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Praxis: Capstone

PAX 509


Summer 2021


7 - 8 p.m. ET via Zoom

June 9, 16, 23, 30, July 7


Instructors’ Information:


Amy Knorr, MA

Office:  Weaver House, CJP, second floor

Office Hours:  By appointment

Campus Phone: 540-432-4610

Cell Phone: 202-669-5966



Matt Tibbles, MA  

Office: Roselawn 224  

Office Hours: By appointment

Campus Phone: 540-432-4435  

Cell Phone: 540-467-1759  




Course Description:


The intent and design of Praxis: Capstone is to provide guided reflection in four areas: 1) Being a reflexive practitioner in transformational leadership; 2) Integrating and evaluating theories of change in their project context; 3) Adapting to emergent contexts with critical theory lenses; 4) Revisit and review goals and reflections on vocation explored in PAX 507.


Praxis: Capstone 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.


Critical theory lenses will guide students in reflecting on their experiences, theories of change, and project(s) as they prepare for their capstone presentations.


Praxis: Capstone is a one-credit pass/fail course; whether a student passes or fails is determined by whether a student attends synchronous sessions and whether assignments are turned in on time, and meet all requirements laid out in the assignment’s guidance note.






Course Goals and Objectives:



  • By the end of the semester students will practice reflexive transformational leadership
  • By the end of the semester students will critique and evaluate personal and organizational theories of change (connect to goals in PAX 507 and theories of change in PAX 508)
  • By the end of the semester students will connect transformational leadership in emerging contexts to critical theory



  • Strengthen reflexive transformational leadership through guided reflections based on the experiences of their course work
  • Identify, critique, and evaluate personal, organizational, and societal theories of change in the context of each student
  • Review and explore how critical theory influences and informs transformational leadership in emerging organizational contexts
  • Plan and prepare for the final capstone presentation
  • Celebrate the journey and growth of each student


Classroom Climate:

This course might explore ideas and experiences that have caused harm and traumagenic responses in people’s lives, organizations, and communities. With this in mind, we will be utilizing a Trauma-informed Classroom Care Model [Chess, 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 meetings with the instructor, during on-campus/online 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 reflection papers, role-plays, circle processes, and projects.  

In addition to the above elements, I am adding the following element:

Identity - Each of us have multiple identities at any given moment in time.   Being aware of which identities we privilege in the classroom and which identities we choose not to reveal, this class is designed to welcome whichever identities you choose to live into in class by providing a space where your whole self is welcomed.

The free discourse of ideas should be expected in this class. The classroom is a space that thrives on the open exchange of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and convictions. You may find that some of the class readings and/or discussions challenge your views and theoretical frameworks. As your instructor, I expect you to be open to differences and maintain a willingness to analyze issues from frameworks that may or may not be quite comfortable for you. I have opinions, which I may express from time to time. I invite you to respectfully express either agreement or disagreement without fear of consequences. While we in this class may challenge your views, be assured that you will experience no adverse consequences for disagreeing with me as your instructor. If you feel that I am violating this commitment, please make an appointment to meet outside of class so that we can discuss the issue.


Similarly, please be sensitive in your class participation by not unfairly dominating discussions. Be aware of others’ right to speak and welcome questions from your classmates. ( Adapted from Margaret Sallee and Kathryn Roulston )


Our goal is to create a space in which everyone feels that they can participate in scholarly dialogue and practical application that values critical thinking, the practice of transformation skills, professionalism, all the while holding the tension of others’ lived experiences in dignity honoring ways.


Required Texts and Other Resources:


Brown, A. M. (2017). Emergent strategy: Shaping change, changing worlds. AK Press. ISBN 9781849352604

Haga, K. (2020). Healing resistance: A radically different response to harm. Parallax Press. ISBN 9781946764330

Incite! (2007). The Revolution will not be funded: Beyond the non-profit industrial complex . Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822369004

Required Assignments:


This course is designed to be pass/fail.  The following assignments will be graded as pass/fail:


Participation and Attendance Policy:

You are expected to do all assigned reading and actively participate in class discussions, in-class activities (using Flexibility of the Trauma-Informed Care Model as a guide).  If you will be late or absent, please let the instructor know before class (notification does not equal an excused absence).  

