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The Use of Student Organizations as a Means of Conflict Resolution Education

by Judy Rashid
April 2014 Judy Rashid

Historically, college student organizations have been seen as belonging within the mission of colleges and universities (Schmitz, 1997) and particularly within student leadership development (Komives, 1994). More specifically student organizations are viewed as “learning laboratories” (Street, 1997). Student organizations offer many opportunities for students including the chance to develop meaningful relationships, to pursue special interests, to clarify a sense of purpose and identity, and to develop interpersonal, leadership, organization, and social skills (Street. 1997)

Peaceful Approaches to Conflict through Education© (P.A.C.E.) a training organization in conflict resolution education for student volunteers, was founded in 1997 by Dr. Judy Rashid on the campus of NC A&T State University. The theme of the organization is Sharing With Others How To Take Things One....Step.... at....a....time; the symbol is a set of footprints.

The organization seeks to promote, practice, and provide training and skill development in conflict /crisis management and the peaceful resolution of conflict using negotiation and mediation. Outreach is provided to organizations including fraternities and sororities; faculty and staff development; judiciary boards; programming boards; campus health & safety officers, and residence hall staff, to name a few constituents.

Training and Outreach is done through Printed Materials (flyers, brochures, etc.); Team Building Sessions; Training Institutes; Forums; Roundtable Discussions; Conference Participation; and Town Hall Meeting Facilitation.

Modules in conflict management and resolution are used in training to enhance the following: Leadership Empowerment, Anger Management / Violence Prevention, Effective Communication, Group Dynamics / Diversity, Collaboration, Meeting Facilitation Cooperation, Interpersonal Relations, Critical and Analytical Thinking, and Cooperative Problem-solving.

Learning outcomes assessments in conflict management training indicate the following reoccurring themes over a five year period (Rashid, 2014) : participants strongly agree or agree that learning the types of conflict styles is important in managing conflict and assessing conflict situations; focus group results indicate a favorable attitude and need perception for negotiation and peer mediation training; diversity conference participation evaluations reveal the ability to demonstrate sensitivity towards individual and cultural differences; more commitment to foster diversity and multicultural understanding; value participating in activities that promote diversity; commitment to revise judgments and change opinion of others based on new evidence; and better able to listen and share differing opinions in appropriate respectful ways.

References:

Komives, S.R. (1994). Women student leaders: Self-perceptions of empowering leadership and achieving style. NASPA Journal 31, 102-112.

Rashid, J.N. (2014). Dean of Students Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Report Summary. North Carolina A&T State University.

Schmitz, C.A. (1997). The translation of organizational behavior theory of college student organizations. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Street, Jt. J.L. (1997). Leadership development: a comparison of strategies for college student organizations. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

Biography


Dr. Judy Rashid is the Dean of Students at North Carolina A&T State University and also teaches conflict resolution. Dr. Rashid is also a Senior Student Affairs Administrator and is a member of the N.C. Bar Association (Dispute Resolution Section), the Association for the Study of Higher Education, People to People International, and the Association for Conflict Resolution.  For over 20 years, she has been  involved in conflict management education and training on the college campus and has also  served as a volunteer in community mediation programs; is  involved in community-based international conflict resolution in South Africa, and designed a  conflict management training intervention as part of her doctoral  research. Her research interests and publications center on intercultural conflict management; conflict management as a leadership skill; the art of negotiation and mediation; law and higher education; and college student affairs administration.



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