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Note that some courses contain a link to recent syllabi. Please do not rely on these syllabi for upcoming course information; it's likely the instructor and the time/day/location listed in the syllabus won't be accurate. 

PAX 507 Praxis: Personal and Community Formation (1 SH)

This pass/fail course for MA in Transformation Leadership (MATL) students contributes to creating a foundation for the student’s personal development and supports the development of the learning community that supports students throughout their time at CJP and beyond. Learning in a community is a key brand differentiator for CJP. This course supports that community process while also supporting each student individually.  This online course will include some one-on-one coaching from the instructors, as well as small group and class reflection and learning activities. This course will explore themes of identity, vocation, purpose, community creation and professional development. 

View Syllabus

PAX 508 Praxis: Project (1-2 SH)

This pass/fail required course for MATL students involves the online experience of connecting to a practice community of other transformational leaders and coaching faculty while implementing a project in their organization or home community.  A mix of asynchronous assignments and synchronous meetings allow students to engage in course material, engage in collective brainstorming of practice challenges/barriers, view transformational leadership through an emergence lens, and refine leadership skills in complex projects and programs. Praxis: Project is designed to be taken alongside another course to help students think through projects, programs, and/or interventions.  Throughout the course, students will explore the MasterMind methodology and receive training in leading and participating in MasterMind groups, explore Human Systems Dynamics and the concept of the “the next wise step,” and live into trauma-informed and resilient interpersonal engagement.

PAX 509 Praxis: Capstone (1 SH)

This pass/fail required course for MATL students involves the online experience of integrating all MATL course materials and experiences in a reflective environment to assist students in mentally and physically documenting their work.  A mix of asynchronous assignments and synchronous meetings allow students to reflect on their identities, theories of change, skill sets, challenges and barriers, and critical theory in their dynamic and ever-changing context. The course is designed to be taken in the last semester of degree work.  Critical theory lenses will guide students in reflecting on their experiences, theories of change, and project(s) as they prepare for their capstone presentations.

PAX 516 Program Evaluation Through Qualitative Research (3 SH)

This course helps students understand and practice the implementation of program evaluation through the methodologies of qualitative research. Historic and contemporary sociological and anthropological approaches (Western and Indigenous) will provide the theoretical and philosophical background for our work, but the focus will be on practical applications of qualitative methodology in evaluation. Students  practice conducting structured and semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, coding interview transcripts, and designing an evaluation, which includes 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 focus entirely on either research or evaluation.

The course format is participatory, experiential, and adaptive. Students conduct an actual professional evaluation of 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 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.

This course explores ideas and experiences that have caused harm and traumagenic responses in people’s lives and communities when developing the program evaluation with the client.  With this in mind, the course will utilize a Trauma-Informed Classroom Care Model [Cless, J. D. & Goff, B. 2017. Teaching trauma: A model for introducing traumatic materials in the classroom. Advances in Social Work, 18(1), 25-38.].  Elements of this model include:

  • Trauma Exposure - Course objectives may expose students to elements of trauma and trigger traumatic stress.
  • Reactions to Trauma - How a student responds to traumagenic information or events varies from student to student and depends on personal history. This course will utilize three phases of trauma recovery: Safety, Remembrance and Mourning, and Reconnection (integration).
  • Student Disclosure of Trauma - Students have the opportunity to disclose personal experiences of trauma in a variety of ways. These might include: individual meeting with the instructor, during on-campus discussions, or in writing through personal reflection, email, writing/class assignments.
  • Flexibility - Students with higher levels of reactivity to course content will be met with a higher level of flexibility.
  • Course Progression - The instructor will inform students of the topics and progression of the course.
  • Assessment - Assessments are used to not only measure progress toward stated objectives and student learning but also monitor student reactivity. This will be done through weekly warm-ups, reflection papers, circle processes, and projects. 

Prerequisite: PAX 535 Research Methods for Social Change (graduate students) or permission of the instructor.

