Manual for Colleges & Universities Developing Programs in Peace & Conflict Studies

Manual for Colleges & Universities Developing Programs in Peace & Conflict Studies

Second Edition

Various Authors

Conflict Studies Collaborative


Manual for Colleges & Universities Developing Programs in Peace & Conflict Studies

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Manual for Colleges & Universities Developing Programs in Peace & Conflict Studies by Conflict Studies Collaborative is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

A Creative Commons BY-NC licensed book edited by Jennifer Batton, Julie Shedd, David J. Smith and Bill Warters.



This How to Manual for Colleges and Universities Developing and/or Enhancing their Programs in Peace and Conflict Studies is a product of a collaboration that began in 2009 in which lessons learned about the process of developing programs, certificates, and degrees in peace and conflict studies were shared, with details on capacity building, not only in the classroom, but in the college and university as a whole.  The 2018 manual builds upon the prior work which was a collaboration between Global Issues Resource Center, Cuyahoga Community College and the United States Institute of Peace, and is intended as a resource for faculty, staff and administrators, authored by faculty, staff and administrators.  As it was developed as “how to” handbook to assist colleges and universities as they build their programs, the content was to be written with practical, non-theoretical strategies for development.  The 2009 edition can be accessed here:

Collaborating groups and institutions for the 2018 guide include: The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Peace Education Working Group, George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Wayne State University’s Master’s in Dispute Resolution Program.  The second edition on-line manual, no longer focuses specifically on community college level programs, but also includes four year and graduate level programs.  While the 2009 manual focused on capacity building and sustainability, the 2018 resource provides an overview of specific efforts such as examples of standards of community mediation applied in law schools/alternative dispute resolution centers, on-line and hybrid course development, career options and professionalizing programs.

The content and views expressed in these chapters, is solely the authors’ and does not necessarily reflect the editors’ views.  While the editors submitted requested changes, not all of the changes requested are reflected in the 2018 documents attached.

This is a work in progress, with additional chapters being submitted in May 2018 during the 12th International conference on Conflict Resolution Education, Bridging the Divide in Polarized Societies, to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, USA May 22 –  26th.  We would still welcome additional chapters on good practices in

If you are interested in submitting a chapter, please contact Jennifer Batton, Chair of the Peace Education Working Group for the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict before May 27th, 2018.  She can be reached at +1 (USA) 216-952-5609 or by email at   The guidelines for submission can be located at:



Materials in this section are designed to help orient readers to the broad field of peace and conflict studies within higher education.


Teaching Peace and Conflict in U.S. Community Colleges


David J. Smith

Today, policy makers, government officials, business people, and the public are looking to community colleges to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing this country. This is not surprising, as community colleges have been in the forefront of positive social, economic, and policy change since their inception in the early days of the 20th century.

America will continue to be a destination for immigrants who have been economically, politically, and socially marginalized; subjected to human rights abuses; and victimized by violence in their homelands. These new arrivals depend on community colleges to provide them with occupational and life skills, social and political security, and the opportunity to become part of a society that guarantees tolerance and promotes upward mobility. Individuals who find themselves suddenly out of work are seeking out community colleges for retraining and the hopes of retaining their dignity in the face of the current economic crisis. Veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are looking to community colleges as places to find caring faculty and supportive environments that will assist in their pursuing careers and coping with adjustments after military life. All who are in need of second chances or a fresh start know that community colleges are there for them.

Because community colleges are open enrollment, less costly as compared to 4-year institutions, and are able to provide a wide range of opportunities in both academic and vocational education, they are aptly referred to as “democracy’s colleges.” They have long been in the business of making communities stronger and more vibrant, minimizing economic and social inequities, and overall providing hope to those who need it most. This sector of American education has done much to secure prosperity and security, competitiveness and stability, and cultural and social enrichment. As such community colleges have been a major force in guaranteeing the essential building blocks necessary for a society that is peaceful and able to deal with conflict in constructive ways. Thus it should come as no surprise that community colleges are ideally and logically positioned to tackle one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today: increasing levels of unmanageable conflict and violence. As the need to resolve conflict and foster security becomes more pressing, community colleges are positioning themselves as ideal environments in which to promote strategies and initiatives that can strengthen peace in the U.S. and around the world.

The field of peace and conflict studies was born out of the reality that only a multi-disciplinary perspective could transform society from a culture of violence to one of peace. As such, solving the world’s most serious conflicts requires a range of actors, academic fields, perspectives, and strategies. Because of the array of traditional liberal arts and vocational education approaches that community colleges take, they are uniquely positioned to provide the broadest range of Americans with opportunities to learn about peace and conflict resolution. No other sector of U.S. education is as well placed for this charge. The time for community colleges to in engage in this important work is now.

The approaches that community colleges are taking to increase peace are as wide ranging as their missions, talents, and demographics. Students intent on obtaining 4-year degrees find themselves in community colleges often because of academic deficiency or economic hardship, and as such developing courses and degrees that transfer is an essential approach. Increasingly, community colleges are also looking at their vocational and career education missions as opportunities to teach about peace. In that career students upon graduation are not as likely to continue with formal higher education, incorporating the teaching of peace and conflict at this level is essential. As centers of community education and social and cultural life, community colleges are also considering non-credit and extracurricular efforts and projects that seek to serve their student groups be they defined by ethnicity, age, socio-economic class, or professional cohort. These colleges are also exploring innovative approaches to teaching and learning based on experiential education. Finally, many community colleges are seeking the means to not only increase peace in their home communities, but in the communities that their populations have come from overseas. As such, some community colleges are redefining community to extend beyond the county line and to the farthest corners of the world.

Community college environments are ideal ones to teach about peace and conflict issues. Besides their often demographic diversity and multiple missions, community college faculty are well-suited to engage students on the issues of the day, be they global and international, or domestic and community-based. Community college faculty are first and foremost teachers. It has been the authors experience that faculty from four year colleges and universities tend to research more and teach less than community college faculty. Many community college faculty come to teaching after having careers as practitioners and as such can provide unique perspectives on conflict management strategies such as problem solving and peacebuilding. Their stories and lessons in understanding the sources of conflict and approaches to peace are not taken merely from textbooks, but are drawn from their own life experiences.

The motivation and determination of creative and dedicated faculty are critical factors in the overall success of these efforts. As teachers, they are engaged in getting their students to think critically about not only the important issues of the day, but about the challenges and opportunities within their own lives. Community college instructors also engage in intensive advising, not only on academic issues, but frequently on personal matters. They often develop close bonds with students and are aware of the intimate challenges that their students are facing be it the newly divorced mother who must quickly learn a trade, the laid off middle age father who needs to support a family, the minority youth who cannot read or write at a level that will assure success in life, or the nearly arrived immigrant who is adjusting to American lifestyles and expectations. As such, community college faculty tend to develop strong empathy and awareness of their students’ lives and aspirations. Because of the presence of conflict and violence in the lives of community college students, particularly in local and interpersonal contexts, there is a pressing need to teach about promoting peace and approaches to conflict resolution. In addition, as the world becomes more globally connected and opportunities (including career related) and challenges abound, community colleges are seeing the need to promote peace and stability not only in their students’ lives, but also in a greater global context. This is all the more needed when one considers the tremendous ethnic and cultural diversity that exists on many college campuses, making them metaphors for the world at large.

Community college graduates constitute the backbone of America’s middle and working classes. They will pursue careers as nurses and allied health workers, legal assistants and office workers, police and criminal justice professionals, teachers and paraeducators, mechanics and information technicians, and retail workers and business owners. As members of democratic society they will take on roles as civic leaders and PTA officers, volunteer for shelters and other charitable causes, and serve on community boards and seek public office. If we are to see a genuine change from a culture of violence to one of peace it is essential that Americans of all backgrounds learn the needed conflict resolution skills and develop peacebuilding awareness and attitudes that can be integrated personally and professionally.

There is a quiet revolution taking place on community college campuses today. More and more are furthering the teaching of peace and conflict by developing programs, courses, community based initiatives, and a range of other activities to promote a society that is peaceful, secure, and offers the promise of conflict resolution strategies for dealing with future challenges. Community colleges that are pursuing peace and conflict initiatives are generally putting forth one of four different strategies, often in combination with each other.

First, there is an increase in the development of traditional social science and humanities based peace and conflict studies programs and courses. The 7th edition of the Global Directory of Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution Programs published in 2006 listed only two community college based programs in the U.S.Harris, I., & Shuster, A. (Eds.) (2006). Global directory of peace studies and conflict resolution programs (7th ed.) San Francisco: Peace and Justice Studies Association/International Peace Research Association Foundation. (The directory also has an online version which permits community colleges to update their activities and add new programs).  Most recently, the U.S. Institute of Peace has been gathering data on community college programs as a way of measuring the effectiveness of its annual seminar for community college faculty. The most recent assessment indicates that as of the end of 2009-2010 academic year there are nearly 20 community colleges offering a credit based degree/certificate/concentration that has a decidedly peace and conflict studies focus.Appendix A is a list of community college programs that are both credit based and non-credit focused. Though frequently attached to traditional disciplines such as political science or sociology, these programs tend to be interdisciplinary reflective of the approaches that community colleges are taking to provide students with integrative experiences more relevant for today’s world. This approach is also ideal for community colleges where faculty tend to teach across disciplines or with other colleagues in learning communities. As students who would otherwise attend 4-year institutions are frequently turning to community colleges, they are looking for programs that are challenging, focus on the complexity and reality of the world today, and can transfer once they finish their course work. As such, colleges are starting to realize that a peace and conflict studies program, particularly one that has a strong global focus, is a way of attracting and keeping motivated students.

But to focus only on traditional transfer areas is only looking at half of the picture. Unlike most 4-year institutions, community colleges are strongly committed to vocational education. While career students can be exposed to peace issues through general education offerings, they can also benefit from the teaching of conflict management skills in their specialty classes. Faculty are now starting to consider how they can engage vocational students such as those in nursing, law enforcement, paralegal studies, and business management in looking at the use of conflict management strategies as they interact with their future clients, patients, and customers on how to promote the peaceful resolution of conflict.

Teaching about issues of peace and conflict management may manifest itself in a variety of ways such as when treating human rights and international law in a homeland security or law enforcement program. Or it could focus on how global pandemics can hasten global conflict in a nursing education program. These career oriented strategies have an important benefit for those students who might consider non-traditional starting points in their careers such as international humanitarian work or joining the Peace Corps (which has a track specially structured for community college students). In addition, the natural and physical sciences have important roles to play in teaching about peace, particularly when considering the interplay between environmental degradation and conflict. Increasingly peace studies programs are including courses that relate to environmental sustainability.

A second strategy has been to launch non-credit initiatives often structured as institutes or centers that focus on issues of peace and conflict. Frequently these strategies are in response to a community-based interest in social justice or global concerns. Community colleges have always been in the forefront of community education and outreach, and these efforts thus become an extension of this work. With diversity increasing on community college campuses and more students enrolling who have lived in conflict zones, these centers often can have a strong peace and conflict focus in an ethnic or cultural context. Because of the prevalence of global peace education and non governmental organizations conducting peace work aboard, internationals often see the value of teaching about reconciliation, human rights, and other areas that form the basis of broad based peace and stability.

A third strategy focuses on pursuing international development as a means to furthering global peace, conflict resolution, and stability. Community colleges have been traditionally reluctant to engage in international work. The number of faculty who pursue Fulbright grants and other professional development type experiences is low. However, some colleges, often urged on by local diaspora and ethnic groups, are using their technical expertise in furthering peace overseas. This might be helping to start a technical institution or offering their faculty to teach or take students abroad. Because of community college expertise in occupational learning – particularly in areas that are needed in zones of conflict such as health sciences and law enforcement – they can make meaningful contributions to bringing about stability overseas. To succeed, community colleges need to partner with non-government organizations that can provide the needed technical and logistic support and seek funding from entities such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the United Nations.

A final strategy looks at new experiential approaches for teaching about peace. Though these strategies can take place as part of a course, community college faculty are increasingly building opportunities for students that transcend the traditional course and focus on “doing” peace and conflict work – be in the local community context or globally – and thereby providing hands on experiences that students can then apply in their lives and careers. For example, colleges are cooperating to provide opportunities for students to engage in large scale web based simulation exercises that teach about the complexities of international conflict and negotiations. Other colleges are capitalizing on their strength in training, and providing opportunities for students to participate in exercises that simulate working in conflict zones, thereby getting a taste for a career as a humanitarian or international development worker. In some cases, these opportunities are taking place overseas as part of study abroad experiences.

With such a wide range of efforts, there is an increasing need for faculty in community colleges to take stock of what they have accomplished and assist colleagues in their efforts in teaching about peace. As community colleges are as diverse as the students and communities they serve, there is no cookie cutter approach to promoting a peace and conflict studies strategy. Also, it is often difficult to take models developed at 4-year liberal arts and state universities and apply them to community colleges. The structural and environmental challenges of community colleges, coupled with inherent opportunities, require that community college faculty and administrators make their own paths, develop their own models, and share them in order to grow the field in community colleges in a way that can withstand scrutiny, is sustainable, and can be built collaboratively. As such, this guide has been developed by leaders in community colleges who have blazed their own trails, often quietly and with little outside support, in making their institutions catalysts for positive and meaningful change in the world. It is hoped that this collection of articles will serve as a guide to community college faculty and administrators across the U.S. who are now realizing the potential that community colleges have to teach about peace, as well as the need that exists in the communities that their students are coming from to positively impact their students’ personal and professional lives.

There is much to do, but many willing and talented faculty supported by visionary leadership are making peace a priority for their community college’s efforts. This is just the start.

About the Author: David Smith is Senior Program Officer, Education & Training Center/Domestic at the United States Institute of Peace

Peace and Conflict Studies in Colleges and Universities (New for 2018)


Julie Shedd

Peace and Conflict studies are a growing part of the College and University landscape, both in terms of numbers of degrees but also in terms of the institutionalization of these disciplines within the University setting. 2017-18 was a banner year in this regard with both Kent State University in Ohio and Kennesaw State University in Georgia consolidating their peace and conflict programs into a stand-alone School within the University. These two join George Mason University and the University of San Diego in the U.S. as Universities who have recognized the value and role of these programs and the research and teaching happening in this area. These institutional commitments to the field are in addition to the explosion of degree programs around the world. I won’t even attempt to give a summary number of programs internationally, since there is wide variation depending on what you consider part of the field. For a searchable database with a sampling of programs, you can visit the Peace and Justice Studies Association’s Directory here.

Much like our community college colleagues, 4-year institutions are increasingly being tasked with developing “career ready” graduates and linking directly what happens in the classroom with career skills. The challenge that we face in linking our academic programs to career prospects is the vast range of careers that we are preparing our students to embark on. We are asked all the time, at recruiting events, about job prospects, so to illustrate the challenge this variety of careers presents, let me say a little about what the trajectories of our graduates includes, what I refer to as “the buckets”.

One bucket of jobs is the most obvious, the conflict resolution or dispute resolution practitioner, although even within this bucket there is wide variation. This buckets includes mediators or facilitators, jobs in human resources or equity offices, restorative justice practitioners and counselors. There is a long tradition of conflict resolution practitioners working with unions and management to mediate or negatiate. The introduction of policies at local, state and national levels that require dispute resolution systems in place in organizations, has created a strong market for students with the skills to help individuals and small groups navigate disputes.

Another bucket is related, but deals more with organizations and how they more broadly manage conflict and change. Here we have graduates working either as employees or consultants providing assessments, training, or interventions with organizations of all sizes and across the public, private and non-profit center. They work on enhancing organizational cultures and structures to help manage a diversity of work styles, values, personalities or ideologies. Work in this areas requires strong interpersonal conflict skills, but also effective facilitation skills, as well as the ability to do deep level analysis of structures and organizations. It requires creativity and the capacity to understand context.

Graduates are also found in quite a different bucket of jobs, national security and law enforcement. Here we find military members, law enforcement, investigators, intelligence analysts, and policy jobs. For many of these graduates the analytical training as well as capacity to think across disciplines and to bring insights from the range of the social and behavioral sciences prepares them for success. They may also depend on the interpersonal conflict management skills they develop.
Related to that, are the bucket of jobs related to diplomacy and international organizations. Here we have graduates at international governmental organizations like the United Nations and its subsidiaries or the Organization of African States as well as graduates working within a national diplomatic core. They may be helping to negotiate peace processes or working on transnational issues. They might also be using communication and negotiation skills to negotiate trade or political deals. Again here, the combination of strong analytical skills to diagnose a problem, paired with interpersonal skills is key.

A slightly different bucket is those working at the local, state or national level in the policy arena. This may be jobs developing policy directly, but also is often associated with the processes by which governments and their constituents interact. This includes designing processes by which public deliberation and decision making can happen, providing avenues for citizen feedback, creating spaces for dialogue across lines of difference within communities about issues that matter. Heavily contextually specific, for this work our graduates need to have the preparation to do effective process design that is contextually relevant.

An area of work in which conflict resolution has been mainstreamed, is in “conflict-sensitive development”. The international aid and development community has increasingly called for our graduates to have the skills to help design and implement development and aid projects that address poverty, gender based issues, human rights, and democracy promotion. In many cases, jobs here look quite similar to jobs doing peacebuilding in domestic contexts. Our graduates are using their tools to deal with the structural and historical issues that affect so many. They may be working with communities in the aftermath of violence or disaster or in times of political transition. They may be helping communities address discrimination or division based on race, ethnic identity, class or religion through dialogue or restorative process. Graduates working in these areas have a huge range of skills they need to be able to call on based on their context, including process skills, trauma healing, communication skills, analytical capacity and technical knowledge.

Our graduates are also found in education, both k-12 and higher education. They are teachers, researchers and guidance counselors, bringing conflict resolution tools to their work with students. They might be bringing peer mediation or restorative justice to schools, or providing leadership within a school or school system. In higher education settings you find our graduates both in academic departments, but also working in student services or programming areas to bring conflict resolution strategies to students of all majors. The ability to transmit knowledge and to train and educate is essential for graduate in these roles.

The final bucket I’ll mention, although this list of buckets should not be considered exhaustive, is that of advocacy work. On a variety of issues, both close to home and with global reach, our graduates are advocating for social change, human rights, and many other causes of interest. They use their knowledge of conflict dynamics to find ways to impact perceptions and create spaces for many voices. They may be directly engaging in protests, lobbying for policy change, or writing op-eds and serving as public intellectuals. All of these take advantage of our graduates strong communication skills and ability to understand underlying causes of conflict.

John Paul Leaderch and Katie Mansfield developed a visual for their conceptualization of “Strategic Peacebuilding Paths” which are similar in many ways to what I have described here as buckets. You can see the wheel and descriptions they created here if you would like another take.

So by now you probably have noticed the challenge we face, how do we possibly design curriculum that prepares students for all of these different types of careers and takes full advantage of the multi-disciplinarity of our fields components and members. Looking across different universities, there seem to be two approaches to this challenges, each has advantages and disadvantages. Some programs, like mine, have adopted a generalist approach, where our philosophy is to educate students about conflict causes, dynamics and opportunities for intervention across the whole spectrum of conflict types and levels. Sitting in the same classroom will be student who wants to work in dispute resolution and one that wants to create Middle East peace. The idea here is that conflict has some underlying principles or conditions that you can find no matter the level, and that we are preparing students to be able to analyze a particular conflict and then prepare a context specific intervention. The advantage here is probably obvious, it is the transferability of skills. Students educated in this style should have the ability to deal with any conflict they are faced with and may through the course of their career work at many levels. I can use myself as an example here since I was educated in this tradition- my research work and writing is about international terrorism and extremism and I have recently found myself working concretely with school systems on addressing conflicts in the special education process between parents and teachers. The downside may be equally obvious, we often have students that struggle with their direction. Where do they go from here? Or sometimes more fundamentally students that have jumped around through the curriculum and get to the end and wonder, what did I actually learn? Do I have enough specific technical knowledge for the jobs I am looking for? The challenge is to navigate the balance between coherence of curriculum and specific skills development and the more generalized and transferable skills and knowledge.

