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IPA Associate Policy Scientist Fran Fletcher credits her time working with IPA's Conflict Resolution Program as an excellent opportunity to expand and utilize her skill set to support Delaware towns, governments, and school boards.
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During her 18 years at IPA, Fran Fletcher played a pivotal role in the programming and offerings of the Conflict Resolution Program.
Q: IPA's mission is "serving the public
good, shaping tomorrow's leaders." How has this become realized in the
work you've done here?
A: "The work with grad and
undergrad students has been an opportunity to expose students to a huge
variety of project management and training. You try to match your
activities with things that they're ideally interested in, but if
they're not interested in it there's still that opportunity to expand
their horizons. There are many other success stories where the students
are concerned not only when it comes to our own hands-on work, but what
we're able to instill with students, the experiences we're able to give
them, and to see how that impacts them. Many of the students will leave
saying, "Well, it was fun, or I liked it, but it's really not what I
want or what I'm looking for," and then they will contact us six months,
one, or two, or even more years later and say, "Oh, I learned so much
from that experienced that I'm able to use today." I think that is
probably the most rewarding part."
Fran Fletcher is joined by Kathy Murphy in honoring the Delaware Department of Education's Exceptional Children Resources for outstanding leaderhip and contributions to collaborative dispute resolution in Delaware.
Q: What's your advice to those in the public administration field who are looking to make the most of their experience giving back and serving the public?
A: "I think certainly following your passion. I don't think that there's any person that I've worked with that hasn't had a passion for the work that IPA does and for the mission and the vision that we all hold close to our hearts. Always keeping sight of all pieces of life and don't just becoming work-centered."
Q: What are some of your fondest IPA moments or projects?
A: "In general, I can honestly say there's never been a project in IPA or specifically within the Conflict Resolution Program that I've been engaged in that I haven't loved doing, even the challenging ones. Challenging can be from a lot of different perspectives. It could be the personalities, the projects itself, or where it is within Delaware because we cover the entire state. But I think if I had to pick one category of work it would have to be the special education workbeing a facilitator of meetings between school personnel and parents regarding their children with special needs; as well as being a mediator; and then having the opportunity to go train educators, parents, and advocates on best practices of how to work collaboratively together has really fueled my soul."
Fran poses for a photo with UD mascot Baby Blue and her IPA colleague Chris Kelly at a reception for the Consortium of University Public Service Organizations at Deer Park Tavern.
"I love that work and I will miss that
piece of the work, but it's an honor to help people in conflict and try
to help them get through it, to the other side, and to something that's
agreeable for everyone. That kind of follows my passion for the things
that I do in life. I've been a hospice volunteer for 27 years, and so
helping people through difficult times by just being there and being a
good listener. It's not necessarily problem-solving because they're not
my problems. Special Education is not necessarily my problem, hospice
care is not my problem, but to be there in support of others as they're
trying to maneuver through all that comes with those scenarios has just
been an honor for all of these years."
Fran and the Conflict Resolution Program staff pose with a group of Basic Mediation Training graduates to celebrate their achievement.