This course includes upper level undergraduate students and is offered every other year. 

View Syllabus

PAX 532 Formation for Peacebuilding Practice (3 SH)

As individuals working for peace, social justice, reduction of violence, and the possibility of reconciliation, we are the instruments of the work. How can we best prepare ourselves to take constructive action whether in a professional role or in a personal relationship? This course will explore four areas of awareness and accountability essential for effectiveness in our action efforts. These areas of content and engagement, described more fully in the syllabus, are self-awareness, self-assessment, self-management, and self- and community care.

In focusing on these four areas, we’ll consider the roles we play, the skills we have and need, and the processes available to us for doing the work. The intensive online experience will make use of in-person instruction and conversation, video inputs, personal action and reflection, paired and plenary discussion, demonstration/presentation and a sampling of non-traditional forms of learning and integration (e.g arts-based methods, play, music/rhythm, etc). We will also plan and practice (as appropriate) selected strategies for structuring conversations and decision-making. Course participants will strengthen their abilities to understand and manage self, attend to self/communal care, and assess appropriateness of action. And in this unusual time globally, we will practice and reflect on physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual elements of well-being and growth. This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute and took place online in 2020 (

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PAX 533 Analysis: Understanding Conflict (3 SH)

Analysis focuses on understanding the factors that cause conflict and violence and those that support peacebuilding and social justice. Good conflict analysis skills are a central component of designing effective strategies for conflict transformation and constructive social change.

In this unusual global time, it is especially important to consider the social systems and other variables that contribute to inequities, instability, and conflict as we determine ways to respond.  We’re offering this online course to provide practical tools for understanding and planning. We will highlight identity (gender, religion, nationality, etc.) culture and worldview; social systems and structures; power, influence and domination; human needs, human rights, and dignity; narratives and discourse, and others.  We will engage with each other and with course materials (readings, video, assignments and activities) both simultaneously in real time (synchronous) and on our own schedule (asynchronous).

Case studies of conflicts/social injustice will provide content and an opportunity to practice analysis skills. Participants will also practice self-analysis skills by paying attention to their own roles and biases in conflict and how that affects their ability to describe situations from multiple perspectives and plan for change. The class will include practical research strategies for gathering and organizing data and will utilize theories of change as an intermediate step from analysis to the design of effective social change.  For the final project, participants will select a situation and conduct their own analysis.  This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute and took place online in 2020 ( 

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PAX 534 Foundations for Justice & Peacebuilding 1 (6 SH)

Foundations 1 and 2 give an overview of social justice and peacebuilding practice and its multi-disciplinary, multi-level aspects. This course, Foundations 1, addresses personal, interpersonal, small group, and organizational-level conflict transformation and social change.  Foundations 1 will center on personal formation, basic action research, analysis for understanding conflict and injustice, peacebuilding and justice practice, theories of change, practitioner roles, essential skills and processes in our work, and basic process design.  Foundations 2 focuses on communal and societal levels of conflict and social change, centering on critical theory, analysis, power, structural and macro-level engagement, larger group processes, process design and more.  Whether you take one or both courses, you will integrate personal formation including self-awareness, critical self-assessment, self-management and self- and communal care, ethical application of theory, technical utilization of research and analysis tools, and systematic processes of planning and implementation for intervention or action across many sectors and at different levels of society.

Foundations 1 is constructed to assist you to integrate these vital elements - personal formation, theory, research, analysis and practical skills and processes – into your justice work and peacebuilding practice. You will be introduced to basic literature and theory of the fields; explore conflict transformation from an individual, interpersonal and organizational level; consider the dynamics of conflict and injustice, and experience the practice of peacebuilding through reading and discussions, video lectures and other engagements, group work, and interactive case study.  Skills competencies are emphasized in the areas of personal formation, conflict analysis and assessment, communication, construction of theories of change, strategies for intervention in interpersonal, intra-and intergroup conflicts, and basic process design.  Basic processes that help structure conversations (such as negotiation, mediation and facilitation), nonviolent social action, accompaniment and coaching strategies as well as informal and other transformative processes are highlighted and can be practiced.   This course employs the action-reflection learning cycle as the undergirding educational framework throughout the semester.  Foundations 1 cannot be taken for reduced credit or for professional education/training.