The second option, (and I shouldn’t present these as bi-polar options, but rather as end on a continuum) is to design a curriculum that takes one particular industry, type of conflict, level, or possibly one of the career buckets I described above and tailors the courses to prepare students to work specifically in that area. This might involve strong linkages to another academic discipline or program or embedding the program within a specific school. Examples here include programs embedded in diplomacy schools, law schools, business schools or social work schools (to name just a few) as well as programs in specific subareas of the field like negotiations, alternative dispute resolution, human rights, or genocide studies (again not an exhaustive list). The advantage here is also probably equally obvious. Graduates from these programs have a much clearer connection from curriculum to career and the program itself is structure in a coherent way. Students are able to articulate more clearly what they know and have deeper specific knowledge about their particular context. The down side is, of course, that they may not have the ability to transfer their skills from the specific area they studied to another context. In terms of employment options they may not have the flexibility to look at multiple industries or types of jobs.

For those thinking about developing programs in peace and conflict studies I would recommend real deep and strategic thinking on where you want to fit on the spectrum from general to specific programs. Reflect on your schools capacity to “teach it all” or if you have areas of deep specialization you can tap into. Think about what kinds of graduates you want to have and where they will likely find jobs based on your own context.

As a final thought, there will be more about this later in the volume so I’ll be brief here, but I would also encourage anyone developing or enhancing a program to build in from the very beginning, scaffolded opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning. One of the primary strengths we need our graduates to have is the confidence in their capacity to intervene in the world in a meaningful way. In order to achieve that we have to provide opportunities for them to engage in reflective practice and supported spaces for them to try, struggle and succeed. This takes real intentional thought to make these opportunities effective.

Dr. Julie Shedd
Associate Dean
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
March 2018

About the Author:  Juliette Shedd, Ph.D. is teaching faculty and the Associate Dean at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

Capacity Building and Sustainability


Materials in this section support program developers and faculty in their search to build sustainable program designs. Topics covered include Gaining Administrative Support, Developing a Market Plan and Survey, Developing an Academic Program, Strategies and Resources for Faculty Development, Transfer Preparation and more.


Planning Strategically: Program Structuring and Restructuring (New for 2018)


Amy Cox

Building or restructuring a program, undergraduate or graduate, in the field of International Peace and Conflict Resolution is a daunting task. Resources, faculty, strategic planning, marketing and promotion, enrollment and admissions, curriculum design and professional development are some of the key issues that arise in program development. University administrators are more focused than ever on bottom lines and prospective students want to know how their degrees are going to ensure them better career prospects. Programs also need to be cognizant of the implications for students in pursuing an expensive education in a field where most will ultimately work in the non-profit sector. Thus, creating a successful program requires extensive thought, research and planning. The next few pages describe steps that may help guide aspiring faculty through a process of program structuring. The steps and the lessons learned section at the end arise out of our experience restructuring a fifteen-year old program. Included here are both general information and suggestions, as well as examples from our experience.


Arcadia University International Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR) Master’s degree program was established in 1999 and after fifteen years underwent a major program restructuring to address a wide array of changes and challenges the program faced including changes in the field, a proliferation of new IPCR programs, alumni feedback, and internal changes, which included department consolidation that subsumed us into a larger department.

Historically, the program’s goals were focused on giving graduate students opportunities to participate in study abroad experiences and field related international internships, which was a natural extension of the incredible and extensive network of opportunities offered to undergraduates by Arcadia’s College of Global Studies. The challenge in 2015 was that Arcadia was no longer unique in this regard and that it needed to be more explicit about identity: what is the program educating and training students to do, or be? Who should attend the program? How does this program fit into the field? Reflecting on tools like the Peacebuilding Wheel (2008) designed by John Paul Lederach and Katie Mansfield at KROC, it is apparent that programs have to make difficult decisions about what to focus on.

Thus, the program restructuring had some very big goals: articulation of a new mission, situation among other programs and in the field as a whole, identification of specific program goals, analysis of current resources, strengths and weaknesses, and then building, or changing, the curriculum to match new goals. The program already existed with courses, resources, faculty teaching in the program, and students so we had a history of experiences to draw upon, but these also confined us and created a boundaried space.

Ultimately our restructuring became a two-part process that occurred over two years: part one was led by a small group of core faculty that focused on adjusting credits, tuition, and program layout. The second part of restructuring incorporated a much larger set of stakeholders, and focused on content, learning goals, requirements and program planning. Our process was more challenging than the linear process detailed below, as we were defining and re-defining who we were throughout the process, rather than at the onset, and we had to cycle through some stages repeatedly before moving on to the next. As is true for the peacebuilding process is also true for our restructuring process: we cycle through stages until we learn what we need to learn in order to move on.

Step 1: Stakeholders: Define “who” is going to be involved

Determining stakeholders is the first step: who should be involved? There may be internal or external stakeholders depending on the goals.  In our experience we focused on internal stakeholders, those directly associated with the university, such as faculty, administrators, staff, students and alumni can all play important roles in the process of structuring or restructuring a program. Knowing when to engage which stakeholders can be political and complicated. The goals should be transparency, effective communication and accountability, as well as finding willing and enthusiastic partners. Change can be difficult and often unwelcome, so finding a few passionate and determined people to work with can be essential to overcoming obstacles. It also might be a good idea to find an outside facilitator if there are contentious politics or issues involved.

Some possible ways to find people:

At Arcadia, we do not have program specific full-time faculty, but rather shared faculty and adjuncts who either teach primarily at the undergraduate level, teach only one or two courses, or teach part-time at the university and are not paid for any administrative work. We also had alumni, students, a department chair, a dean and staff that were involved and included in various stages of our planning, however, not all stakeholders were involved at every stage. We hired a general organizational behavior facilitator[1] who did not have a specific background in the field of conflict resolution, but had extensive experience facilitating groups through conflict. It could be useful to find one familiar with the field— depending on the objectives. Sometimes people with a lot of field knowledge can sway outcomes, so it’s not — by definition — necessary to have someone from the field. Having an outside facilitator was important for us for a few reasons, particularly because as Director, I could not both facilitate and advocate for what I thought was important.

Step 2: Information Gathering

Once the stakeholders have been identified, gathering and sharing information is key. This can occur in many ways: attending conferences about the field, about international peace and conflict resolution (IPCR) programs and education; asking experts and reading key field journals; collecting data from students and alumni; collecting data about faculty, resources, needs of the school/program, and data about the market. In our case, attending conferences about peace and conflict resolution education made it apparent that our program needed to restructure. Subsequently, we sought expert insight about program related specifics through guest speakers, and by attending a specific summer ‘school’ on program development at the KROC Annual Summer Institute for faculty at the University of Notre Dame.

There are a few excellent conferences specifically on peace studies and/or conflict resolution higher education that can be exceptionally useful in thinking about identity, curriculum and content, as well as conferences where one can gain understanding of the field in general.

This is a sampling of relevant conferences that occur regularly:

We also collected information about our current program by surveying alumni[2]. We already had general exit surveys[3] from many past years of graduates. In addition, we surveyed fifteen specific alumni to answer key restructuring questions and participate in the restructuring process. Lastly, our facilitator conducted structured interviews with faculty, staff and administrators directly involved in the program[4].

We had the capacity and resources to use multiple tools to collect data in a variety of ways.

Some useful tools for programs with few resources:

Another strategy in information gathering is to invite field experts to speak to faculty and students. We invited George Lopez from University of Notre Dame, in part because he was involved in our program’s development in 1999, and in part because he is an expert not just in the field, but about the field. We wanted him to share his insight, help us build some consensus around future directions, and engage us in a discussion about professional development. He gave his talk prior to dinner and table discussions took place during the meal. We did have funding for the dinner, but brown bag lunches or pot lucks are also great ways to create a space for engagement, brainstorming and consensus building without burdening faculty with dozens of meetings. Following are some scholars and administrators[5] that could give insightful talks:

After data has been collected compile, analyze, and share it[6]. It’s generally good practice to focus on trends and patterns. In our case, we identified patterns such as a desire for more professional skills and development, lower tuition, increase job placement help, maintain/develop more global study options and field work experiences. We omitted anything specific to one person.

Step 3: Visioning and Mission Statements

Now that the team has relevant and useful information about the field, and feedback about the current program or need for a program, it’s time to articulate a vision. What kind of program do the stakeholders want? What should it aspire to do or be? These kind of ‘big picture’ questions require processing. Essentially this is a consensus building exercise as much as a visioning exercise. A meeting agenda for visioning should have guidelines, bounded questions and a clear format. It may be a good idea to start collecting data about the vision before bringing everyone together. Then, ideas can be consolidated to a few options for the meeting so the discussion can be focused, efficient and productive.

We gathered faculty ideas during the interviews we conducted in our information gathering stage. This began informal one-on-one discussions, which enabled us to do some consensus building before going into the workshop. For instance, by the time we conducted our first of two Saturday workshops, we knew that the program was going to move more intentionally towards a professional and applied program. Then, we used the workshop to focus specifically on which concentrations and skills our program should ideally offer to fulfill the vision. For our two workshops, we also enlarged our stakeholder set and invited all teaching faculty who participate in the program as well as the fifteen selected alumni, staff and the department chair. Our facilitator used some unique exercises including “Collapsing Consensus” and “Las Vegas Voting”[7] to help us achieve consensus around concentrations and skills. Many exercises can be found free online that facilitators can use to frame the conversation:

Big Hairy Audicious Goals (BHAG)- business model for visioning big goals

By the end of our first workshop[8], we were clear that our focus should be on strengthening and developing:

We also identified two key concentrations we thought would address some of the more specific needs of professional and practical skill development: Social Justice: Advocacy and Activism, and NGO Management and Social Entrepreneurship.

This step should also enable a mission statement to be drafted, and circulated for approval among the group. This is a very important way to define the program’s primary purpose and should be succinct and address: who is the audience or market, what is being offered, and what makes the program unique? Over time, our mission statement developed to become:

Step 4: SWOT Analysis/Needs Assessment

Once a mission or vision is identified, the group can do an assessment or SWOT, to ascertain what is already in place to support it, and determine what is missing or required to make it work. Resources are always finite; program planning requires understanding what ‘Strengths’ exist and can be built upon, what limitations (Weaknesses) the program or department has, where there are ‘Opportunities’ for growth and development, and what ‘Threats’ exist to the program’s development, progress or growth. In this step, it’s particularly important to involve as many stakeholders as are involved in the process because then everyone can observe the assessment and how future decisions were guided by it. A SWOT analysis or needs assessment should shape the direction of the rest of the process. It should narrow the focus and show where the opportunities are for development. There are many good templates online to assist in this process.

In our second Saturday morning facilitated workshop[9] we did a kind of SWOT analysis; taking inventory of our assets and capacities, and needs based on the vision we articulated in workshop #1. Faculty identified what they were already doing in their courses and what they were willing to incorporate. This enabled us to see the areas where we lacked expertise or capacity to fulfill our vision. Our particular needs were focused largely on skill areas that faculty didn’t “do”, and where we would need to bring in outside expertise either through courses, workshops, or seminars/speakers. It may be that after this step, it becomes apparent that the vision must be re-worked because of lack of resources or expertise.

Step 5:  Curriculum design/redesign

Using the SWOT analysis or needs assessment, either the director or a small group of people drafts and circulates a curriculum map that integrates courses, opportunities, and field experiences to realize the vision.  This should be building on the assessment rather than something that is being created tabula rasa. Driving questions should be: What are the specific program learning goals and how will they be delivered?

For instance, in our case we needed to determine sequencing of courses and which courses would qualify for a particular concentration. We needed to work backwards from capstone to make sure students were learning and practicing what we wanted them to be able to do independently. Much of this happened in informal one-on-one or small group meetings as not everyone needed to be part of every conversation. In general, we all understood that old courses would need to be reworked to meet new learning objectives.

Step 6: Seeking Approval

At some stage, and it may not be here, its assumed that programs, departments or faculty, will have to get formal approval for changes to the program. In our case we sought approval at two stages: the first stage was after we reduced our credit load and, subsequently, tuition by 28%. Once that was approved, we moved forward with our workshops and consensus building around a vision, a SWOT analysis and curriculum design. Upon completion, these were also submitted for approval. This will vary according to individual program, department and university requirements, but it would be imprudent not to mention this step at all.

Step 7: Consolidation and implementation

This final stage is on-going. Upon approval implementation begins. As with the implementation of a peace agreement, one cannot anticipate all the challenges and obstacles that may arise, but if a program has established a small core group of supportive stakeholders that can meet periodically, then this will be manageable.

This stage is also where there will likely be a shift into marketing and promoting the new program. Particularly in smaller universities, programs may be expected to take on some of the responsibility of attracting new students, retaining old ones, and growing the program. In our case, we are creating a few new courses, bringing in weekend workshops, shaping our international experience options for students and refining our admissions process.

Lessons Learned


Ensure stakeholders are clearly identified at the beginning of the process. Assess early who needs to be involved in various stages. Not everyone may be able or willing to participate in everything, but identifying who needs to be involved is crucial to keeping the process moving forward and avoiding unnecessary politics.


Establish from the outset the administration’s requirements for the program and create a timeline for the group to help everyone understand the process, the goals and the way in which the pieces fit together. We did not always do this effectively. University timelines to submit new program materials are often well in advance of the next academic cycle, and we found ourselves scrambling to meet deadlines at times, or missing deadlines and approval processes taking longer than expected. This  could have been avoided had we obtained all the relevant university deadlines from the start and built a timeline that incorporated them at the outset of the process.

Future needs:

Consider current and future needs.. Programs have to anticipate: faculty sabbaticals or departures, frozen budgets, the possibility of low enrollments for a few years before admission goals are met, and the need for on-going leadership. None of these can be contingent on one person or scenario; programs have to plan ahead and make decisions on the principles that matter most to your program and not on individual people or their personalities.

Market data:

Most programs do little to contact people outside the university system, in the public, private or non-profit sectors to determine what their needs are and how programs might better prepare students to meet them. Programs can survey, form small focus groups, or conduct phone interviews with local partners, NGOs, government offices, and places where students intern or seek employment, to ascertain skills, content areas or experiences that make students more employable. Programs are often faced with challenges of employment and placement, and helping students is essential to both student and program success.  An example of an internal and external market survey conducted by Cuyahoga Community College for their Peace and Conflict Studies Certificate can be found in the appendix of this on-line manual.

At Arcadia, we are now forming an advisory group of some of our local peacebuilding connections to help us think strategically about future program choices, projects and experiential learning opportunities so that we can continue to grow in this area.

 Addendum A: Exit Survey Questions

General Information

1. Name (optional)

2. What is your student status during the majority of your time in the program?

3. Did you graduate on time with the rest of your cohort?

4. If you did not graduate, please indicate the factors that played a role in your decision to withdraw or delay graduation:

5. Year of Graduation

6. Capstone Project Advisor


1. Please rate your overall experience in the following areas: academic advising, internship, study abroad, capstone, curriculum (Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor, No Contact)

2. Please rate your academic advising (not capstone advisor) experience: (Very Effective, Effective, Moderately Effective, Somewhat Ineffective, Ineffective)

3. What were the best aspects of your advising experience, those that you found most helpful/useful, that should be available for future students?

4.  What areas of the advising experience could be improved? How can this become a stronger aspect of our graduate program?

5.   Please rate the level of preparation you received in each of the following areas (N/A, Poor, Marginal, Adequate, Good, Excellent):

6.  Please rate your experience with the program in the following areas (N/A, Poor, Marginal, Adequate, Good, Excellent):

7.  Please rate the IPCR study abroad components and then provide any specific comments you have for each (Very Effective, Effective, Moderately Effective, Somewhat Ineffective, Ineffective):

8.  Please rate your internship experience and then provide any specific comments you have for each (Very Effective, Effective, Moderately Effective, Somewhat Ineffective, Ineffective):

9.  Please rate the IPCR capstone components and then provide any specific comments you have for each (Very Effective, Effective, Moderately Effective, Somewhat Ineffective, Ineffective):

10.  Overall, what are the strongest aspects of the IPCR Program, which you regard as most successful, or of the greatest benefit to you?

11.  Please list those areas of the IPCR Program that you would recommend revising or removing, and please explain why you would alter those areas of the program.

Arcadia Experience

1.      The following support services provided adequate guidance and support throughout the program (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree, Not Used):

2.      How satisfied were you with how the following technology supported your learning? (Very satisfied, Satisfied, Somewhat satisfied, Not satisfied):

Post Graduation

1.   Overall, how effective has the IPCR program been in preparing you for your professional career? (Very Effective, Effective, Moderately Effective, Somewhat ineffective, Ineffective)

2.   Have you enrolled in or do you plan to apply to a PhD program or other post-graduate study? If yes, please include the name of school and area of study. (I plan to apply, I have enrolled, No I do not plan to apply)

3.   Please describe your employment status post-graduation. (I have a position related to my Master of Arts degree in IPCR, I have the same job as I had prior to entering the program, I have the same job as I had prior to entering the program, but have been promoted, I have a job unrelated to the field of IPCR, I am currently unemployed, Other)

4.   Where are you currently employed? Please list the organization and your job title.

5.   Please rate each job search resource individually. (Most Helpful, Somewhat Helpful, Not Helpful): IPCR Peers, IPCR Professors, Internship Contacts, Study Abroad Contacts, Individual Research, Internet

6.   What are some ways that IPCR could improve or further develop career services for students?

7.    I would recommend the IPCR program to others. (Strongly disagree, Disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Agree, Strongly agree)

Additional Comments

1.      Finally, please take a moment to recognize someone (faculty, staff), or some aspect of the program that was a positive influence or experience for you.


Addendum B: Structured interview questions

Our outside facilitator conducted structured interviews with each faculty member individually and we also created a survey and asked alumni to respond.

  1. What are the 3 best things about the IPCR Program as you have experienced it?
  2. What are 3 things you would change?
  3. Please provide at least 2 suggestions for how we can better prepare them for their careers.
  4. Is there anything else you’d like to share or add?


Addendum C:Workshop #1 Vision Outcomes

This is the result of our first workshop “Visioning the program” that included all teaching faculty and alumni. The goal was to identify and articulate what we wanted the program to be and to offer.

CORE Themes:

Peacebuilding from the Ground Up

Global-Local Connections

Social, Historical, Political and Economic Contexts


SKILLS Core Concentration 1 Concentration 2
Introduce Communication and social media,

resume and cover letter writing, networking

Budgeting, fundraising Budgets, fundraising, marketing, grant writing, business management
Practice (repetitive and graded) Research, writing, teamwork, public speaking, presentations, conflict assessment, mediation*, facilitation , listening, cultural competence, negotiation and problem-solving, analysis, leadership, Self-reflective practice Community organizing, strategic planning, campaign design, program design, media management, non-violent strategies for peace Program planning and design, program management, needs assessment, monitoring and evaluation, data collection


Addendum D: Workshop #2 SWOT Outcomes

In our second faculty and alumni workshop we focused on evaluating the program’s assets and strengths and identifying what we needed to fulfill our new vision.



Have Need
Core Skills -Conflict Assessment




-Research and writing

-Cultural sensitivity

-Self-reflective practice

-Presentations and public speaking

-Networking, resume writing, and cover letters

Concentration 1 skills: NGO Management/Social Entrepreneurship -Needs Assessments

-Monitoring and Evaluation

-Program planning and development

-Strategic planning (some)

– Budgets

– Fundraising

–   Grant-writing

–   Entrepreneurship

–   Business management

Concentration 2 skills: Social Justice: Advocacy and Activism –   Advocacy

–   Campaign development and planning

–   Non-violence strategies

–   Organizing

-Social Media management

[1] Amma Napier Associates —

[2] We didn’t use current students because in most cases they didn’t have enough reference to evaluate the program in light of the field, jobs and employment.

[3] Find our exit survey questions and possible responses in Addendum A

[4] We interviewed faculty and surveyed fifteen select alumni using the same set of 4 questions found in Addendum B

[5] I did not ask these individuals about their availability or willingness to give a talk; I selected purely based on their expertise, knowledge and reputations.

