Meet Our Team

 

Dr. Mark Umbreit, Director and Founder

Jennifer Blevins, Research Assistant

Ted Lewis, Communications Consultant

Emily Gaarder, Duluth Site Director

 

Dr. Mark Umbreit  

Mark Umbreit

Dr. Mark Umbreit is a Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. Mark serves on the faculty of the Center for Spirituality & Healing in the Academic Health Center at the University of Minnesota, teaching courses on Peacebuilding Through Mindfulness Practice, and Forgiveness & Healing. He also serves as a Visiting Professor at the Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee teaching a course on Peacemaking and Spirituality. In past years, Mark has also served as a Fellow of the International Centre for Healing and the Law, and a Fellow of the Center for Contemplative Practice in Society.  He is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than forty years of experience as a mediator, peacemaker, trainer, teacher, researcher, and author of 11 books and more than 200 other publications in the fields of restorative justice, mediation, spirituality, forgiveness, and peacemaking. Dr. Umbreit has conducted training seminars and lectures throughout the world, in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Mideast, and North and South America.

As a practitioner, he facilitates peace-building circles in the community, and restorative dialogues between family survivors of homicide and the offender in their quest for healing and strength. Over recent years he has worked with colleagues in Northern Ireland, Italy, Liberia, and Israel/Palestine on peace building initiatives.

Mark has provided technical assistance and training in support of restorative justice initiatives and victim offender mediation programs in hundreds of communities, including in nearly every state of the U.S. and in twenty-three other countries. Dr. Umbreit’s multi-site and multi-national research has contributed significantly to restorative justice policy development in the U.S. and other countries, as well as providing resource materials and guidance to practitioners. Mark recently worked as a Senior International Consultant with the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Justice in Turkey to support their legislative efforts to implement victim offender mediation throughout the country.  At the National Restorative Justice Conference in June of 2013 Dr. Umbreit was elected the founding President of the new National Association for Community and Restorative Justice in the U.S. and was re-elected to a second term.

PDF icon Umbreit's Bio

Microsoft Office document icon umbreit_short_vita_4-1-18_1.doc

"Peace Takes Practice": a story about Mark and his work

 

Jennifer BlevinsJennifer Blevins

Jennifer Blevins is a Research Assistant for the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work. She has an M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota with a concentration in community practice. Her research interests are in the areas of multiculturalism, the intersection of restorative justice and Islam, violence prevention, restorative dialogue and peacebuilding. Her current focus, Restorative Justice and Islam: Building Bridges of Understanding, is a collaboration with a number of organizations and mosques in the Twin Cities metro area. The goal is to identify and draw from the strengths of traditional community conflict resolution practices within Muslim cultures, and apply those practices to the creation of a culturally congruent restorative dialogue process in current times. 

As an educator, Jennifer has taught classes in rural and urban community organizing and development, group facilitation, restorative justice, conflict management, and working with new immigrant populations. She also assists in teaching courses on forgiveness and healing within the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer has 25 years of experience working with communities in culturally specific and multicultural settings to identify solutions to community problems, implement action plans and advocate for public policy changes that increase individual and community wellbeing. Her experience includes working with Anishinaabe, Somali, Oromo, Hmong, Mexican, and Ecuadorian community groups to implement multi-year projects. Throughout her tenure as a community-based practitioner, Jennifer has utilized action research, community-based participatory research, asset mapping, and focus groups as part of the community engagement and systems change process. 

 

Ted Lewis Ted Lewis headshot

Ted Lewis has been a consultant and trainer with the Center since the summer of 2013. Since 1996 he has done a variety of work in the fields of restorative justice and conflict resolution, including work as a practitioner, program manager, trainer, writer, director, teacher, and consultant. Most of this work has been done through and for nonprofit organizations that have partnered with government agencies. He has also taught the Restorative Justice course as an adjunct professor at UMD Duluth campus.

As a Communications Consultant, Ted's primary work for the center is to provide trainings for new programs. His specialty is to do Victim Offender Conferencing trainings for facilitators. He also assists with helping new programs with referral protocols and program management resources. Ted also provides center activities that include creating training and program management manuals for agencies that have contracted for services with the center, writing procedural protocols based on best-practices in the field, assisting with co-authorship projects taken on by the center, co-presenting at center-sponsored trainings, and writing content for the website.

From 2009 to 2013 Ted was Executive Director for Barron County Restorative Justice Programs in Wisconsin, a program of Goodwill North Central Wisconsin, overseeing a staff of nine for comprehensive restorative programming. From 2000 to 2009 he was Program Manager for the Center for Dialogue and Resolution (formerly Community Mediation Services) in Eugene, Oregon, where he oversaw programming in both dispute mediation and restorative justice. He still leads an annual 16-hour training in victim offender mediation for Oregon programs every spring. Prior to that Ted was the first program manager for the VORP of Central Kansas (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program) which was modeled after the original restorative justice programs that started in the late 70s and early 80s. He received a master’s degree in Religious Studies from the University of Minnesota.

Given his dual-background in mediation and restorative justice, Ted has adapted both intervention and prevention work for faith-based church communities. In Oregon he provided mediation and reconciliation services through the Pacific Northwest Mennonite Conference. He currently does workshops for churches that emphasize healing and growth in the context of relational hurts. For more information on this, see his website: www.restorativetrainer.com

Ted currently serves on the Executive Committee as Secretary for the NACRJ (National Association of Community and Restorative Justice). A top passion of his is to document and share stories of positive restorative dialogue processes. He currently lives in Duluth, MN. 

Contact Ted at rjp@umn.edu

View Ted's CV  PDF icon ted_lewis_2018_cv.pdf

 

Emily Gaarder, Duluth Site Director

Emily GaarderEmily Gaarder is the site director for the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD). A scholar and practitioner of restorative justice for more than 15 years, she is an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Criminology at UMD.

Since 2003, Emily has taught restorative justice at the university level and also for community groups and organizations. She loves to share how restorative justice can be used in daily life by everyone. She has trained hundreds of volunteers in the circle process, circle keeping, and restorative dialogue.

She has published widely on restorative justice and specializes in issues of gender. She helped establish the Domestic Violence Restorative Circles Program in Duluth, Minnesota, one of the only programs of its kind in the U.S. that specifically works with cases of intimate partner abuse. Her current research focuses on an evaluation of the program (with Dr. Scott Vollum). Read a sample of her research here.

Emily first learned about the power of restorative justice while working with girls in the juvenile justice system. She has also worked in victim services and has led restorative dialogues and circles with juvenile probation programs, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office of Victim-Offender Mediation, civil mediation units, and the innovative juvenile and adult restorative programs of Men as Peacemakers. She earned her Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University, her M.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Cincinnati, and her B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Morris. View Emily's website and contact information.

Contact Emily at egaarder@d.umn.edu 

View Emily's CV  .PDF icon abbreviated_curriculum_vita_1.pdf