Graduate Program Course Descriptions

Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) Courses

PAX 682 Practicum Information

Current CJP Fall or Spring courses (unless noted as an SPI offering)

Credit hours: 3

This course is designed to help students understand the basics of qualitative research, arts-based research, and program evaluation. Sociological and anthropological approaches will provide the theoretical and philosophical background for our work, but the focus will be on practical applications of arts-based and traditional qualitative methodology in evaluation. Students will practice conducting structured and semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, coding interview transcripts, and will practice designing an evaluation: working with a client, determining appropriate methods, collecting data, analyzing the data, interpreting the data, and communicating the findings. This course complements, but does not take the place of other research and evaluation courses that entirely focus on either research or evaluation.

The course format is participatory, experiential and adaptive. Students will conduct an actual professional evaluation of a specific intervention that is nested in an on-going program; consequently, students will find themselves leading and/or participating in processes with which they have no prior experience. Further, the syllabus, readings and assignments may need to be adapted to meet the changing needs of the program. The course involves a significant amount of group/team work; each participant is advised to consider that requirement in relation to personal obligations, distance from campus, ease of meeting with other students and individual willingness to participate in a work team.

Prerequisite for CJP graduate students: PAX 535 Research Methods for Social Change.

This course includes upper level undergraduate students.

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Credit hours: 3

When we feel called to work for peace and social justice, we are the instrument of the work. Therefore, we need to cultivate our ability to engage conflict and injustice with compassion and clarity. This course explores various competencies needed for the vocational call of working for peace and social justice. Participants will strengthen their abilities to listen and communicate, create and maintain healthy boundaries, recognize and promote diversity and equity, lead from their vision and values, and engage people in dialogue and decision-making. We will also survey a range of roles and domains for conflict transformation and social change such as mediation, negotiation, and arts-based peacebuilding.

Course participants will gain a deeper understanding of self as person, practitioner, and leader as well as a menu of personal skills and processes for integrating analysis, theory and practice within an assets-based approach to social change.

This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/.

Credit hours: 3

This course focuses on the analysis of conflict and violence as the foundation for designing strategies for peacebuilding and conflict prevention and is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute www.emu.edu/cjp/spi/. Participants will learn a variety of tools to “map” and describe the nature and dynamics of conflict. Drawing from broad interdisciplinary theoretical bases, the course focuses on human needs theory as a central framework for examining the complex causes of conflict, crime, and violence. Participants will explore the role of group and individual identity; respect and the role of shame and humiliation in the cycle of violence; security and the role of attachment; and the impact of structural violence on other forms of conflict. Participants will practice power analysis, cultural analysis, and psychological analysis of conflict. Participants will develop their ability to “see” and describe conflict from different perspectives.

Credit hours: 6

Foundations I and II give a comprehensive overview of peacebuilding practice and its multi-disciplinary, multi-level aspects. This course (Foundations I) addresses personal, interpersonal, small group, and organizational-level transformation through research, analysis, theory and practice. Foundations II similarly focuses on communal and societal levels of transformation. Throughout the two courses, you will be required to learn and integrate critical self-assessment, ethical application of theory, technical utilization of analysis tools, and systematic processes of planning and implementation for practice interventions across a myriad of sectors in society.

This Foundations I course is constructed to assist you to integrate all three of these vital elements – theory, analysis and practice – into your peacebuilding practice. You will be introduced to the literature and theory of the field; explore conflict transformation from an individual, interpersonal and organizational level; consider the dynamics of conflict and experience the practice of peacebuilding through reading and discussions, intensive teamwork, interactive case study, role-plays, and simulated practice lab exercises.

Skills competencies are emphasized in the areas of self-awareness, team-building, conflict analysis and assessment, communication, and strategies for intervention in interpersonal, intra-and intergroup conflicts. Mediation, negotiation, facilitation, nonviolence strategies and other transformative processes are introduced as peacebuilding practices. This course employs the action-reflection learning cycle as the undergirding educational framework throughout the semester.

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Credit hours: 3

Leaders of peacebuilding, justice building and social change programs and projects require more sophisticated knowledge of research methods than they did even five years ago. We have always focused on DOING research projects with students, but they now require greater ability to design and justify research projects as part of their work. This course opts for qualitative methods, because those are used more often in the field than quantitative methods. In addition, this course will introduce you to quantitative and mixed methods research so that you may be able to better read, interpret, and/or design appropriate studies depending on their aim. This course is required for all MA students. In addition to this course, students will be strongly advised to take one of the existing applied research project courses or complete a research project as part of another course or their practicum placement.

