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CACM Course Descriptions

Note: Please refer to the Undergraduate Catalog for the official, formal course descriptions. The following course descriptions were designed to supplement the catalog descriptions, providing additional information on course content and requirements.

CACM 11001

Here is a course that can change the way you handle your daily disputes. Not bad for 3 credits.... We begin from the premise that conflict is part of everyday life. It is as common as laughter, anger, love, sex, and prayer, and is no less important. Conflict is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It can reveal injustices and be a source of personal growth and social transformation. But conflict can also breed alienation, and may be waged with all manner of violence, including war. So our question becomes: what tools can individuals, groups, and governments use to manage or wage their conflicts in constructive ways? This course introduces positive conflict management processes, including active listening and communication skills, principled negotiation, mediation, arbitration, victim and criminal-offender mediation, and nonviolent direct action. Activities and exercises will help you develop your own conflict management skills.  This course may be used to satisfy the Kent Core (Social Sciences) and Diversity requirement.  Prerequisite: None.

CACM 21002

Problem solving is a very useful skill to use in interpersonal relationships. However, what happens when there is an imbalance of power in the relationship: how does problem solving work then, or does it? Can power be balanced, and if so, how? This course examines power imbalances in interpersonal relationships and the violence that often results, whether in a verbal, physical, psychological, or institutional form. It also looks at some of the ways these power imbalances are developed, focusing particularly on gender. This course also explores how personal transformation can be effected, and looks at questions of justice, equality, and fairness. Students can expect to read a number of interesting and timely books, several of which are bestsellers. Expect to participate in lively and thought-provoking discussions and presentations. Prerequisite: CACM 11001.

CACM 21010

Cultural differences and misunderstandings often generate conflict. Ethnic conflicts are on the rise across the globe, disrupting the lives of millions each year. Closer to home, cultural diversity in schools, neighborhoods, and workforce populations has increased conflict as different cultural world views clash. This course will examine the role of culture in conflict and conflict management from several perspectives. Are there cultures in which conflict is minimal or does not lead to violence? If so, what can we learn from them? When cross-cultural conflict does occur, how can we manage it successfully? We will examine real-life examples and analyze what works, what doesn't, and why. Students will research and present information on cross-cultural issues of interest to them, including ethnicity, race, religion, gender, generation/age, class and sexual orientation. This course may be used to satisfy the diversity requirement.  Prerequisite: None.

CACM 22020

This course provides a wide view of the main theories on causes, expressions and consequences of international conflicts, and explores differing mechanisms of prevention, management and resolution of these conflicts. Students will be familiarized with how and why international conflicts appear and develop and will learn recent developments on early warning methods, negotiation techniques, and peacekeeping and peacebuilding practices. International conflicts to be covered will include international and civil wars as well as topics such as international terrorism. The course will be a combination of lecture and group discussions, with the possibility of role-playing exercises and simulations. Students are required to read and think through the issues and questions raised by the assigned readings and participate in class activities. This course may be used to satisfy the University Diversity Requirement.  Prerequisite: None.

CACM 30000

Study of the events of the 1960s in the U.S. leading up to May 4, 1970 when the Ohio National Guard killed and wounded Kent State students protesting the U.S.  war in Vietnam and Cambodia.  Topics are considered within their cultural, historical, social and political contexts.  Also examines the aftermath of May 4th, including the controversy over constructing the Gym Annex on the May 4th site, the legal trials, the role of commemorations and memorials and the politics of remembering May 4, 1970. Prerequisite: None.

CACM 31003

Nonviolence is a powerful force for social and political change. Nonviolent action is used most everywhere people struggle for control over their own lives, and it goes by many names, including "people power," "passive resistance," "truthforce," and "relentless persistence." The American colonists used nonviolent action in their revolution against the British, and East Europeans applied it to help bring down the Berlin Wall. South Africans used nonviolent action to help dismantle apartheid, the U.S. civil rights movement relied on it to send Jim Crow packing, and Gandhi experimented with it to gain independence for India. But what is nonviolent action and how does it work, exactly?  Is it more than demonstrations, sit-ins and public protests? Does it require a set of beliefs, or just a sound strategy? Does it work as well against dictators as against factory owners and university presidents? These are some of the questions we will answer as we discover how nonviolent action is used to wage conflict and achieve social change, and as we analyze how it can be applied today to address current social and political issues. Prerequisite: None.