Foundations 1 cannot be taken for reduced credit or for professional education/training and is required for all CJP students (unless they have taken PAX 533 Analysis: Understanding Conflict and PAX 532 Formation for Peacebuilding Practice).

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PAX 535 Research Methods for Social Change (3 SH)

Leaders of peacebuilding and justice building require critical knowledge of research methods to design research projects that support social change. To this end, this course focuses on research design that centers the role of identity, power, worldview and context in the whole research process. This course opts for qualitative methods, because those are used more often in the field than quantitative methods. In addition, this course will introduce quantitative and mixed methods research so that students may be able to better read, interpret, and/or design appropriate studies depending on their aim. This 3-credit course is required for all MA students, and is not available for reduced credit or professional development/training. 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.

Qualitative inquiry – rooted firmly in the foundations of the social sciences, critical theory, and social justice – provides us with the tools to explore, unearth, understand, and make explicit the world within which we live: ourselves, others, social issues, interactions, and phenomenon. This course is designed to inspire, teach and engage you in the conceptualization and design of qualitative and mixed methods research. Through this course, you will:

  • Identify the role of power, identity, worldview and context in research design and process;

  • Contrast paradigms of inquiry and their philosophical tenets (post-positivist, constructivist, advocacy, pragmatist, indigenous research framework);

  • Differentiate qualitative inquiry from quantitative analysis;

  • Explore, identify, and evaluate qualitative and mixed methods research designs;

  • Learn, distinguish, and practice methods (e.g., intensive interviewing, focus groups, observations, document analysis, etc.) commonly employed in qualitative inquiry;

  • Learn and practice the steps involved in planning, designing, implementing, coding, and analyzing qualitative data;

  • Propose, design, and present a research proposal that includes a masters-level literature review and trustworthiness (validity and reliability) standards.

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PAX 540 STAR Level 1 (2-3 SH)

Whether working in advocacy, healthcare, education, government, care-giving, activism, or in any kind of leadership or community building capacity, stressors add up - particularly in this pandemic. Research and experience demonstrate that unaddressed trauma often leads to conflict and violence against self or with others, as trauma-affected people act out against others or become self-destructive. STAR combines theory with experiential learning to increase awareness of the impacts of trauma on the body, brain, beliefs and behaviors. The course offers tools for addressing trauma and breaking cycles of violence.

STAR’s multi-disciplinary framework draws on several fields of theory and practice to support healthy, resilient individuals and communities: trauma and resilience studies (including neurobiology), restorative justice, conflict transformation, human security, and spirituality. STAR centers participants’ experience and insights, while offering activities, resources, and a theoretical model to support a journey toward understanding and interrupting cycles of violence at the individual, communal and societal levels.

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PAX 563 Forgiveness & Reconciliation (2-3 SH)

This course will explore the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation, their various components, and the place they occupy in the spectrum of the various social science conflict-handling mechanisms. It will examine the concepts from different philosophical, cultural, and disciplinary perspectives and look at how they have been used for healing interpersonal relationships as well as addressing large-scale social (political, inter-ethnic or international) conflicts. Although the main emphasis will be on social conflicts, the personal, psychological, spiritual, and ecological dimensions of forgiveness and reconciliation and their interrelationships with one another will be explored. The course will involve lectures, discussion, group work, student presentations, and writing assignments. There are many methods for creating and facilitating trainings. In order to create a training that will not only be delivered successfully but where knowledge is retained, the facilitator needs to know the learners for the training, their experiences, and their own needs and interests. This course begins with the premise that learners must be empowered to learn in a way that works for them and that traditional educational methods simply are not well-suited for learning that lasts beyond the event itself.  This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute ( 

