Stepping Up: Become an Effective Title IX Advisor

Self-Paced Virtual Training Program Available Now!

Join our experts to learn strategies for addressing the specific challenges you may face while serving as an Advisor. Regardless of your background or familiarity with Title IX, this course will be useful for you. 

Throughout the course, Title IX experts, Advisors, Investigators, Decision-Makers, and Informal Resolution Facilitators leverage their experiences to teach you what to expect and how to participate in every step of the Title IX Grievance Process. 

What to Expect

Hours of Training Videos

Pages of Downloadable Materials

Expert Course Instructors

Learn on Your Own Time!

We understand that Title IX Advisors may need to prepare at a moment’s notice. 

Therefore, we have designed this course to allow users to revisit content through our online portal. Additionally, all handouts may be downloaded and used as guides throughout the Grievance Process. 


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    Course Curriculum

    Module 1: An Introduction to Title IX

    To navigate the Title IX Grievance Process, Advisors must understand the foundational elements of Title IX. In this module, Title IX experts Patrick B. Mathis and Emma Davis address common questions such as: “What is Title IX?” “Who is involved in the Title IX Process?” and “What is sexual harassment under Title IX?” Emma and Pat also outline the steps of the Title IX Grievance Process and explain key terminology relevant to the process.

    Module 2: Role of the Advisor in the Title IX Grievance Process

    Advisors play a unique role in the Title IX Grievance Process, and in this module Title IX experts Patrick B. Mathis and Emma Davis explain what that role will likely entail when advising a Complainant or Respondent. Emma and Pat first share their Top 5 Tips for preparing to participate in the Title IX process. They then provide an in-depth explanation of every step of the Title IX Grievance Process, including investigation procedures, hearings and cross-examination, determinations of responsibility, appeals, and informal resolution options. Emma and Pat also explain how and why an Advisor will participate during each step of the Title IX process and share tips for effectively serving your Party as a Title IX Advisor.

    Module 3: FAQ with Professional Title IX Advisors

    Professional Title IX Advisors and experienced Title IX Invesitgators Susanna Murphy and Elizabeth Abdnour leverage their own experiences to answer commonly asked questions about the Title IX Grievance Process. They also discuss their responses to particularly challenging situations that may arise for Title IX Advisors. Finally, as career attorneys, Liz and Susanna share their perspectives on the difference between serving as a Title IX Advisor and attorney for a Party.

    Module 4: Providing Trauma-Informed Support as an Advisor

    In Title IX cases, providing emotional support to a Party can be just as important for the Title IX Advisor as providing procedural support. Therefore, in this module licensed psychologist Dr. Jessica Groleau provides an overview of trauma as well as strategies for building rapport with Parties to minimize trauma experienced during the Title IX Grievance Process. Dr. Groleau also explains recognizing personal bias, trauma-informed communication, and promoting empowerment.

    Module 5: Title IX Hearings - Expert Analysis

    Title IX Hearings can be stressful for Parties and their Advisors, often because the Hearing Process contains many procedures that are unfamiliar in a school environment. To address this issue, in this module professional Decision-Makers Kenneth M. Chackes and Judge Michael Jamison thoroughly explain what to expect during the Hearing Process. In addition to sharing best practices, they also explain how to review the Investigative Report, craft cross-examination questions, understand relevance, and prepare to effectively participate in the Title IX Hearing.

    Module 6: Informal Resolution Processes - Expert Analysis

    Informal Resolution may be an option for your Party, and it is important to understand the Advisor’s role during this process. In this module, professional Informal-Resolution Facilitators James W. Reeves and Kim L. Kirn first introduce various forms of informal resolution such as mediation, arbitration, and restorative justice. They then explain what to expect; how to prepare your Party; and the Advisor’s role before, during, and after the Informal Resolution Process.