CACM 31010

In order to effectively deal with conflict, we need to understand where it comes from, how it works, what factors contribute to it, and what techniques are most effective in dealing with it. We need to know not just what to do, but why we're doing it! That's why we study theory--so we can better understand why we do what we do. This course will explore the role of theory as a source of conflict, in the dynamics and processes of conflict and in the settlement, management and resolution of conflicts. Theories about conflict come from a range of disciplines including biology, psychology, economics and communications to name a few. Students will emerge from the course with an understanding of explicit and implicit theories behind why conflicts happen as well as why certain methods of conflict resolution are more effective than others. Prerequisite: CACM 11001.

CACM 32010
(Course abandoned effective Fall 2014 since it is now a component of the new course CACM 41004, Capstone in Applied Conflict Management)

This course will explore various careers utilizing skills in conflict management, strategic planning, negotiation, mediation, and nonviolent change. Students will participate in exercises to discover their own skills, traits and career interests. Through research, interviews and guest lectures from professionals in various fields, students will learn more about how their skills can be utilized in the "real world." We will examine ways to find jobs in conflict management and social change, and look at ways one can create one's own opportunities for work in the field. Students will develop strategies on how to sell their conflict management training and skills to better compete for positions, and how to expand their skills and marketability through their choice of internships, volunteer work, and additional education. Students will complete the course with a career plan, resume, job search strategy, and interviewing skills for either present or future use.  Prerequisite: none

CACM 32020

Decisions, decisions. Everybody has their own way of making decisions, especially when the issue is difficult and trying. Some toss coins, some make lists of positives and negatives, and some simply let others decide for them. It doesn't have to be that way; at least it doesn't if you take this course. Strategic planning is a process to make decisions about what directions to take and what needs to be done to move in that direction. In organizations, communities, agencies, and our personal lives, strategic planning can answer these questions: where are we currently, what is our identity, where do we want to go, and how do we get there. We will explore various models of strategic planning, group process skills, decision-making techniques, and practical ways to implement our plans. Prerequisite: junior standing or special approval.

CACM 33030

This course will focus on the special issues related to conflict in the workplace. Questions to be explored include: What factor does personality play in workplace conflict? Should we hire people based on personality type? How do we deal with incivility in the workplace? What about ethical conflicts? (Enron executives might want to ponder that question.) What do we do when our work teams can't seem to work as a team? How important is management style in preventing and managing (or perhaps creating) conflict? What about issues related to cultural diversity? Attention will also be given to important legal issues, the use of alternative dispute resolution in the workplace, special concerns of union environments, and the growing problem of workplace violence. Prerequisite: CACM 11001.

CACM 34040

When you bargain over the price of a used car, an antique, or your monthly rent charge, do you often feel at a disadvantage? Do you know how to structure discussions with your house mates over household chores so that all of you get your needs and interests met in a fair manner, yet you remain friends and the apartment also gets cleaned? Negotiation skills are not only important in education, business, law, and government, but in everyday life as well. This course uses plenty of hands-on exercises and role plays to take the mystery out of negotiation theory and tactics. You will gain practical knowledge that you can put to use even before the semester is over!  Pre-law students have the added bonus of getting a head start on negotiation strategies, a central dimension of much legal work.  Grading is based on class participation, including participation in practice negotiations; quality of writing assignments, and a midterm and final exam. Prerequisite: CACM 11001.

