http://law.creighton.edu/werner-institute

Program Director: Jacqueline N. Font-Guzman, Ph.D.
Program Office: The Werner Institute, School of Law, Room 223E
Contact Information: wernerinfo@creighton.edu or 402-280-3883

The Werner Institute Mission

The Masters in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution is designed to prepare students to assume leadership positions by enhancing their understanding of the field of conflict studies. The Werner Institute teaches individuals how to engage conflict and resolve disputes effectively, efficiently, and humanely. The mission is consistent with the Jesuit Catholic tradition of social justice, responsible leadership, and professional distinction. To advance its goals, the Werner Institute assists organizations with the design of conflict management systems, offers professional development programs, workshops, custom designed trainings, graduate certification programs, and provides an interdisciplinary program leading to a master’s degree in negotiation and conflict resolution (offered in two flexible modalities including a hybrid campus-based track and a distance oriented online track with two intensive weeklong campus visits).

The Werner Institute Learning Goals

Integrating applied and scholarly approaches, the program goals are to provide students with the ability to:

  1. Communicate effectively;
  2. Define and apply the theoretical frameworks in conflict engagement and different processes (e.g. negotiation, facilitation, mediation, civic engagement);
  3. Demonstrate core competencies and practical skills for effectively understanding and engaging in conflict situations in a productive and constructive manner;
  4. Demonstrate an enhanced capacity for engaging diverse stakeholders in creative problem solving and engage in critical thinking;
  5. Practice reflective professional development in alignment with Ignatian values;
  6. Effectively apply technology to conflict engagement processes;
  7. Collaborate effectively with other individuals and design conflict engagement processes across diverse groups of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements are:

  • A completed electronic application form.
    • Application fee: Each applicant must remit, along with the application form, a non-refundable, non-waiveable application fee of $50 in the form of a check or money order drawn in U.S. currency and made payable to Creighton University.
  • A Bachelor’s degree and transcripts for all Bachelors and post-Bachelors coursework. Transcripts must be sent directly from the issuing school and must contain the institution’s official seal or stamp. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by certified English translations.
    • A 3.0 GPA or higher is required for unconditional acceptance into the program. Students not meeting this requirement may be accepted provisionally.
  • A CV/resume.
  • A student’s own mission statement, describing his or her long-term goals and why this program seems to them to be the right step to take down the road of achieving them (500-750 words).
    • Based on your CV/resume and your other application material, we should have a pretty good picture of where you have been and what you’ve done. Setting that aside, focus on the future: What goals have you set for yourself, looking ahead down your envisioned path? Why is this program attractive to you, in terms of meeting those goals?
    • [Note: Focus on the future. A good mission statement will not be a rehash of your CV nor a discussion of how you intend to invest time and effort in your studies; it will look to the future beyond your studies and incorporate your studies as a building block in that future.]
  • A short writing sample in response to one of the provided exercises listed on the Admissions Writing Exercise page (1000 words).
  • Two letters of recommendation: The recommendation forms should be completed by persons, other than family members or friends, who are capable of assessing your performance in an academic or work setting. Applicants may submit additional recommendations if they so wish.
  • An interview with a faculty member.
  • Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL): All international applicants from countries in which English is not the primary language must demonstrate proficiency in English language by submitting a minimum TOEFL score of 90 iBT (213 CBT/550 PBT). Native English speakers, or applicants who have received their baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution in which English is the primary language of instruction, may request exemption from this requirement.

Notes:

  • A GRE is not required, but it may be requested or submitted in order to best help us assess your capacity for success in the program.
  • Although some factors are more important than others, all factors are considered; low ratings on some may be balanced by high ratings on others.
  • Only those applicants who meet the established standards will be recommended for admission.

