Mediation & Conflict Resolution
(Community Building, Peace, Conflict & Alternative Dispute Resolution)

Robert N. Hansen, Ph.D.
#5 Westminster Hall

Home Phone: 573-491-3344
Cell: 573-645-3344
Office: x5362 or 5361
Fax: 573 592 5180
Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday 11:00 12:00 Noon

Course Description & Objectives:

This course provides an introduction into the concepts, theory and practice of community building, peacemaking, and conflict resolution. Topics will include: a) community development theory; b) conflict theory; c) peacemaking; d) principles of five types of ADR strategies (negotiation, arbitration, adjudication, conciliation, and mediation); d) the application of these concepts, theories and strategies to historical and current situations; and e) the development of mediation skills and a personal style of conflict resolution.

As a result of taking this course, students will: a) be knowledgeable about the concepts and theories of community building and conflict resolution; b) have a greater understanding and appreciation for the ways conflicts have been managed or mis managed in history; c) experience a greater awareness of current international, national, state, local and campus conflicts; and d) be more competent leaders as a result of developing greater skills in conflict resolution.

Instructional Materials:

Fisher, R., Ury, W. & Patton, B. (199 1). Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. Penguin: New York.

This has become the classic book on negotiation. Fisher, Ury and Patton have taught negotiation theory and skills at Harvard Law School and throughout the world via the Harvard Negotiation Project. This popular press book is used in most undergraduate, graduate and law school courses that focus on the art and science of negotiation.

Beer, J.E. & Stief, E. (1997). The Mediator’s Handbook. New Society: Gabriola Island, British Columbia: Canada.

Developed by the Friends Conflict Resolution Program, this handbook comes from one of the oldest mediation programs in the United States. It was originally developed to promote creative and peaceful processes for resolving conflicts in Quaker and other communities. Today, it is used in community and academic settings to teach basic mediation skills.

Classroom Activities:

This class will function as an “active seminar”. Although there will be some formal presentations by the instructor, much of our time will be devoted to discussion and application of the material. Special “lab sessions” will be scheduled which focus on the development of basic mediation skills. Guest speakers, videos, outside readings, field trips, and small group activities will be additional means of working with this material.

Learning Through Service & “Mediation Skills Lab”:

We will work collaboratively with the young women of the Rosa Parks Center, a Division of Youth Services’ residential facility for “troubled” teenagers. These young women will give us a tour of their facility, explain their treatment program and assist in the making of communication skills and mediation videotapes. They will also teach us the conflict resolution techniques that they are learning in their treatment program. To reciprocate, we will teach them some formal mediation skills and give them an “introductory college experience” by giving them a tour of campus and letting them sit in on some classes. Both in class and through reaction papers, we will individually and collectively reflect on our experience with these young women. Our challenge is to better understand conflict through their eyes and to look at the bigger picture of why these young women, and thousands like them, are in treatment programs. What is it about them, adolescence, public policy, or our culture in general that produces so many “troubled” teens? Each student, with the help of these young women, will make at least two video segments one demonstrating active listening skills and one demonstrating mediation skills. These videos will only be seen by you, the instructor and one other student in the course who will critique your tape. You will need one VHS videotape for use in these “lab” activities. If you can’t afford a videotape, I have some previously used tapes that you can use.

Learning Styles:

Each of us has a personalized learning style. Please let me know if you have a particular style or challenge (e.g., severe test anxiety, slow reading speed or comprehension, vision or hearing impairment, or another learning disability) that could benefit from special accommodations. Anyone who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me to arrange an appointment as soon as possible. At this time we can discuss the course format, anticipate your needs and explore potential accommodations.

Grading: 1,000 points possible

Reaction Papers (4 total) 75 pts each = 300
Lab Projects

Active Listening Critique (self) 50 pts = 250
Critique of Partner

Final Mediation Video Project
Skill = 50 pts
Self Critique = 50 pts
Critique Other = 50 pts

Quizzes (3): (50pts each) = 150
Attendance At 4 Campus Events With Discussion Group Comments = 80
Hosting Visiting Presenter (includes reaction comment) = 20
Participation/Engagement = 200

Class Schedule:

Phase 1: Introductions & Making Our Class A “Community”
Key Concepts of Community Building & Development
The Paradox of Conflict: Change Theory & Systems Theory
Current Global Conflicts & Negotiations: Iraq and North Korea

Phase 2: Principled Negotiating: Theory & Practice
Mega Listening: The First Step of Successful Negotiators
Building Consensus
Quiz over Phases 1 & 2

Phase 3: What is “Peace”? What is “War”?
International, national, regional, local and campus conflicts
Northern Ireland Catholics, Protestants & British “Occupation”
Israel Palestine
Civil Rights Struggles
Marriage and Family
Campus Conflicts: Past & Present
Is it possible to create “intentional” peaceful communities?
Quiz over Phase 3

Phase 4: Alternative Dispute Resolution Strategies
The Continuum of ADR Options
Theory and Practice of Mediation
Learning Mediation Skills
Quiz over Phase 4

Phase 5: Community Building & Development (Revisited)
Other Possible Topics: Hostage Negotiation
Marriage/Couples Therapy
Labor Unions vs. Management
Animal Rights Movement
Cloning & Other Medical Ethics Issues
Criminals & Restorative Justice