Date of Award
Doctoral Research Paper
Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education
Ryan Gildersleeve, Ph.D.
Judy Kiyama, Ph.D.
Niki Latino, Ph.D.
Restorative justice, Student conduct, Higher education, Responsive evaluation, Program evaluation
Restorative Justice is a practice that incorporates harmed parties and the greater community in resolving harm or conflict, the ultimate goal of restorative justice being to make things right. This practice has been used increasingly in student conduct processes on college campuses across the United States. This doctoral research paper serves to evaluate the restorative justice program housed at the University of Denver, which has been using this process since 2012. Utilizing a responsive evaluation framework, the evaluation process consisted of interviews with program stakeholders, university staff and faculty members with a long term interest in the success of the program; observations of restorative justice conferences; interviews with students who had gone through the restorative justice process; and analysis of relevant documents and resources. The themes that emerged from this evaluation were grouped into three categories, each with subcategories. The first category involves motivations for pursuing restorative justice including disciplinary status, and guilt and remorse. The second is conferencing experiences, which included conference participants and community as well as conferencing logistics. The third is outcomes, which included reflections on harm, reflections on community, and learning from the process. Overall, the data indicated positive perceptions of the restorative justice process from students, and a greater understanding of the impacts that their actions had. This is followed by recommendations for program stakeholders, ranging from adjustments to the preconference preparation process to additional staffing and resources to support the growth of the restorative justice program.
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Smith, Ryan, "Fostering Accountability and Repairing Harm: A Program Evaluation of Restorative Justice at the University of Denver" (2018). Higher Education: Doctoral Research Projects. 13.