Conflict Resolution Certificate
Conflict is a natural part of human interaction, at home and at work. Managing conflict in healthy and productive ways is a valuable skill almost anyone can learn. Workplaces, the criminal justice system, the government, public agencies, health-care institutions, churches and schools all need effective, long-term strategies for resolving conflict. Not surprisingly, conflict resolution credentials impress employers.
The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, in association with Bethel College, offers the Certificate in Conflict Resolution. This skills-based certificate emphasizes active, hands-on and experiential learning that allows application of theory to practice.
Courses for the certificate are taught by KIPCOR staff and outside practitioners and experts. Many courses are "intensives" - taught all day over 2-4 days - to allow candidates to complete certificate courses without weekly interruptions of busy schedules. Check the calendar for current offerings of certificate courses.
All certificate students are required to take the following Core Courses:
Practical Skills for Managing Interpersonal Conflict (SSC 460 - 2 hrs/units) - Core Mediation Training
Topics in this course include personal style in conflict, conflict analysis and transformation, and the emerging role of professionals who must increasingly know how to manage interpersonal conflict and disagreement at work. Emphasis will be placed on training through simulations and interactive exercises. The course will provide technical proficiency in interpersonal problem-solving and mediation techniques, and is approved by the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration for core mediation training.
Practical Skills for Managing Group and Organizational Conflict (SSC 461 - 2 hrs/units)
Conflict within organizations, from workgroups to whole organizations and communities, can be a critical drain on resources or a major source of growth and creativity. This course focuses on the dynamics of groups and organizations of all sizes, models of both inter- and intra-group conflict, and practical intervention techniques. Topics include designing and managing effective meetings and decision-making processes; techniques for large- and small-group problem-solving; and facilitation for consensus.
Working with Culture, Gender and Power in Conflict (SSC 462 - 2 hrs/units)
Culture, gender, and power differences can contribute to conflict and complicate positive conflict management. Particular attention is given in this course to worldviews; use of language (verbal and non-verbal); negotiation and mediation styles; use of apology; face-saving; conflict resolution goals; and the impact of one-up/one-down power relationships.
All certificate students must select a minimum of 3 credit hours/units from the following electives:
Conflict Resolution Internship (SSC 375 - 2-3 hrs/units)
Students will be placed in a specific organization or community program where they will work under the supervision of an experienced practitioner in applying skills and knowledge from their conflict resolution certificate courses. A minimum of 45 contact hours is required for each hour of course credit. Enrollment in the internship includes regular contact with staff from KIPCOR, to process and integrate the content and experiences in the internship.
Domestic Mediation Training (SSC 464 - 1 hr/unit)
This course focuses on applying the mediation process in divorce and child custody settings. Topics will include parenting plans and child development, the emotional stages of divorce, divorce as family reorganization, screening for domestic violence and child abuse, strategies for dealing with impasse, and working with high-conflict families. This course will provide technical proficiency in domestic mediation techniques, and is approved by the Kansas Office of Judicial Administration for domestic mediation training.
Principles and Practice of Restorative Discipline (SSC 466 - 2 hrs/units)
This course explores principles of restorative justice as they apply to discipline in schools, youth facilities, and in the home. Blending theory, strategies, and best practices from successful restorative discipline programs, this course helps students to develop technical proficiency in mediation and conferencing models appropriate for restorative discipline settings. Special attention will be given to methods for working with students resistant to authority, strategies to increase student responsibility and accountability, and a step-by-step process for building cooperation and mutual respect among students and teachers/staff (or parents).
Managing Difference and Disagreement within Faith Communities (SSC 469 - 1 hr/unit)
Although difference and disagreement are normal and inevitable, most people feel poorly prepared to handle conflict within their faith communities. Focusing on Biblical and theological principles, this course is designed to examine how faith communities can transform conflict into an experience of spiritual and community renewal. Special attention will be given to congregations as family systems, levels of conflict within faith communities, collaborative and transparent decision-making, structured dialogue in high-anxiety situations, and reconciliation.
Negotiation Theory and Practice (SSC 4610 - 2 hrs/units)
We negotiate every day with employers, co-workers, roommates, landlords, employees, parents, merchants, service provides, and many others. This course is designed to provide negotiation skills for managers, professionals, and anyone interested in becoming a more skilled negotiator. The course will focus on analyzing negotiation situations, developing strategic plans for effective negotiation, understanding negotiator behavior, and gaining personal confidence as a negotiator. Emphasis will be placed on training through case studies and role plays.
Certificate courses may be taken for undergraduate or, in most cases, graduate credit. They may also be taken for non-credit professional training.
Courses taken for credit require additional outside reading and writing. Courses marked with an asterisk meet the requirements of the Kansas Supreme Court as approved trainings for state mediator approval. Most other certificate courses have been approved by the Supreme Court for continuing mediation education (CME) credit for state-approved mediators. Most of the certificate courses have also been approved for Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for social workers.
Thanks to the generosity of Glenna Premer, a 2004 certificate holder, the Premer Award provides up to $1,000 to individuals who design creative conflict resolution internships. Applicants must submit to KIPCOR a typed description of their internship design and how they would use the award funds in support of the internship. Off-site internships are especially encouraged.
Certificate Holders (partial listing)
Kristina Graber, ‘10
Kristina graduated from Bethel in 2010 with a B.S. in Business Administration, a psychology minor, and the Conflict Resolution Certificate. She secured a conflict resolution internship with Next Element Consulting (in Newton, KS), a company that works to improve soft-skills. There, she completed trainings in the Process Communication Model and Facilitating Self-Efficacy. Following graduation from Bethel, she entered the Master of Business Administration program at the University of South Dakota.