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PAX 568 Transformation Leadership for Creating Change (3 SH) 

Organizations and their leaders can play a critical role in mitigating societal stressors, and organizations are locations where social conflicts can be transformed and injustices can be addressed effectively. Participants will review a range of organizational leadership theories and practices, identifying various approaches to leading people, systems, and organizations in ways that bring restoration, offer hope, and work toward promoting the common good. Class focus will be on examining key equity drivers and their application in the work setting. The course will hold the tension between issues raised by critical theory and the approaches espoused by practitioners of appreciative inquiry and will encourage students to manage the polarity created by these approaches as an important transformational practice. This class is a core requirement for all MATL students.

PAX 571 Restorative Justice: Principles, Theories & Applications (3 SH) 

This course provides a critical examination of the values, principles, and practices of restorative justice. It provides a unique opportunity to explore the philosophy of restorative justice from various perspectives, and as it is applied in various contexts. Our primary starting point is the U.S. criminal legal system and the problems posed by its dominant responses to harm and violence. We examine how restorative justice presents a contrasting 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.

Fall 2020's iteration of the course will be taught in an asynchronous format via Voice Thread. Course participants will need to create a VoiceThread account (full name and email address required). 

 This is a core requirements for MA in Restorative Justice students.  This course is offered every fall and in the Summer Peacebuilding Institute. 

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PAX 585 Global Development (3 SH)

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 this 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.

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PAX 588 Nonviolent Mobilization for Social Change (3 SH)

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. Throughout the course, participants will have a choice to engage in a variety of assignments including reading reflections, presenting on nonviolence and religion, letter writing, applying nonviolent frameworks to real-life case scenarios or policy change, and facilitating nonviolence training. A weekend trip to Richmond, VA or Washington D.C. to participate in the advocacy and lobbying efforts with government representatives will be built into the learning experience.

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PAX 601 Mediation and Negotiation (3 SH) 

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 MA in Conflict Transformation students this course satisfies the skills assessment course requirement. Each student will be evaluated by the instructor and by class peers for competency in mediation and negotiation skills.

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PAX 610 Facilitation: Process Design & Skills for Dialogue, Deliberation & Decision-Making (3 SH)

This course is designed to develop participants’ capacities as skillful facilitators and to enable them to design and lead 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 preferred. This class qualifies as a skills assessment course for the MA in Conflict Transformation program.

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PAX 615 Leading Organizational Change (3 SH)

Whether for-profit, not-for-profit, or governmental, every organization today exists in a rapidly changing set of environments. Organizations that fail to adapt to these changes face decline and eventual death. However, organizations that lurch reactively from crisis to crisis are equally vulnerable to being selected out. 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 is 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, gaining hands-on experience in leading change.

This is one of several 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 1 & 2 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 PAX 534 Foundations 1 (offered by CJP) OR MBA 564 Organizational Behavior (offered by EMU’s MBA program).

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PAX 634 Foundations for Justice & Peacebuilding 2 (6 SH)

Foundations 1 and 2 give a comprehensive overview of justice and peacebuilding practice and its multi-disciplinary, multi-level aspects. Foundations 1 centered on personal, interpersonal, small group and organizational transformation analysis, theory and practice. Foundations 2 focuses on communal, societal and global processes of transformation, with particular attention to the relationship between power and the production of justice and peacebuilding theories and practices. Throughout the two courses, you will be required to understand and integrate 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.

In Foundations 2 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, with increased sensitivity to race and gender as well as history and political economy. 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 complex projects, researching strategies and moving from analyzing a situation of injustice or conflict to designing, and preparing strategies to impact that situation. Foundations 2 is required for all MA in Conflict Transformation and MA in Restorative Justice students. 