Degree Programs

The M.S.in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution master’s degree requires completion of at least 32 credit hours in coursework including theoretical foundations of conflict resolution, practical skills/processes, and electives that provide contextual application. Students must also complete a capstone course of independent, experiential work involving a practicum or a major piece of research. To enhance the experience within this degree program, students will have the opportunity to participate in Werner Institute conferences, symposia, and other programs. Students are also encouraged to participate in external networking activities such as joining relevant professional associations and attending workshops and conferences. The master’s program can be completed in 1 to 2 years with the flexibility of on-campus and online courses.  On-campus students may complete an additional 12 credit hour concentration in Student Affairs.

We also offer opportunities to focus your area of study with dual degrees in:

The programmatic learning goals for the MS program are embedded within the certificate curriculum as well. However, the assessment of these programmatic goals focuses on an introduction to the conceptual frameworks, as opposed to the in-depth mastery expected following completion of the MS-NCR program. The certificate curriculum aims to establish a foundation for further development of the skills and concepts relevant to the student's capacity to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Define and apply the theoretical frameworks in conflict engagement and different processes (e.g. negotiation, facilitation, mediation, civic engagement)
  • Demonstrate core competencies and practical skills for effectively understanding and engaging in conflict situations in a productive and constructive manner
  • Demonstrate an enhanced capacity for engaging diverse stakeholders in creative problem solving and engage in critical thinking
  • Practice reflective professional development in alignment with Ignatian values
  • Effectively apply technology to conflict engagement processes
  • Collaborate effectively with other individuals and design conflict engagement processes across diverse groups of race, ethnicity, culture, gender, religion and sexual orientation

Certificates

Courses

NCR 612. Staying with Conflict: Working with Ongoing Disputes. 2 credits.

Conflict specialists often think of conflict as a linear process requiring effective resolution. But the most important conflicts in people’s lives do not end – they endure in one form or another, sometimes for many years. This presents both a major challenge and a major opportunity for conflict interveners. In this course, we will consider what causes conflicts to endure, the role of short term interventions in long term conflicts and the ways in which conflict interveners can help find ways to turn a destructive conflict into a more constructive ongoing interaction.

NCR 615. Negotiation. 3 credits.

The Negotiation course aims at helping students become acquainted with and learn how to manage the challenges involved with shifting from the common distributive bargaining to integrative style of negotiation, which aspires for "win-win" resolutions. The course will focus on both the theoretical and practical levels: it will introduce state of the art theories of negotiation alongside experiential learning which would allow students to experience and reflect on the various emphases in practice, while reflecting on their own strengths and weaknesses as negotiators.

NCR 616. Thesis Project. 3 credits.

This course is designed for students pursuing the thesis option. The thesis can be structured as an extended literature review of an approved subject, independent research, or a combination thereof. The thesis must be approved by the department, under the direction of a faculty member, and defended as partial fulfillment of requirements for the Master's Degree. This course is graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.

NCR 620. Introduction to Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. 3 credits.

The online modules present a broad introduction to the field and provide a strong foundation in a number of key concepts, including the three major roles of the conflict specialist, theories of communication and conflict, approaches to negotiation and their limitations, private versus court-centered approaches to resolving conflict, and psychological biases and barriers in addressing conflict.

NCR 621. Negotiation and Dispute Resolution Residency. 3 credits.

This residential experience is an intense program building on the online module with presentations, skills development, and case simulations that include group exercises, scenarios and role playing, and demonstrations. P: NCR 620.

NCR 622. Conflict Engagement and Leadership. 3 credits.

This course continues your comprehensive immersion into the field of negotiation and conflict resolution, with an emphasis on the evolving roles and expectations of the 21st century conflict resolution practitioner. Within the framework of our rapidly changing and integrated world, students will explore new roles for conflict specialists with an eye towards preparing themselves to engage in a wide field of practice. Going beyond an understanding of ADR's strengths and weaknesses, we will apply a critical lens to the field, identifying a right-here, right-now crossroads in its development. At this stage, we will begin to discuss all the opportunities for development that this crossroads opens up for the informed practitioner. We will explore a wide range of roles the conflict specialist can fulfill, ranging far beyond the traditionally-touted mediator or arbitrator roles. This exploration will set the stage for your future development as a conflict specialist with a diverse toolbox and a wide view of conflict practice. We start this development right away, with classes focusing on how our skills can be used to transform disputes not just the interpersonal and intergroup level but a societal level as well. We will explore some of the roads less travelled by ADR thus far, which we believe lead wide open spaces for ADR innovation: leadership, civic engagement, and network design.