[6] It may be good to share this data selectively depending on your stakeholders. We shared it with faculty and the fifteen select alumni.

[7] Due to copyright I can’t reprint the exercises here, but they can be found in Napier, Rod. 1997. High Impact Tools and Activities for Strategic Planning: Creative Techniques for Facilitating your Organizations Planning Process. Rodney Napier (1672) Publishers.

[8] For the specific skills we identified see Addendum C. SWOT analysis, in general, should be as specific as possible. Educate and train students to be global peace advocates, activists, and social entrepreneurs.9

[9] Outcomes can be found in Addendum D

About the Author: Amy Cox, PhD, Director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at Arcadia University

How to Gain Administrative Support


Jeff Dykhuizen, Farzane Farazdaghi, Barbara Thorngren

In this chapter, we will outline some procedures that have been found to be successful at obtaining administrative support. Some administrators, like some faculty members and students, are, of course, more interested in and supportive of peace studies programs than others. It is important to identify from the beginning which administrators—presidents, vice-presidents, deans, division chairs and counseling staff–are supportive, and to cultivate their interest and support. As administrators necessarily need to have a ―big picture” perspective, it should not be too difficult to convince them of the value of having a peace studies programs in community colleges. One simple way of doing so is sharing with them the enthusiasm of their peers at other colleges. For example, one proud administrator, Robert Pura, President of Greenfield Community College wrote that, — Our vision is to strengthen our communities one student at a time…,” continuing that —…no one program better embraces that vision” than the Peace Studies Program. Full letters of support from administrators are included in the appendix for this chapter.

The suggestions provided in this chapter are organized into stages, starting with simply an idea of creating a peace studies program to establishing sustained support for the program. The suggestions below are examples of strategies that have worked to gain administrative support. This listing is not exhaustive — how you shape your efforts to gain lasting administrative support will depend to a large degree on the values and culture of your college. The best practical advice is: Be flexible, be persistent.


Early Stages

Develop a Plan to Share with Administration

In the early stages of development, create a plan to share with administration. This plan should focus on developing a program with a strong structure to present to administrators. In addition, identifying and reaching out to those administrators who are likely to be supportive of a program in peace studies is an important step in this early stage. Knowledge and interaction with supportive administrators may make it easier to obtain support from other members of the college community and from appropriate groups within the local community. While verbal support is useful, written statements are more powerful in providing evidence of support.

Approach Supportive Administration

Professional Development

During initial stages of program development obtain funding for professional development of program chair and faculty. Funding sources include: endowments, grants, special funding, foundation monies, etc. Many state and national organizations will also provide free training. Use funding for professional development to attend conferences, seminars, workshops, to gather textual resources, etc.

Organizations to consider for professional development:

Few community colleges have faculty with degrees in the field of peace and conflict studies. More frequently, the interested parties have a degree in a related field and have a particular special interest in these topics. The more program developers and interested staff can build their learning by attending workshops, training, professional development, conferences, or even taking a few courses in specific topic areas through a partner college or university which specializes in this field, the more evidence there is for administration that the program is viable. Faculty and staff with these skills can also provide evidence of the viability of this work through the college by developing curriculum, giving presentations to groups and organizations in the community, providing training to the community, etc

Middle Stage

Involve other Groups and Agencies

To cement support on campus for a peace or conflict studies program, it is important to involve a variety of community groups, other educational institutions, local governmental agencies, members of the business community, and appropriate peace-mission organizations during the middle stage of program development.

Support for a peace studies program often occurs from unforeseen sources. To develop a strong support base, it is necessary to spend time (often a great deal of time) cultivating ―friends” for the proposed program. Make connections with like-minded individuals and agencies in the community:

Possible local agencies to create connections/ work collaboratively with:

Possible national & international agencies to create connections/ work collaboratively:

Expand upon organizational connections.

Build Awareness

Generate awareness of the program within the college and the community.

Compose more comprehensive documents/reports that show the value of the program to the college, its students, and the community.

Outline how a Peace Studies degree will benefit students seeking to work in various fields.

Strengthen the program with administrative advocate’s support.

Final Stage – Program-Sustainability

Develop a Financial Plan

In the final stage of development, the sustainability stage, it is important to develop a financial plan that includes income generation for the program and the department in which the program operates. Possibilities such as grants, scholarships, summer conferences, continuing education workshops, or community collaborations all demonstrate to college officials that program personnel understand the business aspect of supporting a peace studies program. This is where the market survey of students and the community becomes helpful.

Items to consider as expenses in the budget may include:

Items to consider as revenue or include in the budget may include:

If the plan is well articulated, providing the rationale and justification for a program tied with the current colleges mission and strategic plans it typically is not difficult for them to see the value of academic programs in peace studies. As Jean Goodnow, President of Delta College writes,

Community colleges are already intricately involved in community/economic development, sustainability, diversity initiative and globalization education. Expanding these interdependent concepts within a Global Peace Studies Program is a natural progression which I wholeheartedly endorse as our students need to redefine the parameters of what they define as their community.

Hence, the task is not so much in convincing high-level administration of the value of peace studies programs, but in providing them with evidence of the value of such programs that they can then use to help secure sustainable support.

About the Authors: Jeff Dykhuizen is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Delta College. Farzane Farazdaghi works at Golden West College. Barbara Thorngren is the Education Department Chair at Nashua Community College

How to Market Your Peace, Justice and Conflict Management Studies Program


Abbie Jenks

What is peace and justice studies anyway? What can I do with a degree in peace studies? Answers to these questions are essential in order to adequately “market” a peace and justice studies program, in whatever form. This is especially true in community colleges as the students who attend are interested in knowing how any course of study translates into real work and a career. Additionally, many hold negative images of who “peace people” are: “old hippies”, unrealistic, idealistic, and so forth. The first part of this chapter on marketing a Peace and Justice Studies Program is devoted to enumerating some thoughts on how to articulate responses to these questions for promotional purposes. Those who develop and teach peace are living testimonials to the work and its value.

What is the orientation of your particular program?

At Greenfield Community College in Western Massachusetts the program focuses on the teaching of active nonviolence to promote social change. Finding discrete language to describe what the program will offer to the student becomes the task and the challenge. Since other programs have different orientations, adapt your program to your own. For instance, if your college offers either a degree or a certificate program in Conflict Management/Studies/Resolution, develop a language that speaks to the usefulness of developing skills for managing conflict. At Greenfield Community College, the focus translates into “finding new ways of solving problems and conflict and how to develop a sense of civic engagement”. Recognize that people generally understand that conflict and conflict resolution skills are aspects of peacemaking. Not as many understand the connections to structural violence and injustice. Try to make it understandable and focus on the main points that are essential to what we are attempting to teach. Some of the main points may include the following:

Peace studies at it best encourages students to become responsible, caring citizens of the world. It develops global thinking, a respect for diversity and the rights of all forms of life. It enables students to recognize social injustice, its contributing factors, and the actions necessary to bring about justice. Peace education fosters personal growth that allows the student to respond to conflict (interpersonal, intrapersonal, local, regional, and global) in a nonviolent, constructive manner. Social justice studies focuses on the study of injustices of all types with a goal of understanding the contributing factors, the repercussions, and the possible solutions. Both orientations are intrinsically linked. Peace education is the soil that nurtures the seeds of justice. One cannot teach about peace without teaching about the root causes of conflict, including injustices, that fuel conflict.

Who is your target audience?

Who are you trying to reach in your marketing strategy? Is it students in local school systems? Is it faculty and staff of these schools? What community groups are important to target? Do you want to reach the parents of prospective students? Do the faculty and staff at your college need to understand more fully what your program is and what it means to engage in the study of peace, justice and conflict management? It is vital to know your audiences as you create the promotional tools that are needed. Keep the message consistent, clear and understandable to the general public.

How to promote a program at a community college.

Community colleges are entities unto their own yet are an integrated part of each local community. The tasks of marketing your program can be divided into two interrelated spheres and then developed into ways of promoting and marketing your program at the school and in the wider community.

Examples of on campus marketing

First turn to key people at the college in order to gain their advice and expertise. This group of people may include:

The secondary advantage in enlisting their aid is that it exposes people across campus to the program option and what it is designed to do. Make sure that your campus administrator and President is kept in the loop of communications as the program develops. At Greenfield Community College (GCC), the President remains fully supportive of the Peace and Justice Studies Liberal Arts option and thus helps protect it from economic downturns.

Creating marketing materials

After working with each of these areas, create documents and other promotional materials to use in many different venues and arenas. Some examples may include a:

Examples of marketing in the community

The Pioneer Valley in Western Massachusetts, where Greenfield Community College (GCC) is located, has a vast, active and diverse community of peace activists. This is a strength that GCC has to draw from. The area hosts local branches of several national groups including American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Class Action!, the National Priorities Project as well as numerous grassroots groups that address a variety of issues including ending the current wars, immigration, Israeli/Palestinian conflict, genocide, nuclear issues, economic issues, environmental issues, etc. The Pioneer Valley hosts five four year colleges and three community colleges in the area. There are many local experts in international relations, cultural issues, etc. Greenfield and the surrounding area towns have many social service and nonprofit agencies to handle social issues. Realizing that not every area of the country has this advantage, it is important to underscore the fact that there is always some outside group that is vital to connect with. Consider churches, veterans groups, environmental groups, social service agencies, nonprofit agencies, and so forth that one can collaborate with. There are also media outlets that can be used for marketing the work. Here are some ideas:

Student involvement

Involving the students is crucial as they are one of the most credible and strongest voice to describe what being involved in a Peace, Justice or Conflict Management Program can do and how it is of benefit to do so. At GCC, their involvement in the creation of the DVD and speaking on TV, radio and other venues has been critical to the promotion of the program. Some of the GCC students have done a social action project that specifically targeted visits to local high schools to promote the program. They contacted the principals and guidance counselors, made brightly colored T-shirts that said Ambassador for Peace to wear when they visited and put together a folder with the DVD, brochure and the letters to school personnel and students. They also visited several English classes on campus and talked about what they do and why. These strategies were very effective, gaining insight into the program and added several students to the program.

In classes, offer ways for students to do either a social action project or a creative project. Both have resulted in “tools” to help promote the program: a theme song, several plays that will be produced by GCC theater students, cross discipline activities and the student publication at GCC, Peacemeal (

GCC’s English composition classes are beginning to develop themes for their semester and peace will be one of them in the Spring, 2010.

Advisory Board

An Advisory Board of community and college people is always wise. At GCC there is a GCC Peace Education Center Advisory Committee. Its purpose is to help support the development of a Peace Education Center in conjunction with the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice for the development of teacher resources to teach peace and justice education. This is another way to help introduce the PSJ program into the local schools as well as increase the ways and places where peace is taught. The Board members consist of faculty, staff, retirees of the school and local teachers and educators.

Consider the disciplines your students may choose to become involved in and invite individuals who can provide guidance from that perspective such as schools, community organizations, courts, government, local businesses. Include individuals who also represent organizations which may help you recruit students such as school counselors, representatives from youth serving organizations, and others. At Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio, the community advisory for the development of the certificate program in conflict management and peace studies (designed for students across disciplines), is made up of representatives from government, law enforcement, justice, education, non-governmental organizations, health and business representatives. The community advisory assisted in reviewing outcomes for the core courses and for the selection of electives.


Finding work is the question on everyone’s mind, especially at community colleges. The first notion to address is that a two year degree in peace studies is viewed as a transfer option where students continue on to earn a Bachelor degree at a four year college. A certificate program in Conflict Management/Resolution can be a stand-alone, skills based, supplementary process of learning as well as being integrated throughout the methods of teaching and the content integrating theory, skills, and application. There is inherent value in both an academic and skills based program for learning. One enriches the other. Experiential learning is an integrated way of teaching and learning that helps deepen the understanding of the theory. The distinction is important, to make, especially as we must articulate what will be the outcome for students enrolling in either type of program. Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio gathered the information on many of the colleges and universities with programs across disciplines in Ohio to assist in considering transfer agreement sand worked with one of the four year universities to assist in the development of the core courses for ease of transfer.

One of the most frequently asked question is: What can I do with a degree in peace or conflict management ? Again, having some theoretical understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities taught assists in answering this essential question. The answer is that you can apply this knowledge and skills set to any discipline. For instance, one can develop mediation and alternative dispute resolution skills and work in a number of organizations and settings: courts, child welfare agencies, therapeutic settings, schools, justice organizations, law enforcement, health care, and work place/human resources. One can enter the field of Restorative Justice in education settings, juvenile or criminal justice systems or utilize the skills in community settings. The values, knowledge and skills that one learns can be used in business, nonprofit agencies, environmental organizations, education, law, social work, and others. As part of a liberal arts education, the world view offered by teaching peace and justice or conflict management can be adapted to what Psychologists for Social Responsibility call Careers for the Greater Good ( The Graduation Pledge Alliance’s work also supports similar efforts of students to support the greater good. Founded in 1987, the Alliance promotes a commitment on the part of students to “…take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job” ( Both organizations Websites have advice and resources for job hunting and career planning.

Integration of Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are receiving much deserved media attention now and can be utilized by our mission of promoting peace, justice and conflict management. Developing ways to incorporate human ecology, environmental issues, creating a sustainable future and the impact of our behavior in the world are important to articulate as there are a growing number of people who understand that our consumer needs are causing global degradation and that we need to change our behavior. Connecting peace, justice, conflict management and environmental issues are critical to this work, and a way for many to begin to understand the need to develop different ways to manage conflicts. It becomes a call to create community, to encourage grassroots involvement and to heal from our collective trauma and can be seen as a good marketing strategy.


Marketing peace, justice and conflict management studies programs is a collaborative and creative process. Administrators, staff and faculty all share the responsibility of promoting such programs. The value of engaging in the study of these topics is important to communicate to your selected audiences. It is important to know your program, what it can do to contribute to a better world, who your audience is, and what a person can do by studying these subjects.

About the Author: Abbie Jenks is a Professor at Greenfield Community College

Assessing the Need for a Certificate Program in Peace and Conflict Management


Kathleen R. Catanese

Many colleges and universities require that a formal needs assessment or market survey research study be conducted prior to approving proposed courses, certificates, degree programs, or other curriculum. The purpose of a needs assessment (also referred to within as “market research”) is to determine the feasibility of newly proposed curriculum. Specifically, a curriculum needs assessment should determine: 1) whether potential students are indeed interested in enrolling in the proposed curriculum and 2) whether potential students completing such curriculum would be viewed as more marketable by professionals in the field compared to students who do not complete this curriculum.

The present needs assessment was conducted to determine the market feasibility of a proposed certificate program in Peace and Conflict Management at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, Ohio. The creation of this needs assessment began by first determining the market for students earning a certificate in Peace and Conflict Management. Next, separate surveys were created to assess student interest in enrolling in the curriculum and whether community market professionals would view these students as marketable. After administering the surveys to community professionals and current Tri-C students, the data were analyzed and reported to the administrative committee responsible for approving the proposed curriculum. The checklist below outlines each of the steps in assessing the need for a proposed certificate in Peace and Conflict Management.

Seek Administrative Support and/or Approval

Prior to beginning the vast undertaking of creating a market survey, it is important to consult with the college or university administration for guidance and approval. There are many beginning questions that could be addressed early on that can prevent problems and facilitate the process of conducting a needs assessment. Thinking it through early on can save a lot of time and create a smooth and efficient research study. Each and every institution is unique and has its own set of policies, procedures, and standards for conducting market research. Depending on the answers to the following questions, the needs assessment may take on different forms or procedures.

Institutional Expectations

Are there available guidelines from the institution for conducting a needs assessment? What are the expectations of the administration for specific aspects of the survey, e.g., how many surveys are necessary to be representative, how should the survey be conducted, to whom should the results be reported and in what format (e.g., written, oral, etc)?

Institutional Approval

Are there individuals who must approve the materials prior to conducting the needs assessment? Specifically, is there a specific administrator who must approve or oversee this process? Must this market research be formally approved by the Institutional Review Board that oversees research conducted by members of the institution?

Institutional Precedents or Prototypes

Are there other programs that have conducted needs assessments prior to their approval? If so, would these programs be willing to share their materials to aid in the planning process?

Institutional Support

Are there administrative offices that can be of assistance in the various stages of the market survey such as identifying a market (e.g., Marketing Office or Community Relations), collecting and/or entering the data (e.g., administrative offices, work-study students, interns) and analyzing the data (e.g., Institutional Planning Office or statistical tutors)?

Team Members

Who will direct and coordinate the research? Are there faculty and/or staff that could be enlisted to help who possess specific expertise in survey creation, data collection, data analysis, and data reporting? Who will collect the data, enter the data, analyze/interpret the data, and summarize the data in written format? Are there faculty who would be willing to assist by simply collecting data in their classes? Will these team members volunteer their services or will they receive compensation (see below)?

Financial Resources

How will the survey materials be paid for and produced? Will survey participants be compensated or volunteer? Will the team members receive compensation or release time for their efforts? How will funds be procured for the creation and administration of the survey materials?

Curricular Support

Could the market research project be used as a hands-on learning experience for students engaged in business, marketing, statistics, behavioral sciences or research courses? For example, participating faculty may integrate the market research project into their courses to teach students how to develop and administer survey research as well as and analyze data. Advanced students could earn independent study credit while learning about the process of conducting research.

Every institution is different, and in the case of the needs assessment conducted at Tri-C, this particular trajectory toward completing the needs assessment was based on the fact that needs assessments were a relatively new expectation of the curriculum office. Indeed, an informal survey of other peace and conflict management programs yielded very little precedent for conducting this type of market survey at other institutions. Only two other programs at Tri-C had conducted prior needs assessments, and one of these programs was kind enough to share materials and information to assist in the process. There were few explicit expectations for approving the survey, conducting the survey, and reporting the results of the survey. Faculty, staff, and administration volunteered their time and efforts to assist in the process of conducting the formal needs assessment described hereafter.

Determine the Market

The market for any proposed curriculum in peace and conflict management has at least two segments. The first segment involves the market for students who will actually enroll in the curriculum and develop the peace and conflict management knowledge and skills gained through the curriculum. The second segment involves the market for the knowledge and skills gained through completing the certificate. In other words, the second segment involves the professional community that will then employ students completing the certificate.

At Tri-C, an Advisory Committee for the Proposed Certificate in Peace and Conflict Management was formed, and the members met to brainstorm potential markets for this curriculum. Members of this committee were faculty, staff, administrators, and interns representing a diversity of disciplines. The first market segment was easily identifiable: any Tri-C student could be a potential student in the certificate program. Indeed, the student market survey was ultimately completed by students in primarily introductory courses with a wide range of intended majors. Future market surveys may be directed specifically toward students intending to major in disciplines that are specifically aligned with peace and conflict management.

The second market segment was much broader than the first. The committee brainstormed a list of potential professional careers and disciplines that could benefit from possessing a skill set in peace and conflict management. This involved brainstorming the names of individual contacts, professional organizations, businesses, social service agencies, public or government organizations, and community nonprofit organizations. This process was aided by a job outlook assessment conducted by two undergraduate interns from the Kent State University Center for Applied Conflict Management who worked with the advisory committee as part of their internship with Tri-C’s Global Issues Resource Center.

Once the market segments are identified, consider how participants will be recruited and who will comprise the participant sample. Having a clear idea of how exactly participants will be selected and recruited should aid in the next step of designing the assessment. The assessment content, length, and mode of delivery may depend on the available participant pool.

Create the Assessment

The next step in conducting the market survey is to create the actual assessment to determine the market for the proposed curriculum among students and community professionals. The advisory committee met to brainstorm key variables to be assessed on the student survey and the community professional survey. The following lists the key variables identified by the committee to determine the market feasibility of this curriculum. The assessments were constructed by a volunteer faculty member with expertise in survey construction and research methodology. The actual assessments can be viewed in the attached Appendix 1 (Community Professional Survey) and Appendix 2 (Student Survey).