CACM 35050
ENVIRONMENTAL CONFLICT RESOLUTION (3) (new course title beginning Fall 2009)
(course title through Summer 2009)

Public disputes with multiple stakeholders are all around us. For example, a national drug store chain wants to buy a historic building in a residential neighborhood, tear it down, and put up a new "cookie cutter" drug store building. Some neighbors are aghast, others welcome the proposal. An oil company wants to drill for oil in the nearby national forest; the forest service says OK but environmental groups say no, loudly. What methods can be used to help resolve these and many other complicated community conflicts? We will focus on techniques that are designed for public disputes, such as negotiated rule making, consensus-based policy dialogues, community-based collaborative problem solving, environmental mediation, and common ground discussion groups. We will learn various consensus methods for facilitating meetings and making group decisions. Throughout it all we will ask whether these techniques tend to disempower community groups while serving the interests of the state and corporations. Largely run in a seminar style, the course gives participants an opportunity to discuss case studies of public policy dispute resolution, focusing primarily on environmental and land use conflicts. Requirements include one analytical research paper on a public sector dispute, an exam or two, and participation in a simulation. Prerequisite: None.

CACM 35092
INTERNSHIP IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT (3-12) (Repeatable for a total of 12 hours)

Students work as interns in the field of conflict management in organizations, businesses, or groups. Objectives include developing and applying skills in conflict management and gaining direct experience that will be useful in conflict management careers. An internship for 3 credit hours requires working approximately 10 hours per week in the field over the 15 week semester. A student taking a 12 credit hour internship would work approximately 40 hours per week over the 15 week semester. Additional requirements include keeping a journal, writing a paper, and occasional meetings with the professor. "IP" grade permissible. Beginning fall semester 2012, this course may be used to satisfy the Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR). Prerequisites: Two upper-division CACM courses and junior standing. Partial list of organizations for which CACM internship students have worked

CACM 35095

This course is designed to provide students from other majors with special interest subjects related to their field. The course might focus on labor negotiations, gender and conflict, international conflict, religion and conflict, or any number of other topics.

(Offered Spring 2007 and Fall 2011, and scheduled for Spring 2015)

This experiential and participatory course blends reading, discussion, and hands-on experience and activities in exploring the role of creative expression and art in addressing, fomenting, and healing conflict at the intrapersonal level (within one's own self), the interpersonal level (between individuals), and community and global levels. Class members will examine their own creativity in conflict as well as works by other individuals who are working for change in both personal and political arenas. Prerequisite: None.

(Offered Spring 2009)

Corporations restructure. Customers vent their disapproval. Budgets are slashed. Co-workers squabble. Many organizations are besieged with conflict. While organizational conflict is inevitable, how conflict is managed is critical to organizational success. Unmanaged or destructively managed conflict can have negative consequences including low employee morale and productivity, loss of talented employees, and high litigation costs. As a result, many organizations have adopted a proactive versus reactive approach to managing conflict and have embraced the notion of "dispute systems design." This course will focus on the different approaches that stakeholders within organizations can take to design and implement integrated conflict management systems that will address both internal and external conflict. Prerequisite: None.

(Offered Fall 2006)

From the closing years of the twentieth century through the opening of the twenty-first, ethnic conflict has risen to become one of the most alarming problems plaguing modern civilization. The end of the Cold War has not meant the dawning of a new golden age of peace, but rather a return to the internecine violence that has characterized much of human history. The list of violent conflicts that are considered ethnic in nature or origin is lengthy: Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Chechnya, Cyprus, Sudan, East Timor, Aceh, Nagorno-Karabakh and the former Yugoslavia. This course explores the roles played by ethnicity, race and their expressions in the generation, resolution and conduct of conflicts. We will examine physical and symbolic markers of difference in order to understand both why groups differentiate themselves from one another and how mechanisms such as skin color, religious affiliation, ethnic background or cultural traditions can provide the grist for conflict or the grease that promotes resolution. Primary analysis will be based on the examination of cases relevant to the different issues underlying these conflicts. Prerequisite: None.

(Offered Spring 2009, Fall 2010, and Fall 2012)

The Special Topics Traumatic Stress course will examine the causes and manifestations of traumatic stress and will explore various healing modalities. Readings will be drawn from a variety of research traditions and healing perspectives and class sessions will include a balance of presentation and participatory activities. The course will rely heavily on student participation and input as we explore different approaches to understanding and recovering from traumatic stress. Prerequisite: None.