NCR 623. Online Dispute Resolution. 2 credits.

This course examines what has been described as "the hottest area" in conflict resolution. It addresses the emerging practice of conflict resolution in cyberspace and provides hands-on training in the use of emerging technologies to supplement traditional dispute resolution approaches and the use of Internet media to handle Internet-based disputes. No technology background is required.

NCR 624. Dynamics of Conflict. 3 credits.

This course addresses the nature, meaning, and dynamics of conflict and the challenges of communication in interpersonal, inter-group, and intra-group settings. Drawing from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and communications, students will examine the thinking process that drives the practice of successful conflict resolution. Among specific concepts examined are the relationships among power, culture, and conflict; the sources of conflict; the nature of resolution; and what constitutes a genuine resolution of a conflict. Features and tools of effective communication in conflict, including listening, constructive framing, and the use of narratives, are considered.

NCR 625. Systems and Consulting for Conflict Specialists. 2 credits.

This course examines how an understanding of systems can contribute to the effective management of conflict. It also focuses on the ways that stakeholders can go beyond specific disputes to take a broader look at the full range of organizational conflicts to determine how best to prevent or address the types of organization conflicts experiences over time. There is particular emphasis on different organizational contexts (e.g., private sector versus public sector, unionized versus non-unionized, as well as institutions such as universities and hospitals) and the role conflict specialists can play as consultants to organizations.

NCR 626. Culture, Gender and Power Differences in Conflict. 2 credits.

This course takes an interdisciplinary look at issues related to the role of culture, gender, and other factors in conflict analysis and resolution. Students will receive an overview of relevant theories and research from social psychology, anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines. Topics such as the meaning of culture and conflict from a cultural perspective, cross-cultural communication, stereotypes, and differences in attitudes toward racism, sexism, and ethnicity will be discussed.

NCR 627. Facilitation and Group Processes. 2 credits.

In this course, students are introduced to group process theories and the skills needed to facilitate groups of all sizes in a variety of settings. Characteristics of collaborative decision-making processes, participatory dialogues, effective group formation and development, functions of a group facilitator, and the value of diversity are identified, defined, and explored. Throughout this course there is an emphasis on applying collaborative conflict management theory, strategies and processes. This is done by encouraging students to share their experiences of group process and development with one another, and by creating an experiential online “living laboratory” learning environment.

NCR 628. Mediation Residency. 4 credits.

This course provides intensive in-person training in mediation skills and techniques to resolve a wide variety of disputes, such as in health care, commercial, family, public, workplace, and international settings. The course will include the discussion of several mediation models and their underlying theoretical premises, principles and skills, as well as current research involving mediation. Most of the work will be intensive skills development through role playing, case examples, demonstrations, simulations, and small group sessions.

NCR 629. Organizational Collaboration and Conflict Management. 3 credits.

In today's competitive environment, organizations increasingly must cope with complexities, uncertainties, and conflict. The ability to build collaborative teams and to manage and learn from conflict effectively is critical. Students will learn techniques and approaches for organizational team building, conflict management, and process facilitation and consulting.

NCR 630. Health Care Collaboration and Conflict Resolution. 3 credits.

Conflicts in health care can lead to poor clinical outcomes that may result in lawsuits, licensure disputes, credentialing and employment claims, and a lack of trust in the system as a whole. There is a growing need for new approaches that address system complexity, consumer needs, clinician autonomy, and quality of care. With a focus on practical application of process tools and systems design strategies, students will learn effective conflict engagement techniques that can be integrated into clinical settings and for managing legal and ethical issues that may arise.

NCR 631. International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. 3 credits.

International conflicts can involve states, corporations, peoples, and political factions. With applications from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including international law, business, anthropology, and political science, students will learn approaches to conflict in the context of globalization with a focus on the implications of our growing interconnectedness as both a source and solution for disputes.

