Course Descriptions - Center for Justice and Peacebuilding

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. Additionally, the list below is regular course offerings (most of which are offered in the fall and spring semesters). Many additional electives are offered yearly through our Summer Peacebuilding Institute/SPI.

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

This pass/fail course for MA in Transformational 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 significant one-on-one coaching from the instructors, as well as small group and class reflection and learning activities. This course will explore themes of vocation/purpose, community creation, professional development and leadership.  

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PAX 508 Praxis: Project (1-2 SH)

Praxis Project 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 a MasterMind group, explore Human Systems Dynamics and the concept of the “the next wise step,” and live into trauma-informed and resilient interpersonal engagement.

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

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PAX 509 Praxis: Capstone (1 SH)

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.

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PAX 516 Program Evaluation Through Qualitative Research (3 SH)

This blended course is designed to help undergraduate and graduate 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 will practice conducting structured and semi-structured interviews, focus group interviews, coding interview transcripts, and will practice designing an evaluation: working with a client, determining appropriate methods, collecting data, analyzing the data, interpreting the data, and communicating the findings. This course complements, but does not take the place of other research and evaluation courses that focus entirely on either research or evaluation.

The course format is participatory, experiential and adaptive. Students will 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 will be exploring 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, we will be utilizing 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.

Pre-requisite: PAX 535 Research Methods for Social Change; or permission of the instructor.

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PAX 520 - PAX 529 (AUDIT ONLY)

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 professional development topics courses are one time offerings that may or may not be offered again and are not a required part of the graduate program. In these instances the courses are not offered for graduate credit, but only participation audit. 

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 on-line 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 being offered for 3 graduate academic credits. It cannot be taken for reduced credit or as training.

This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute and will take place online in 2021 (

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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 and injustice analysis skills are a central component of designing effective strategies for promoting social change that transforms conflicts and supports justice.

In this course, we will engage with each other and with course materials to develop and refine our skills for analyzing situations of conflict and injustice in order to identify opportunities for transformative action. We will use a variety of analytical models or lenses, including identity (gender, religion, nationality, etc.), human needs, narrative, power, culture, worldview, and others to understand conflict. We will also work with case studies of conflicts at multiple social levels (personal, relational, structural, and cultural) to practice our analysis skills and identify opportunities to take action.

Participants will also practice self-analysis skills by paying attention to their own roles and biases in conflicts and how that affects their ability to “see” and describe conflict from different perspectives. The class will also focus on research strategies for gathering and organizing data and developing theories of change as an intermediate step from analysis to designing effective social change. For the final project, participants will select a situation and conduct their own analysis.

The course will be taught using a combination of asynchronous (self-paced) activities and synchronous activities. This course is for academic credit only. It requires participation in synchronous sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays May 17 – June 16 and follow-up assignments due in July and August. Course work to be completed by August 20.

This course is taught during our annual Summer Peacebuilding Institute and will take place online in 2021 ( 

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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. See the Foundations 2 syllabi for course options or discuss options with your academic advisor. 

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 community 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. Those students enrolling in the BA to MA program will register in the PXD 494 section of the course.

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PAX 535 Research Methods for Social Change (3 SH)

“‘Research Justice’ is achieved when communities reclaim and access all forms of knowledge to affect change between community voices and those of institutions.”

Emancipatory peacebuilders, academics, and broader social justice movements use research to illuminate obscured relationships between power and oppression, cultivate stories, identify theories of change, and document histories and cultures of resilience. However, the dominant Euro-Western research methods and methodologies many practitioners learn often replicate the very paradigms and power relationships those in the justice and peacebuilding field seek to displace. Consequently, only certain forms of knowledge are valued and sought out, which subjugates indigenous and community-based ways of knowing and being. Therefore, this required 3-credit course for all MA candidates equips students with an expansive and justice-oriented qualitative research framework that introduces pathways for research to advance social change. This course is designed to invite all to explore their curiosities through inquiry in pursuit of a world with more justice and peace.