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Credit hours: 2

This course presents an integrated theoretical and training approach to the trauma, conflict, and violence caused by nature, human beings, or societal institutions and structures. Research and experience demonstrate that unaddressed trauma often leads to conflict and violence against self or others as traumatized people act out against others or become self-destructive. STAR combines theory with experiential learning to increase awareness of the impact of trauma on the body, brain, emotions, spirit and relationships. The course offers tools for addressing trauma and breaking the cycles of violence. The STAR multidisciplinary framework draws on the fields of neurobiology, restorative justice, trauma healing, conflict transformation, and spirituality for building healthy, resilient individuals and communities. The theoretical and practical focus of the course provides a model to understand and interrupt cycles of violence at the individual, communal and societal levels.

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Credit hours: 3

This course provides a critical examination of the values, principles, and practices of restorative justice. It provides a unique opportunity to explore both the promise and the challenge of the restorative justice field in various contexts and from various perspectives. Our primary starting point is the U.S. criminal legal system and the problems posed by its dominant responses to crime and violence. We examine how restorative justice presents an alternative philosophy of justice that addresses the needs of multiple stakeholders, draws from faith-based and indigenous approaches, and challenges interpersonal and structural forms of harm. We also explore intersections and applications of restorative justice with multiple fields and movements including racial justice, trauma healing, education, youth development, and transitional justice.

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This fall 2016 we are offering an online section of this course: This section of Restorative Justice meets asynchronously via Moodle. Optional synchronous sessions take place Wednesdays from 1 – 3 pm. EST using the Zoom platform: September 7 and 21, October 5 and 19, November 2, 16, and 30. During this time, students will bring issues and questions to the instructor and other course members for critical discussion. Sessions will be recorded and posted online for access by any student in the course.

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Credit hours: 3

This course introduces you to the field of global development through examining both the history of the field and the current debates and challenges faced by development practitioners. The purpose is to explore and critically evaluate the basic assumptions underlying the major competing theories and current approaches towards alleviating poverty and global inequality. This course approaches the phenomenon of development in its broadest sense as the study of change, with attention to global justice, equity, and the historical links between development, colonialism, and global capitalism. In the course, we will explore what development means, how to measure it, and how to understand attempts to balance between economic, ecological, and equity concerns. The course engages the key propositions that emerge in contemporary development debates, and offers frameworks for evaluating theories, interventions and policies. The course focuses especially on who decides, how decisions are made, and what the impacts are of development strategies on the environment and on the most vulnerable members of society. With this attention to power relations, we will consider critiques of the development project sensitive to race, gender, ecology and other political economy traditions, in dialogue with the dominant understanding of development as technical interventions for enhancing the market mechanism. This will provide a foundation for uncovering and assessing social and political structures, institutions, inequalities, and development policies as theories meet practice. The course is primarily run in a seminar discussion format. Guest speakers as well as class participants will be invited to share their own stories from the field of global development and peacebuilding.

This course includes upper level undergraduate students.

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Credit hours: 3

What does it mean to create social change nonviolently? We will look at the power of ordinary people to effect change through social movements, community organizing, public activism, advocacy / lobby campaigns, and policy formation. The course will be framed by the theory and practice of social movements, mass mobilization and community organizing. These course frameworks will be interrogated within the social change systems of violence and nonviolence. From this backdrop, we will take a careful and critical look at nonviolent strategic action, grapple with the inherent tensions between principled and functional nonviolence, and explore the possibilities of creating nonviolent forms of power, identifying tactics, and designing plans for social transformation. The final section of the course will delve into advocacy, lobbying and methods for influencing public policy with an emphasis on theories for policy change. Throughout the course, participants will have a choice to engage in a variety of assignments including reading reflections, presentations on nonviolence and religion, letter writing, applying nonviolent frameworks to real-life case scenarios and analysis of policy reports. A weekend trip to Washington DC to participate in the advocacy training and lobbying meetings with government representatives will be built into the learning experience.