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    Learning Objectives

    General Objectives

    • Gain an understanding of the Title IX Grievance Process, including reporting, investigation, and hearing processes
    • Gain an understanding of the Advisor’s role throughout the Title IX Grievance Process
    • Learn strategies for effectively supporting Complainants & Respondents during the Title IX Grievance Process

    Procedural Objectives

    • Review key Title IX definitions, including of the definition of sexual harassment and other terms outlined in the Federal Title IX Regulations
    • Understand the roles of Title IX Personnel involved in the Grievance Process
    • Learn strategies to prepare to participate in the formal Title IX Grievance Process as an Advisor
    • Learn strategies to prepare to participate in an Informal Resolution process as an Advisor
    • Gain an understanding of relevant evidence and questions under Title IX
    • Identify steps to appropriately review and respond to evidence collected during the Title IX Investigation and presented in the Investigative Report
    • Gain an understanding of the Title IX Hearing Process, including the role of the Advisor, Parties, and Decision-Maker
    • Gain an understanding of cross-examination under Title IX
    • Identify various forms of informal resolution

    Interpersonal Objectives 

    • Gain a general understanding of trauma and its impact on Parties involved in the Title IX process
    • Learn strategies to effectively communicate with Parties during the process
    • Recognize opportunities to minimize trauma experienced by the Parties during the Title IX Grievance Process



      Professional Investigator & Advisor

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Elizabeth (Liz) Abdnour is an experienced civil rights and employment attorney representing students and provides investigative, consulting, and training services to educational institutions, groups, and nonprofits of all sizes.

      After a career in legal services, where she learned how to advocate for underserved clients from a trauma-informed perspective and supervised a law school practice clinic, Liz transitioned into higher education where she spent three years in the civil rights office at a large land grant university. Liz then opened her own law and consulting practice where she now serves both individual and institutional clients.

      The combination of Liz’s legal experience and her years as an investigator and equity coordinator give her unparalleled expertise regarding educational institutions’ obligations with respect to civil rights and Title IX response.

      Education: New York University School of Law (J.D) and Michigan State University (B.A.)  


      Independent Decision-Maker & Informal Resolution Facilitator

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Ken Chackes has served as a mediator in over 175 cases over the last 20 years, primarily in the areas of education, employment and civil rights. He also has represented parties in more than 100 additional mediations as part of his litigation practice. Ken is a Qualified Mediator for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri; and the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis.

      Ken also has significant litigation experience, specializing in employment discrimination, disability law, education law, civil rights, sexual abuse, and other civil matters.

      Ken has been a frequent speaker and author regarding legal rights and civil litigation for numerous organizations including Eighth Circuit Judicial Conferences; the American Bar Association; the Missouri Bar; the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis; Washington University School of Law; St. Louis University School of Law; University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law; Legal Services Attorney Training Programs in Missouri and Illinois; and numerous community organizations.

      Education: USA&M Advanced Mediator Training (2017, 2019); Member of Training Faculty for Master Class in Civil Mediation, Washington University School of Law (2004) and Two-Day Civil Mediation Training (2004); Mediation Training for Civil Cases, University of Missouri School of Law (1999); Full-time Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington University School of Law as a (1984-1988), teaching Trial Practice, Pre-trial Practice and Procedure (including settlement negotiations and ADR), and in the Civil Litigation Clinic; St. Louis University School of Law (J.D. cum laude 1976); Tulane University (B.A. Psychology 1971)



      Baker Donelson

      Emma Davis is a senior Associate in Baker Donelson’s Memphis office.  Ms. Davis practices primarily employment law but has made a secondary practice out of Title IX work.  Ms. Davis has advised schools on Title IX policies and procedures, has conducted training for Title IX teams, and has served as an advisor, investigator, and a decision-maker on Title IX matters.  Ms. Davis has Title IX litigation experience and experience responding to OCR requests.

      Education: University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law (J.D.) summa cum laude and Rhodes College (B.A.)