Student Market Survey: Key Variables

Community Professional Market Survey: Key Variables

Each proposed program in peace and conflict management, social justice, or peace studies will be different. It is the responsibility of the advisory committee proposing such curriculum to have a clear idea of the proposed program, its vision, objectives, and outcomes prior to creating the market survey. The particular variables of interest included on the market survey should reflect and align with the particular vision, objectives, and outcomes of the proposed program. At Tri-C, the survey designed for community professionals directly assessed the marketability of the particular skill set to be offered by the proposed certificate program. Future student market surveys should be similar in this regard. Students would benefit greatly from a clear explanation of the meaning of “conflict” and “conflict management” embedded in the survey instructions. Students could be provided with a list of skills or objectives that the proposed program would be teaching so as to make a better judgment of their willingness to enroll in these programs.

Seek Institutional Approval for the Assessments

The needs assessments should be approved by any regulating body at the institution as per the procedures specified by the institution. In the case of the needs assessment conducted at Tri-C, the community professional survey was reviewed by the Vice President for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, approved by the Dean of Academic Affairs, and approved and formally endorsed by the Associate Dean of Social Sciences. The advisory committee was informed that prior market research conducted in the community did not need the approval of the Institutional Review Board. However, because the student survey involved student research participants and involved assessing a potentially sensitive subject such as interpersonal conflict, the student survey was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Surveys needing approval by an IRB should be submitted for approval in advance of collecting the data and according to the particular procedures and policies of the institution’s IRB committee.

Recruit Participants

Recruitment of Student Participants

Student participants can be recruited in any number of ways, but the exact recruitment procedures will depend on the procedures of the institution. In this case, only students over the age of 18 were legally able to give their informed consent to participate and therefore were eligible to complete the survey. The primary mode of recruiting these students was with the cooperation and assistance of faculty who asked students to complete the surveys during class time. Some faculty offered extra credit, although this was at the discretion of the instructor. It should be noted that if compensation (such as extra credit) is offered, faculty should also offer ineligible students an alternative activity to complete in lieu of the actual survey. Other suggestions for recruiting students may include recruitment through research participant pools offered by behavioral science departments or recruitment in public locations such as student unions, sports events, cafeterias, or lounges. In the case of the research conducted at Tri-C, student research participants were generally recruited in introductory courses and represented a wide array of intended majors and degree programs.


A copy of the email sent to faculty to recruit student participants and instructions for administering the student survey can be viewed in Appendix 3.

Recruitment of Community Professionals

Community professionals were recruited primarily with a convenience sample and using a snowball procedure whereby survey recipients were encouraged to pass on the survey to their friends, colleagues, employees, and associates. Recipients were initially contacted via e-mail from a Tri-C employee with a letter endorsed by the Associate Dean of Social Sciences requesting their participation. Tri-C employees were encouraged by the advisory committee to recruit community professionals particularly in the social services, not-for-profit organizations, business sector, education sector, health careers, and emergency/public safe careers. Survey recipients were recruited in the following ways:


Copies of emails sent to recruit community professionals can be viewed in Appendix 4, and a list of potential organizations from which recruited recipients belonged can be viewed in Appendix 5.

Administer the Assessment and Analyze the Data

Surveys were administered in both paper-and-pencil format and via the Internet. The student survey was administered only in paper-pencil format in the classroom at the discretion of the supervising instructor. Instructions for administering the surveys adhered to the approved IRB protocol and can be viewed in Appendix 3. Completed surveys were returned to the principal investigator, kept in a locked filing cabinet, and only handled by the principal investigator and other research assistants responsible for entering and analyzing the data. The community professional survey was administered via Survey Monkey ( A research analyst in the Department of Institutional Research created the survey in Survey Monkey, and provided the advisory committee with a link to view the compiled survey results online. Collecting the data online was an excellent way to cost-effectively disseminate the survey and view immediate results. It is recommended that future surveys institute an online data collection system such as Survey Monkey or other online forms.

The data were entered by a team of interns and the project director. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics in Microsoft Excel and the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Data analysis should be conducted by an individual familiar with statistics and research methodology.

Report the Assessment Results

Following data analysis, the research results must be reported in a clear, concise, and easily digested fashion. Before writing the research report, identify the intended audience and the format in which results will be reported (e.g., oral, written, visual). Administrators and curriculum committees are overburdened with work and have little time to spend devising their own interpretations of complicated graphs, charts, statistics, and language.

In the case of the need assessment for the proposed certificate program in Peace and Conflict Management conducted at Tri-C, the administration requested a short executive summary with clear language, graphs, and charts to be presented along with the formal written proposal. Past needs assessments at Tri-C were presented as an oral presentation with visual representations of the data. The executive summary should be a focused and concise explanation of the key findings discovered from the needs assessment. The executive summary should include:


A copy of the executive summary prepared for the Tri-C proposal can be viewed in Appendix 6.


In summary, assessing the need for a certificate program in Peace and Conflict Management is a process that involves a great deal of planning, resources, and institutional commitment. The process begins by seeking administrative support and approval to move forward with the market research. Once the target markets have been identified, the survey assessments must be created and approved by the institution. Participants are then recruited, the survey is administered, and the data are analyzed. The results of the market research can then be reported to the administration and curriculum committees in support of the new curriculum. The most crucial element to facilitating successful market research throughout this entire process is to engage a team of players (including faculty, staff, administrators, students, and community professionals). By working together, this diverse team can accurately assess the need for curriculum that will better prepare students for their future careers.

About the Author: Kathleen R. Catanese is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Cuyahoga Community College.

Capacity and Sustainability Examples Appendix



Course Development and Integration


Topics covered in this section include How to Develop a Peace Studies/Conflict Resolution Course, classroom pedagogy ideas and more.

Overview of Core Course and Elective Selection


Paul Hanson and Jessica Szabla

Conflict management and peace studies are rapidly being integrated into the curricula of community colleges across the United States. To date, very little information or research has been compiled on the history of this emergent field in the community college setting. How is such a course of study established and nourished within the larger community college infrastructure? How is conflict management and peace studies institutional knowledge passed on from one generation of teachers and administrators to the next? What makes for a successful group of courses? Finally, how are core courses and electives chosen in programs of study? This chapter broaches the latter question. Presented below is a brief overview of the factors influencing the choice of core courses and electives in conflict management and peace studies programs operative in community colleges across the United States.

For this segment, nine telephone interviews with founding members of conflict management, peace studies and global studies programs in community colleges were conducted and public information associated with twenty-five programs was reviewed. While the present report represents a narrow sampling, the intention of the project is to update the text annually by gathering relevant information at related conferences, continuing the interview process and collecting data through the feedback form on this Web site.

While the decision-making processes involved in the selection process are complex, there are discernible patterns in how these programs choose their core courses and electives. Five broad and overlapping factors influence the process: [1] acceptance and interest level on the part of the wider community college infrastructure; [2] size of the community college; [3] mission guidelines and philosophical orientation of the emergent program leadership; [4] the existence of articulation agreements, partnerships, and other types of working arrangements between the program and other institutions; and [5] the contemporary political, economic and social climate.

In many of the conflict management and peace studies programs, one or two dynamic persons were responsible for much of the labor of setting up the program and providing the motivating energy. The existence of such figures has positive and negative associations. A central figure can often keep track of program business and provide a focus and order that is sometimes missing in large institutions. However, a potential challenge often arises when the energetic figure retires or otherwise leaves the position: who will take over and how will the institutional knowledge be passed on? The departures of Charles Tracy from Howard Community College and Don Lathrop from Berkshire Community College are examples of institutions in transition where, fortunately, a plan is in place to continue the programming once these key leaders are gone.

A further important feature of working within the larger community college environment is the existence of other interested faculty and administrators. In virtually each of the interviews we conducted, program leaders recognized one or two faculty members and administrators within their college that helped support the program’s development. At Cuyahoga Community College, Dr. Susan Lohwater, assistant professor, helped recruit and encourage faculty to participate in everything from meetings, to trainings, to curriculum development. Similarly, Barbara Thorngren, Peace and Justice Coordinator at Nashua Community College, mentioned a faculty member at her institution who is cooperating with their program in building curricula. Peter Haslund, a political science professor from Santa Barbara City College in California also recruited interested faculty. Administrative support (see the chapter on Administrative Support) is also a critical component in program formation. Consider the support offered at Cuyahoga Community College by Associate Dean Carol Franklin and Dean of Academic Affairs Michael Thomson. Both administrators acted as advocates of the program’s development, attending meetings, encouraging faculty participation, promoting the work with other administrators, offering advice, and smoothing the administrative path.

The integration of a nascent conflict management and peace studies program within the worldview of the larger community college’s mission, goals, and strategic plans is also critical. What are the foci of the acting deans? Is there a larger ideological framework within the institution? Colman McCarthy and his wife May, founders of the Washington D.C.-based Center for Teaching Peace and influential forces in the lives of peace educators across the country, argued that all peace studies programs should spend the first year teaching students the “values of peace”, only later introducing conflict management skills. Other programs are based on the opposite view, considering the more analytic conflict management course of study to be more in line with the goals of their college. The course selection at Howard Community College is an example of the latter.

The second factor influencing curriculum design is the size of the community college. At a very basic level, the size of the institution can help determine if the course of study can be framed as a program, a concentration, certificate, associates of arts degree or a set of courses. Nashua, a small community college located in New Hampshire, settled on a Peace and Justice Studies concentration as its most feasible option. Similarly, Don Lathrop, now a retired professor, noted that Berkshire Community College, also small in terms of enrollment, opted for a concentration as a matter of “survival”. When Peter Haslund established the Global and International Studies Program at Santa Barbara City College in California, he had a wide range of options for the curriculum building process. First, this content was rooted in the program’s mission statement which involves preparing students for a globalized world. Peter considered a range of broad perspectives (by academic field) which fit the program objectives. Having narrowed the list down to a set of six or seven perspectives (business, economics, anthropology, etc.), he then sought courses and faculty within those disciplines who were willing to work with the emergent program in crafting an appropriate course outline. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with smaller programs (a small program being defined here as having five or less committed majors). On the positive side, the leaders at Nashua, Golden West and Howard Community Colleges stressed their ability to work flexibly with the few students they have, guiding the students toward electives that dovetail with their strengths and career goals. Barbara Thorngren at Nashua Community College made the argument that through a concentration framework, students gain liberal arts courses that enable them a broader range of career choices and transfer options upon graduation. The most formidable challenge with a smaller program, however, is keeping students enrolled in the course of study. Kathy Rockefeller Director of the Community Mediation and Restorative Dialogue Programs for the Mediation & Conflict Resolution Center at Howard Community College lamented that Howard is currently struggling to keep peace and conflict management courses running due to low retention. Students exhibit great interest in the introductory courses, but many do not complete the program course work.

Cuyahoga Community College, a large urban college with approximately 55,000 students, was required to design their core courses and select electives based on a review of similar core courses at undergraduate institutions, conducting a community outcomes session, the completion of a program mapping session with faculty, and review by the curriculum review committee. This was one of the most formalized approaches of all the community colleges in terms of development requirements. Students from Kent State University’s Center for Applied Conflict Management, Jessica Szabla and Amanda Parker, worked as interns at the Global Issues Resource Center at the college to conduct the basic research in the United States, collecting core course syllabi at undergraduate institutions, reviewing the most common course objectives and texts. Core courses were then developed based on this information and in collaboration with faculty on campus and at Kent State University. These core courses were then reviewed and approved through the official curriculum review committee by faculty who are in those fields under which the core courses are listed. For the development of any certificate or degree program at the college, a community outcomes session must occur. Community members from across disciplines which the students taking the certificate might enter, are invited to come and work collaborative on writing the curriculum outcomes. From these outcomes, the core courses and electives are then evaluated using a formal matrix reviewing whether the courses identify the outcomes, reinforce, or if students must demonstrate the content of the designated objectives during a program mapping session with faculty and deans.

Community college program architects generally craft the program structure around a particular set of mission directives and goals. Such orienting frameworks have a profound effect on curriculum design. For example, Nashua Community College’s Peace and Justice Studies Program in New Hampshire seeks to “prepare graduates to function as community advocates”. Richland College’s Institute for Peace in Texas lists, as one of its goals, to “advocate action and conduct programs and activities to enhance public awareness of peacemaking”. Santa Barbara City College’s Global Studies Program mission statement notes how technology and globalization are changing today’s job market and they outline their mission to be one of enabling “students to understand how this global system continues to evolve and to provide the academic background which we believe will prepare them most effectively to cope with and be a part of a very different future. This is an interdisciplinary major”. At Golden West College in California, the Peace Studies program is “interdisciplinary…created with the conviction that education, awareness, and activism are essential to those interested in becoming the custodians of our futures. Through education we can empower students to lead with knowledge and passion, building bridges between daily reality and new possibility”. Finally, the Peace and Social Justice Studies Program at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts is focused on “civic engagement, social action and non-violence”.

Golden West’s Peace Studies Coordinator Fran Faraz stresses the relations between students trained to be critical thinkers and the importance of imagining “possibilities” to conflict situations. Faraz points to a process whereby unexamined belief systems are broken down and “creative leaders” are built anew. Abbie Jenks, advisor of the Peace and Social Justice Studies option at Greenfield Community College also discussed the importance of teaching students to build “different lenses” oriented to social justice. At Golden West, peace studies students are being introduced to such course material as critical studies, women’s studies, leadership and character building. Colman and May McCarthy’s Center for Teaching Peace is a non-profit institution which promotes the establishment of peace studies organizations. Colman argues that from the goal of his Center emerges their first priority: to teach the values of peace. Peace values help prevent fires from occurring (Colman’s metaphor), while conflict management is “throwing water on the fire”. McCarthy suggests three ideal electives for any peace studies program: literature of peace, Gandhi and King, and women and peace.

The fourth factor influencing the selection of core courses and electives in nascent community college conflict studies and peace programs is the existence (or lack of existence) of bridges to other institutions. Articulation agreements are particularly important in this regard. In designing the curriculum for Cuyahoga Community College’s newly established program, Jennifer Batton and Susan Lohwater of Cuyahoga College worked closely with Professor Landon Hancock at Kent State University. Fran Faraz, for her part, tirelessly works with an array of counselors to “pipeline” her students to programs at the University of California-Irvine, Kaplan University and California State University-Dominguez Hills (the latter offers a masters degree in peace studies). Howard Community College in Maryland has an articulation agreement with Salisbury State University and a new partnership with the Howard County Police Department in training officers in security. Finally, Nashua Community College is currently forging a number of articulation arrangements with area colleges and Greenfield Community College maintains links to a variety of flexible programs at the University of Massachusetts. Such articulations with advanced degree departments in other institutions influence the types of electives built into the program. In the smaller colleges, conflict studies leaders are better positioned to help students choose courses that best fit the careers being sought. Resource centers, college-based peace clubs and an assortment of alliances also represent bridges that have the effect of influencing college conflict studies curricula. Cuyahoga Community College’s (CCC) dynamic relationship with the Global Issues Resource Center (located on the CCC campus and headed by Jennifer Batton) is an excellent example. The Resource Center’s related programming across campuses with faculty, administrators, and students, and in the community, helped set the groundwork for the development of the program. The Center’s programming, international conferences, training, and events provide a venue to increase awareness of the field and its many applications across disciplines. The curriculum of the new program at CCC is very much a part of this process of mutual influence. Much the same might be said for the Mediation and Conflict Center at Howard Community College, the Global Issues Resource Organization founded by Don Lathrop’s wife Merry and the relationship between Greenfield Community College’s program and the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice in downtown Greenfield, Massachusetts. Clubs at Golden West, Greenfield and Nashua are also a source of intellectual inspiration and activist energy for the conflict programs in these schools. At Greenfield Community College, for example, Abbie Jenks understands their Peace and Social Justice Club to be a source of activist energies. The Club’s film series also spurs innovative thought and action.

The final factor to consider in this review of emergent conflict studies programs at community colleges is the larger political, economic and social environment from which these programs grow. Dan Lathrop, for example, recently replaced his course on the cold war with one on the global problems in a nuclear age. Abbie Jenks at Greenfield Community College is working hard to develop an emphasis in her peace studies program on human ecology. She believes that the links between security and the environment are among the most important issues of the day. Mention should also be made of both Colman McCarthy, Barbara Thorngren and Abbie Jenks’ firm conviction that program students have much to gain from going out into the community to experience various forms of what Colman McCarthy calls “cold violence” – poverty, racism, sexism and all forms of discriminatory practices. Many of these experiences can be gained from participation in the service learning capstone classes constituting the terminal point of many community college conflict programs as well as the type of “social action project assignments” employed by Jenks in her pedagogical practice.

One of the most “progressive” features of the present on-line manual is the ability authors have to continually update the data and conclusions. Over the course of the next year, the authors of this chapter hope that community colleges will contact them and provide updates. Additional interviews with other peace studies program founders will be completed by the authors and web sites reviewed, adding to the list of core courses and electives employed by various programs in the United States.

About the Authors: Paul Hanson is an Adjunct Professor at Cuyahoga Community College and Jessica Szabla is a graduate of the Kent State University Center for Applied Conflict Management.


Conflict Resolution Skill Development (New for 2018)


Valerie Ubbes

Historical Background

Fifteen years ago, three professional organizations collaborated on a project to establish a Conflict Resolution Institute for Health Educators, Early Childhood Educators, and Middle Childhood Educators in Higher Education. In the first year, the Institute included a two-day training and a one-day follow-up training in Columbus, Ohio. The goal of the conflict resolution project was to provide education, training, and resources to university faculty in order to support the integration of conflict resolution content and skills into professional preparation programs. By the second year, the Institute expanded the training format and changed the program name to the Conflict Resolution Institute for Education Faculty in Ohio Colleges and Universities. Key leaders from the American Association for Health Education, the Conflict Resolution Education Network (CREnet), and the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management (OCDRCM) worked together to establish the two-year institute to ensure safe and sustainable teaching-learning environments and to enable community conflicts to be handled efficiently and effectively without psychological or physical violence. This initiative, and the state-wide Ohio School Conflict Management Grant Trainings, served as a basis for the development of the national Conflict Resolution Education in Teacher Education (CRETE) project in 2003.

Goal of the Chapter

This chapter highlights some of the main learning outcomes of the Institute and then discusses how current health education faculty, including those implementing new public health programs, can think about and implement conflict resolution skills and concepts in an undergraduate curriculum for health education specialists.

Conflict Resolution Institute Objectives

The Conflict Resolution Institute focused on offering professional development modules to university faculty who were responsible for teaching teachers how to implement conflict resolution skills and concepts into Ohio preK-12 school curricula. The training modules included a customization of the Conflict Resolution Manual for Educators (Koch, 1995) aimed at institutionalizing conflict resolution programs on college campuses and querying faculty how they planned to implement their new knowledges and skills in the form of university action plans prior to year two of the training. During year 2 of the institute, the lead trainer facilitated and helped to refine personal skill development of faculty through conflict resolution role plays and activities. At the end of the second institute, the planning team developed a collection of lesson plans and revised action plans from participating faculty which allowed AAHE and CREnet to disseminate conflict resolution lessons to health education faculty nationwide. Follow-up communication with the Ohio Commission was instrumental in linking university faculty with state and local initiatives for conflict resolution.

A planning outcome of the Conflict Resolution Institute was a checklist of conflict resolution skills and concepts. Faculty received and practiced the list below, followed by a rubric that faculty used to self-assess their skill level and provide feedback to the facilitators during the institute training.

Concepts and Skills Practiced by Faculty at the Conflict Resolution Institute

The template below shows an assessment rubric for measuring competencies for different conflict resolution skills. Faculty who attended the institute reported an objective self-assessment score for different conflict resolution skills from the list above. Scores were averaged to help trainers make decisions on the amount of time to spend on each skill during the Institute.

Self-Assessment Template to Determine Faculty Training Needs on Conflict Resolution Skills

1 point 2 points  3 points 4 points
Conflict Resolution Skill: ___________Choose from list above. I need to start from scratch on this skill. I could use more training (practice) on this skill. I could learn something new about this skill during the training, but then let’s move on. I’ve been there, done that, and know how to do that skill. I don’t need to be trained on it again.