It is the responsibility of the student to know what has been presented in class, in emails, and on the course Moodle page. This includes responsibility for all announcements made at the beginning and end of each class and information given on the first day of class. In the case of a school sponsored absence, the student is responsible for bringing it to the attention of the instructor in writing prior to the date of absence and for gathering all information missed during the absence. It is strongly recommended that students help each other when classes are missed. I am always happy to provide clarification and answer questions that may arise regarding the material.




3, 2, 1 Forum Reflections:

You are expected to complete forum posts using a 3, 2, 1 approach.   Forum posts are written in narrative format (no bullets/pearls) that include answers to the following questions:

3 - Three key insights or learnings (What are you taking away from what you read?)(Must include something from all readings.)

2 - At least two questions (What do you wonder? What is not clear?)

1 - At least one personal reflection or next step (What does this remind you of from your own experiences? What is one step you can take to use what you have learned?)


You are also expected to respond to a forum post from your classmate or instructors.   Forum posts help inform the learning environment, class content, and structure so that we are engaging in the readings and content in meaningful ways.   Forum posts are expected to be completed by the Tuesday before class at 10 PM.  


Capstone Presentation:

The Capstone Presentation is an integral part in completing the Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership degree program.   The Capstone Presentation will allow the student to reflect, process, and express the significant learnings experienced throughout the degree program.   A presentation to the CJP community and friends/family will be the culmination of this class and degree.   Please consult the Guidance Note for more information about this assignment.  The presentation is graded as pass/fail.


Schedule and Topics:


The schedule is a living document.  General themes will be constant but weekly readings are subject to change due to student engagement with readings and the current needs of the class.


Week 1, June 9: Nonviolence: Groundwork; Readings from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

Week 2, June 16: Nonviolence: The Will; Readings from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

Week 3, June 23: Nonviolence: The Will; Readings from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

Week 4, June 30:  Nonviolence:  The Skill; Readings from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded

Week 5, July 7: Capstone Presentations


















Supplemental Information for Course Syllabi: Last reviewed December 2020


Writing Guidelines:

Writing will be a factor in evaluation:  EMU has adopted a set of writing guidelines for graduate programs that include six sets of criteria: content, structure, rhetoric & style, information literacy, source integrity, and conventions (see page 3).  It is expected that graduates will be able to write at least a “good” level with 60% writing at an “excellent” level.  For the course papers, please follow the APA style described in CJP’s GUIDELINES for GRADUATE PAPERS (see CJP Student Resources Moodle page  or request a copy from the Academic Program Coordinator), unless directed otherwise by the instructor.


Academic Integrity Policy ( AIP ):

EMU faculty and staff care about the integrity of their own work and the work of their students. They create assignments that promote interpretative thinking and work intentionally with students during the learning process. Honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility are characteristics of a community that is active in loving mercy and doing justice. EMU defines plagiarism as occurring when a person presents as one’s own someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source (Adapted from the Council of Writing Program Administrators). This course will apply EMU’s AIP to any events of academic dishonesty. If you have doubts about what is appropriate, Indiana University’s Plagiarism Tutorials and Tests may be a useful resource.



Students are accountable for the integrity of the work they submit. Thus, you should be familiar with EMU’s Academic Integrity Policy (see above) in order to meet the academic expectations concerning appropriate documentation of sources. In addition, EMU is using Turnitin , a learning tool and plagiarism prevention system. For CJP classes, you may be asked to submit your papers to Turnitin from Moodle.



Moodle   is the online learning platform that EMU has chosen to provide to faculty, administrators and students.  Students will have access to course information within Moodle for any class they are registered for in a given term.  The amount of time a student has access to information before and after the class is somewhat dependent on the access given to students by the individual faculty member. However, please note that courses are not in Moodle permanently – after three years the class will no longer be accessible. Please be sure to download resources from Moodle that you wish to have ongoing access to.


Technology Requirements and Communication/Zoom Best Practices:

Communication will largely be accomplished via the Moodle platform utilized by EMU and your EMU email. Check both frequently during the semester. Zoom will be used for synchronous online course sessions.   Please review these best practices for online classes!


Graduate & Professional Studies Writing Center:

Please utilize the writing program ! They offer free individual sessions with a graduate student writing consultant. Please visit the website to schedule an appointment or request additional information from CJP’s Academic Program Coordinator.


