Dorothy Cali Balancio

  • Professor
  • Director, Sociology
Dorothy Balancio


As an educator, professor and sociologist, I bring instrumental breadth and depth to my work in pedagogy and communication/social relationships.  I hold a M.A., Ph.D. in Sociology, a Masters of Philosophy, a Masters of Pedagogy, and NYS Teaching License ~ Elementary Education (Permanent Certification #0645).  Additionally, some of my post-doctoral education related certifications include: 

Conflict Resolution (IMCR* Community Mediation Certification ~ #0400)  

Family Life Course Education (NCFR** Certification) 

‘Career Management’ and ‘Decision Making’ (LHH certification) 

Negotiation, Mediation certifications from post-doctoral programs 

As a full professor, I have effectively facilitated broadly diversified groups for over 30 years (undergraduate / graduate and traditional / non-traditional). As Program Director, I create, develop and assess curriculum for undergraduate and graduate courses.  I evaluate, train and team teach with on average 35 full time and adjunct faculty per semester. Related to this function, the research was published and presented at the International Conference on Social Values in Oxford University, England.  Title: “Can Professors Learn in the Classroom? Team Teaching Conflict Management Skills.” 

Completed a foundation textbook ~ Managing Conflict: An Introspective Journey to Negotiation Skills (2018). 

I have developed expanded consulting knowledge of pedagogy through teaching, team teaching and participation in more than 50 professional (international, national and regional) conferences, seminars, panels, workshops and symposia while creatively integrating theory with practice in the classroom.  

 Additionally, I am a senior trainer with over 25 years of increasingly responsible and extensive consulting experience in a wide variety of industries.   I edited the Italian American Review, a semi-annual journal focused on the Italian American community (Verrazzano Institute At Mercy University publisher). I was the Director of the Verrazzano Institute At Mercy University form 1990 to 1995.

I am Executive Director of the Louis Balancio Scholarship Fund. This is a not-for- profit organization whose mission is to develop the evolving program for conflict resolution that is encouraging people to learn the art of dispute resolution. Developing the competencies in negotiation, mediation and alternative dispute resolution required for successful managing conflict is at the core of our mission.  Philosophically, this organization is committed to promoting continued scholarly activities combined with the application of knowledge in practice. The primary goal is to encourage solid moral standards by rewarding demonstrated values, selfless work for the good of others, cultural achievements and organizational accomplishments.  The focus is on the intellectual, psycho/social and spiritual development. We have been collaborative partners with the IMCR in delivering training to the faculty, staff and students (undergraduate / graduate and traditional / non-traditional). This organization honors the memory of my murdered son and Mercy Alum Louis James Balancio II. 

* NYS Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution (IMCR) ~ I am currently a member of the Board of Directors

** National Council of Family Relation (NCFR)Page Break 




GRADUATE CENTER OF CUNY, NY, NY    ~  Ph.D., Sociology, 

MERCY COLLEGE, Dobbs Ferry, NY    ~  Master of Pedagogy

GRADUATE CENTER OF CUNY, NY, NY   ~   Master of Philosophy

NEW SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL RESEARCH, NY, NY             ABD, Sociology, 1972-‘82  

CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY, Wash, D.C.   ~    M.A., Sociology

MERCY COLLEGE, Dobbs Ferry, NY   ~   B.A., Socio./Ed., 

ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION ~   NYU Visiting Scholar, Humanities

HARVARD LAW SCHOOL, Cambridge, MA  ~  Negotiation I, Negotiation II, Mediation  

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, NY, NY  ~   ICCCR, Certificate        


                         TRAINING:  Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR):  

 Harvard University, Law School, Negotiation/Advanced Negotiation & Mediation 

Cornell University, NYC Center, Labor Relations  

NYU –Program for Attorneys on ADR

Marywood University, Center for Dispute Resolution 

International Center for Cooperation & Conflict Resolution (ICCCR), Columbia University



NYS COMMUNITY MEDIATOR   ( IMCR CERTIFICATION #0400)  Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution  

Certified Family Life Course Educator (CFLCE)  ~  National Council of Family Relations (NCFR)                

Management TRAINING / Coping with Change / Career Decision Making / Career Transition Counseling  

Senior Trainer ~  Lee, Hecht, Harrison (LHH), Group Division   

NYS Teaching License ~ Permanent Certification:  Early Childhood (N, K, 6 grades)                                                  


            My Teaching Philosophy and Methods

Teaching is one of the more important things that I do to contribute to our society. I believe that enabling the individual to reflect on himself or herself can produce wisdom (self knowledge) resulting in a way of understanding the world we live in. My courses are constructed to be useful for cultivating the students’ emotional intelligence competencies, improving their personal relationships, strengthening their critical thinking, as well as developing a professional vision that will be required to navigate successfully after graduation.

The more I study and teach, the more I love my role as a sociology faculty member. No other area of intellectual work overlaps with so many other fields of knowledge; none connects the sciences and the humanities so directly or offers such a variety of insights into our current world. Sociology is distinctive in the attention it pays to what lies between people, to what links individuals with others in the social world. We are people watchers. There is a commitment to use observations of the real world over time to develop explanations that are even better than the ones we already have.

My personal journey:  My firstborn son, a Mercy University junior (a 21 year old accounting major) was savagely stabbed to death at a sports bar – in a case of mistaken identity (2/4/1994). With his brutal murder, I realized the lost things that I can never get back are my precious child Louis and the blessed ignorance of acute, indescribable grief.   However, I’ve learned that grief is the price we pay for love.  Grief NEVER ends, but we learn to live with pain and hide our suffering.  I see my grief as a passage, not a place to stay.   It is neither a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith. My students, colleagues, and teaching give me my reason to continue to live and to work.   My students have become my Louises and restored my will to live. 