Note: Continuum adapted from Nancy Hudson, SCASS Health Education Assessment Project, Washington, DC

Curriculum Standards for PreK-Grade 12 Health Education and Beyond

Five years after the first Ohio Conflict Resolution Institute, there was a continuing interested in how health education teachers in public schools would be able to teach personal and social skills to children and youth on a national scope. Fifteen health educators formed a national revisions panel to review the 1995 National Health Education Standards (National Health Education Standards Committee, 2007) which addressed the following question prompt for curriculum: What should students “know” and “be able to do” as result of health instruction across the developmental lifespan? In the second edition of the National Health Education Standards (2007), communication was a key skill outlined in Standard 4 using the following rationale:

Effective communication enhances personal, family, and community health. This standard focuses on how responsible individuals use verbal and nonverbal skills to develop and maintain healthy personal relationships. The ability to organize and to convey information and feelings is the basis for strengthening interpersonal interactions and reducing or avoiding conflict.

The following list of performance indicators outlines a developmental sequence of skills that students should know and be able to do for communication and conflict resolution. Educators can use the performance indicators to design instructional lessons for children and youth from preschool to grade 12. However, there is also the possibility to extend these performance indicators in university classes for college students with the assumption that health education is still not adequately taught in American schools. Research has found that most children, youth, and young adults have not had adequate practice time in health education (CDC, 2015).
Of the eight National Health Education Standards, Standard 4 is the best choice for the teaching of communication and conflict resolution skills. Faculty who teach teacher candidates who will then go on to teach children and youth should advance these developmentally appropriate skills that are organized by grade-level performance indicators. As shown below, the focus should be on planning health lessons that will afford pre-professionals and their own students practice time to learn interpersonal communication skills, including conflict management and conflict resolution strategies, related to health issues and risks.

Standard 4: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.

Performance Indicators

Pre-K-Grade 2
4.2.1 Demonstrate healthy ways to express needs, wants, and feelings.
4.2.2 Demonstrate listening skills to enhance health.
4.2.3 Demonstrate ways to respond in an unwanted, threatening, or dangerous situation.
4.2.4 Demonstrate ways to tell a trusted adult if threatened or harmed.

Grades 3-5
4.5.1 Demonstrate effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills to enhance health.
4.5.2 Demonstrate refusal skills that avoid or reduce health risks.
4.5.3 Demonstrate nonviolent strategies to manage or resolve conflict.
4.5.4 Demonstrate how to ask for assistance to enhance personal health.

Grades 6-8

4.8.1 Apply effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills to enhance health.
4.8.2 Demonstrate refusal and negotiation skills that avoid or reduce health risks.
4.8.3 Demonstrate effective conflict management or resolution strategies.
4.8.4 Demonstrate how to ask for assistance to enhance the health of self and others.

Grades 9-12

4.12.1 Use skills for communicating effectively with family, peers, and others to enhance health.
4.12.2 Demonstrate refusal, negotiation, and collaboration skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks.
4.12.3 Demonstrate strategies to prevent, manage, or resolve interpersonal conflicts without harming self or others.
4.12.4 Demonstrate how to ask for and offer assistance to enhance the health of self and others.

The list of performance indicators articulate what students should know or be able to do within the following grade spans: Pre-K–Grade 2; Grade 3–5; Grade 6–8; and Grade 9-12. The performance indicators provide teachers a blueprint for organizing student assessment.

According to the 2016 School Health Policy and Practices Study (SHPPS), 71.8 percent of elementary schools, 84.3 percent of middle schools, and 90.2 percent of high schools report “using interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks” (p. 11). And the SHPPS Report also shows that just over 78 percent of districts have provided funding for professional development on classroom management techniques (e.g., social skills training, environmental modification, conflict resolution and mediation, or behavior management) to those who teach health education (p. 14).

Health Education Career Development

Students who graduate from high school can be encouraged to pursue a degree in health education. First-year college students across the country can choose from a variety of undergraduate majors, including health education, health promotion, health behavior, and health science. As of January 2015, universities were granted permission by the Council on Education of Public Health (CEPH) to offer an undergraduate program in public health. Prior to this date, the masters of public health (MPH) degree was considered the entry-level step for public health. Because Miami University (Oxford, OH) did not have an MPH graduate program, faculty felt that an undergraduate degree in Public Health would be advantageous. Miami University has had a history of different program names at the undergraduate level, including a Health Education program (1992 to 2015), a Health Appraisal and Enhancement program (1990 to 2012), a Health Promotion program (2012 to 2015), and currently a Public Health program (2015 to present). The new Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health is taught in the Department of Kinesiology and Health within the College of Education, Health, and Society.

The remainder of this chapter will explain one of the new courses in the Public Health undergraduate major called KNH 262 Public Health Education. The goal is to outline our process for implementing conflict resolution skill development in our public health major so other Ohio universities could benefit from our planning and course development. The information in the next section will show how the course is aligned to the national CEPH curriculum standards then outline the ways in which conflict resolution can be taught as a key curriculum skill in coursework that prepares students to sit for the certified health education specialists (CHES) credential.

Curriculum Standards for Undergraduate Public Health Programs

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) requires that courses in a new undergraduate public health program will be aligned to at least one of these curriculum standards below:
1. The history and philosophy of public health as well as its core values, concepts and functions across the globe and in society;
2. The basic concepts, methods and tools of public health data collection, use and analysis, and why evidence-based approaches are an essential part of public health practice.
3. The concepts of population health, and the basic processes, approaches, and interventions that identify and address the major health-related needs and concerns of populations.
4. The underlying science of human health and disease including opportunities for promoting and protecting health across the life course.
5. The socioeconomic, behavioral, biological, environmental and other factors that impact human health and contribute to health disparities.
6. The fundamental concepts and features of project implementation, including planning, assessment, and evaluation.
7. The fundamental characteristics and organizational structures of the U.S. health system as well as the differences in systems in other countries.
8. The basic concepts of legal, ethical, economic and regulatory dimensions of health care and public health policy and the roles, influences and responsibilities of the different agencies and branches of government.
9. The basic concepts of public health-specific communication, including technical and professional writing, and the use of mass media and electronic technology.

In their sophomore year, Miami University students take the course entitled KNH 262 Public Health Education for their public health major and for the development of competencies that lead to the Certified Health Education Specialist exam upon graduation. The basic outline of the course is shown below:

KNH 262 Public Health Education
Course Description Foundational principles and techniques of health education pedagogy including professional assessments preparing for the Certified Health Education Specialists credential.
Credit Hours 3
Prerequisites None
Instructor Valerie A. Ubbes, PhD, MCHES
CEPH Standards that will be addressed: The assignments for this course are aligned to the following curriculum standards from CEPH (Council on Education of Public Health):
1. The history and philosophy of public health education as well as its core values, concepts and functions across the globe and in society.
2. The basic concepts, methods and tools of public health education data collection, use and analysis, and why evidence-based pedagogical approaches are an essential part of public health education practice.
Learning Outcomes Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Differentiate between public health and public health education approaches for individuals and small groups who voluntarily choose to improve their health behaviors and habits in a variety of health education and health care settings;
2. Plan and apply the nine evidence-based instructional strategies (pedagogy) that are known to improve learning across all age groups and different disciplines;
3. Complete a professional assessment matrix to determine perceived competence and practical experiences in the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) credential.
Required Textbooks Connolly, M. (2012). Skill-based health education. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
National Commission for Health EducationCredentialing, Inc. (2010). The health education specialist: A companion guide for professional excellence (6th Edition). Whitehall, PA.
Weekly Schedule Week 1
Introduction and Philosophy of Health Education
Developing Your Professional Philosophy, Principles, and Pedagogical Practices
Week 2
Inquiry-Based Pedagogical Models: Service Learning, Problem Based Learning, Cooperative Learning, and Project Based Learning
Curriculum and Instruction in Health Education: School and Non-School Settings
Week 3
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Department of Adolescent & School Health
National Health Education Standards 1, 2, 3, and 8
Week 4
Habits of Health and Habits of Mind Model© for Skill-Based Health Education
National Health Education Standards 4, 5, 6, and 7
Week 5
Community Health Education Philosophy, Principles, and Pedagogical Practices
Week 6
Clinical Health Education Philosophy, Principles, and Pedagogical Practices
Week 7
Implementation of Demonstration Projects: Putting Evidence-Based Instructional Strategies into Action
Week 8
CHES Competency 1: Assess Needs, Assets, and Capacity for Health Education
Week 9
CHES Competency 2: Plan Health Education
Week 10
CHES Competency 3: Implement Health Education
Week 11
CHES Competency 4: Conduct Evaluation and Research Related to Health Education
Week 12
CHES Competency 5: Administer and Manage Health Education
Week 13
CHES Competency 6: Serve as a Health Education Resource Person
Week 14
CHES Competency 7: Communicate and Advocate for Health and Health Education

As you see above, the seventh competency for the health education specialist (CHES) certification involves “communicate, promote, and advocate for health, health education/promotion, and the profession”. For a full list of the competencies and sub-competencies that students practice in course assignments, see here:
By looking only at the certification skill of communication, we see that public health students who wish to gain a certification as a health education specialist should “know” and “be able to do” the following competencies:

Area VII: Communicate, Promote, and Advocate for Health, Health Education/Promotion, and the Profession

7.1. Identify, develop, and deliver messages using a variety of communication strategies, methods, and techniques
7.1.1. Create messages using communication theories and/or models
7.1.2. Identify level of literacy of intended audience
7.1.3. Tailor messages for intended audience
7.1.4. Pilot test messages and delivery methods
7.1.5. Revise messages based on pilot feedback
7.1.6. Assess and select methods and technologies used to deliver messages
7.1.7. Deliver messages using media and communication strategies
7.1.8. Evaluate the impact of the delivered messages

Although the above list does not address conflict resolution directly, the plan is to demonstrate multiple pedagogical approaches when “educating for health” (e.g., cooperative learning, service learning) and to implement conflict resolution skill practice throughout the course. For example, a more advanced list of conflict resolution skills is shared below. Since the author was both on the planning team for the original Conflict Resolution Institute in Ohio and on the National Health Education Revision Standards committee, a key question includes: What are conflict resolution skills that college students may need to “know” and “be able to do” as a professional in public health education? Some key conflict resolution skills include:

A key model that organizes personal and professional development in the undergraduate Public Health Education course is called Habits of Health and Habits of Mind (Ubbes, 2008, p. 113). As shown below, the Habits of Health model (left hand) outlines the health behaviors to be practiced every day. The Habits of Mind model (right hand) shows the cognitive skills that lead to the doing of the health behavior. For example, the cognitive skills of communication and conflict resolution are practiced daily when building the health behavior of relationships. Health educators, medical and dental professionals, and therapists can all benefit from early and ongoing training in communication and conflict resolution skill development leading to effective interpersonal relationships with their learners, participants, and clients. This model uses a developmental perspective across the lifespan to help people practice daily habits and routines for health. When the Habits of Health and the Habits of Mind are integrated and combined on a daily basis, it forms the whole curriculum for the whole person.

In conclusion, a brief historical review of the Ohio Conflict Resolution Institute highlighted the concepts and skills for faculty to learn and take back to students in their university classrooms across all disciplines and majors. Health education curriculum standards were shared to advance the skill development of communication and conflict resolution in grades preK-grade 12. Curriculum standards from the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) were outlined via a new undergraduate course at Miami University called Public Health Education, which contains a communication competency for the Health Education Specialist certification (CHES). Because the CHES competency does not address conflict resolution skill development specifically, a list of subskills were included. Finally, the Habits of Health and Habits of Mind model (Ubbes, 2008) was shared as a visual textual model for planning interventions in health education. The skills of communication and conflict resolution are highlighted as Habits of Mind to be practiced daily across a variety of health behaviors (Habits of Health) with a focus on building quality relationships.


Personnel for the Conflict Resolution Institute included: Jennifer C. Batton, Ohio Commission for Dispute Resolution & Conflict Management, Columbus, OH; Randall R. Cottrell, EdD, MCHES, University of Cincinnati; Susan Koch, PhD, Northern Iowa University; Heather Prichard, CRENET; Becky Smith, PhD, American Association for Health Education, Reston, VA; Valerie A. Ubbes, PhD, MCHES, Miami University, Oxford, OH; and Terrance Wheeler, PhD, JD, Capital University.


Joint Committee for National Health Education Revisions Panel. (2007). National Health Education Standards. Accessed on November 17, 2017 at

Koch, S. (1995). Conflict resolution manual for educators. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Ubbes, V.A. (2008). Educating for health: An inquiry-based approach to preK-8 pedagogy. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). School health policies and practices study. Accessed on November 17, 2017 at

About the Author: Valerie A. Ubbes, PhD, MCHES, Associate Professor, Public Health, Miami University, Oxford, OH,


Course Delivery: Online, Hybrid, Service and Experiential Learning Possibilities (New for 2018)


Ismael Muvingi, Judith McKay, and Neil Katz


The leading barometers of online learning such as the Online Report Card (available at indicate that over one in four higher education students now take distance courses and the increase in online enrollments is outpacing overall higher education enrollments. Busy life schedules, tight budgets, established career paths, advances in technology and the desire to reach ever wider, more diverse student bodies are some of the factors driving the growth. Students have differing needs and preferences and some disciplines’ training requirements cannot be met through online learning. In our Conflict Resolution Studies Department at Nova Southeastern University, we have been offering the whole range of course delivery modes; online, residential and hybridsdriven by the desire to meet student needs in ever wider locations as well as capitalizing on the advances in class delivery modes. Our guiding philosophy of the scholarship of engagement, makes experiential learning and community engagement critical components of our curriculum. For our practice courses we find that hybrid courses give students online flexibility while providing the hands on, face to face interaction practice requires. In this chapter, we share from what we have learnt in three aspects of learning: online, hybrid and experiential studies.

 Online Classes

There are many options for delivering online courses with great flexibility in the tools or functions that can be utilized. The traditional and basic initial online class was asynchronous; a professor would post course materials, notes, assignments etc. through platforms such as Blackboard and students would then access them at their convenience and respond within given timelines. Functions for facilitating this have expanded and include among others; content folders with course materials, calendars, assignments and links to externally stored materials. Collaboration tools that enable interaction include discussion forums, chatboards and group platforms all of which are email based. This has the great advantage of convenience and no one has to be up at 2:30am except by choice. Technology wise, this requires little by today’s standards. The disadvantages are the lack of direct, interpersonal interaction and lack of live discourse. It also means you never can be sure that the contributions are from the registered student. Some accreditation institutions, as well as some countries (Saudi Arabia for example), have serious issues with online courses and insist on a substantial residential component or direct live interaction between faculty and students.

Technology has advanced significantly and now enables greater live interaction. There is a continuum from pre-recorded lectures, through real time discussion to the virtual, live classroom. The advantages are innumerable, and the linchpin is the delivery platform. Several programs are now available that provide virtual classes that replicate the traditional residential classroom. Everyone can log in simultaneously and some platforms can handle both instructor and student live visual. Blackboard’s Collaborate ( and Citrix’s GoToTraining ( are examples. Our students log in from as far afield as China as long as they have reliable internet connection. It does require a high bandwidth, especially for proper functioning of visuals. Low bandwidth will result in ghosting, delayed transmission and even intermittent connections.

Shop around and try out the offerings as each has its strengths and weaknesses. Most of them will offer free trials so you can test out the features. Some programs, such as Collaborate, enable break out group sessions seamlessly in such a way that they virtually replicate the live classroom experience. GoToTraining enables streaming of other media such as videos from either the instructor’s computer or any student that the instructor gives moderator privileges. Other advantages of the virtual classroom include the ability to record the classes, tracking of student participation, enablement of student presentation from their locations and seamless integration of IT aids in class delivery. Academic publishers such as Sage, also offer facilities for direct linking of videos and other media to powerpoint presentations that can be delivered online.

There are some real practical considerations to take into account with the virtual classroom. Practicalities of geography mean different time zones.We have students in China, India, all across Africa, Latin America, Europe… meaning all time zones. When delivering virtual classes one has to keep in mind that some students may be at work while others may be staying up or getting up in the wee hours of the night.

Online classes have been  critiqued for the lack of the direct interaction between faculty and students as well as amongst students. You can partially make up for that by integrating the online format with a high intensity, residential component. We require for example that all online students attend a Residential Institute that is three to five days long, once or twice a year. This is especially necessary with practice courses such as mediation, facilitation and negotiation where you need to conduct simulations and role plays. For the residential institute all the distance students come to campus and attend classes in a traditional format and we organize numerous other student oriented activities, such as working groups, student seminars and of course some entertainment during the institute. It does involve travel and all that entails. Despite the added expense, consistently our students have waxed poetic about the value of meeting their professors as well as their colleagues in person. Many friendships and support groups have emerged out of the institute.

This blend of online delivery provides us instructors with much needed direct interaction with students and vice versa; students feel connected. The live classes and the residential institute also reassure accreditation bodies about student faculty interaction.

Beyond the online format, course offerings can be elevated to a dedicated hybrid format. In courses where there is greater need for face to face interaction, but students cannot or do not want to relocate, be away from careers and/or family et.c for years, the hybrid class works extremely well.

Hybrid Courses in Conflict Resolution

In our Department of Conflict Resolution studies, several of our courses have been of the hybrid variety; some of which also include a service component. We believe this hybrid format, which combines a substantial residential obligation with modified distance learning requirements, has particular strengths for academic curriculum in our field.

Most of our hybrid courses have been in the areas of Interpersonal, Group or Organizational Conflict and have titles such as Negotiation, Mediation, Conflict Management in Groups, The Reflective Practitioner, Conflict Coaching and Conflict Intervention Consulting and Training.  Most often they start with 3 full, 8 hour days of residential class, though some have 5 consecutive 4 hour ½ days of residential class and, occasionally, some are over two weekends.   All of them require some extensive discussion board work on Blackboard, with some optional E-live sessions and required paper assignments (usually some type of portfolio reflecting insights from readings/class/application) and a research paper.

The combination of initial residential class followed in sequence with blackboard postings on discussion board, on-going reflection portfolios and final research paper seem to work particularly well.  The front end face-to-face interaction allows students to form some familiarity and interdependent relationships with others (in the Organizational Conflict classes we form a temporary Consulting Group whose success depends on each member doing high quality work) and for teaching staff (Professors and teaching assistant) to assess the readiness of group members to undertake actual field work with clients.  In the Conflict Management in Groups class, the three-day marathon is essential since we form an “experiential laboratory” for members to observe individual and group behavior while they encounter challenging situations, and the need to function in a variety of group settings *(Katz, 2016).

Since the residential classes are so intense, so focused, and time consuming; most of the reading of material takes place in the weeks following.  This sequence actually seems to work better as contrasted with requiring participants to read to “prepare for class. “ We refer to this method as “just in time leaning” since our belief is that one purpose of the residential portion of the course is to “wet their appetite” for more intellectual understanding of what they experience in the face-to-face encounters (especially in the Conflict Management in Groups Course).  Readings that supplement the skills based courses in Negotiation and Mediation help support, reinforce and extend the in-class learning by providing theoretical justification of the skills and strategies, and describing illustrative real life examples of their use, sometimes in high stakes situations.  For example, some of the readings in the Negotiation course provide evidence of the positive impact of the utilization of Interest-Based Negotiation principles and tactics in actual labor-management encounters, in discussions leading to the ending of apartheid in South Africa, in successful third-party interventions in teacher contract negotiations, and environmental disputes.

Hybrid classes seem to be particularly useful and successful when students need a concentrated time to give full attention to personal growth material that lends itself to introspection and analysis.  For instance, the Conflict Management in Groups class provides opportunity to give and receive feedback on one’s behavior under challenging conditions and the impact of behavioral choices on individuals and groups. The on-going feedback loop is supported by the fact that every member is experiencing somewhat similar feelings as they cope with complexities surrounding issues such as group formation, and developmental stages.  We believe the “bonding” and “I’m not alone” effect that helps both the coping and learning is enhanced by the extended, concentrated time together as opposed to the more traditional class structure of once, twice, or three times a week meetings.

