of the event gets closer, e-mail them out to the participants at least two days before the event. The candidates self statement should also be mailed to the Assessors two days before. It is recommended that each Assessor be polled to check and learn if anything new has developed that will inhibit their performance as an Assessor, or delay their ability to return the FMC sheets in a timely way. Note: using the e-mail is another check on the participants, so that you as the organizer will know that nothing has changed for them (hopefully).

      Walk through. It is always recommended to do a careful and thorough walk through of the space to become familiar with it and initially plan the “control room" and the placement and location of the mediation space, cameras, assessor space, and common space.

Day of Event

      Get the candidates room (s) organized with chairs, tables, assessor space, and proper camera set up. Note: you should know ahead of time what the candidate’s room set up preference is and have assigned a camera for that candidate. It is important for Assessors to review how the room is set up so they can see the candidate or see the role players or have a place to write. At the same time, it is the Candidate’s mediation space, so sometimes a delicate balancing is required.

      Coffee and tea set up. Designate some person to do this if possible, otherwise get it started before doing room set up if there is time, or after if time is of the essence. Keep in mind that this is a serious undertaking, not a time for socializing or muffins and bon bons.

      Role players are finished first, thanked, and dismissed. If evaluation of the event forms are being used for the role players, these should be distributed to them and arrangements made for completing and submitting them.

      Organize a list of those wishing to receive continuing education credits.

      Candidates are free to leave after they are finished, with a reminder of subsequent procedures when appropriate.

        Assessors are thanked and reminded about proper protocol to return assessment sheets.

Listing of Items Necessary for a Certification Event 

        Master Agenda which contains names of all participants, all contact information, date and location, including room assignments and camera # allocated.

      A completed file folder for each candidate with an extra copy of the role play for each role plays and self statement. Copies of FMC Assessment Sheets

      (2). Cameras, checked out and charged, backup camera(s), extension cords, tape including the designation of who is responsible for camera operation for each individual Assessment.

       Pens, flip chart(s) markers, pads for writing, coffee, tea, sweetener, sugar, milk/cream, coffee maker and mugs or cups.

       Note: If the Event is in an institutional setting post the agenda at each room so people know where to go.

       Folders for each candidate with self statement and copies of role play.

     Cameras, checked out and charged, backup camera (s), extension cords, tape. Note: determine who is responsible for camera operation.

     (be prepared to receive payment if some candidate has somehow slipped through to this point without paying).

      Pens, flip chart, markers, pads for writing,

      Coffee, tea. Note: this is a Certification event, not a social occasion.

Follow up Steps after Day of Event

       Review the FMC sheets submitted by each Assessor, and check for correct math and Assessor signatures.

       Send out CLE documents to participants.

    Once all the FMC sheets for the Certification event have been returned, notify the Treasurer with the names and mailing addresses of the Assessors, and the name and number of candidates they assessed. The Treasurer will then prepare the checks for the Assessors.

     Decide on a procedure for notification. Notifying a successful candidate(s) by phone is preferred, since they will want to know. If there is an unsuccessful candidate, prepare the necessary letter and mail it and the assessment sheets.

     Organize the videos and copy each video to the hard drive, and then prepare a SD card or thumb drive for the candidate and mail it out.

     Contact the Print Shop to print up the certificates.

     Mail out certificates and notify the MCDR staff so the new name can be posted on the web site.

Prepared by Rob Ketcham, August 6, 2014















































































Maryland Council for Dispute Resolution
10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 247
 Bethesda, Maryland   20817

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     MCDR is the oldest membership-based organization in Maryland dedicated to promoting the use of mediation and supporting

the mediation profession.  We have a proud history of successfully advocating for allowing multiple professions to practice mediation,

halting attempts to restrict the practice some fifteen years ago.  MCDR is the first organization to establish performance based criteria

now in use as a national model, part of an ongoing dialogue on quality assurance and mediator credentials.

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