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Credit hours: 3

This course is designed to develop participants’ understanding and skills for effectively influencing policymaking processes on peacebuilding issues. We will explore policymaking within local, national and international contexts. Moving from an exploration of “what is governance” and “what is policy” and their relevance to peacebuilding, we will learn basic approaches for policy analysis and policy formation. We will map the diverse actors involved in policymaking and assess factors that influence their decisions. We will explore strategies to influence policy development—including advocacy, public campaigning and policy dialogue—and practice key skills for effective engagement, including crafting policy briefs and advocacy communication. Students will have the opportunity to give specific attention to their chosen area of specialization with course work geared to applying what is being learned. Participants will choose a key issue of interest to them and will critique existing policy, identify and advocate alternatives, and develop materials to support their case.

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Credit hours: 3

Negotiation is the fundamental process by which human beings discern how to resolve differences and move forward together—whether in a family, a local community, an organization, a society, or a world community. Mediation adds a third party to the negotiation process, and has proven remarkably effective in resolving and even transforming certain disputes. This course will train participants to be effective negotiators and to serve as impartial mediators, but will also explore the varying contexts in which these processes take place and the variety of perspectives and worldviews that parties bring to a negotiation or mediation process. For CJP students this is a skills assessment course. Each student will be evaluated by the instructor and by class peers for competency in mediation & negotiation skills.      

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Credit hours: 3

This course is designed to develop participants’ capacities as skillful facilitators and to enable them to design and conduct effective group processes for dialogue, deliberation and decision-making. The course is structured around six all-day class sessions that are complemented by observation of real meetings and mentored, applied practice as facilitators in the community.

We will learn methods appropriate for guiding community and organizational meetings, conducting public processes, and for enabling difficult dialogues across conflict divides. Participants will learn how to assess the needs of the group and then to design processes to address them. This will include processes to help groups improve understanding, strengthen relationships, engage in collaborative problem solving and make effective decisions. Participants will become familiar with a variety of methods and techniques to achieve process goals, with groups ranging in size from three to 3,000.

Through a variety of readings, exercises and reflections, the course will assist participants’ formation as reflective practitioners assisting group processes. We will focus on developing self-awareness and awareness of group dynamics, while cultivating openness and offering a calm presence even in the midst of high levels of anxiety and conflict. We will consider a variety of facilitator roles and functions and critically assess the ethics and appropriateness of these for different types of situations. While rooted in a North American peacebuilding paradigm, we will aim to also explore facilitation in other cultural traditions and raise awareness of the challenges of facilitating cross-culturally.

This course is designed for participants enrolled in CJP’s graduate studies program and presumes knowledge of basic conflict analysis and peacebuilding concepts and methods. As such, Foundations I or an equivalent course is a prerequisite. This class qualifies as a skills assessment course for the CJP MA degree.

Credit hours: 3

Extended adversity, toxic stress, violent situations, and traumatic experiences can undermine our sense of safety, healthy uses of power, connection, and general functioning as individuals and in groups (i.e., our resilience). We repeatedly witness how unhealed trauma fuels cycles of violence. Yet few of us feel equipped to interrupt, or even be present within, these cycles, even (or especially) in our position as leaders of social change or peacebuilding processes. We reach for technical plans and try to think our way to solutions. We may become unable to harness the transformative energy of conflict. Unattentive to messages from our own bodies, we can get stuck, damaging our own health, relationships and possibilities for transformation.

Yet trauma and resilience studies tell us we cannot learn if we do not move, breathe and engage in new ways. Conflict transformation theory emphasizes the importance of imagination, curiosity, creativity and risk taking. Expressive arts theory suggests that when we take small steps with our physical bodies and engage in small acts of artistic courage, we develop new neural pathways for new resources with which we face our “real life” challenges and questions. Movement, embodied awareness, playfulness and creative expression are key tools in helping us develop our presence as facilitators, leaders and engaged participants in life and work for social change. Practicing different forms of responding (beyond the judgmental and analytical) to people and ideas can open us to new possibilities.

This course will take seriously the connections between body, mind and spirit. When we engage in work toward full-bodied healing, well-being, and self care, we change our own experience of self and our relationships. It will open space for exploring body-mind-spirit practices for building personal and group resilience, as well as for understanding the theoretical foundations about how these practices can be a critical foundation to peacebuilding and social change work. This class qualifies as a skills assessment course for the CJP MA degree.