In the primarily skill-based classes, the hybrid format also has some decided advantages.  During the residential portion, participants can concentrate on being attentive to instructors’ modeling the skills through live demonstrations with participants, video presentations, and stories of actual use with positive results. Ample time is provided for skill practice with observation and critique, a luxury that would be difficult to accomplish in classes of only one or two hours.  Again, the concentrated time allows for a sense of trust and intimacy among group members so that they feel more willing to experiment with what might be new and awkward behavior, and receive feedback from instructors and peers.  This extended skill practice time with concentrated feedback is particularly important because in some of our classes they have a “performance examination” of skill proficiency as part of the student evaluation.

Several of the organizational conflict classes have an actual consulting component with real organizational clients as an essential part of the course.  The hybrid format is particularly helpful in these classes since the participants need to be both confident and competent to carry out their field work assignments whether it be leadership coaching, process consulting, or leading conflict resolution training.  High quality support and standards are also reinforced by the formation of a “Temporary Consulting Firm” set up during the residential section of the hybrid class in which all are accountable to the success and reputation of the Firm and are counseled in the need to assist one another when necessary.

Hybrid classes have one additional decided advantage.  For working adults, it is often more possible to arrange schedules to be on campus for 3 consecutive days or over 2 weekends rather than take off work to go to attend class one or more times a week for a full semester.  At our University, with a large contingent of distance students, we also arrange to have the hybrid classes attached to our mandatory Residential Institute which requires in-person attendance for all on-line students in our fall and winter terms.  This allows distance students to save on travel costs since they have to travel to be on-campus anyway, though they have to extend the time to be with us on a residential basis.

Experiential Learning, Service Learning and the Scholarship of Engagement

The field of conflict analysis and resolution is one of practice.  Even if one wishes to eventually become an administrator, researcher, trainer, or professor, the foundation is based on practice and the related skills. Our students come from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds and are primarily mid-career working professionals. Some students may be leaving or retiring from a career and seeking the tools and credentials to start a new career, and others are just starting a first career. We have students with professional backgrounds in government, social services, teaching, law enforcement, health care, corporate and not-for-profit organizations, mental health counseling and therapy, school and higher education administration, clergy and other religiously-based professions. The reason for many to pursue a graduate degree in conflict resolution has been their experience with conflict in the family, community, region, or workplace. They wish to be able to address conflict in its many forms and contexts, using the knowledge and skills of the field (McKay, 2012, McKay 2004, 16)

Our department recognized from the beginning that hands-on experience is key. Therefore experiential learning was built into our curriculum. It takes the form of simulated exercises in applied process classes such as mediation, facilitation, negotiation, conflict coaching, dispute systems design, and organizational conflict. These laboratory-related courses provide both knowledge and skills and the opportunity to practice those skills in activities such as roleplays. Experiential learning also occurs in non-practicum courses. In some courses, a major component and the final project is a consultation project with an organization in the community.  Examples include classes such as Strategic Community Planning (*) and some of our organizational conflict courses. This experience is helpful to students in gaining much-needed opportunities to apply their skills.

Our students also do a practicum. A practicum is both a course as well as a simultaneous field placement.  Students are dually mentored by a professor in class and a site supervisor in the field. In the class the instructor guides the students in areas such as ethics and confidentiality, workplace behavior, workplace culture and dynamics, and how to utilize conflict analysis, management and resolution. At the site, the supervisor is there to guide student in the mission of the organization, the site activities, and how the student will operate as a part of the environment.

The Practicum may be done locally, nationally, or internationally. We engage our students’ right from the beginning of their first term in practicum planning. Students are encouraged to think of practicum planning as an important part of their career development plan, with the practicum providing the opportunity to use their knowledge and skills directly in a real-world setting. Students select their site based on their career interests and needs. Many will select local sites close to home, while others may select sites in other parts of the country or world. Since we offer both distance and residential classes, we have students studying with us from a number of locations. This has resulted in practicum partnerships in many places.

In addition, we offer global practicum opportunities led by our faculty in a variety of international locations such as Ecuador, Ireland, Israel, Suriname, and Morocco. Faculty wishing to offer a global practicum plan well in advance. Information is disseminated to students the year before so they are able to consider their options and ability to participate.

Practicum settings and activities are often part of what would be identified as service-learning. Most university programs in conflict resolution require a practicum and many focus on service learning. Service learning is generally defined by each program or university. It usually involves specific types of activities intended to provide both experience for the student and a needed service to an organization or community. Seen as a “win-win” situation for the students and sites, service learning is a very popular way for the university to interact positively with the community.

In addition to service learning, universities are expanding their understanding of community engagement. One such understanding is called the Scholarship of Engagement. Service learning is a valuable part of the practicum experience and fulfills the goal of experiential learning and providing assistance to the community. It is not however, the same as the Scholarship of Engagement. According to Boyer, universities should be partners with communities in the search for solutions to social problems (Boyer, 1996).  Barker (2004) posits that the Scholarship of Engagement “….reflects a growing interest in broadening and deepening the public aspects of academic scholarship” (123). According to Barker (2004), the Scholarship of Engagement contains a specific and distinct set of practices and stresses the role of the public as a contributor to academic knowledge, not merely the recipient of that knowledge (125-127). This scholarship essentially is a departure from a parochial notion of the university as the “expert” and the community as the “novice” (McKay, 2012, * ) Instead, the university and the community join as research and practice partners to explore and address social issues (McKay, 2012). “Increasingly, I’m convinced that ultimately, the Scholarship of Engagement means creating a special climate in which the academic and civic cultures communicate more continuously and more creatively with each other, helping to enlarge what anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes as the universe of human discourse and enriching the quality of life for all of us” (Boyer 1996, 33).

This is an exciting time when students and faculty in conflict resolution have options to provide experiential learning, service learning, and the Scholarship of Engagement. All three of these are used by our department to enhance student learning and enable students to gain practical experience, making them more skillful and marketable.


Boyer, E. L (1996). The scholarship of engagement. Bulletin of the American Academy of Arts and  Sciences, 49(7), 18-33. doi:10.2307/3824459

McKay, J. (2012). “The Scholarship of Engagement: Transforming Communities and Organizations through Practicum and other Collaborative Projects.” In C.L. Duckworth & C. D Kelley (Eds). Conflict resolution and the scholarship of engagement:  Partnerships transforming conflict (pp. 102-118). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Katz, Neil H., Katherine J. Sosa and Suzzette A. Harriott. “Overt and Covert Group Dynamics.  An Innovative Approach for Conflict Resolution Preparation.  Conflict Resolution Quarterly.  Vol.    33, No. 3, Spring,  2016, 313-348.

McKay, J. (2004). Practicum: The bridge between academics and practice:  NovaSoutheastern Experience.” The Fourth R. Wash D.C., The Association for Conflict Resolution.

About the Authors:  Neil H. Katz, Professor, Department of Conflict Studies; Judith McKay, Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Multi-Disciplinary Studies; and Ismael Muvingi, Associate Professor, Director of Ph.D. Programs, Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution and African Studies, Department of Conflict Resolution Studies, Nova Southeastern University

Organizing Principles in Peace and Conflict Studies (New for 2018)


David Derezotes


The Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) program at the University of Utah (UU) is an undergraduate program in the College of Humanities that offers both a major and minor degree. Now roughly eight years old, the program has doubled in size over the past three years. Many students have double majors, with such disciplines as Medicine, Law, Political Science, and International Studies. The PCS program now has three required classes, and students have the freedom to choose the bulk of their classes from a menu of approved classes across campus.

In this chapter, four principles in teaching Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) are presented. Students and faculty find these interrelated approaches useful in developing curriculum and teaching in PCS. The first has implications for what is taught in the curriculum, the second and third help organize how we think about peace and conflict issues, and the fourth frames how the curriculum is taught.  Consciousness work is the heart of the program; we challenge ourselves and our students to see the world (including one’s inner world) the way it is and to accept that world as it is. Systems theory, incorporates the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of analysis, so we can see how each individual is interconnected with everything around us. The ecobiopsychosocialspiritual perspective addresses the many interrelated ways a human being develops across the lifespan. Finally, experiential learning, learning by doing, provides an opportunity for students to have direct experiences in peace and conflict work, both in and outside the classroom.

The challenge of teaching PCS in a time of global ressentiment

Many people state they are “for peace”. In the early development of a Peace and Conflict Studies (PCS) program, there were many volunteers to help form a planning committee and write proposals. Students were attracted to the program, some because their wonderful idealism, and some because the interdisciplinary choices make it relatively easy to for them get a quick minor.

One of my students said recently, “It seems like everyone is angry with everybody”. This same observation  appeared in the literature from Indian scholar J. Mishra (2017) who has called this time a global “Age of Anger” characterized by an “…existential resentment of other people’s being, caused by an intense mix of envy and sense of humiliation and powerlessness, ressentiment, as it lingers and deepens, poisons civil society and undermines political liberty, and is presently making for a global turn to authoritarianism and toxic forms of chauvinism” (Mishra (2017, p. 14). This universal anger or ressentiment can be analyzed from a systems perspective and an ecobiopsychosocial perspective, using experiential exercises that support students’ consciousness work.

Consciousness work

Consciousness may be defined as reverent awareness; which is both seeing things as they are and being okay with the way those things are. Many PCS students initially struggle with this definition, because they refuse to accept a world that is so full of violence and conflict and worry that consciousness implies that there is nothing they can do to be of service to that suffering world. In fact, the opposite is true. The PCS helps students see how their consciousness can in fact have the most profound effect in developing inclusive communities and promoting social justice, in part because it fosters the kinds of relationships that can bridge differences and build inclusive communities.

This idea that consciousness is essential to social transformation can be found in most of the world’s wisdom traditions. Students seem to respond well to the words and works of J. Krishnamurti, for example, who was arguably one of the clearest voices speaking about peace and violence in the 20th Century.  The PCS program offers these basic ideas to students, partially based upon Krishnamurti’s (e.g., 1996) work:

  1. Each one of us is response-able for (and able to respond to) the violence in the world
  2. Violence and conflict often originate from the desire to change something in the world, including the desire to change myself, in part because the only thing I can change in the here-and-now moment are my own attitudes and actions.
  3. Instead of trying to change myself or the world, I can use consciousness to accurately see and accept the ways things are. As I become conscious of my own inner conflicts and tendency towards violence, my conflicts and violence no longer have the same power to control me.
  4. When I approach people with an attitude of consciousness, the other person is more likely to respond in a positive way. Consciousness is helpful in the dialogue process, which is described later in this chapter; these ground rules help people bridge the differences that divide us.

Each student is encouraged to do their own inner work, including “owning” her or his own hidden biases, projections, emotional triggers, identifications, and traits of ressentiment. The PCS program teaches that the word “healing” has a Latin root that means “to become whole”, so that as we observe what is hidden inside of us, those shadow traits become seen and no longer have power over our attitudes and behaviors.

Hidden biases are unconscious (shadow) beliefs that can be made conscious, such as a belief that “Green” people are more intelligent and friendly than “Purple” people. Projections are shadow qualities inside me that I am not yet ready to see, so I only see them in others, such as the man who refuses to see his same-sex attraction, so he harasses other men whom he perceives as gay. Emotional triggers are situations and interactions that tend to bring up intense reactions of sadness, anger, fear, and other difficult emotions, such as with a person who immediately gets intensely angry whenever anyone suggests that s/he is too intense. Identifications are mechanisms where the individual not only has a strong belief, but moves to a place where “the belief is now him” and “he is the belief”. Identifications make violence possible, when for example; a person is willing to go to war when anyone criticizes the religion he identifies with. Finally, ressentiment, which we defined above, may include such traits as insensitivity to other people’s suffering, an underlying desire for revenge, and a tendency to react with anger when under any kind of stress.

Through the PCS program, students are challenged to do consciousness work by integrating such work into their assignments. Classes always include journaling assignments through which students reflect on their emotional, cognitive, social, and spiritual responses (see section on lifelong development below) to the class. The journals are kept confidential, and the instructor responds to each student’s journaling.

Another assignment that encourages consciousness work uses reading reflections. PCS find that many students are reluctant to read textbooks, and that assignments that are linked to readings encourage them to open up these books, and check out other resources. Instead of only asking students to do the traditional “critical thinking”, we ask them to do “conscious thinking and feeling”. Conscious thinking and feeling simply means that students look at themselves honestly and accept who they are in each moment. Thus, in their reading reflections, students choose readings, write a report on what they read, and also report on their conscious thinking and feeling responses.

Systems perspective: Integrating macro and micro perspectives

PCS find it useful to understand peace and conflict from an integrated perspective that always includes analysis on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of human interaction. The micro level can be thought of as personal relationships, such as most people have in their home, school, or   work environment. The macro includes systems such as cities, states, and countries and the policies that govern them. The mezzo is in the middle, and represents small and large groups where people come together, such as neighborhood associations, book clubs, and local political organizations. Students are introduced to this systematic way of assessment and intervention in the Introduction to PCS class, and the concepts are reinforced in thefinal Integrative Seminar

 Ressentiment can be analyzed from a systems perspective. On the macro level, as Mishra (2017) writes about, there are for example many people around the world who are exposed through mass media and communications technology to promises of wealth and power, yet they increasingly feel that they are do not have equal access to wealth and power.  On the mezzo level, individuals may be influenced towards ressentiment by the statements they hear from others for example in the work environment, at their church, or in their exercise club. On the micro level, we know that not everyone is impacted in the same way by these macro and mezzo factors, so students could study what qualities in the individual make someone resilient towards ressentiment.

Case example: Incorporating the micro, mezzo, and macro levels

In the Introduction to PCS class, one of the students brings up a case that she would like to discuss with her classmates and teachers. She is doing an internship with a wilderness advocacy group that is engaged in a conflict about the leasing of federal lands for oil and gas exploration. On one “side” there are the oil and gas companies who seek permission to exploit oil and gas reserves as well as a collection of local and state politicians and others leaders who support this exploitation. On the other “side” there is a collection of conservation nonprofit organizations as well as American Indians representing a local tribe who live adjacent to the federal lands.

The instructor writes the terms ”MICRO”, “MEZZO”, and “MACRO” across the whiteboard and asks the students to analyze the conflict from all three perspectives. As the students suggest areas of analysis that fit under the three headings, she writes them on the board.

The students first talk about the micro level , and suggest that there are many personal relationships between local people, where friends, co-workers, neighbors,  and family members may disagree strongly about what should happen with this oil and gas leasing conflict.

On the mezzo level, the students talk about how different local groups and organizations are in conflict with each other over the leasing proposals. These might include local institutions, like churches, schools, clubs, and work locations where people who know each other may have very different views about the oil and gas leasing conflict. On the macro level, students study the local, state, and national policies that help guide how large-scale political and economic systems work.

Situating the Peace and Conflict Studies program

Another way to teach about the systems perspective is to look at the PCS program and how it is situated in various systems. Each PCS program lives in a context of community and campus locations. Some PCS programs are developed in reaction to the power or perceived power of majority political, religious, and cultural populations found in state, regional local, and campus communities (see Figure 1 below). For example, on the one hand, the UUprogram is in a “red” state with a majority religion, where members of both state populations often say they are being oppressed by even more powerful national populations. On the other hand, the UU is situated in a city that tends to vote Democratic and that has a diversity of religions and non-affiliated populations, where often these local populations also feel oppressed by the majorities in the larger state.

To add to this complexity, each PCS student, staff, and faculty member  experience these circles of power differently, based upon their own political, religious, cultural, and other intersecting identities.

Figure 1

What is the Ecobiopsychosocialspiritual life-long development perspective?

The PCS discovered that our students quickly grasp the Ecobiopsychosocialspiritual (EBPSS) perspective and can apply it when assessing conflict situations. This perspective is an inclusive approach to peace practice, that helps students include the many factors that contribute to conflict situations. Students learn to consider all dimensions when assessing and engaging, and intervening with people (see Figure 2).

“Eco” or Ecological, is about the “Big Picture”, and refers to the environmental context of the situation to be assessed, including factors such as global and local community, family and cultural backgrounds, and environmental factors.

“Bio” or Biological refers to the physical dimension of wellbeing, including nutrition, disease, environmental toxins, sanitation, and availability of clean air and water.

The Spiritual dimension includes the sense of connection people have with each other and the world, the lifelong development of consciousness (or reverent awareness), and the ability to express loving kindness towards self and others.

The Psychosocial combines both intrapersonal factors (such as beliefs and emotions) as well and interpersonal factors (such as family relationships, relationships with colleagues, and online experiences).  PCS faculty separate these two factors out when discussing case studies.


Figure 2

Case example: Applying the Ecobiopsychosocialspiritual perspective in a conflict resolution case

Any human conflict can be analyzed from an EBPSS perspective. For example, some of PCS students seek a career working with the court system, doing divorce mediation work. One student brought in a case involving a couple who wanted to get a legal divorce, but who were in conflict about how they viewed each other and the marriage.  “Bill” had brought in two children from a previous marriage, and he also had owned the house that the couple resided in. Bill shares custody with the children’s mother Ruth, who is upset that Bill no longer attends church with the children. Bill’s husband “Marcos” was 10 years younger than Bill and complained that Bill was a “control freak” who also had a drinking problem. Bill said that Marcos was “immature” and always “bummed”. Both Marcos and Bill agree that they yell at each other “too much” although they do not report any physical violence.

We looked at the case from an EBPPS perspective. From the ecological viewpoint, for example, the students discuss the heterosexism that same sex couples have to deal with in our society, and how heterosexism might impact the marriage and divorce. The students also considered the economic and housing conditions in the couples’ life.

From a biological viewpoint, we looked, for example at Bill’s drinking, and how that is may be associated with the couple’s current challenges. An example of the psychological level might be an analysis of Marcos’ possible depression, and the verbal violence in the couple’s relationship is a social issue. Finally the conflict between Bill and Ruth about church is an example of a spiritual level issue.

Finally, ressentiment can be understood and worked on from the EBPPS perspective. There are many factors that could contribute to traits of ressentiment in an individual. On the ecological level, increasing disparity of income and wealth in countries like the USA could be a factor. On the biological level, the lack of access to healthy foods could be a factor. The individual’s own tendency towards resentment is a psychological factor, and her relationships with other people could influence her ressentiment on the social level. Finally, the individual’s ability to find meaning in his suffering and to disidentify with (let go of) his need for power and wealth is an example of a spiritual level factor.

Experiential learning

The PCS believes that the education is “serious play” in which students to discover their own voice, their compassion for others, and their wisdom, through engagement with themselves, each other, and the world. Most courses that count towards the PCS major and minor are traditionally-taught academic classes from across the University. The required PCS courses (Introduction, Dialogue practice, and Integrative seminar) all utilize nationally recognized textbooks that students are asked to read and react to.

Academic rigor is not limited to assignments that challenge students to achieve cognitive development.  In the PCS classwork, students are challenged to rigorously develop their social and emotional intelligences. PCS uses “real plays”, structured interactions where students engage in dialogue with each other. Instead of asking students to role play a fictional example of a conflict in the workplace, students are asked to volunteer a real experience they encountered.

Any teaching content can be taught experientially. In order to teach the concept “deep peace”, an instructor could construct a power point and show examples of peace (the lack of violence) and deep peace (not just a lack of violence, but also active dialogue, compassion, cooperation, community). An experiential approach to teaching about deep peace would be, for example, to first ask students to share in dyads or small groups about the most peaceful and the least peaceful communities that they experienced. Then, back in a large group, students  volunteer traits of very-peaceful, peaceful, and not-so-peaceful communities. Patterns of peace and deep peace usually emerge on the white board from this kind of discussion.

Intergroup dialogue

PCS uses intergroup dialogue in classes, an experiential form of learning that combines intrapersonal and interpersonal consciousness work. Dialogue is a relationship- and community-building alternative to debate that can help people bridge the differences that often divide. In the required dialogue class for PCS majors and minors, students first study dialogue processes, including their own hidden biases, their emotional triggers, and their identifications with different beliefs. In the last 10 weeks of the semester, students host groups of people for in-classroom dialogue. These are groups that students’ have identified as populations that they tend to dislike and even demonize. Often these groups represent different races, religions, political affiliations, and sexual orientations.