The night Louis died he was with so-called ‘friends’ who watched what happened; not one helped him or came forward with information for police (because the murderer’s father was the Lucchese Crime Family’s capo).  Since life did not make sense to me anymore, I had to decide if I would rollover and bury myself with my son or use what I know  (sociology and teaching) to help my students to avoid Louis’s fate.  I believe that Louis did NOT listen to his INTUITIVE sense. He did not perceive the evil that surrounded him and he ‘trusted’ the wrong people. Now my main mission is to invite my students to think beyond individuals in isolation and focus on competencies for building connected TRUSTING relationships and good communication. The aim is to broaden students’ horizons, improve their emotional intelligence, sharpen their observational skills, and strengthen their analytical capabilities. The focus of my teaching is on TRUST, self-worth, listening to your intuitive sense (your ‘gut feelings’), values, goals, moral code (whether we are active producers or passive receivers of our moral code), roles, statuses, and healthy relationships. I take great pride in helping them evolve into their best self. Some students are younger traditional undergraduates, while others are older adults going back to school after many years in the real world. All want clear information about not only surviving in their social world but also thriving in it. Throughout my teaching, I make an effort to strike a balance between theory and practice. My courses enable the student to take an introspective journey of self-awareness, self-motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and social competencies. The emphasis is to help them to understand the self, whom to trust, how to understand others, and how to negotiate in order to have successful trusting relationships. My thesis is based on the belief that understanding whom we can really trust is critical in life because evil exists.

My general philosophical approach to teaching:  The pedagogy that I find most success emphasized the application of learning; that is, to improve critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. Pedagogical techniques and strategies enable a deeper learning of fundamental principles, generalizations, and theories, as well as factual knowledge (terminology, classifications, research results).

                        Ben Franklin (who took this from a Chinese proverb) sums it up:

                   “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”

 Evolution of my teaching experience: From my Mercy students and colleagues I have gained insight and understanding of the diversity of life experiences, perspectives, and world views. Every class in some important way incorporates learning from previous semesters. My students and colleagues have simultaneously managed to keep me young and make me old. Being recognized for ‘teaching excellence’ by my peers several years ago was an incredible honor. Inspired by this confidence I decided to codify and share my specific teaching strategies, techniques, activities, and exercises by creating a textbook for the foundation conflict students [Managing Human Conflict: An Introspective Journey To Negotiating Skills (2018) CA: Cognella Academic Publishing].  



Managing Human Conflict: An Introspective Journey To Negotiating Skills (2018) CA: Cognella Academic Publishing.

Italian American Review, a semi-annual journal of record focusing on the Italian American community (Verrazzano Institute At Mercy University publisher) 1992-1995.

Several research articles published on:

gender, sexuality,  ethnicity and inter-generational families...

              SELECTED HONORS (a partial list):

  • EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING ~ Mercy University                                       
  • OUTSTANDING TEACHING AWARD ~ Mercy University                      
  • DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD ~ Italian Government                 
  • WOMAN OF THE YEAR, Am. Committee on Italian Migration (ACIM),  National Association               
  • NYU HUMANITIES SCHOLAR ~ "Race and Nationality in Modern America"
  • KAPPA DELTA PI ~ National Honor Society in Education Member    since  1967
  • PI GAMMA MU –  currently faculty rep. for Mercy ~ National Social Science Honor Society Member since  1967

 Professional activities/Workshops (a partial list):

  • National Social Science Association (NSSA) ~facilitated “Teaching Symposium”          
  • Mercy University Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning                  
  • Mercy University Program Director, School of Behavioral Sciences             (1999-present)
  • International Conference on Social Values, Oxford University, England ~ Presented Paper: “Can Professors Learn in the Classroom? Team Teaching Conflict Management Skills”     


Workshops:  Teaching, Communicating and Managing Conflict  (developed, presented, assessed):

  • Senior Assist. District Attorneys, Westchester's DA’s Office, White Plains, NY 
  • Regional Conference for Mental Health Professionals                                    
  • Mercy  Faculty Seminar Program Presentations                                             
  • Mercy University “RA” training (dorm students)                                                          
  • Adjunct Faculty Seminars/Workshops “Ethics in the Classroom”                                      
  • Continued Collaborative teaching of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (1998-present)
  • Developed an on-line/distant learning courses in ADR (2002 – present)
  • Developed a graduate program in ADR Italian Government (2002 – present)
  • Developed strategies to train adjunct faculty to teach ADR  (2002 – present)
  • Published/edited the Italian American Review, semi-annual journal of record (1992 – 1995)
  • Executive Director, Verrazzano Institute At Mercy University (1990 – 1995)
  • FCTL "June Intensives' for faculty ~ several years focusing on pedagogy/andragogy, active listening and best practices in the classroom
  • Director of the Social Science Research Lab at the Bronx campus Mahoney Lab

Also, including several Conference presentation/workshops (partial list):

  • International Center on Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM)

  • American Sociological Association (ASA)

  • New York State Sociological Association

  • Eastern Sociological Association

  • National Society of Social Science Association (NSSSA)

  • National Council of Family Relations (NCFR)

  • Regional Conference on Mental Health

  • American Bar Association (ABA)

  • Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (SSSS)

  • Association for Conflict Resolution

  • National Italian American Federation (NIAF)

  • FIERI International organization of students and professional who celebrate Italian Culture