Credit hours: 3

Whether for-profit, not-for-profit, or governmental, every organization based anywhere in the world today exists in a rapidly changing set of environments. Organizations that fail to adapt to these changes face decline and eventual death. But organizations that lurch reactively from crisis to crisis are equally vulnerable to being selected out. What is most needed are leaders able to steer an organization through adaptive change processes in ways congruent with the organization’s deepest values. This seminar course will equip participants with the tools to understand organizational systems, to assess their changing environments, and to lead adaptive change processes. It will be based on the theory and research of the organizational development field and the emerging literature regarding complex adaptive systems, as well as on the lived experience of participants. Seminar participants will accompany local organizations through assessment and intervention processes.

This is one of four Seminar courses that are geared primarily to second year graduate students at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding. They require that a student have taken Foundations I & II unless otherwise noted. These seminar courses will be capped at 15 students, with up to 18 students with special instructor permission. Students from other graduate programs should meet with the professor to determine the suitability of the course for their learning goals. In order to participate in this particular advanced seminar, students will be required to have completed either the Foundations I course (offered by CJP) OR the Organizational Behavior course (offered by EMU’s MBA program).

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Credit hours: 3

This course will address many of the dilemmas in developing and sustaining processes to end armed conflict and make the transition to durable peace and more inclusive states and societies. We will deepen our understanding of key challenges and opportunities, risks and resources typically operating in these conflict systems, exploring leverage points for justice and peacebuilding interventions.

We will explore some of the characteristics of war and protracted organized violence in the 21st century, seeking to identify the strategic implications. We will learn about how people have worked to increase civilian protection, engage with armed groups, promote confidence building, identify comprehensive agendas for transforming conflict. We will study the ‘design’ of processes aimed at ending fighting and creating the frameworks for peaceful settlement, with special attention to processes that enable public participation in political negotiations. We will explore dilemmas, principles and comparative experiences in fostering transitional justice – including retributive, redistributive and restorative models – and promoting reconciliation. We will use case studies, group exercises, simulations and discussion of specific dilemmas participants have encountered in their own work / context. Each participant will choose a specific context and, through a range of class assignments, will develop elements of a strategic framework for supporting transitional processes in that context.

This is one of four Seminar courses that are geared primarily to second year graduate students in the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding. They require that a student have taken Foundations I & II unless otherwise noted. These seminar courses will be capped at 15 students, with up to 18 students with special instructor permission. Students from other graduate programs should meet with the professor to determine the suitability of the course for their learning goals.

View syllabus

Credit hours: 6

Foundations I and II give a comprehensive overview of peacebuilding practice and its multi-disciplinary, multi-level aspects. Foundations I centered on personal, interpersonal, small group and organizational transformation analysis, theory and practice. Foundations II focuses on communal, societal and global processes of transformation. Throughout the two courses, you will be required to understand and integrate ethical application of theory, technical utilization of analysis tools, and systematic process of planning and implementation for practice interventions across a myriad of sectors in society.

In this course, faculty continue to coach students as they further develop their knowledge and skills for dealing with conflict and situations of injustice and building sustainable peace. Students work individually and in teams to learn new theories and concepts and to apply these ideas and skills to cases that progress in complexity from the community to the national and global levels (and back again). Throughout the course, we also examine the intersections and overlaps among the local and the global.

Students continue to develop their self-awareness as well as their capacity for professional judgment and reflective practice. Students become familiar with theories and frameworks that help explain the causes and dynamics of larger-scale conflicts, injustice and structural violence. They explore the roles of social-movement organizations, practitioner groups and policy engagement for dealing with such situations. Students prepare for future employment by completing assignments that develop professional skills, including but not limited to: communicating complex ideas clearly and succinctly, working in teams on difficult projects, researching strategies and moving from analyzing a situation of injustice or conflict to designing and preparing strategies to impact that situation.

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Credit hours: 3

The course will examine psychosocial trauma and well-being within a dynamic peacebuilding framework, addressing the causes of traumatic events and individual, group and social responses to these events. A thorough overview of the complexity of trauma and related psychosocial factors will be addressed in regard to war and other complex situations of violence, as well as the related, though different, psychosocial trauma issues of natural disaster. Identity and dignity will be examined as ways of understanding their roles in the creation of conflict and trauma; and how they might be used in transformational peacebuilding processes. In this regard, individual and community assets and resilience will be studied as further means of transforming trauma and enhancing psychosocial well-being after complex violence and disaster situations. Self-care connected to Compassion Fatigue and Burnout of those working with traumatized persons will be another important component of the course. Through various research methods, case studies, personal narratives and group work, participants will begin the integration of the analytical, theoretical and practical components of the course in order to see how they might be applied to their own contexts and/or to the many sectors of the peacebuilding field.