PCS developed a set of dialogue ground rules (See Figure 3, from Derezotes, 2016) that help guide these difficult conversations. Evaluations of these dialogues show that students value these sessions and learn valuable lessons that they later apply to their personal and professional lives. PCS believes that one of the true marks of an educated person is that she or he can have a dialogic conversation with anyone in their community.

Figure 3: Dialogue ground rules


  1. Listen for understanding
  2. Speak respectfully
  3. Speak for myself
  4. Offer amnesty
  5. Wait at least three turns before speaking
  6. Own my own biases judgments and projections
  7. Do not:
  8. Interrupt
  9. Make negative gestures
  10. Make others wrong
  11. Do side talk
  12. Do teaching and preaching

A dialogue might be used as an experiential approach to teaching ressentiment. For example, students can be put into a circle. The instructor models the role of facilitator, using the ground rules above. The instructor might have students take turns going around the circle. In the first go-around, each student can share a trait of ressentiment that they have observed in another person. In the second set of turns, students might be challenged to own a trait of ressentiment that they themselves have.

PCS internships are another opportunity for experiential learning. All PCS students’ taking a PCS major, and most of the minors, enroll in a PCS internship. At the beginning of the internship, students are asked to reflect and report on their learning goals. When the internship is finished, students’ complete a report report reviewing what was learned, and what they want to focus on next in their educational and vocational trajectories.


Can we accelerate the “technology” of peace, and keep pace with our advancing technology of war and destruction?  The UUPCS program, like many others now being taught or developed in the world, is a sign of hope that humankind is capable of learning about peace. PCS wants to face the fact that people live in an era where we are all challenged to learn how to deal with conflict peacefully. PCS views the program as an ongoing experiment, continually evaluated, in hopes of “getting it right” for students, and local and global communities.


Derezotes, D.S. (2014) Transforming historical trauma through dialogue. Los Angeles: Sage.

Krishnamurti, J. (1996). Total freedom: The essential Krishnamurti. Ojai, CA: Harper One.

Mishra, P. (2017) Age of anger: A history of the present. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

About the Author:  David Derezotes, Director, Peace and Conflict Studies Program, University of Utah, 2017

Case Study: Simulation Based Learning to Teach About Global Negotiations


Simulation Based Learning to Teach About Global Negotiations: The Experiences at Jamestown Community College

Gregory P. Rabb


In the late 1980s, long before such concepts as active learning and student centered learning became ubiquitous, Jamestown Community College (JCC) became concerned that its students were not actively engaged in their learning. JCC was also troubled that many of the more traditional classroom assignments such as multiple choice tests and essay or short answer tests were not helping students to develop essential writing and critical thinking skills. Finally, many of its students were very similar to each other, having come from a predominantly white, rural county in southwestern New York State. The College felt that they were not being adequately prepared to live and work in an increasingly diverse world. As a means of rectifying these deficiencies, the political science department committed itself to infusing the present curriculum with experiential learning opportunities that would be engaging and lead to more meaningful learning outcomes.

The intention was to work with outsiders to create activities or simulations that would result in students interacting with students from other colleges nationwide. It was believed that outside expertise was needed in order to develop experiential learning experiences that were comprehensive, relevant, and of high quality. The benefits of these new approaches to students included allowing them to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills. The activities would support independent learning and increase the students’ abilities to negotiate with others. The students became more confident in their skills and abilities and developed knowledge essential to professional careers and good citizenship. This approach allows faculty to develop collaborations with other colleagues that in some cases can lead to a range of professional development opportunities such as educational opportunities from Fulbright and National Endowment for the Humanities, grants from global studies centers and fellowships from an array of entities. While the primary benefit is for students there is an important secondary benefit for faculty as well. Simulation based learning requires faculty to take risks since simulations go in many unanticipated directions and require both students and teachers to develop a capacity for dealing with ambiguity. JCC started simulation based learning before the internet when doing research was more difficult and time consuming. The internet allows faculty and students to have more access to numerous materials. Conversely, the internet provides students with too much material.

While adventurous students and risk taking faculty are essential, a supportive administration is also required. It requires the appropriate mindset in the faculty member backed by an administration willing to try new things in the interest of student learning.

European Union Simulation

In 1988, JCC along with five other colleges/universities in New York state, founded the oldest simulation of the then European Community (now European Union) in the United States. JCC was and continues to be the only community college participating in the simulation now called SUNYMEU-State University of New York Model European Union ( JCC students often are not political science or international relations students. Many pursue careers as teachers or lawyers where learning to speak in front groups or negotiate are valuable assets. Therefore, the content knowledge and the skills acquired are applicable after graduation. Students from each participating school play the role of a nation-state in the European Union (EU) in face-to-face negotiations. SUNYMEU over the years has expanded to include both US and EU participating colleges/universities. Most of the students from the other colleges are political science/international relations students. The face-to-face simulation is done in English. Through the internet, documents and messages pertinent to the simulation can be easily distributed online prior to arrival. The simulation typically lasts three days and is held in odd years at a US campus and in even years at an EU campus. In 2009 the simulation was held in April at SUNY New Paltz near New York City. The 2010 simulation will be held in January in Ireland. In previous years the simulation was held in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Czech Republic.

Students have participated in more than one simulation, the other being the International Negotiation Modules Project discussed below. Students have completed the simulation for credit as part of JCC’s World Politics class or as part of JCC’s EU class, an upper level class created and centered on the simulation. Students have also done the simulation for the experience without academic credit.

Obviously, there are expenses involved including both registration and travel with the US based simulation being significantly less expensive than the EU based simulation. JCC and the other partner schools have been somewhat successful with fund raising (including support from the schools themselves, foundations, private corporations, group rates, and negotiations on the part of the simulation treasurer). The simulation sponsors, governed by a council made up of the faculty advisors, have worked to keep expenses down.

In the last simulation JCC students played the role of Latvia-the smallest and poorest nation-state in the EU. Three students went this year with each student playing one of the following roles: Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and Economics Minister. The simulation is student organized and run. Faculty can observe formal sessions and advise outside of formal sessions, but faculty do not actively get involved other than preparing students. This requires faculty who can let go and let students learn and make mistakes. The goal of the simulation is to give students an opportunity to learn while simulating the real world as much as possible. Learning is given priority over making the simulation as “real” as possible. This means that sometimes the simulation may not precisely follow the procedural rules of the EU if “bending” them a little results in better student learning given the time constraints of a several day simulation.

The simulation is presided over by which ever country in the real world currently holds the rotating Presidency. In the April 2009 simulation that was the Czech Republic. The EU presidency is responsible for distributing information as to priorities during the simulation but individual nation-states are invited to submit other items for discussion and negotiation. The face-to-face simulation concludes with a statement entitled “Conclusions of the Presidency” followed by a closing banquet.

JCC students this past year, playing Latvia, made a push for economic concerns as Latvia, once the fastest growing country in the EU, was now contracting economically or experiencing “negative growth.” They were successful in getting their concerns into the conclusions by convincing other likeminded nation-states to concur.

Preparing students for a simulation is challenging. It makes faculty learn to teach in new ways and allows faculty to develop into better teachers. The EU course starts out with overview lectures but as the semester progresses there is less lecturing and more of the work shifts to the students in anticipation of the simulation. The students research and present to their classmates information on an assigned nation-state (currently 27), EU procedures (inter-governmental v. supranational), and EU policies. These are discussed in class and eventually submitted in a short written format for distribution as well as grading. Questioning in class by both the instructors and the students gives students the opportunity to think on their feet in preparation for and anticipation of the simulation. The course uses a textbook (“The Emerging European Union” by Yesilada and Wood) supplemented by the internet and free publications available in bulk from the EU Commission office ( in Washington, DC. Students have also contacted the embassy of the country they are role playing for additional help. Greece was the most helpful allowing students to call them during the simulation in the US to get advice on the Greek position. Spain was also very helpful when the simulation was in Prague. The deputy ambassador spent an hour with JCC students explaining the Spanish position on that year’s simulation issues.

The simulation requires students to be in coat and tie (for the men) and appropriate professional attire for the women. The students can dress down for social functions. For JCC students this is often the first time they interact with people from other countries and is often the thing they remember the most. There is no one way to prepare students to interact appropriately with students and people from other cultures. Students adapt very quickly and enjoy the differences as well as the similarities. One way to help students prepare for this opportunity is by drawing on their own cultural experiences as well as those of the faculty member through anecdotes especially when these experiences may have resulted in humorous situations. It is also important to teach students to be open to different cultures, suspend judgment, and leave America behind since at the simulation they are “Europeans.” This can be done in class with the faculty member responding to their comments in class by saying that is what an American would say but, now, “what would a European say? ” Also, playing the role of another country allows them to step out of the position of an “American.”

Spending several days with students traveling and at the simulation allows faculty and students to develop stronger relationships. Students also report that they learn as much, if not more, at the simulation than in class. Students who participate twice say they learn even more the second time around. Students have often participated a third time if they transfer to a participating school. This simulation has opened the door to students considering and participating in study abroad while enrolled at JCC. The simulation has also opened the door to careers that they would not have experienced without the simulation as well as considering transfer schools participating in the event. Their personal lives have been enriched with new friends.

While the simulation is course based, there are many benefits that would never come from a stand-alone course. The simulation allowed JCC to be awarded an EU Fulbright Scholar grant to bring an EU scholar from England to spend a semester working with its students to prepare for the simulation. The simulation also allowed JCC to get a Fulbright scholarship to allow the EU advisor to spend a summer of study in the Netherlands to learn more about the Dutch in order to help students prepare for playing the role of the Dutch at the simulation.

ICONS INMP Simulation

The International Communication and Negotiation Simulation (ICONS) International Negotiation Modules Project (INMP) simulation ( is an online simulation available at the high school, university, community college, and professional levels. To quote the website

The ICONS project…is an experiential learning program that uses customized web based learning tools to support educational simulations and simulation based training. Our… programs cast students in the role of decision makers tasked with trying to resolve contentious political issues of the day. The ICONS project also uses its simulations to support training programs related to conflict resolution, decision making, negotiation, cross cultural communication, and crisis management.

The community college simulation started out as a California community college simulation originally funded under a US Department of Education FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education) grant. It was expanded to include community colleges outside of California in its third year, the year JCC joined. The community college online simulation is inter-disciplinary in that it is run in many different courses at different colleges from Hawaii to New York. At JCC, the World Politics class was completely redesigned with the simulation at the heart of the course. At other institutions the simulation is based in many different classes: Anthropology, English, Geography, French, Economics, and others. There is a cost to the institution to participate.

The faculty advisors get together in the fall in person in Los Angeles or via email to plan the spring simulation. Academic coordination is provided by Dr. Joyce Kaufman at Whittier College. Kaufman prepares an annual simulation scenario each January distributed as an email attachment to participating schools. The scenario updates students on international situations as of January extensively footnoted with source

information highlighting the nation-states and international organizations played by the different schools in the simulation. This year’s spring simulation included a variety of nation-states and the World Health Organization as roles. The simulation scenario also explains the simulation and how to prepare. The scenario then presents the four issues that will be negotiated. The four issues are chosen by the faculty advisors. This year’s four issues were health (reducing child mortality), human rights (child soldiers), economics (reforming the Breton Woods institutions), and the environment (biofuels).

The simulation is live twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for five weeks beginning at the end of March through the beginning of May. Near the end of the five weeks there are four real time summits (one each day, four days in a row) when all the participating schools are online for an hour and a half in a real time summit based on the discussions so far. Each summit is chaired by a participating school based on a proposal they prepared and put in the proposal center.

JCC has two campuses fifty miles apart. One campus plays the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the other campus plays the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK-North Korea). This began because the simulation allowed JCC to get an East Asian fellowship from Columbia University because of the college’s work in simulation based learning. JCC uses a textbook (“Global Politics” by Ray and Kaarbo) supplemented by the simulation scenario and online resources. Internally in the classes the students playing the role of South Korea participate as a democracy with a student playing the President and four students playing the role of the Ministers responsible for their respective ministries. The students playing the role of North Korea are to participate as an authoritarian, totalitarian, hereditary communist dictatorship with one student playing the role of the “Dear Leader” and four students playing the role of the Ministers responsible for their respective ministries.

The Head of Government must prepare a general opening statement and the Ministers must also prepare an opening statement for their respective issue and ministry. By the time of the summits each ministry must prepare a proposal for posting in the proposal center. For purposes of assessment and grading students at the end of the simulation prepare a paper comparing the simulation with the real world. This simulation, like the EU simulation previously discussed, has led students to participating in the EU simulation, studying abroad, and exploring different career options. Because this simulation is all text based it has the side benefit of helping students to write better and write better quickly especially during the summits.

When JCC students are chosen to chair the summit it results in students learning how to chair meetings. Students need to be coached as to how to effectively chair meetings by helping them put together an agenda (with a time schedule) prior to the summit for all nation-states to see and add to if they wish. They also need to help keep the other nation-states on task by not permitting disputes that can’t be settled in the summit or getting off topic. The agenda should list the items to be discussed and the procedures to be followed whether Roberts Rules of Order are being used or some other format at the prerogative of the chair. Faculty members with experience chairing meetings are particularly helpful when teaching students how to chair a meeting since the faculty member can draw on his/her own experiences.

Students can read messages at any time from any place but can only post messages in class after gaining approval from their respective governments. This is the only class where students remain after class is over, interrupt their spring break to participate in the summits, and typically ask if they can come and participate in the summits a year later when they are no longer in the class.

Students at JCC are asked to do a simple open ended pre and post simulation anonymous survey asking them five questions about international negotiations in general and the four issues in particular. The pre survey answers are vague and general. The post survey answers are specific and sophisticated. The most frequent general comment is “how does anything ever get done” in the real world with real nations when it was so hard to come to an agreement in the simulation. This is a valuable lesson about the difficulties inherent in international negotiations.

The surveys administered to students show that they have learned to think like the country they represent. These survey responses and the simulation postings were reviewed by the East Asian experts at Columbia University who reported that JCC students “got it.” At one of our discussions and meetings at Columbia one of the East Asian faculty members briefly left the room and came back into a discussion of Korean affairs based on the simulation and JCC students messages. She thought the discussion was about the real world and was pleasantly surprised to find that we were discussing JCC students work as community college freshmen and sophomores. Over the years the advisors have found that an ideal simulation has anywhere from 10 to 15 participants. New schools are always welcome to participate.


Both simulations have changed learning and teaching at Jamestown Community College for the better. Students have become better independent active learners because of the research requirements. They also learn to work collaboratively because of the nature of negotiations. Students become more involved, classes become more interesting. Faculty members become better teachers because they become open to experimenting with new ways of teaching and learning. Both simulations require extra work on part of the faculty advisor and the students but the pay back, based on anecdotal information and formal evaluation and assessment, is overwhelmingly convincing. The opportunities for teaching and learning are well worth the effort. While they do require institutional support, the key is passionate, interested faculty willing to take chances and step outside their comfort zone for the benefit of themselves, their students, the college, and the community.

About the Author: Gregory P. Rabb, Associate Professor of Political Science/Coordinator of Global Education, Jamestown Community College

Course Dev and Integration Examples Appendix



Student and Supplemental Programming


This section explores topics such the incorporation of mediation programs, study abroad, service learning, sustained dialogue campus network activities and more.

Implementing the Nine Hallmarks of Community Mediation Centers in Higher Education (New for 2018)


Brian Pappas and D.G. Mawn

This chapter provides an overview of community mediation centers, their history, and examples of how three universities are partnering with and housing programming that embeds the values and framework of community mediation. While the National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) has always had university members within the NAFCM family, NAFCM looks to continue to support and grow the partnership with and programs that are a part of their university community. This Chapter integrates the work of two of those university partners, Loyola College of Law and the Monterey College of Law as well as the emerging work at Boise State University.

Loyola College of Law houses the Center For Conflict Resolution, a community-based mediation program which has served over 40,000 citizens of Los Angeles County, California since 1993. The Center has 300 to 500 cases pending at any given time, which come directly from members of the community and from social, government and legal service agencies. While the center provides these services in virtually any type of conflict where parties are willing to participate, specialty areas include: consumer-debt, disability, divorce, employment, family and landlord-tenant cases.

The Monterey College of Law houses the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management. The Center promotes and applies a constructive approach to conflict management. The goals of the Center are to: Promote and apply non-coercive means to reduce the probability of conflict or its damaging consequences; Replace combative advocacy with a mediative, empathetic, problem-solving point of view; Identify and utilize existing local and reginal resources; Provide a curriculum to teach practical approaches to conflict management; Teach a historical perspective on conflict management including the evolution of separation of powers and the emergence of defined civil liberties; Teach and share the result of the Center’s research; and Provide public service through public education, mediation services, reports and counseling on conflict management.

Boise State University offers a Conflict Management Program that focuses on using community mediation skills to assist leaders and managers at all levels, professionals who need high-level people skills and supports the hallmark that anyone interested in effectively managing conflict can learn the necessary skills. Presently the director of the Conflict Management Program seeks to expand the usage and support by the university of practicum experience for his students.

Brief History of Community Mediation

Community Mediation Centers (CMC) are designed to engage with the community to prevent, anticipate, and respond to community conflicts. Through facilitated, mediated, and open conversations, CMCs seek to strengthen relationships between community members and groups in ways that often lead to collaborative resolutions. Community volunteers, trained to be impartial mediators, act to facilitate communication and increase mutual connectiveness between the individuals or groups in conflict. While community mediators may exercise significant influence over the process, the focus is to empower the parties to create their own outcomes. While not a means of formally achieving social justice, mediation supports the aims of social justice by promoting individual justice through participant voice and self-determination. Through a trained roster of community mediators, CMCs create opportunities for dialogue, recognition, collaboration, and ultimately peace.

Community mediation in the United States began with the civil rights revolution and efforts to achieve racial, ethnic, class, and gender equality through the courts and legal action. In an effort to provide neighborhoods with localized conflict resolution services, multiple organizations sprouted nationwide.   Established by the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Community Relations Service (CRS) in the Department of Justice created a non-violent and constructive model nationally for dealing with community conflict that continues today. Initial programs began in late 1960’s and 1970’s in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Columbus, Ohio, and San Francisco and focused on prosecutor-sponsored programs for criminal conflict and neighbor disputes mediated by community members. In 1976 a National Conference on the Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction with the Administration of Justice, known as the “Pound Conference,” resulted in “Neighborhood Justice Centers” in Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Atlanta where people could access dispute resolution services and actively participate in crafting faster, cheaper, and more often appropriate resolutions than crowded and overburdened courts could provide. The National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM), the national organization supporting the work of community mediation, today represents a national network of community centers and provides a platform for information exchange, skills development, innovation, and promotion of the impact the community centers and their mediators have in their communities.

While the growth CMC and the practice of community mediation developed in the shadow of the civil unrest of the 1960s, CMCs do not provide social justice as typically defined. The purpose of mediation is not to determine one “truth” or to balance unequal power dynamics rooted in social status, race, or gender. Instead, mediation endeavors to create a supportive and safe environment that encourages free and open expression of everyone’s respective truths. By strengthening relationships and supporting collaborative solutions, NAFCM member organizations address social challenges through dialogue and the peaceful development of interest-based solutions.

Mediation is a voluntary process and participants experience justice by controlling whether and how they want to participate. They may decide for example, even in court-mandated mediations, that the process is not for them. Once begun, a mediation may be ended at any point by the participants or the mediator. With input into the process and control over the process and outcome, participants feel safer to speak their truth which increases the possibility of achieving a sustainable resolution.