Institutional Review Board (IRB):
All research conducted by   or on EMU faculty, staff or students   must be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board   to assure participant safety.


Grading Scale & Feedback:

In most courses grades will be based on an accumulation of numerical points that will be converted to a letter grade at the end of the course (several CJP courses are graded pass/fail).  Assignments will receive a score expressed as a fraction, with the points received over the total points possible (e.g. 18/20).  The following is the basic scale used for evaluation.  Points may be subtracted for missed deadlines.

95-100 = A outstanding 90-94 = A- excellent 85-89 = B+ very good                             80-84 = B good                                           76-79 = B- satisfactory               73-75 = C+ passing              

70-72 = C unsatisfactory Below 70 = F failing

Graduate students are expected to earn A’s & B’s.  A GPA of 3.0 for MA students and 2.75 for GC students is the minimum requirement for graduation.                            

Regarding feedback on papers/projects:   Students can expect to receive papers/assignments back in a class with faculty feedback before the next paper/assignment is due.  This commitment from faculty assumes that the student has turned the paper in on the agreed upon due date.



The Hartzler Library offers research support (via e- mail, chat, phone, or SSC campus) and the library home page offers subject guides to help start your research.


Office of Academic Access:

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your work in this course, it is your responsibility to contact the Office of Academic Access . They will work with you to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations.   All information and documentation is treated confidentially. 


Class Attendance (for in-person and synchronous online courses):

Students are expected to attend all class meetings. If unusual or emergency circumstances prevent class attendance, the student should notify the professor in advance if possible. Multiple absences from class will result in lower grades. The student is responsible for the material presented in classes missed (from EMU Graduate Catalog). Students should be aware of the importance of regular class attendance, particularly in the case of CJP classes that only meet once a week or over several weekends. Being absent for more than one class leads to a student missing a large portion of the class content. In addition to consistent class attendance, students should make every effort to arrive to class on time out of respect for the learning process, fellow students and faculty.


Course Extensions and Outstanding Grades:

For fall and spring semesters, all coursework is due by the end of the semester.  If a student will not be able to complete a course on time, the student must submit a request one week before the end of the semester for an extension (up to 6 months), by emailing the instructor, academic advisor and the Academic Program Coordinator.  If the request is granted the student will receive an “I (incomplete) for the course which will later be replaced by a final grade when the work has been turned in on the agreed upon date.  If the request for an extension is denied, the student will receive a grade for the work that has been completed up until the time the course was expected to have been completed.  If no work has been submitted, the final grade will be an F (or W under unusual circumstances and with permission of the Program Director). Extensions will be given only for legitimate and unusual situations. Extensions are contracted by the student with the program for up to a maximum of 6 months after the deadline for the course work.  PLEASE NOTE: Grades for coursework submitted late may be reduced at the instructor’s discretion and in line with their course policy on turning in coursework after the due date. If the extension deadline is not met, the instructor will submit the final grade based on what has been received to date.

Inclusive, Community-Creating Language Policy:

Eastern Mennonite University expects all   its faculty, staff,   and students to adopt inclusive written and spoken language that welcomes everyone regardless of race or ethnicity, gender, disabilities, age, and sexual orientation.   We will use respectful and welcoming language in all our official departmental documents and correspondence, including those put forth by way of Internet communication, and throughout all academic   coursework, inclusive of classroom presentations and conversations, course syllabi, and both written and oral student assessment materials (see CJP Student Resources moodle page or request a complete copy along with best practices from the Academic Program Coordinator).


Title IX:

The following policy applies to any incidents that occur (on or off campus or online)   while you are a student registered at EMU.   It does not apply if you are talking about incidents that happened prior your enrollment at EMU.   It is important for you to know that all faculty and staff members are required to report   known or alleged   incidents of sexual violence (including sexual assault, domestic/relationship violence, stalking). That means that faculty and staff members cannot keep information about sexual violence confidential if you share that information with them. For example, if you inform a faculty or staff member of an issue of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or discrimination they will keep the information as private as they can, but is required to bring it to the attention of the institution’s   Title   IX   Coordinator . You can also report incidents or complaints through the online portal . You may report, confidentially, incidents of sexual violence if you speak to Counseling Services counselors, Campus Ministries’ pastors, or Health Services personnel   providing clinical care. These individuals, as well as the   Title   IX   Coordinator, can provide you with information on both internal & external support resources. Please refer to the Student Handbook for additional policies, information, and resources available to you.