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PAX 640 STAR Level 2 (2-3 SH)

Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) Level 2 invites people who have started to bring trauma awareness into their life and work for greater resilience to deepen their knowledge and skills. In Level 2, participants have a chance to:

  • review and deepen learning around trauma awareness and resilience
  • grapple with the complex realities and implications of structural and historical harms
  • practice and deepen capacity for trauma-informed facilitation, and
  • share plans and questions, while connecting with others who are applying STAR learning in their lives and work.

STAR Level 1 provides foundational content for this course. In Level 2, we continue to focus on trauma’s impacts on body, brain, beliefs and behavior; how those impacts often lead to cycles of violence; and possibilities for breaking free from cycles of violence and building resilience. Participants in STAR Level 2 will also have the opportunity to join the STAR Practitioner learning community for ongoing connection and exchange as well as conceptual and practical resources.

Participants must have applied STAR concepts personally or professionally since completion of STAR Level 1 training (normally for a period of about 3-6 months). STAR 2 is also offered in the Summer Peacebuilding Institute.

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PAX 648 Sexual Harms: Changing the Narrative (2-3 SH)

In this course we explore why sexual harm has become normalized in contemporary society and how we can generate change through practical actions that build more accountable and restorative environments. We scrutinize the power dynamics vested in institutions and organizational protocols looking at their impacts on norms, standards, and responses to sexual violence. We also examine best practices for addressing harms done and facilitating education for prevention. The goals for our time together are to become more proficient at facilitating spaces for truth-telling, justice-building, post-traumatic healing, and resilience-making. Through arts-based exercises, case studies, circle processes, media sharing, and guided reflection, we examine how to proactively break cycles of sexual harm. This course will be taught next at Summer Peacebuilding Institute in 2021 (

PAX 671 Truth-Telling, Reconciliation & Restorative Justice (2 SH)

“Truth-telling” is paramount in the quest for justice, particularly against the backdrop of silenced historical harm.  This course grapples with the form and function of truth telling in the pursuit of justice and critically explores linkages between the two. We will survey and analyze historical approaches to truth-telling in the international context, whether in the context of truth commissions or indigenous practices.  Of particular interest in this course are the emerging truth-telling, racial healing and reparations initiatives in the United States to address racial violence against African-Americans. Together, using restorative justice-based and critical race pedagogical approaches, we will grapple with the following questions and more:

  • What does truth-telling mean in the quest for justice?
  • How has truth-telling looked in historical international contexts and how is it  looking in the contemporary domestic context?
  • What form have truth and reconciliation processes taken historically?
  • How do we distinguish restorative justice-based truth-telling processes from historical transitional justice processes?  
  • How might we envision a restorative justice-based truth, racial healing and reparations process to address racial violence in the US against African-Americans?  

This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute ( 

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PAX 672 Circle Processes (1 SH)

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.

This course is intended to provide experience in the circle process as well as an understanding of the foundational values and key structural elements for designing and conducting peacemaking circles. The class will prepare students to design and facilitate peacemaking circles in a variety of situations.

3 SH version of this class is offered during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute (

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PAX 673 Independent Study (1-3 SH)

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). See the registrar or your advisor to learn about independent study options.

PAX 676 Restorative Justice Practices (3 SH)

Restorative Justice originated as a practice-based discipline. However, the field has experienced exponential growth in the theory and research of RJ in the last decade. 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, and Circle Processes. The class will also explore structural applications of RJ practice in the workplace, schools, prisons, religious institutions, community gang and public violence, dealing with historical harms, and 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 RJ practice. For MA in Conflict Transformation students this course satisfies the skills assessment course requirement if taken for 3 credits.  It is a required course for all students enrolled in the MA and Certificate in Restorative Justice programs. PAX 571 Restorative Justice is a prerequisite for this class unless special permission granted.

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PAX 677 Restorative Justice & Whole Systems Approaches (3 SH)

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 impact and 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 one more "social service reform.” However, if we understand it as a “social justice 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 political, legal and social justice systems shifts. Through intensive reading, structured debates, tailor-made research on critical and emerging RJ issues, and interaction with leaders in the field, we will explore whole system applications of RJ in 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 I & II, along with the work around Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) - 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 (Network Weaving)
  • Coalition building, social mobilization, and social movement theory & practice
  • Systemic inputs & outputs, and
  • Structural Information & Communication feedback loops.

