Our Team

Emily Gaarder, Director

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Emily 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
Contact Emily at [email protected] 
View Emily's CV. abbreviated_curriculum_vita_1.pdf

Dr. Mark Umbreit, Founding Director

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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 facilitator of dialogue, peacemaker, trainer,  teacher, researcher, and author of 12 books and more than 200 other publications in the fields of restorative justice,  mediation, spirituality, forgiveness, and peacemaking. Over the past three decades, Dr. Umbreit has provided consultation  and conducted training seminars and lectures in 29 countries (in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Mideast, and North and South  America) and nearly every state of the U.S.).

As a practitioner, he periodically facilitates peace-building circles in the community, and restorative dialogues between  family survivors of homicide or other victims of severe violence 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. In recent years he has been working extensively with the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul in the wake of  criminal and civil ligation related to a long history of massive clergy sexual abuse. Restorative justice was listed in the final  settlement agreement as a key requirement of fostering accountability and healing. 

Mark has provided technical assistance and training in support of restorative justice initiatives and victim offender  mediation/conferencing programs in hundreds of communities in the U.S. and many 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. Dr. Umbreit is currently working with the United Nations  Development Program and the criminal justice and corrections system in Brazil. In September of 2019, the International  Association of Schools of Social Work recognized Dr. Umbreit among the 50 most notable social workers in American  history, based on his global impact as a practitioner and scholar. Mark was also ranked among the 50 most influential  contemporary social work faculty in the U.S., by the Journal of Social Service Research based on the depth and range of his  work as a practitioner and scholar. In recognition of his decades of service and peacemaking work, Legacy magazine  dedicated a feature piece on Mark in their Summer 2017 issue. Exploring Mark's organic teaching methodology through the  energy of storytelling, Legacy magazine creates a snapshot of Mark's pioneering research and its impacts on our  communities, both locally and abroad.

Dr. Umbreit's bio
Dr. Umbreit's short CV
"Peace Takes Practice": a story about Mark and his work

Ted Lewis, Senior Associate/Trainer

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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 training for new programs. His specialty is to do Victim Offender Conferencing training 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 training, 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.restorativechurch.org

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 [email protected]
View Ted's CV  PDF icon ted_lewis_2018_cv.pdf

Jacob Otis

color photo of CRJP intern Jacob Otis

Contact Jake at: [email protected]

View Jake's CV

Jacob Otis is a doctorate student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities within the School of Social Work, the Director of Programming at St. Croix Valley Restorative Services in Wisconsin, and an intern at the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.  

Jake practices restorative justice primarily within the contexts of intimate partner violence, police misconduct, family conflict, and the use of restorative practices in schools.  Currently, his research focuses on evaluating multiple intimate partner violence programs utilizing restorative justice and the use of restorative justice to address complaints against police officers.

Since 2016 Jake has facilitated restorative justice circles, victim-offender dialogues, family-group conferences, and trainings in Wisconsin and Minnesota. His core passion is connecting with those impacted by harm and bearing witness to the transformative impact of restorative justice.