Academic Program Policies:

For EMU graduate program policies and more CJP-specific graduate program policies, please see the complete graduate catalog .























Writing Standards –Graduate Level (revised Spring 2016)



B adequate expectations

C below expectations



(quality of the information, ideas and supporting details)

  • shows clarity of purpose
  • offers depth of content
  • applies insight and represents original thinking
  • follows guidelines for content
  • shows some clarity of purpose
  • offers some depth of content
  • applies some insight and some original thinking
  • mostly follows guidelines for content
  • shows minimal clarity of purpose
  • offers minimal depth of content or incorrect content
  • applies minimal insight and original thinking
  • does not follow guidelines for content



(logical order or sequence of the writing)

  • shows coherence, and logically developed paragraphs
  • uses very effective transitions between ideas and sections
  • constructs appropriate introduction and conclusion
  • shows some coherence and some logically developed paragraphs
  • uses some effective transitions between ideas & sections
  • shows some construction of appropriate introduction and conclusion
  • shows minimal coherence and logically developed paragraphs
  • uses minimal transitions between ideas and sections


  • shows minimal construction of appropriate introduction and conclusion


Rhetoric and Style

(appropriate attention to audience)

  • is concise, eloquent and rhetorically effective
  • effectively uses correct, varied and concise sentence structure
  • is engaging to read
  • writes appropriately for audience and purpose


  • is somewhat concise, eloquent, and rhetorically effective
  • generally uses correct, varied, and concise sentence structure
  • is somewhat engaging to read
  • generally writes appropriately for audience and purpose
  • shows minimal conciseness, eloquence, and rhetorical effectiveness
  • uses incorrect, monotonous or simplistic sentence structure


  • is not engaging to read
  • lacks appropriate writing for audience and purpose
  • uses inappropriate jargon and clichés


Information Literacy

(locating, evaluating, and using effectively the needed information as appropriate to assignment)

  • uses academic and reliable sources
  • chooses sources from many types of resources
  • chooses timely resources for the topic
  • integrates references and quotations to support ideas fully
  • uses mostly academic and reliable sources
  • chooses sources from a moderate variety of types of resources
  • chooses resources with mostly appropriate dates
  • integrates references and quotations to provide some support for ideas
  • lacks academic and reliable sources
  • chooses sources from a few  types of resources


  • chooses a few resources with inappropriate dates
  • integrates references or quotations that are loosely linked to the ideas of the paper


Source Integrity

(appropriate acknowledgment of sources used in research)


  • correctly cites sources for all quotations
  • cites paraphrases correctly and credibly
  • includes reference page
  • makes virtually no errors in documentation style
  • makes virtually no errors in formatting
  • incorporates feedback given in previous written assignments
  • correctly cites sources for most quotations
  • usually cites paraphrases correctly and credibly
  • includes  reference page with some errors
  • makes some errors in documentation style
  • makes some errors in formatting
  • incorporates some  feedback given in previous written assignments
  • provides minimal sources for quotations
  • sometimes cites paraphrases correctly and credibly, 
  • includes reference page with many errors
  • makes many errors in documentation style
  • makes many errors in formatting
  • lacks incorporation of  feedback given in previous written assignments



(adherence to grammar rules: usage, spelling & mechanics of Standard Edited English or SEE)

  • makes virtually no errors in SEE conventions
  • makes accurate word choices
  • makes some errors SEE conventions
  • almost always makes accurate word choices
  • makes many errors in SEE conventions
  • makes many inaccurate word choices


The weighting of each of the six areas is dependent on the specific written assignment and the teacher’s preference. Plagiarism occurs when one presents as one’s own “someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source” (adapted from Council of Writing Program Administrators).



Criteria for Evaluating Arts-Based Peacebuilding Projects


A – Excellent

B – Minimal expectations

C – Below expectations


Goals & Audience

Are the goals or learning objectives of the project clear? Have they been met?

Is the intended audience clearly specified?

Is the project appropriate for this audience?