[1] DataCenter for Research Justice. (2015). An introduction to research justice [PDF], p. 6. Retrieved from

[1] This course is not available for reduced credit or professional development. In addition to this course, students will be strongly advised to take one of the existing applied research project courses or complete a research project as part of another course or their practicum placement.

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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 the midst (and aftermath?) of 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.

Learn more about STAR on the STAR website!

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PAX 568 Transformational Leadership for Social Change (3 SH) 

Complex, dynamic and frequently chaotic environments are the norm for today’s leaders.  Few if any leaders have the luxury of predictability or equilibrium. Instead leaders must develop the ability to maximize opportunities and leverage uncertainty. In this course we pair Appreciative Inquiry with Critical Theory approaches to learn about balancing the contradictory impulses of disruption and integration. We will unpack some value-loaded terms: social justice, peace, negotiation, organization, equity, empathy, ethics, reconciliation, sustainability and social change; and conceptualize the “Lead Together” mission of EMU. Together we explore the forward reaching capacities that leaders need in order to thrive amidst the paradox and turbulence of the future.   

This class is a core requirement for all MATL students.

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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.

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 competing theories and current approaches towards alleviating poverty and global inequality. This course approaches the phenomenon of development in its broadest sense as the study of change, with attention to global justice, equity, and the historical links between development, colonialism, and global capitalism. In the course, we will explore what development means, how to measure it, and how to understand attempts to balance between economic, ecological, and equity concerns. The course engages the key propositions that emerge in contemporary development debates, and offers frameworks for evaluating theories, interventions and policies. With 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. [This course is cross-listed with undergraduate course PXD-485.]

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PAX 588 Nonviolent Mobilization for Social Change (3 SH)

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for mankind to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. ~ Martin Luther King Jr

Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword. ~ Jesus of Nazareth

That’s all nonviolence is – organized love. ~ Joan Baez

Recent years have witnessed an unprecedented range and number of nonviolent campaigns and movements across the world. There is so much to learn from and contribute to! What does it take to create sustainable social change in the face of institutional and political resistance? What does it mean to work towards the vision of a nonviolent world? In this course, we look at the power of people to effect change through social movements using strategic nonviolence, direct action, community organizing, and advocacy. We examine the theory, practice, history, and research behind nonviolence; revisit and reframe classic debates; explore case studies and our own experiences; practice key assessment, planning, and tactical skills; and apply what we have learned to issues we care about. We also consider how nonviolence needs to synergize peacebuilding approaches to be effective.

In addition to engaging in classroom discussions and activities, readings and multimedia resources, and group research and presentations on real-life scenarios, opportunities to contribute to planning and carrying out nonviolent campaigns will be built into the learning experience. This includes a weekend trip to Washington DC, March 12-15, 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, whether it is a group of three or 3,000.

Through a variety of readings, exercises and reflections, the course will assist participants’ formation as reflective practitioners enabling 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, including with evident power imbalances and systemic oppression. 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 1 or an equivalent course is preferred. This class qualifies as a skills assessment course for the CJP MA degree.

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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 OLS 530 Organizational Behavior (offered by EMU’s Organizational Leadership 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 this course, faculty continue to coach students as they further develop their knowledge and skills for dealing with conflict and situations of injustice and building sustainable peace, 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 635 Global Challenges, Local Struggles, and Transnational Solidarities (3 SH)

This course will focus on social and global processes of transformation by exploring global challenges, local experiences and struggles, and transnational solidarities that emerge in response to those challenges. It will be concerned with institutions, relations of power, and the relationship between power and the production of justice and peacebuilding theories and practices. It will pick up where Foundations 1 left off, aiming to add to students’ comprehensive overview of justice and peacebuilding practice and its multi-disciplinary, multi-level aspects.

Whereas Foundations 1 centered on personal, interpersonal, small group and organizational transformation analysis, theory and practice, this course will equip students to further develop their knowledge and skills for dealing with conflict and situations of injustice and building sustainable peace. Particular focus will be given to social, state, and political change with increased sensitivity to race, gender, ecology, and other political economy traditions. Particular attention will be given to the colonial legacies and decolonial possibilities in justice and peacebuilding, exploring decoloniality as both an epistemic and a political project.