NCR 632. Effective Conflict Engagement for Educational Leaders. 3 credits.

Diversity, change, and growth are all major issues in today's school, college, and university settings. In areas such as special needs, student services, and campus life, conflict is a growing part of the landscape. Students will learn the skill sets necessary to engage conflict in a variety of educational settings and how to collaborate with colleagues, students, parents, and community members.

NCR 633. Applied Interdisciplinary Research: A Narrative Approach. 2 credits.

This course will focus on developing an individualized and practical research foundation. Students will work one-on-one with the professor to produce an oral history/narrative interview. Students will have the opportunity to interview a person who has experienced a conflict in their life or a historical conflictive event following oral history interviewing techniques. It is a great way to practice many of the skills in the conflict resolution field that are applicable in many professional contexts such as, eliciting stories, active listening and self-awareness. Students are also encouraged to share their thoughts with their peer researchers within the class discussion forums and the course’s private Facebook page.

NCR 652. The Application of Coaching within Conflict Resolution. 2 credits.

Coaching focuses on empowering people to discover their own answers, to articulate clear visions, and pursue their goals with clarity and focus. Building on our inherent strengths a coach can empower people toward positive change. This course will provide a preliminary understanding of key coaching principles and their role in conflict resolution. We will follow the standards of International Coach Federation. We will also explore specific principles of coaching within various models Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology, and Wellness.

NCR 670. Foundations and Functions of College Student Affairs. 3 credits.

This course offers an introductory examination of the history and philosophy of college student affairs. The contextual dimensions, knowledge and skills, and assessment/evaluation appropriate to the college student affairs settings will be introduced.

NCR 671. Internship in College Student Affairs I. 3 credits.

Supervised on-site experience in counseling, program development, and implementation for clients and the student body at large. Experience in the full range of counselor and student affairs duties, responsibilities and activities in their internal college setting.

NCR 672. Internship in College Student Affairs II. 3 credits.

Supervised on-site experience in counseling, program development, and implementation for clients and the student body at large. Experience in the full range of counselor and student affairs duties, responsibilities and activities in their internal college setting.

NCR 690. Conflict and Conflict Resolution in Families. 2 credits.

This course addresses the dynamics of family conflict and interventions in family conflict. We will discuss conflict around divorce, parent-adolescent issues, care of the elderly, child welfare, adoption, and family violence. We will consider a variety of responses to these conflicts including mediation, family group conferencing, divorce coaches, and arbitration.

NCR 694. Human Rights, Poverty, Medicine, and Health: An International Perspective. 2 credits.

This course introduces students to concepts addressing human rights and its theory and practice. The main focus will be the relationship between health and human rights. Students will explore human rights issues at the domestic and international level. Topics such as, health impacts resulting from violations of human rights; bioethics and human rights; the role of health professionals in torture, mind control, human radiation; poverty, medicine and health; and cultural perspectives of human rights will be discussed.

NCR 700. Engaging in Bioethical Conflict. 2 credits.

This course will introduce students to strategies for engaging in emerging bioethical issues that lead to conflict among families, health care providers and organizational leaders. Included is an overview of the bioethics consultation process, the role of bioethics mediators, and culturally appropriate approaches for addressing end-of-life disputes.

NCR 720. Seminar: Special Topics in Conflict Resolution. 1-3 credits.

This course explores selected problems and topics in the conflict resolution field. Course content changes each semester as current and controversial issues emerge in the field.

NCR 733. Practicum. 3-4 credits.

In consultation with the practicum advisor, students select a practical field experience to further develop and apply their skills in a professional or organizational setting of their choice. Working with an on-site instructor/mentor in the student's community, students will demonstrate their ability to apply theory to practice and analyze situations using knowledge gained from previous coursework.

NCR 733E. Practicum Extension. 1 credit.

NCR 795. Directed Independent Study. 1-3 credits.

Students may arrange with an instructor to engage in a series of readings related to a specific topic and/or conduct research in an area approved by the department and under the direction of a faculty member.