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Faculty Adventures in Cyberspace!

In this column we ask SPEA faculty members to describe their relationship to the Internet, e-mail, and related gadgetry. This month we go online with Lisa Bingham, the Keller-Runden Professor of Public Service, and Director of the Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute at SPEA.

Your favorite work-related Web sites?

  • www.americaspeaks.org Way cool organization. These people ran “Listening to the City”, a 4,300-person deliberative forum with a representative sample of the electorate in NYC on what people who live there really want to happen in the redevelopment of Ground Zero. As a result of the forum, the original plans for redevelopment were scrapped.
  • www.thataway.org Gateway Web site for the National Consortium on Dialogue and Deliberation, resources on citizen engagement, public participation, and deliberative democracy in governance.
  • www.crinfo.org The research Web site for the field of conflict resolution, a rich resource.
  • www.adr.gov Web site for everything you want to know about how federal agencies are using dispute resolution in procurement, employment, the environment, civil enforcement.
  • www.ecr.gov A small federal agency whose mission it is to help other federal agencies, the private sector, state and local government, Native American sovereign governments, and the public resolve complex environmental disputes and make public policy using consensus-building processes.
  • www.adr.org American Arbitration Association Web site—wealth of information on how the private sector is using dispute resolution
    www.policyconsensus.org Gateway Web site for state government use of dispute resolution.

Where do you go for fun?
www.playbill.com Theatre listings for every city that I have conferences in. I don’t spend time on the Web for fun; I usually go to it with a mission. I am pretty task-oriented. The exception is theatre. I will cruise and explore the Web sites of regional theatres whenever I know I am going to be traveling. I know where the theatres are in Tucson and Seattle and San Diego and places you don’t associate with theatre. When I go to conferences, I usually try to organize an outing with my colleagues. We have seen some great things (Edward Albee’s The Goat or Who is Sylvia? on Broadway) and some really terrible things (juvenile improv comedy at a smoke-ridden bar in Tucson).

How has your work lifestyle changed as a result of the Internet and e-mail?
One, I’m e-mail addicted. Two, Internet makes it possible for the Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute to have a national impact. We are connected to people all over the country on our various research projects. We are to some degree a virtual organization. The students are real; the organizations and agencies and people we work with are real. Everything else exists in cyberspace.

Do you worry about students cribbing off the Internet and how do you handle it when you suspect it’s happened?
I teach a core required course in Law and Public Affairs. I assign a final research paper on a law-related topic of their choice. If I suspect plagiarism, I can use LexisNexis to search a sentence or phrase that sounds suspicious; if they have quoted without attribution from a law review article, it pops up right away. However, generally, we have wonderful graduate students and this is not a problem.

Do you have other gadgets (PDA, Blackberry). If not, why not?
I have a PDA. I want a Blackberry, but I am not sure I can justify the expense!

What’s the one Web site you couldn’t live without?
Google™.

A graduate of Smith College and the University of Connecticut School of Law, Lisa Bingham practiced labor and employment law for ten years. She joined the faculty of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 1992 and co-founded the Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute five years later. Supported by a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the Institute conducts applied research and program evaluation on mediation, arbitration, and other forms of dispute resolution. Bingham is also director of the National REDRESS® Evaluation Project for the United States Postal Service. She has served as a consultant on evaluating conflict resolution systems to the National Institutes of Health, the United States Air Force, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. A winner of three teaching awards and four peer-reviewed awards for her research, Bingham has published over 20 articles and book chapters. Learn more about the Indiana Conflict Resolution Institute at http://www.spea.indiana.edu/icri/