Goals, Objectives and Mission of the School
Since the killing and wounding of Kent State students by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970 on its Kent campus, Kent State University has been a leader in fashioning positive institutional responses to violent conflict. The School of Peace and Conflict Studies is one such endeavor.
The School’s predecessor, the Center for Peaceful Change (1971-1994), was established in 1971 as the university’s original living memorial to the students killed on May 4, 1970. It was established to research, teach and promote peaceful mechanisms of social and political change. The Center was renamed the Center for Applied Conflict Management in 1994, which it remained until it expanded and transitioned to become the School of Peace and Conflict Studies in August, 2017. In 1974, the Center’s degree program, called “Integrative Change,” was established. The name of the degree was subsequently changed to “Peace and Conflict Studies,” and still later it was changed to “Applied Conflict Management,” with corresponding curricular changes.
The School of Peace and Conflict Studies promotes interdisciplinary research, teaching, practice and community outreach on conflict analysis and resolution, peacebuilding, and the prevention of violence. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School facilitates collaborative efforts, from the local to the global, so as to critically examine, formulate, recommend, and apply effective responses to destructive conflicts and violence.
The School endeavors to conduct research about and to teach a dynamic blend of conflict management theory and practice that is oriented toward increasing social justice and sustainable peace.
Understanding the sources, dynamics, stages and cycles of conflicts are an integral dimension of School research and teaching. Also valued is applied knowledge about tools, tactics, and processes to constructively manage conflicts. Pedagogies that are interactive, cooperative, and participatory are privileged in the School of Peace and Conflict Studies courses as well as in the training work School faculty conduct in the community so that participants may learn applied conflict management skills to be used in the community, the workplace, in a variety of life settings, and in relationships. Awareness of and redressing power inequalities between conflict parties and the structural sources of those inequalities is a central concern in the constructive approach to managing conflicts that marks the School’s philosophy