This article is second in a series featuring sponsors of Strengthening the Spirit of Community, the IIRP World Conference in Detroit, MI, October 24-26, 2018. University of Michigan-Dearborn is a Champion Sponsor, providing scholarships for Detroit community members and bringing a new level of connection and engagement to the conference.

In this interview, Tracy S. Hall, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Office of Metropolitan Impact, and Amy Finley, Ph.D., Dean of Students, explain the importance of restorative practices to their campus and why they would like you to join them at the conference in Detroit!

Tracy Hall"We are deeply committed to being a restorative campus." - Tracy Hall, Ph.D.

Tracy S. Hall, Ph.D.

What prompted you to sponsor community scholarships to the IIRP World Conference in Detroit?

Restorative practices is crucial to global and community healing. U-M Dearborn is an anchor to our community. We want to support our community doing this important work, so they can do it better. If the community can't get to the conference, how do they learn and buy in?

Why should people come to this conference? 

To be inspired, to be informed and enriched, to find other people who see the world as a positive place to be. To strengthen their mental muscles in their practices, to be reinforced. To feel refreshed and refueled and renewed. It's easy to focus on the negative. Restorative practices provides a chance to see human frailties and see beauty come out of the cracked and broken. 

What's one result you would like to see come out of the conference? 

I want people to see Southeast Michigan as an incredibly resilient community. Detroit has a reputation that's not necessarily positive. We want people to see the renaissance. I hope they get out of the hotel and see the city. 

The IIRP is developing a deeper, richer community of practices. We want to be a part of it. There is no better time to work together and collaborate for collective impact.

What would you like the world of restorative practitioners to know about your organization? 

We are deeply committed to being a restorative campus. Ray Metz, U-M Dearborn Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management & Student Life Leadership, has made a commitment to be one of a handful of universities pushing this forward, in enrollment, admissions, student success. Restorative practices are impacting many different offices: counseling, disability services, mental health. Ultimately it will impact faculty. 

Nearly half of our students are from disadvantaged zip codes, rife with poverty and food insecurity. We provide access and support that make it possible for our students to get here and stay here. We want to weed students in, not out. We are training the leaders of our community's future. They will take the region forward. That's what UM-Dearborn is really about.

The Office of Metropolitan Impact connects the university's resources to the community of Southeast Michigan and its needs. U-M Dearborn is an Anchor Institution, so we are helping our community partners address their challenges and concerns. We contribute resources and hire local talent.

We are partnering in grant funding in restorative practices and trauma-informed care with Detroit Public Schools. And we are partnering with Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation [the City of Detroit's workforce agency], to deploy restorative practices. We are targeting "Opportunity Youth," young people 16-24 who are disconnected from work and education. 

We are also advancing scholarship on trauma-informed care and restorative practices. We feel strongly that they are complementary approaches. We support Healing Centered Restorative Engagement, which blends assets of both. We want to build Healing Centered Restorative Engagement in schools and the workforce and contribute to the community at large. 

Amy Finley, Ph.D., Dean of Studentsfinley amy"Our campus slogan is 'Expect Respect.' That's why students choose to come here." - Amy Finley, Ph.D.

What's one result you would like to see come out of the conference? 

I’d like to help others see UM-Dearborn as compelled by this work and trying to advance it. 

How do you see restorative practices impacting the mission of your organization?  

Our mission is about inclusion. That's the number one thing people know about us. Our campus slogan is "Expect Respect." That's why students choose to come here. We believe everyone should be valued and respected, and restorative practices goes with that. 

The campus has two key missions: inclusion and community engagement. We are anchored in Southeast Michigan: 80% of our alumni live in the region. We see an opportunity to make a difference by training students with skills to lead the community: to become mayors, business owners, PTA presidents. As a campus anchored in community, our job is to be accessible to the community. We have been using restorative practices steadfastly to advance that cause.

Learn more about the conference and register now.

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