CMCs across the country utilize community mediation as a mechanism for furthering social justice aims. CMCs incorporate a justice focus through both their procedures and their overarching founding principles. Procedurally Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles’ community mediation center maintains a justice focus through a foundation of participants being heard and retaining their ability to create an organic resolution for their concern. A guiding foundational principle of the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law is that all law students and ultimately, lawyers, need to become better communicators through the study of mediation. Furthermore, all lawyers have an opportunity to give back to their communities by serving as pro bono mediators, side by side with community members. By teaching law students conflict management skills, of which communication is a key component, and providing them an opportunity to practice these skills in the community as a volunteer, the center infuses community and collaboration into traditional notions of law and justice.

Community mediators believe strongly in mediation, in all variations, as a form of personal justice defined by each party’s self-expression, collaboration, and ability to influence both the process and the outcome of a conflict.

Nine Hallmarks of Community Mediation

Social justice is also seen in the Nine Hallmarks at the core of the Community Mediation field. The Nine Hallmarks bind CMCs and community mediators together in both philosophy and practice. Each CMC is at a different stage of embedding and actualizing the Hallmarks into both culture and communications structures of their centers. Established after NAFCM’s founding in 1994 and designed by CMCs, the Hallmarks anchor both new and longstanding centers with shared values rooted deeply in community and collaboration.

1. A private non-profit or public agency program, with mediators, staff and a governing board representative of the diversity of the community served.

In order to be considered a CMC, they must be anchored in the community (including within colleges of higher education), either as a public or private non-profit entity, and must operate for the benefit of the community and not financial gain. CMCs exist in all shapes and configurations, frequently under the umbrella of courts, social service organizations, governmental agencies, and colleges and universities. Because conflict is intensely personal, CMC staff, mediators, and governing board representatives should represent an array of cultures, backgrounds, and values in line with the community segments served. This helps provide a structure within which the community may connect with volunteer mediators and staff with whom they share a common culture, ideally creating the comfort necessary to communicate their needs and concerns.

Building connections in the community is key to create and maintain community representation and involvement. Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution connects to the community through legal service providers, social services agencies and area non-profits. By expanding their service area beyond the campus to the broader community, Loyola is able to foster cultural diversity among staff and volunteers. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law interfaces with the courts and is guided by an advisory group comprised of representatives of the populations served. Volunteer and staff diversity anchors CMCs in the community and is the glue enabling a diverse and heterogeneous community to find connection and a means of evolving together.Community Mediation Centers must create a safe space of respect and an environment for conversation built upon an assumption that different cultures and perspectives are equally valuable. Conflict is often born of or exacerbated by biases inherent in different cultural perspectives. Collaborating with community groups, courts, and other non-profits is a key means CMCs can fulfil the first hallmark.

2.Using trained community volunteers as providers of mediation services; the practice of mediation is open to all persons.

Community members conduct mediations at CMCs to avoid any imbalance of status between the parties to the conflict and the facilitators of the conflict. Mediators do not sit in judgment of the parties or their conflict and must remain impartial. In order to create an environment of “we” instead of you and me, the CMC must train and use volunteer mediators from all segments of the community. A diverse roster of mediators provides legitimacy for the process and creates a safe and comfortable space for mediation. CMCs are learning laboratories for volunteer mediators and the lack of hierarchy between neutral and participant sends the message that everyone can learn and actualize peacemaking skills. Best practices for training mediators includes a clear grasp of the four pillars of mediation: Self-determination, Impartiality, Informality, and Confidentiality. Skills development must also focus on facilitating communication and on collaborating with the parties to create an environment conducive to each participant’s communication style. A recognition of the impact of culture on conflict is essential. CMCs provide both initial and ongoing educational opportunities for volunteer community mediators.

Both the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution and Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law train law students and community members to serve as mediators. The trainings are open to all, and serve as a vital vehicle to train diverse group of individuals together as the diversity of experiences and perspectives enriches the learning experience for everyone.

3. Providing direct access to the public through self-referral and striving to reduce barriers to service including physical, linguistic, cultural, programmatic and economic.

Access is a core principal of Community Mediation, and regardless of ability, status, or background all members of the community are welcome to use CMC services. The CMC should provide services without physical barriers to participation, and every participant should be able to communicate in their native language. The environment must be appropriate and comfortable for the participants, and to do so requires aligning the process as much as possible with participants’ culture and values. In order to serve the varied needs of the participants, when preparing for mediation CMC staff listen first during the intake process, before the mediations begin, in order to adapt services and ensure access for all members of the public.

Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution and Monterey College of Law intentionally work to diminish barriers that may prevent someone from accessing services. For example, Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution has a link from their web site so individuals may self-refer without having to first come to the Center. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law receives referrals through a formal partnership with the Monterey Bar Association, as well as directly from law enforcement and the community through its program called “The Neighbor Project.” This broadens the knowledge of the work of the center and therefore reducing any preconceived ideas as to who can and can not benefit from these services. Each of the universities have accessible facilities, and have provided sign language and other interpreters when needed.

4. Providing service to clients regardless of their ability to pay.

In order to provide the community with access to CMC services, fees are set on a sliding scale and no one is turned away due to inability to pay. The expectations as to cost and payment are communicated openly from the initial conversation. Payment is handled separately from the mediation to reduce any economic barriers to participation. This value to provide a safe environment to seek resolution also drives the need for CMCs to be supported by local foundations, institutions and benefactors. Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution uses a sliding fee scale and does not charge a fee if someone is unable to pay. Monterey College’s center offers low cost or no cost mediation services.

5. Providing service and hiring without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, age, disabilities, national origin, marital status, personal appearance, gender orientation, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income.

CMCs lead the way by not discriminating in hiring, in their use of volunteers, and in the provision of conflict resolution services. This is in the missions of both Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution and Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law and of each larger institution’s mission. The CMCs recognize the different values individuals bring from all walks of life as a positive opportunity to strengthen our communities. For example, many CMCCs across the country handled LGBTQ domestic relations cases when there was no formal recognition of a right to marriage. Both university-based CMCs actively recruit Spanish-speaking mediators and staff, a direct reflection of the communities they serve and where their centers are house. They are willing to meet with anyone who has the willingness and desire to mediate a conflict, either personal or legal. The trainings for mediators also cover in-depth the need to recognize and reduce the impact of their individual bias. The Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law in December 2017, sponsored a high-level community training on cross-cultural communication and identification of bias in mediation and negotiation.

6. Providing a forum for dispute resolution at the earliest stage of conflict.

Various factors influence conflict escalation in relation to culture and diversity, including power, privilege, hierarchy, miscommunication and labeling. Intervening early in a conflict limits the impact of these factors. Mediation saves public resources by resolving the dispute early in the process, but by encouraging and facilitating participant-created sustainable solutions to the issues underlying the conflict. Participants tend to comply with agreements they crafted that address the underlying causes of the conflict. As a result, mediation often transforms the conflict into opportunities for learning and growth. Parker, C. 2015, Practicing Conflict Resolution and Cultural Responsiveness with Interdisciplinary Contexts: A Study of Community Service Practitioners, Conflict Resolution Quarterly 12(3) 325-357

This again matches each of these universities’ missions. Institutions of Higher education are natural environments for conflict resolution as learning laboratories in which to engage people constructively in conflict. At the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, community marketing and outreach presentations promoting the program and encourage early use of the process and specifically stress that participants do not need a formal legal dispute in order to attempt mediation.

7.Providing an alternative to the judicial system at any stage of a conflict.

The CMC environment is not the same as a court room environment.The institutionalization of mediation into current court processes is a primary factor explaining the difference in how mediation is practiced in community versus legal contexts. Where the law and the formalities of court procedures (particularly the relevance of evidence and likelihood of certain court outcomes) may be considerations in any mediation, community mediation focuses on non-court issues like culture, communication and building relationships. As a result, community mediators may be experienced in facilitating certain types of conflicts but do not require specific subject matter expertise. Distinct from mediation in a legal environment, community mediators do not predict court outcomes, pressure resolution, express opinions, or evaluate the merits of the conflict. CMCs favor a mediation model that supports participants’ direct communication and opportunities for mutual recognition and agreement.The CMC offers an opportunity for the parties to communicate directly and focus on a resolution that works for them. Mediation provides participants with self-determination to explore creative solutions that often go well beyond what may be possible in a formal court process. The process also does not have a third party assess guilt or blame, but have the participants decide what can be done and who can do what to provide redress as part of the resolution of the conflict. Mediation is also cheaper and faster than traditional court processes.

Courts are recognizing the important function of community mediation in the role of providing a forum to seek justice. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law receives California judicial funds to implement a mediation program and to train lawyers who then donate pro bono time mediating for the court. In both Los Angeles County (where the Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution is located) and Monterey County, everyone who files a law suit in the county receives a form about the option for mediation and lists all the community mediation centers in the county. At Boise State University, their Collaboration and Conflict Management program partners with the small claims court to supply trained mediators and ensure alternatives to the formal court process. More generally, most universities also operate student judicial boards and must address the conflict needs of faculty, staff, and students. These are generally a hearing process that do not necessarily use mediation, but could perhaps greatly benefit from integrating the process and protocols of community mediation with formally trained community mediation personnel. Opportunities for mediation exist within student and residential life, faculty grievances, and other campus offices that routinely handle conflicts.

8. Initiating, facilitating and educating for collaborative community relationships to affect positive systemic change.

CMCs are often pillars in their communities and the drivers of coalitions formed to address community conflicts. CMC volunteers can play a crucial role in increasing awareness of community mediation, as volunteers are often connected with multiple institutions throughout the community. Facilitating positive systemic change requires CMCs to develop a variety of relationships across the community built on the shared values of trust and respect. As a trusted partner in efforts to resolve community conflicts, CMCs are often most adept at facilitating dialogue and utilizing listening and communication skills to assist the community advocates and sometimes community adversaries, with each other, in identifying culture-based misunderstandings and points of disconnect that often lie at the root of conflict.

To this end Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution has assisted with large groups to see if smaller mediations need to be done before convening the large group together. Training is also offered on communication skills more generally. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law has worked with the libraries and veteran’s groups to find avenues to work together and expand the use of the skill set outside of the ‘formal’ mediation forum to everyday encounters and conflict resolution opportunities. Both universities have, through their CMCs, offered training at public housing sites and rehab centers, with clients and workers being trained together on skills of mediation and restorative justice principles. These trainings are also a ripe opportunity for each CMC to expand the volunteer base. Monterey hosts trainings for lawyers and judges to develop a deeper understanding of mediation. Qualified members of the local bar association serve as pro bono mediators in Superior Court for Monterey.

9. Engaging in public awareness and educational activities about the values and practices of mediation

CMCs endeavor to create a broad public awareness of conflict resolution services and training opportunities available for community members and groups in conflict. Outreach efforts include frequent presentations and trainings targeting a variety of groups, including bar associations, courts, chambers of commerce, social service providers, schools, faith communities and government agencies. CMCs are open to and encouraged to partner with groups, agencies, and organizations that share the core values of both the CMC and the community. As CMCs are staffed by community members and are enmeshed in the fabric of the community served; often the CMC is the first to become aware of rising tensions in the community and the opportunities for peaceful interventions. Public awareness and educational activities are one strategy for creating broader awareness of the need for conflict resolution services.

Institutions of higher education tend to focus on essential skills like reading, writing, and analysis, but often skills needed for facilitating collaboration are overlooked. Training in mediation, a formal problem-solving model of conflict management, teaches critical skills and demonstrates how these skills can be applied to instances of conflict and opportunities for collaboration. An essential practice for CMCs is to educate the community about the resources and skills opportunities offered. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law reaches out to their community through social media marketing to raise awareness about their services. Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management at the Monterey College of Law also attends many fairs and other public and civic gatherings to keep their presence in the forefront and the knowledge current on the issues that concern their community. The Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution specifically has a dedicated part time outreach coordinator to increase awareness of the services that the center offers.

Opportunities for Collaboration

As CMCs are embedded within the communities they serve, they provide unique incubators for students of conflict management and peace studies to explore the dynamics of relationships and conflict that exist in their local communities. CMC services are provided by volunteer mediators, offering students opportunities to become volunteer mediators and practice the skills, processes and theories introduced in the classroom. There is no substitute for mediating actual conflict, and CMCs provide opportunities to practice with experienced community mediators. This experience provides excellent opportunities for service-based learning. For example, volunteer mediators could gain experience by assisting in training student peer mediators in schools or working with jail inmates to be peer mediators in prisons.

Opportunities may also exist to partner on programming to facilitate dialogue and address campus conflict. Many colleges and universities operate mediation centers that serve the broader campus community. The development of a successful CMC requires 1) Partnership with a variety of entities and campus offices to ensure ongoing case referrals, 2) Recruitment and training a diverse and skilled roster of volunteer mediators, and 3) Successfully securing ongoing funding. Often academic programs with a focus in conflict resolution, peace and justice, or law develop CMCs to further their experiential learning, community service, and applied research goals. For example, Boise State University’s Collaboration and Conflict Management program is in the incubator stages of exploring the establishment of a campus-based community mediation center.

If you are interested in accessing learning and skills development opportunities for students and positively impacting the campus and broader community, developing a community mediation center within your college or university, or partnering with a Community Mediation Center can help provide those opportunities. To find out more please visit the National Association for Community Mediation at or contact D.G. Mawn, President, NAFCM by phone at 602.633.4213 or by e-mail at

About the Authors: Primary authors: Dr. Brian Pappas, Boise State University and D.G. Mawn, President, NAFCM.

Contributors: Sara Campos, Associate Director of Loyola Center for Conflict Resolution, Los Angeles; Jacqueline Pierce , Executive Director and Associate Dean, Mandell Gisnet Center, Monterey College of Law; and Laura Smythe, Director of Pro Bono Programs, University of Wisconsin, School of Law.

From the Archives: Making the Case for Campus Mediation


Bill Warters

(Originally published in The Fourth R, Vol. 55, Feb/March 1995. While quite dated, it still provides some useful arguments in favor of building mediation services using volunteers on a campus)

Organizers of college and university mediation programs commonly face the task of having to “sell” the concept of mediation services to reluctant administrators. In this article, I briefly present a range of rationales that I have used with some success to make the case for campus mediation. As each campus setting is different, program developers will have to pick and choose among these strategies based on their situation and the style and personality of the particular administrators with whom they are dealing.

Unique Aspects of the College and University Environment

It is important to begin with some understanding of the unique aspects of higher education settings. Analysts of higher ed have long pointed out that colleges and universities are complex organizations that are different in major respects from industrial organizations, government bureaus, and business firms. For instance, Baldridge (Baldridge, et al., 1977) has argued that in comparison to other more “rational-purposive” organizations, colleges and universities must grapple with the following:

These and other similar characteristics have led higher education theorists to describe universities as “organized anarchies” and “loosely coupled systems (Weick, 1976). By providing a service that works to bridge the gaps between different campus domains, campus mediation centers that work with all sectors of the campus community can help “re-weave” and strengthen a college’s “loosely coupled” system in ways that will reduce destructive conflict. A well-nourished mediation program play a key boundary-spanning role in an effectively administered university. And because universities are people-processing institutions that require flexibility, they can benefit from a mediation service that is equipped to respond to the inevitable exceptions that arise from ongoing attempts to standardize procedures.

There are a variety of good arguments for why campuses are conducive settings for mediation. Some of them include:

The Administrative Effectiveness Argument

As Girard, Townley and Rifkin (1985) and others point out, there are many administrative concerns that potentially can be addressed by mediation programs. From the point of view of an administrator, mediation may be useful for the following reasons.

Theories of Effective Campus Leadership

There are concepts of leadership in the field of higher education that can also be used to argue for the value of mediation. For instance, researchers Cameron and Whetton (Cameron, & Whetton, 1985) have outlined eight tenets that they see as essential for administrative effectiveness in higher education that fit well with a mediation approach. I would suggest that campus mediation services can play a helpful role in all eight areas. Cameron and Whetton argue that effective college administrators must:

1) Place emphasis on process and outcome;

2) Have low fear of failure, and willingness to take risks;

3) Nurture the support of strategic constituencies;

4) Not immediately succumb to the tyranny of “legitimate demands;”

5) Leave a distinctive imprint;

6) Error in favor of over-communication, especially in times of flux;

7) Respect the power of organizational cultures; and

8) Preserve and highlight sources of opportunity at the institution.

Campus administrators who buy into these ideas should embrace rather than fear the introduction of mediation programs on their campuses, as well-developed programs can help them achieve their overall goals more effectively, and provide a “safety net” to support other innovative efforts.

The Student Satisfaction Argument

Students remain the primary “customer” on campuses, and it is useful to point out that mediation can help maintain student (i.e., customer) satisfaction. From student’s point of view the option of using mediation can be important because:

In many cases students have been the most vocal supporters of programs. Several programs are being run as student collectives. As more and more students come out of highschools that have mediation programs, student support and interest in campus mediation is very likely to increase.

The Fostering Positive Values Argument

Another compelling argument for campus mediation is that it provides a mechanism to help instill and support certain values within the community. Drawing on the experience of neighborhood-based programs such as San Francisco Community Boards, campus-based mediation/dispute resolution systems have the potential to provide strong community building function, one that can respond to people’s interest in performing significant “civic” work at the campus or community level. The volunteer mediators and advisory board members of a center, for example, are given the opportunity to work collaboratively with others who may be quite different from themselves, building a community cohesiveness that is based on common work and experience. At the Campus Mediation Program I directed at Syracuse University, faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, administrators, and staff members from many different areas of campus life went through mediation training together, and built relationships at a level that did not exist before. Through this process common norms and values were established and promoted — values such as equality, appreciation of differences, cooperation, and nonviolence.

Some important values that can be articulated and supported by a campus mediation center include the following:

Areas for Further Development

Arguments as to how mediation can address the perspectives and concerns of faculty and unionized and non-unionized staff on campus is largely missing from the above discussion. Programs addressing conflicts within and between these groups have been slower to develop, due in part to faculty’s focus on autonomy, and to the reticence of human resource personnel (and union-leaders on unionized campuses) to modify their existing conflict resolution and grievance-handling systems. Another important campus constituency left out of this discussion are the campus attorneys and legal services staff. Only recently have their national organizations begun to explore the possible utility of mediation. Developing the case for mediation for these groups should be high on our collective agenda.

Finally, we might also begin to share ideas and perspectives on the different rationales for promoting campus mediation more effectively. What success have others had in petitioning for conflict resolution programs at their institutions? For people who have tried the arguments suggested in this article, what have been the results? It may also be worthwhile to begin to explore and compile arguments used against campus mediation as well as those used in its support. It is clear that there is much to do besides argue the case for campus mediation. We must continue to develop and refine the way mediation centers are run and the way that conflict resolution is practiced within higher education. We must also improve and refine our methods for evaluating campus mediation work, measuring less tangible variables such as the impact of conflict resolution programs on campus “culture.” With improvements such as these, it is possible that the arguments in support of the improved management of conflict in higher education will become increasingly self-evident.

At the time this article was written, Bill Warters was the Director of the PhD program in Dispute Resolution at Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Warters was also the Chair of the National Association for Mediation in Education’s (NAME) Higher Education Committee.


Baldridge, J. V., Curtis, D. V., Ecker, G. P., & Riley, G. L. (1977). “Alternative models of governance in higher education.” In J. V. Baldridge, & T. E. Deal (Ed.), Governing Academic Organizations (pp. 2-25). Berkeley: McCutchan Publishing.

Cameron, K. S., & Whetton, D. A. (1985). “Administrative Effectiveness in Higher Education.” Review of Higher Education, 9:1:35-49.

Dana, D. (1984). “The Costs of Organizational Conflict,” Organizational Development Journal, Fall:5-6.

Girard, K., Townley, A. Rifkin, J. (1985). Peaceful Persuasion: A Guide to Creating Mediation Dispute Resolution Programs for College Campuses Amherst, MA: The Mediation Project.

Peterson, Marvin W. & Spencer, M. G. (1990) “Understanding Academic Culture and Climate,” New Directions for Institutional Research, 68:Winter:3-18.

Rowe, M. P. (1990). “People Who Feel Harassed Need a Complaint System with Both Formal and Informal Options” Negotiation Journal, April:161-171.

Weick, K. E. (1976). “Educational organizations as loosely coupled systems.” Administrative Science Quarterly, 21:1:1-19.

Programming Examples Appendix