      Psychologist, Coordinator of Clinical Services and Training

      Davidson College

      Dr. Groleau earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she worked as a staff psychologist in the Center for Counseling & Psychological Services before joining the Center for Student Health and Well-Being at Davidson College in the fall of 2019. She has conducted research on the impact of trauma in college students, with an emphasis on positive psychology and post-traumatic growth. Her clinical interests include young adult development, working with survivors of sexual abuse and intimate partner violence, LGBTQ issues, relationship concerns, and anxiety.

      Education: University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Ph.D.) and Boston College (B.A.)


      Independent Decision-Maker & Informal Resolution Facilitator

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Michael T. Jamison retired as a Circuit Judge for the State of Missouri in December 2019 after twenty-two years on the bench. He is a mediator with United States Arbitration & Mediation. Mr. Jamison is an Adjunct Professor for St. Louis Community College. He has taught Business Law, Employment Law, Contracts and Administrative Law, as well as Economics.

      Mr. Jamison previously engaged in the corporate practice of law as an Associate General Counsel in the Labor Law Section of the Legal Department of Anheuser-Busch Companies from 1994 to 1997.

      Mr. Jamison was employed as a Field Attorney, Trial Specialist with the National Labor Relations Board from 1976-1992, where he handled numerous unfair labor practice investigations and litigation.

      Mr. Jamison was a senior associate with the Law Firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. for two years after leaving the federal government. His practice consisted of labor and employment law, governmental law, and education law on behalf of the St. Louis Public Schools.

      Education:  USA&M Advanced Mediation Training; Civil Mediation Training University of Missouri School of Law and Supplemental Mediation Training for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri. Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, 1973, from Washington University; and a Juris Doctors degree, 1976, from St. Louis University School of Law.

      KIM L. KIRN, JD

      Independent Decision-Maker & Informal Resolution Facilitator

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Kim Kirn is a full-time mediator and arbitrator with hundreds of completed cases relating to education including special education, American with Disabilities Act, housing, affirmative action, tenure, sexual harassment and employment.  Kim frequently acts as a Fact-Finder for the Illinois State Universities Civil Service System and previously served as a Hearing Board Member for the  Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC)  Her work with the Civil Service System requires that she act as a mediator to see if resolution is possible before beginning the hearing.  This unique experience in conducting mediation-arbitrations, sometimes referred to as Med-Arb can be cost effective and very attractive to the parties looking to resolve disputes in one day or less.

      She mediates disputes through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE); and the Illinois State Board of Education as well as United States Arbitration & Mediation (USA&M); the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors (GGAR); the Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois;  She arbitrates cases through the American Arbitration Association (AAA); USA&M and the Financial Industries Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Her web site is and her “Mediation Under the Arch” blog addresses the serious, and not-so serious, side of ADR at

      Prior to joining USA&M, Kim served as legal counsel for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and the Illinois State Comptroller.  She was the recipient of the Kimmel Leadership Award while working at SIUE.  Additionally, she has taught college level Business Law and Ethics courses. Earlier in her career, Kim practiced law with Lord, Bissell and Brook in Chicago.

      She has written numerous legal articles on education, sexual harassment, privacy in the workplace, published in the St. Louis Lawyer, Illinois Bar Journal, GGAR Outlook publication and American Jurisprudence Proof of Fact.  In addition, she has taught many continuing legal education classes for the Association of Attorney Mediators (AAM) nationally and locally, Fastcase webinars, the St. Louis, Missouri and Madison County bar associations and USA&M.

      Kim is an honors graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia and Notre Dame Law School; she and her husband, David George, have two adult sons and a dog, all of whom are frequent targets of her mediation skills. She served two terms as a publicly elected Glen Carbon Library Trustee.


      Co-Founder & Managing Member

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Patrick B. Mathis is the Co-Founder & Managing Member at Title IX Solutions, LLC as well as a founding shareholder of Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd. (MM&R), a law firm based in Southern Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri.

      With over 30 years of legal experience, Pat has an extensive background in providing legal counsel related to business mergers, sales and acquisitions, shareholder litigation, trusts and wills, probate, federal and state tax audits and appeals, Tax Court litigation, and criminal tax defense. He has written several definitive articles on various aspects of each area.