"My study of conflict resolution through KIPCOR opened my eyes to varying viewpoints and the elements that shape an individual's perspective. This foundation allows me to interact with others with a more open mind and a strong appreciation for diversity. This skill has been beneficial in my current role in human resources. Additionally, this certification has created a strong competitive advantage in regard to my skill set."
Karey French '06
Karey French did her internship with Episcopal Social Services in Wichita, co-facilitating Family Group Conferencing. After graduating from Bethel, she spent a year in Mennonite Voluntary Service as a teacher’s assistant in a local inner-city primary school in Bradford, England.
"My conflict resolution certificate gave me the skills to relate to, understand, and deal with conflicts between White British children and Asian British children in Bradford. The training was vital in my year in England and will continue to be vital in every aspect of my life."
Emily Smith '05
Emily Smith’s internship was with Midland Mediation Services in Wichita, working with state agencies and families that deal with the child welfare system, and assisting with a variety of issues between the two parties.
"I feel like through my internship I was on the cutting edge," Emily says. "I was placed with a pilot program doing child welfare mediations. This was the first program like it in the state. The internship really helped prepare me for my current job and the direction my field was taking."
Glenna Premer ‘04
Glenna Premer received her Conflict Resolution Certificate in 2004, while still working as an executive for a large family of Kansas-based restaurants. Shortly after receiving her Certificate, Glenna became volunteer coordinator of the newly-established McPherson County Small Claims Mediation Project (a program of KIPCOR’s Community Mediation Center). By 2008, Glenna had moved to Lawrence and used her entrepreneurial talents to found the Mediation Resource Center (MRC), and through MRC she organized and administers the highly-successful Douglas County Small Claims Mediation project.
"The education that I received for my Conflict Resolution Certificate is honestly...priceless! During my internship [with one of the largest Kansas state agencies], which focused on dispute resolution program design and development, it became readily apparent that for a new program to be successful, the entire staff had to buy in, beginning at the top and continuing down through all personnel. This internship provided the foundation and experience for designing a small claims mediation program that offers a non-adversarial option for litigants, as well as a place for volunteer mediators to share their expertise."
Aziza Hasan '03
Aziza had two separate internships, one during the summer at the Harvey County Attorney's Office, and the other during the semester at Offender Victim Ministries. Of her internships Aziza says, "Each gave a different view of our justice system. Working with and observing the county attorney gave me a glimpse of the grey reality of our criminal-justice system, while Offender Victim Ministries gave me hands-on experience of working with individuals to understand the severity of their crime and help them reconcile their relationship with those whom they’d offended. I enjoyed both experiences because they helped me come full-circle to realize the importance of attaining justice for both victims and offenders."
"I co-direct a Muslim-Jewish dialogue program in Los Angeles. The Conflict Management Certificate and mediation training have been invaluable assets when facilitating tense and often charged discussions. My ability to see conflict through the lens of opportunity and growth has distinguished me from others and provided me with the comfort level needed to successfully guide the transformational process."
Joletta Friesen '02
Joletta Friesen spent a year in voluntary service in south Texas as a paralegal advocating for the rights of legal and illegal immigrants before entering law school at Washburn University in Topeka, Kan. She currently works for Rouse Hendricks German May PC, Kansas City, Mo.
"My conflict resolution certificate gave me the opportunity to set myself apart," Joletta says. "I had interviewers comment on it and I brought up my experience in interviews and received positive responses. Firms like to see that you have training on how to work well with others."
Lisa Kaufman '02
To complete her conflict management certificate, Lisa Kaufman spent time working at Offender Victim Ministries in Newton, Kan. Since 2002, she’s been employed by Lutheran Social Services in Sioux Falls, S.D. As part of the Refugee and Immigration Program, she helps provide interpreters for individuals who don’t speak English when they arrive in the United States.
"The mediation and conflict resolution skills that I learned during my internship have shaped my response to conflict at work," Lisa says. "Even though I don’t carry out formal mediation sessions, I try to look for creative solutions to conflicts that arise, while seeking to uncover the underlying needs of the parties involved in a disagreement."
Dan Miller '02
Dan Miller did his internship for the conflict resolution certificate with the Hillsboro (Kan.) city administrator. Dan is employed with Hesston College as the Aviation Program Director. Approved by the State of Kansas Supreme Court in core and domestic mediation, he serves as volunteer coordinator for the Small Claims Court of Harvey County.
"My conflict resolution certificate gives me an opportunity to make a difference in how I face challenges," he says. "My internship with a city administrator offered many practical experiences in relationships with the public. The personal growth I experienced in completing the certificate was instrumental in my selection as a volunteer FAA Safety Team member."
- "My conflict resolution certificate gave me the opportunity to set myself apart… Firms like to see that you have training on how to work well with others,"
- Joletta Friesen, '02 Certificate Holder
- "I co-direct a Muslim-Jewish dialogue program in Los Angeles. The Conflict Resolution Certificate and mediation training have been invaluable assets when facilitating tense and often charged discussions."
- Aziza Hasan, '03 Certificate Holder
- "The personal growth I experienced in completing the certificate was instrumental in my selection as a volunteer FAA Safety Team member."
– Dan Miller, '02 Certificate Holder
- "This certification has created a strong competitive advantage in regard to my skill set."
– Kristina Graber, '10 Certificate Holder
Certificate holder Aziza Hasan featured on National Public Radio's Speaking of Faith