Dr. Calvin Smith

Calvin Smith Head ShotCalvin is an experienced facilitator, with over 17 years facilitating and mentoring people in achieving their learning, organisational, leadership, research and personal goals. He is a trained mediator, an award-winning educator, and an experienced researcher. Known for his friendly and open interactive style, and his good humour, Calvin brings to his facilitation and mediation work a genuine regard for all persons, and an enthusiasm for helping others set and achieve goals.

Calvin’s life experiences to date equip him with a wide range of skills and abilities and an appreciation for a range of different perspectives or paradigms that inform his facilitation and mediation practice. He has a PhD in mediation, a graduate certificate in education, has been an active researcher in the university system and is involved in community theatre and film work. As a father of three living (and two deceased) children, and former head of an academic unit within a university, he has experienced a wide range of professionally and personally challenging, rewarding and life-changing events.

Calvin has taught university students, conducted professional development for university lecturers, and facilitated teams of people with a wide variety of disparate goals from improving teaching to transforming corporate identities. Having held leadership and management positions within organisations, Calvin is acutely aware of both the damage that conflict can cause and the benefits that can accrue from appropriate and effective conflict resolution interventions.

Calvin takes the view that conflict can be used to make us aware of what we value, and through its resolution we can learn about our deeper humanity. This is what makes conflict and its resolution both so important and also so potentially rewarding. But such grand outcomes are not the commonest or ‘default’ result of conflict, and for us to get through what can be very a trying and stressful moment in our lives sometimes we need a little coaching, a little guidance. This is when the work of a skilled mediator can transform a conflict from a purely negative to a potentially insight-forming experience. This opportunity for transformative learning about ourselves, that conflict situations can create, is what interests Calvin about conflict, and what shapes his approach to mediation.

Calvin’s two primary goals in mediating conflict are:

  • identification of the underlying needs that underpin the conflict; and
  • negotiation of new ways of interacting that better meet the needs of the parties to the conflict.

Calvin is currently an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Griffith Institute for Educational Research (GIER) at Griffith University and continues to conduct research into student learning. He has also published the following papers from his mediation research:

  • Smith, C. D. (1996). Competing Constraints in Alternative Dispute Resolution: The interactional achievement of formality and informality in mediation. Australian Review of Applied  Linguistics, 19(2), 79–114.
  • Smith, C. D. (2000). Facilitating “Perspectival Reciprocity” in Mediation: Some Reflections on a Failed Case. Human Studies, 23, 1–21.