The course is facilitated in a high-flex seminar format (both in-person and online) using student-led reading summaries & discussions, progressive portfolio 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 several seminar courses that are geared primarily to second year graduate students in the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding. 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 1 and 2 courses (offered by CJP) OR for MAED students either PAX 571 or PAX 676. This course satisfies a core requirement for MA in RJ students.

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PAX 682 Practicum (6-9 SH)

The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding is a practice-oriented academic program.  The theories of change and the practice skills offered at CJP are meant to prepare individuals for a career in real world settings of complex conflict and injustice.  The practicum is a time for learning and preparing for a career through personal involvement in and reflection on initiatives in actual situations. It is also a time to learn new theories and practice skills at the practicum site.  Overall this hands on experience, with extensive interaction with people outside the classroom, and in organizations dealing with the subjects of students’ specializations, provides first-time or additional work experience for CJP students.  Their experience is critical to employers as well as overall career development.  Therefore, being prepared academically and having additional work experience through a practicum strengthens the individual student’s ability and capacity to offer a full range of experience to the people they will eventually work for and serve. In addition to doing an organizational practicum, CJP students may do a research-based practicum (independent or nested within an organization). For more information, refer to the practicum webpage. The practicum is required for MA in Conflict Transformation and MA in Restorative Justice students. In very select cases, a student may be granted permission to pursue a thesis (PAX 683 described below) in lieu of a practicum. 

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PAX 683 Thesis (6-9 SH)

CJP MA in Restorative Justice or MA in Conflict Transformation full-time, residential students are able to petition the Academic Committee for an exception to the general rule that all students will do a practicum (PAX 682). Students will be vetted based on their experience and the quality of their proposal. A maximum of two persons per year will be granted this thesis option. This option is normally available only for those students planning on doing their practicum/thesis in the spring of their second year and for those that will be in residence. An exception to these guidelines will be considered for a student who has proven themselves to be both an excellent writer and a self-initiator. A student can make the case to write from a distance or on an alternate time table if they have:

  • Demonstrated capacity (at CJP) to complete complex research and writing projects in a timely manner.
  • Adequate access to Internet and technology to support the process.
  • Strong writing and editing skills so that there is limited or no need for writing support. 

Applicants for a thesis option should identify their area of focus by the end of their second semester and should select seminar courses and electives in their third semester so that they are completing a robust literature review prior to the thesis semester.  Once granted permission to do a thesis in lieu of a practicum, the student will:

  • Formally ask two professors to serve as their thesis advisors (the student should have preliminary conversations with faculty members to gauge their interest).
  • Research and write a publishable master’s level thesis (for example, 40-50 pages for 6 credits).
  • Present the thesis (both a thesis defense and capstone to broader CJP and EMU community).
  • Submit thesis to be bound and placed in the EMU library collection.

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PAX 684 Ending Violence, Shifting Power (3 SH)

Get ready to engage with activists and scholars advancing feminist, queer, and anti-racist perspectives through their books, zines, digital stories, webinars, blog posts, art, toolkits and workshop curricula! This course introduces students to the rich body of thinking and practice emerging from feminist, antiracist and LGBTQ anti-violence movements. Using resources from these movements, we will examine critical, intersectional approaches for understanding interpersonal violence, systemic oppression, and institutional harm. We will also explore strategies for addressing interpersonal violence that involve grassroots organizing, cultural activism, and nonviolent collective action. We will place this work within the context of feminist activism led by women of color in the Global South and North, and draw further inspiration from indigenous movement-building to reclaim one’s own traditions.