CACM 36096

This is an individualized program of study tailored to meet the particular needs and interests of conflict management majors and minors. The program of study is jointly worked out between the professor and the student. It will include research in the field, in the library, or on the Internet; regular discussions between the student and professor; and written reports, article or book summaries, or research papers. "IP" grade permissible. Prerequisites: Two upper-division CACM courses and junior standing.

CACM 38080

Do you have a secret hankering to be on the cutting edge? Are you interested in learning about one of today's fastest growing fields? Do you have what it takes to be a mediator? Take this course and find out! More and more people are turning away from pursuing their conflicts via litigation and the court system and turning towards the centuries-old practice of third party mediation. There are now over 650 community-based mediation centers in the U.S. This course will examine the development of the mediation movement, exploring its various manifestations in community centers, court-referred programs, divorce and family mediation, victim-offender mediation, and school-based peer mediation programs. We will also spend considerable time on skills development. Prerequisite: CACM 11001.

CACM 41004

(New course effective Fall 2014.  Required for Applied Conflict Management majors in catalog years Fall 2014 and later)

Reviews, integrates and facilitates reflection on concepts and skills central to applied conflict management in order to prepare for a career in the field.  Core review topics include: conflict analysis; sources and dynamics of conflicts; gender and power in relationships; reflective listening and constructive assertions; principled negotiation; intervention and mediation best practices; reconciliation and conflict transformation; nonviolent action and social change.  Students must develop a personally meaningful yet accurate conceptual map of the field. Career development aspects include: creating a career plan; writing a resume; creating a job search strategy and developing job interviewing skills; learning professional networking and marketability tactics; and interacting with CACM alumni and other professionals working in the field.  Prerequisites: completion of 21 CACM course credits, 18 of which must be from the core CACM requirements.  Of those 18, CACM 31010, Conflict Theory, must be completed and CACM 35092, Internship, must be either completed or in progress.

CACM 41010

Apologies,forgiveness, reparations, and reconciliation play significant roles in conflict; but so do punishment, revenge, truth-telling, and the need for justice. This is true for interpersonal conflict and for social and political conflict, particularly where countries are transitioning from mass violence or genocide to democracy and justice. But what constitutes an effective apology between childhood friends, and how is it different from formal apologies between countries and presidents? When South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission traded immunity for truth-telling for those who actively supported apartheid, what did the country gain, or lose, in the process? Should the U.S. government pay reparations to the citizen descendants of African slaves? Do international tribunals dealing with war crimes and massive violence actually help countries like Serbia transition to democracy? More generally, how can reconciliation be achieved in long-running conflicts? Comparative analysis of these complicated but fascinating conflict processes will be our focus in this course. This course may be used to satisfy the writing-intensive requirement with approval of major department. Effective Fall 2009, this course may be used to satisfy the diversity requirement. Prerequisites: CACM 22020, one upper-division CACM course, and junior standing.

CACM 42020

(New course, effective Fall 2009. Course content is the same as content of CACM 49091 as it was taught from the mid 1990's to Spring 2009.)

Conducting qualitative field research with special attention to conflict situations is the focus of this course. Students will be introduced to and use a variety of qualitative techniques, including observation, interviewing, action research, and document analysis. Beyond this skills-development focus, we will also explore ethical issues and topical themes that confront today's qualitative researchers. Significant amounts of class time will be devoted to students working with and analyzing their data, and discussing their field research experiences. The end product will be a term paper based on your field work. This course may be used to satisfy the writing-intensive requirement with approval of major department. Prerequisites: CACM 11001, two upper-division CACM courses, and junior standing.

CACM 45093

Variable topic workshop offered as need arises. Specific topics will be announced in the Schedule of Classes. S/U grading. Prerequisite: special approval.

CACM 49091
(new title and course description beginning Fall 2009)
SEMINAR IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT (3) (title through Summer 2009)

(Repeated registration permissible.)  Seminar devoted to detailed study of various topics in field of conflict management. Specific topics will be announced in Schedule of Classes and on the CACM web site. Prerequisite: senior standing.

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