Does the project communicate to the intended audience?

-audience & goals/learning objectives clearly identified.

-project appropriate for, and likely to meet, its goals

-project is appropriate for specified audience

-project understandable to & likely to engage and/or communicate to audience

-audience and goals identified though not as clearly as they could be

- project may meet its goals but this is not entirely clear

-  project is at least somewhat appropriate for, and likely to communicate to audience.

-audience and goals inappropriate or inadequately identified


-project unlikely to meet its goals and/or communicate to the audience



Is the overall methodology clear and appropriately used?

Has the project incorporated specific methods required by the assignment?

If intended as a form of intervention, has thought be given to how it will be implemented?


-project incorporates  inquiry methods required by the assignment

-all methodologies  & technologies have been appropriately used, with attention to ethical and methodological issues

-if intended as intervention or advocacy, project has given adequate thought to implementation

-sources & methods are adequately identified

- methodology basically appropriate to the project and appropriately used, but could be strengthened


-sources and methods identified but not as fully as they could be


-more thought should be given to implementation issues

-methodology inadequate and/or inadequately articulated.


-sources not appropriately identified


-inadequate attention to implementation issues



Is there evidence of critical thinking and analysis?


- evidence of critical thinking about methods, sources, information and analysis or editing.

-uses analysis/editing methods appropriate for the project

-method of analysis or editing is adequately articulated

- some evidence of critical thinking but could be stronger


-analytical approach and the analysis itself is basically appropriate but could be stronger and/or articulated better.

-inadequate evidence of critical thinking


-analysis lacking or inadequate


-analytic approach inappropriate or inadequately specified


Craft & Coherence

Is the level of artistic and/or technical craft adequate for the specified goals and audience?

Did it involve an appropriate amount of work?

Does the final product have coherence and “resonance?”

- level of craft is clearly adequate for the audience & to meet project goals (whether or not it meets “artistic” standards)

-project is coherent & likely to resonate with the intended audience

-product shows an appropriate amount of effort for this assignment

-level of craft is minimally adequate for the audience and goals


-project coherence could be stronger

- level of craft inadequate for purposes and/or audience


-project is not coherent



Is the content appropriate & adequate, given the goals, audience & assignment?

Is there evidence of insight, originality &/or creativity?


- information conveyed is clearly adequate for goals, audience & assignment

-shows depth & breadth of content

-shows insight, originality &/or creativity

-information conveyed is adequate but could be strengthened


-some evidence of insight, originality, or creativity

- inadequate information


-little or no evidence of insight, originality and/or creativity







Criteria for Evaluating Arts-Based Peacebuilding Projects



Background notes:


• Arts approaches can be used in several different stages of a project:

  1. To gain or create knowledge. (For example, research “subjects” or participants might be engaged in an arts-based project as a way of soliciting information or encouraging insight.)
  2. To add complexity or nuance to created knowledge. (For example, an arts practice may serve as one method in a multi-method research project, creating an integrated, reflective methodology for the project. Alternatively, an arts practice could be used to analyze and/or interpret data collected by conventional methods.)
  3. To test knowledge. (For example, researchers might verify their interpretation of findings from a more traditional research process by creating a play or exhibit and testing it for resonance with their subjects.)
  4. To share findings. (For example, a play or exhibit might be created to (re)-present data collected or analyzed via conventional methods in order to impart the particular kinds of meaning the researcher considers important, and as a way to reach and engage a broader audience.)
  5. As a form of intervention. (For example, a project might be designed to raise awareness of an issue or conflict, to promote dialogue on a contested issue, or to advocate for a cause.)

• Arts-based products often do not specify methodologies used. Thus it may be important for a project to be accompanied by a short paper discussing analysis, theory of change, audience, goals, and methods used.


• Patricia Leavy, in “Method Meets Art: Arts-based Research Practice” (New York: Guilford Press) 2009, argues that “[t]raditional conceptions of validity and reliability, which developed out of positivism, are inappropriate for evaluating artistic inquiry.” (p. 15). She suggests that authenticity, trustworthiness, and validity can be assessed through attention to such elements as aesthetics, resonance, and vigor. 


• For a discussi on of standards, see “Method Meets Art” (Leavy, 2009: 15ff and Chapter 8).