We will give special attention to the analysis, principles and practices emerging from the contemporary transformative justice and community accountability movement. The transformative justice movement works to prevent, intervene and respond to harm without reliance on incarceration, policing, and other punitive interventions. Transformative justice (TJ) is an approach that seeks safety, healing and accountability by addressing root causes of violence, while building personal and collective capacity for transformation that furthers individual and social change. TJ shares principles and values of restorative justice, but is also distinctive in its origins, analysis, social vision and key areas of focus. While much of this praxis emerges from and focuses on U.S. and North American spaces in the 21st century, we will also be attentive to its implications for other geographic, social and political contexts.

As an advanced seminar course, most class time will be spent in learner-centered discussion.

This course will be offered for the first time in fall 2020 as an advanced seminar course available to students who have taken PAX 634 Foundations 2 or have received permission of the instructor.

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PAX 685 Designing Processes for Conflict Transformation (3 SH)

Many of the systems in which we live and work are dysfunctional and mired in conflict. One strategy for transforming them is through deliberative dialogue processes that engage the whole system: whether community, organization or society. Such processes can enable us to respond creatively to our most complex challenges and move us toward more equitable, just and positive relationships and structures. Through this class, we will explore how complexity and identity theories, conflict analysis, and power assessment inform collaborative process design. We ask tough questions about what kind of processes are relevant for cultivating different phases of change and explore ethics underpinning the praxis of process design rooted in awareness of our ‘positionality’ in the system. We will learn about many process methodologies such as Appreciative Inquiry, Courageous Conversations, Emergent Strategies, Narrative Practice, Open Space, Polarity Management, Transformative Scenario Planning, World Café, and others. We will assess their underlying theories of change and theories of practice in ways that enable participants to become more creative and astute process designers. This class will be most appropriate for participants who already have some familiarity working with groups and is ideal for those with some facilitation practice experience.

This course will be offered for credit online for the first time in spring 2021.

PAX 688 Justice, Peace and the Biblical Story (3 SH) 

The Bible has often been used to justify war and other forms of violence. The biblical story has also been read and interpreted as pertaining to only personal beliefs and behavior rather than communal concerns or social issues. The intent of this course is to explore the biblical story and what it says about issues of violence, justice, and peace. How are people who embrace the biblical story called to apply these understandings to their lives, personally and collectively?  How have Christian communities around the world made use of the biblical story as a core component of their efforts to work for safety, emancipation, self-determination, and healing? How can we use biblical narratives in our work to build peace and justice within communities? As we examine these questions, we will center perspectives and traditions of reading the Bible birthed by people experiencing direct violence and oppression. This course is an elective at EMS and CJP.  It will not be offered in the 2020-21 academic year.

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PAX 684 - PAX 694 (1-3 SH)

CJP attempts to offer a wide variety of courses on critical issues and skills needed in the peacebuilding field. Especially in our Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) each May and June, we offer new topics courses based on what we are hearing is needed most out in the field. These topics courses are one time offerings that may or may not be offered again but are not a required part of the graduate program (though students may take these courses as elective credits). Recent offerings include Christian Spirituality for Social Action, Designing Facilitated Processes, Sexual Harms: Changing the Narrative, and Transformative Leadership.

PAX 692 Re-Imagining Identity (3 SH)

When reflecting on your various identities and those ascribed to you, how does experiencing them shape the way you see yourself and view the world? In this course, we will journey together to explore some of the narratives we hold surrounding our various identities. We will individually and collectively dissect some of the impacts of these narratives and examine their psychosocial effects on ourselves and the communities to which we belong. We will boldly create safe spaces for one another to explore what healing may look like within ourselves and our communities. This will be done through a process of re-naming, re-claiming, re-shaping and re-imagining how we show up in the world. In this way, dignity and its power of honoring the value and worth of self and other, will become part of the fabric of our understanding and experience. Using Talibah Aquil’s Arts Based Research Practicum presentation “Ghana, Remember Me…” as a guide, you will also have the opportunity to creatively explore how to share in class your journey of re-imagining identity, using whatever medium you feel most connected to. (This course will not be offered in the 2020-21 academic year).

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