Institute for Conflict Studies at Cardinal Stritch University

The Institute for Conflict Studies is designed as an interdisciplinary forum for people engaged in a wide range of professions to enhance their understanding of conflict.  Participants learn about processes such as negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and public policy consensus building to help them identify, prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts in their everyday work and community lives.


To educate participants on how to identify, prevent, manage, and resolve conflict


To understand that conflict is a necessary part of collaboration

Core Values

Tolerance, Openness, Participation, Collaboration


Are you ready to take the next step in your leadership capability and lead change for your company or organization? This certificate program has been designed to accommodate busy professional and personal schedules. Participants will complete four three-hour in person sessions, in addition to online discussions.


Course Topics:

  • Leading Through Change
  • Shaping Culture
  • Transformational Leadership and Vision
  • Alignment

Who should attend:

Profit, not-for-profit, government sector leaders who:

  • are committed to building high performing, engaged teams, and/or
  • are leading significant organizational change

Dates: Fridays, March 29, April 12, May 3 and May 17 (1 - 4 p.m.)


Fee: $995

About the program:

  • 12 credit graduate certificate (credit-bearing)
  • Comprised of four three-credit course
  • Structured as a once a week three hour seminar with one hour online
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission
  • Designed for leaders and managers in business, healthcare, education, nonprofits, and government

The certificate will begin with a foundation course, 'Dispute Resolution: Negotiation and Mediation'. This is a three-credit course which will meet once a week for six weeks for three hours; there will be an additional one-hour of online coursework. This course will be followed by the course, 'Managing Conflict in the Workplace'.


Course Descriptions

Dispute Resolution Processes: Negotiation and Mediation

This course provides the student with a basic understanding of two commonly-used processes used to resolve conflict. The student will be exposed to concepts of reactive devaluation, framing, reality-testing and other similar concepts. This course is a foundation course and prerequisite for the three remaining courses in the graduate certificate.


Managing Conflict in the Workplace

This course is designed to provide the student with an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of processes used to manage conflict in the workplace. These include collective bargaining, ombuds, peer review, and internal and external mediation. This course will be taught using extensive role plays.


Cultural Competence and Conflict

This course is designed to study how race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and generational identity conflict, particularly organizational alignment. The course will utilize materials from Project Implicit to help students develop self-awareness. This course will be taught using extensive role plays.


Capstone in Dispute Resolution

The capstone will provide the student to learn how to research and analyze a topic in an interdisciplinary methodology. Students will be given the option of selecting a real life case study or a broader research topic in the field to use for their capstone project.

For Registration or More Information:

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The Importance of Conflict Studies

Read Executive Director Eva Soeka's guest essay in our 2018 Summer edition of the Stritch Magazine: Discovering collaboration, creativity, innovation and understanding through conflict.

Retired Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and Institute for Conflict Studies instructor Janine P. Geske, J.D., discusses the importance of conflict studies and conflict resolution.


Howard Bellman

Mediator, Arbitrator, and former Secretary of the Department of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations



Danielle Carne

Carne Dispute Resolution



Janine P. Geske

Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice



Laila V. Hick

Northwestern Mutual, Vice President, Transformation



Eva M. Soeka

Executive Director, Institute for Conflict Studies and former Director of Marquette University's Graduate Program in Dispute Resolution



Lyle N. Maryniak, M.S., CLF

Adjunct Professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering



Mark J. Gmach CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CRCP

Adjunct Professor at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and The American College