Action and struggle for justice and peacebuilding are always found in peoples’ local, place-based experiences, but to gain understanding in order to effect change, we have to explore their global features. To do this we will examine the intersections and overlaps among the local and the global, including the transnational solidarities that connect local struggles around the world. Students will become familiar with theories and frameworks that help explain the causes and dynamics of larger-scale conflicts, injustice, and structural violence. Students will work individually and in small groups to apply these ideas and skills to cases that progress in complexity from the community to the national and global levels (and back again). Students will also continue to develop their self-awareness as well as their capacity for professional judgment and reflective practice with attention to vocation, values, ethics, faith and spirituality.

This course is required for all MACT and MARJ students.

Please note: for the 2021-22 year academic year, PAX 635 plus a 3 credit hour course from an approved list will satisfy the PAX 634 Foundations 2 requirement. 

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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.

Learn more about STAR on the STAR website!

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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 672 Circle Processes (1 SH)

This course will introduce participants to the peacemaking circle process and explore:

  • Foundational values and philosophy of peacemaking circles,

  • Creating safe, brave, and respectful space for dialogue,

  • Consensus decision making,

  • Structure of the circle process,

  • Facilitation of the circle process,

  • Practical applications of circle process,

  • Conflict as opportunity to build relationships,

  • 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 culturally diverse settings and situations.

3 SH version of this class is typically 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. Awareness of restorative justice continues to expand the opportunities to identify and address harms and to make amends in all sectors of personal, community, professional, and institutional settings. Whilst considered a ‘practice’ in models such as Victim Offender Conferencing/Dialogue, Family Group Conferencing, and Circle Processes, this course also explores restorative justice principles prevalent in emerging professions, work environments, community, and educational settings.

The emphasis of this course is developing yourself as a practitioner. Students will achieve this through active engagement of case studies, developing a resource toolbox, reflective self-assessment, group feedback, instructor feedback, engaging with professionals, and most importantly, practice as a facilitator.

For MA in Conflict Transformation or Restorative Justice, this satisfies the skills assessment course requirement if taken for 3 credits and 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)

Restorative Justice has largely been applied to addressing interpersonal harms, that is to say, harm that results from the actions of private individuals. Yet many pervasive harms are carried out by governments or corporations - or individuals acting in the course of their formal institutional roles. Such past and ongoing harms include police violence, groundwater contamination, lung cancer, prison abuse, Native American boarding schools, housing discrimination, and civilian causalities in military operations. Moreover, institutional action and inaction can be regarded as contributing to all interpersonal harms or their root causes. This course will examine the relationship between institutional and interpersonal harms and dissect systemic harm as a product of the two. Through case study research and discussions, we will explore the potential role and limitations of restorative, transitional, and transformative justice principles and practices in building institutional accountability for systemic harms. As needed, we will imagine new frameworks and approaches.

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. This course satisfies a core requirement for MA in RJ students. 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 PAX 571 Restorative Justice OR, for MAED students, EDRJ 551 Foundations of Restorative Justice in Education. In addition it is strongly recommended that students take PAX 533 Analysis or PAX 534 Foundations 1 OR, for MAED students, EDRJ 581 Analyzing Conflict in Educational Settings prior to enrolling in this course.

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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 webpageThe 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 - 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 those listed below.

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 was offered fall 2020 as an advanced seminar course available to students who had taken PAX 634 Foundations 2 or 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 critically explore 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.

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PAX 687 Gender & Caste (3 SH) 

Gender being a social construct plays a pivotal role in determining and maintaining social order. Though the fluidity of gender roles is increasing the core expectations of society continue to promote a rigid social infrastructure that not only promotes but also protects gender based discriminatory practices.

Caste is an ancient concept of social stratification. It adapts to different concepts and manifest itself in newer forms. The core principles and practices of this system is deeply entrenched in society and dominates popular discourse. In practice, it has found ways and means to justify itself and stay relevant. Its attachment to the politics of identity and domination have been causes for concern over generations. In today’s context it continues to transform itself to promote and continue its dehumanizing practices.

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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 and is not offered on a regular basis.

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