      As Managing Member of Title IX Solutions, LLC (“TIXS”), Pat brings his extensive legal experience to TIXS clients and investigators. Having advised clients on a wide variety of legal issues, he has a developed awareness of the broad implications of incidents which may affect complainants, respondents, and educational institutions. With that understanding, he is able to work with colleges, Title IX Coordinators, school counsel, and TIXS investigators to develop a comprehensive understanding and approach to addressing the issues which arise in incidents of alleged sexual assaults to ensure prompt and equitable resolutions.

      Pat also coordinates the training of Title IX Solutions investigators regarding the legal aspects of Title IX, DOE guidelines, state law issues, and related areas.

      Pat has conducted numerous seminars and educational programs for IICLE and the American, Illinois State and Metropolitan St. Louis Bar Associations. Pat has been named to Illinois’ Leading Lawyers and Illinois Super Lawyers for several consecutive years, as well as to Who’s Who in American Law. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois.

      Education: Washington University in St. Louis – LL.M. in Taxation 1979, J.D. 1978, M.B.A. 1978; Saint Louis University – B.A. in Chemistry 1973


      Investigator & Advisor

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Susanna Murphy began her work as an independent Title IX advisor and investigator after 20 years of legal experience, first as a trial attorney and then as an investigator, in the criminal justice system.

      Ms. Murphy has served as an advisor for complainants, as an advisor and/or a defense investigator for respondents, and as an independent investigator. She has also testified as an expert witness on Title IX investigations and provided educational prevention programming to private secondary schools and organizations.

      Throughout her career, Ms. Murphy has put respect, discretion, objectivity, attention to detail and professionalism as her top priorities in every Title IX case. She is mindful of the sensitive nature of these kinds of allegations and is skilled at making parties and witnesses as comfortable as possible while discussing topics of a very sensitive nature.

      Ms. Murphy has lectured and critiqued at Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education on a variety of topics, including presenting at the “Trying Sex Offense Cases” Program on the topic of Investigating Sexual Assault Cases. She also served as a staff attorney with the training unit of CPCS.

      She is a member of both the Massachusetts and Maryland Bars and fluent in the language and most recent requirements of the Clery Act and Title IX.


      Independent Decision-Maker & Informal Resolution Facilitator

      Title IX Solutions, LLC

      Jim Reeves has been a mediator for almost 30 years.  He mediates business and legal disputes involving employment and workplace, general tort liability, medical malpractice, products liability , condemnation, family business issues, partnership disputes, and general business and commercial disputes. Jim also has expertise convening multi-party processes to resolve legal, organizational, community, and public policy disputes.  Jim was a litigation attorney for over 20 years and has operated his own firm providing mediation, facilitation, and conflict management services to individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations.  He has also held executive management positions in corporate and small business environments.  He is a Lecturer in Law at Washington University in St. Louis where he teaches several ADR courses, including Mediation Theory & Practice, and Multi-Party and Public Policy Dispute Resolution.  He was also an adjunct professor of law at St. Louis University where he taught Civil Practice and Negotiation.

      Jim has served on the mediation panels of United States Arbitration & Mediation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the United States Veterans Administration, the National Archives and Records Administration, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, and various federal and state courts.  He is also a volunteer facilitator in the Victim-Offender Dialogue Program in the St. Louis County (Missouri) Family Court, Juvenile Division.  He is a member of the Missouri Bar ADR Committee former Chair; Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis ADR Committee former Chair; Association of Missouri Mediators former President, Human Resource Management Association, and the St. Louis Organization Development Network. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado.

      Education: Jim received his LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2004, where he focused on conflict resolution and organizational leadership and change, his J.D. from St. Louis University in 1984, and his B.S. from the University of Central Missouri in 1980. Jim received training in mediation from CDR Associates in Boulder, CO in 1991 and returned to CDR Associates for training in conflict management systems design in 1995.  He has also received advanced mediation training from United States Arbitration & Mediation in 1996, 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005