The Conflict Management Initiative at UNC (CMI@UNC) aims to equip our community with tangible skills necessary to cope with conflict to succeed in an interchanging world.

We live in an increasingly complex world, one that sees individuals and groups move from one end of the globe to another, and organizations and companies shift and expand from one region to the next. We mix together and drift apart, sometimes peacefully, other times with great pain and distress. The Conflict Management Initiative (CMI) at UNC aims to provide the Carolina community with the tools necessary to bridge the gap between individuals, organizations, religions, and nations who view the world from a specific angle due to their beliefs, norms, activities, institutions, or communication patterns.

CMI was created in September 2016 by a group of UNC faculty and staff who work and teach in the field. For years there have been numerous professionals on campus involved in teaching and working in negotiation, mediation, facilitation, and arbitration but with little interaction. CMI allows these individuals to better understand each other’s work and to collaborate on future activities, projects, and grant applications, to share teaching methods, and more.In the long term, CMI aspires to become an Institute, which would support public events, visiting scholars, course development grants, manage communications for students, faculty, and the public, as well as to conduct workshops and to assist students with internship and job opportunities.

Housed in the Center for Global Initiatives at UNC, CMI’s goal is to be a hub on campus for academic teaching, academic research, skill-based training, and community outreach in the field of conflict management. CMI aims to equip students, faculty, staff, and members of the community with tangible skills necessary to not only cope with conflict, but to succeed in an interchanging world, one that necessitates an understanding of the cross-cultural times we live in.

Minor in Conflict Management

The study of Conflict Management is the study of human behavior during disputes, including the causes of conflict, techniques for dealing with disputes, and strategies for achieving a resolution that satisfy one’s interests and preserve relationships. People often assume that these skills are acquired during a lifetime by simply experiencing conflict, but that is not necessarily the case. We can spend our entire lives moving from one conflict to another – at home, at school, or at work – simply repeating the same ineffective responses without realizing opportunities for, and methods to achieve, successful outcomes. The Minor in Conflict Management aspires to provide students with a theoretical framework, habits of mind and tangible skills, in areas such as negotiation, mediation, voice training, language, ethics, psychology, and neuroscience, among other fields. In addition, the minor aims to provide a better understanding of the world we live in and the conflicts that surround us by studying domestic and international conflicts, both past and current. The minor’s goal is to allow students to become better conflict managers and thus better citizens of the world. The minor is open to all undergraduate students.

For Minor requirements, see here.

CMI@UNC supports the development of courses and workshops in the field of conflict management.

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

BUSI 405: Leading and Managing: An Introduction to Organizational Behavior

An introduction to leading and managing in organizations. Examines the impact of individual, group, and organizational factors on organizational performance and employee attitudes. Topics include leadership, perceptions, attitudes, motivation, group development, norms and cohesiveness, empowerment, conflict, negotiations, culture, structure, stress, innovation, and change. Instructor: Jessica Siegel Christian

BUSI 545: Negotiations

This course enables students to develop their expertise in managing negotiations. It integrates existing theory and research with personal experiences and ideas. Using hands-on exercises, readings, and lively discussions, students build and hone their ability to understand, adapt to, and evaluate the personal, social, and situational dynamics of negotiations. Class notes: Prerequisite, BUSI 405; 1.5 credits

BUSI 555: Groups and Teams in Organizations

Examines the design, management, and leadership of teams in organizational settings. Focus is on the interpersonal processes and structural characteristics that influence the effectiveness of teams, individual behavior in face-to-face interactions, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationships. Class Notes: Prerequisite, BUSI 405 Instructor: Jessica Siegel Christian

DRAM 175: Interpersonal Communication: Building a Persuasive Persona under Pressure

This course will develop new physical habits and communication styles that create a more effective vehicle for content to reach the world. We explore and adopt tangible tools to be more accurate and empathetic in how we listen, especially in pressurized situations. Our focus is on how to speak compellingly with clarity, ease, and confidence to achieve our desired goal despite potentially stressful environments found in many conflict scenarios and forums of public speaking. We will utilize myriad mock scenarios and mediums such as on camera interviews to create real-to-life pressures so as to better and more realistically integrate our new acquired skills.

PLCY/PWAD 330: Negotiation & Mediation: The Practice of Conflict Management

This course aims to provide students with the tools necessary in meeting their interests when in conflict with another individual, organization or government, redefining the meanings of “winning” and “power,” and coping with stress, discomfort, and emotions when in conflict. Students will learn new negotiation and mediation skills, build upon existing ones, and challenge assumptions regarding conflict. While some theory is covered, the main focus is experiential learning through role-plays, workshops, and engagement with professionals in the field. It is meant for students who plan to work for NGOs, government agencies, international organizations, or in any field that requires skills in conflict management. Expect to end the semester with a level of negotiation and mediation readiness that will serve you well in both personal and professional life. Class notes: Fall semester; Undergraduate students only. Instructor: Shai M. Tamari

POLI 457: International Conflict Processes

This course is an advanced undergraduate seminar on the causes and patterns of conflict processes in the international system. We begin with the assumption that there may be recognizable patterns of behavior that influence the occurrence of conflict. Our task is to evaluate the scholarly attempts to uncover these patterns and the underlying causes of war and its termination. In this course, we will primarily focus our attention on so-called “rationalist” theories of conflict. These theories, many of which use a bargaining perspective, assume that conflict processes are driven by the strategic decisions of rational actors.