This is one of four Seminar courses that are geared primarily to second year graduate students in the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding. They require that a student have taken Foundations I & II unless otherwise noted. These seminar courses will be capped at 15 students, with up to 18 students with special instructor permission. Students from other graduate programs should meet with the professor to determine the suitability of the course for their learning goals.

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Credit hours: 1

This course will introduce participants to the peacemaking circle process and explore:
• foundational values and philosophy of peacemaking circles,
• conflict as opportunity to build relationships,
• creating safe, respectful space for dialog
• consensus decision making,
• structure of the circle process,
• facilitation of the circle process
• practical applications of circle process,
• problems and challenges in circles.
This course will use the peacemaking circle process as the primary form of group work.

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Credit hours: 1-3

Course work undertaken through independent study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and completed in collaboration with a supervising instructor.

Please note: Directed/independent study courses will only be approved for students who have demonstrated the ability to do independent work (and therefore not approved in the first semester of a student’s program).

View independent study form

Credit hours: 3

Restorative Justice is a practice-based discipline. The course will be framed by four essential values of RJ: encounter, amends, reintegration and inclusion. The content of the course will be embedded in the key practice models that drive the Restorative justice field – VOC / VOD, FGC, Circles, RJ in the workplace, schools, prisons, religious institutions, community gang and public violence, transforming historical harms, and applications in transitional justice processes globally. Conducted in a seminar format, students will have ample lab time to exercise the skills, complete assignments that are directly related to in-field competencies (e.g. policy reviews, writing program concept and funding documents, facilitating training sessions and engaging in self and peer assessments) as well as grapple with the theory and ethics that drive our practice.

For CJP MA students this satisfies the skills assessment course requirement. In order to take this course, students needs to have taken PAX 571 Restorative Justice or receive special instructor permission to register.

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Credit hours: 3

The recent expansion of the Restorative Justice (RJ) field is almost breathtaking. We are now seeing an exponential volume of research, writing and practice exploding on the scene. This is exciting on one hand, daunting on another. There is general consensus that RJ as a field is at the edge of a totally new level of influence. While controversial, many leaders in the field feel that RJ will either fade away, or be co-opted by the legal system as long as we view it as only another "social service reform.” However, if we understand it as a “social movement” and study and apply it as such it has a great potential for both serious interpersonal and structural transformation. This course is geared toward empowering RJ practitioners and thinkers who are prepared to position themselves (both internally and externally) as change agents for justice systems shifts. Through intensive reading, structured debates, tailor-made research on critical and frontier RJ issues, and interaction with leaders in the Field, we will explore whole system applications of RJ in urban/public violence contexts, in realigning societal institutions such as in schools, prisons, courts, and governance structures, and in post-war reconstruction efforts through hybrid transitional justice processes.

Each student is required to identify a particular “real-time” case scenario that they will use as their source material for developing a comprehensive whole systems RJ approach to structural change. The Emergent-Adaptive Systems model introduced and used in Foundations II, along with the work around Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) – www.hsdinstitute.org/ will provide the primary frameworks for this course. Key terms and concepts that will be utilized to guide our thinking are:
• Chaos, disorganization & self-organizing theory
• Social capital networks and interdependencies
• Coalition building, social mobilization, and social movement theory & practice
• Systemic inputs & outputs, and
• Structural Information & Communication feedback loops.

The course is facilitated in a seminar format using circle process, reading summaries, presentations, group analysis & brainstorming (e.g. a think-tank model) and virtual interaction with various practice leaders in the fields of emergent-adaptive systems and restorative justice.

This is one of four Seminar courses that are geared primarily to second year graduate students in the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding. They require that a student have taken Foundations I & II unless otherwise noted. These seminar courses will be capped at 15 students, with up to 18 students with special instructor permission. Students from other graduate programs should meet with the professor to determine the suitability of the course for their learning goals. In order to participate in this advanced seminar, students will be required to have completed either the Foundations I & II courses (offered by CJP) OR for MAED students either PAX 571 or PAX 676.

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