Dr. Joey Cope, associate professor and executive director of Duncum Center Solutions, is one of the 2016 recipients of the Frank G. Evans award presented by the State Bar of Texas.
The Evans award is given by the Alternative Dispute Resolution section of the State Bar of Texas. “The award is awarded annually to persons who have performed exceptional and outstanding efforts in promoting or furthering the use or research of alternative dispute methods in Texas.”
Cope said he was surprised to learn he was the recipient, but very humbled and very grateful.
Presentation of the award is made at a ceremony at the annual State Bar Convention with a report of the presentations submitted for subsequent publication in the State Journal and ADR section bulletin, according to the Texas ADR website.
Cope joined ACU staff in 1989 and had a central role in designing the masters of art program in conflict resolution. He also directs the semiannual residency session.
Duncum Center Solutions (formerly Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution) is now a part of ACU Dallas but it is not an academic program. DCS offers training, consulting and crisis intervention. Lori Anne Shaw is the director of training and development at DCS. According to their website, they are a “full service conflict resolution organization dedicated to equipping peacemakers.”
The types of training offered at the facilities are conflict resolution in the church, 40-hour basic mediation training, advanced family mediation training and a Texas-specific mediator short course.
A graduate certificate in conflict resolution has been offered since 1999 and began as a joint effort between the communication, psychology and biblical studies departments.
The Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) was started in August of 2000. “When I worked in the office of the president, Dr. Jerry Stater saw what could be done in conflict resolution and mediation and impressed the need for a program that would concentrate on that,” said Cope.
Within a couple of years, faculty saw value in adding to the graduate curriculum.
There was already success with the interdisciplinary certificate program offered by the CCR and a masters program seemed to have a greater appeal, said Cope.
With, then president, Dr. Money’s insistence, the master of arts was offered beginning in 2006.
The conflict resolution graduate programs are offered as part of the ACU Dallas online programs in the School of Professional Studies. Kipi Fleming is the program director.
With the expansion of the ACU Dallas campus, the CCR and DCS moved to the Addison location by 2016. Having the presence in the metroplex and online works to extend the reach of ACU, Cope said. Through the years, ACU had offered services in Abilene, but the size of Abilene meant opportunities were few and far between. “There is a larger population base here (in Dallas),” said Cope. “Things have a whole lot more potential to get momentum on the program in that regard.”
Cope said he is pleased to continue using the Duncum name in the new environment. He said the center was wonderfully blessed by the Duncum family, who had a dream and vision to build new facilities. The Duncum building in Abilene will continue to bear their name, despite now having other functions.
The programs go beyond and into other leadership areas and other education areas. “Our brand has always been geared to something broader than described as ADR profession,” said Cope. There is a focus on personal responsibility – students should
look to themselves and the way they conduct themselves in conflict before they reach out to help others, Cope said. “The spirit of collaboration and the skills that we use in bringing people together is applicable in every facet of life.”
When asked to reflect on his experiences, Cope said “It’s been a moving experience for me, I was a litigation attorney when I came to ACU and took on some other jobs in administration. I enjoyed strategies and efforts, but it didn’t seem like the right place for me. Working in the presidents office helped me learn collaboration.”
“When this opportunity was extended to me I thought ‘this is really what I wanna do.’ The last 17 years have been about what I wanna do.” Cope said that his work in ADR helped him realize that was what he wanted to do when he “grew up.” His work opened avenues to serve as mediator and as a facilitator with large scale conflicts. It has even taken him to Africa twice to train and work with institutions. “It touched on a real passion in my life,” Cope said. As he moves closer to retirement, these last few years of his career are offering great new projects and opportunities to do what he loves, said Cope.