POLI 458: International Conflict Management and Resolution

This course is an advanced seminar on the management and resolution of international and civil conflict. How and why do states decide to resolve their conflicts, or the conflicts of others? When are conflict and war amenable to the opportunity for management? What determines intervention and mediation strategies for third parties, and why do attempts at conflict resolution so frequently fail? In this course the student will be exposed to theoretical and empirical investigations into these questions, learning about the occurrence and success (or failure) of conflict management through an analytical as well as historical lens.

WGST/WMST 340: Leadership in Violence for Peer Educators

This APPLES service-learning course is an examination of interpersonal violence and violence prevention. We will examine sexual assault, abusive relationships, and stalking from individual to structural levels, considering both perpetrators and victims. We will address questions such as: What kind of societal conditions enable violence? How are forms of oppression and violence related to each other? How are campuses and communities reacting to and working to prevent violence? Particular focus will be paid to root causes and prevention strategies. Students will begin training as peer educators by facilitating parts of the class and opting to become One Act peer educators. At the end of this course, students will have developed a broad knowledge base about violence, practiced facilitation skills, identified skill areas of strength and improvement, and identified opportunities for peer education, both formally and informally. As part of the service-learning component of the course, students will train to facilitate One Act and/or have placements in the community and on campus. One Act is a peer education program that deals with issues of interpersonal violence, particularly relationship violence, sexual assault, stalking, and the role of bystanders in working against violence.

GRADUATE COURSES

LAW 219: Alternative Dispute Resolution

This course examines the various alternatives to adjudication that lawyers use to help clients resolve civil disputes, including negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice, arbitration, private and public hybrids and other innovative processes. Students will learn about the theoretical basis for, and practical operation of, each process. The course will also address process design, effective advocacy in ADR settings, ethical and policy issues relevant to each process, and the relationship of ADR processes to the court system. Instructor: Samuel S. Jackson

LAW 467: Negotiation

This course introduces students to the theory and practice of negotiation in our legal system. Students will develop negotiating skills and improve their understanding of the negotiation process by participating in simulations, analyzing bargaining behavior, discussing negotiation concepts and receiving critique. Students are graded on class participation and application of skills and on several written papers in which students reflect on their experiences in light of the themes and readings in the course. Instructor: Samuel S. Jackson

MBA 822.007-822.008: Negotiations

Consult the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

POLI 723: Conflict Management: The Practice of Negotiation & Mediation

This course aims to provide students with the tools necessary in meeting their interests when in conflict with another individual, organization or government, redefining the meanings of “winning” and “power,” and coping with stress, discomfort, and emotions when in conflict. Students will learn new negotiation and mediation skills, build upon existing ones, and challenge assumptions regarding conflict. While some theory is covered, the main focus is experiential learning through role-plays, workshops, and engagement with professionals in the field. It is meant for students who plan to work for NGOs, government agencies, international organizations, or in any field that requires skills in conflict management. Expect to end the semester with a level of negotiation and mediation readiness that will serve you well in both personal and professional life. Class Notes: Spring semester; Graduate students only. Instructor: Shai M. Tamari

PUBA 768: Mediation Skills

Theory and practice of dispute resolution and consensus building processes for public policy and program implementation. Utilizes exercises to develop skills in multi-party conflict analysis, negotiation, and intervention for inter-governmental, nonprofit, and community disputes. Workshop-style course focuses on workplace and service provision conflicts to develop mediation skills; is comprised of short lectures, demonstration, and student practice of a mediation model/specific skill sets. Instructor: John B. Stephens

PUBA 769: Facilitation Skills

Course is workshop-style that requires preparation via conference call or webinar; separate session on skills; and final requirement is a reflection paper. Course focuses on inter-organization and community settings to develop facilitation skills and is comprised of short lectures, demonstration, and student practice of facilitation strategies. Instructor: John B. Stephens

WORKSHOPS

Conflict Management Skills for the Workplace

Conflict can be a source of anxiety and pain or an opportunity for growth and development. The management of conflict (not its avoidance) is absolutely essential for innovation, diversity, healthy team performance, and organizational effectiveness. This interactive class presents a variety of skills and approaches that can be used in different situations where conflicts arise. These skills are appropriate for addressing issues between peers, between managers and direct reports, and with customers. You will identify behavioral styles, perceptions, and tools for managing and dealing with conflict. Emphasis will be placed on effective communication skills that help both you and the other person focus on collaborative solutions.

Sponsor: Organization & Professional Development at UNC-Chapel Hill
Registration: https://connectcarolina.unc.edu/
Cost: none for University staff and faculty

CMI@UNC supports the development of negotiation videos in the field of conflict management for classroom usage.

CREDITS

A CMI@UNC Production

Emily Bosco as Mary
Rishan Dhamija as Andy
Executive Producer Shai Tamari
Executive Producer  Samuel S. Jackson
Written by Samuel S. Jackson
Directed by John Patrick
Camera by Luke Gaines
Edited by Nathan Logan
Produced by John Patrick
Produced by Nathan Logan

CMI@UNC includes faculty and staff across campus who teach, research, or work in other capacities directly or indirectly in the field of conflict management.

CMI@UNC ADVISORY BOARD

Photographs used on this website were submitted to the UNC Global Photography Competition. Photo credits in order: Ian Lye – “Boys Will Be Boys” | Adam Knight – “Infinity” | Shai Tamari – “Wadi Rum, Jordan” | Sarah Saul – “Light Through the Clouds”
CMI@UNC is financially supported by the Center for Global Initiatives & Innovate Carolina. To make a gift to CMI@UNC, please contact Shai Tamari at tamari@unc.edu or at 919.962.2034.