School of Peace and Conflict Studies (SPCS)

The School of Peace and Conflict Studies (SPCS) (formerly the Center for Applied Conflict Management) was one of the first academic centers of its kind in the U.S., and has contributed to the development of the dynamic field of peace and conflict studies. The school was established in 1971 as a living memorial to the events of May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard killed four and wounded nine Kent State students during a protest of the United States' war against Vietnam.

The school offers an undergraduate major and minor in Applied Conflict Management. In recent academic years, its annual enrollment has exceeded 1,000 students. The school is dedicated to studying conflict dynamics and analyzing techniques for effective conflict management and nonviolent social and political change. Research and education in conflict management theory and practice — nonviolent action, reconciliation, negotiation, mediation and violence prevention — form the core of the school's academic and training programs. The school’s faculty have also offered continuing education workshops for professionals in law, education and human services.


Faculty members conduct scholarly research on a variety of topics, including the U.S. peace movement; truth and reconciliation commissions; elite peacemaking and grassroots peace-building; the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine;  environmental conflict resolution; the effect of trauma on victims of violence, strategies for intervention and healing, and ramifications for the field of conflict management and mediation; and the status of academic degree programs in conflict management. Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, an annual peer-reviewed scholarly research volume published for more than 30 years, is housed and edited at the school.


The school also serves as a community resource, providing training, consultation and assistance in conflict intervention to agencies, organizations and community groups. The school has provided conflict management training for university departments, assisted with the establishment of Cuyahoga Community College’s certificate program in Peace and Conflict Studies, and assisted Kent city government in exploring ways to improve community/student relations. The school also provides information about the events, impact and lessons of May 4, 1970.


Since its inception, the school has been a leader in the field of conflict management. Early projects included training mediators for community mediation centers; the Juvenile Justice Project, which provided planning and systems design, early intervention and prevention, and training programs in aggression control for the juvenile justice system; helping to create the Ohio Commission on Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management, which provided training and funding to help start conflict management programs for more than 20 years; negotiated rulemaking with state government agencies; and the development of school peer mediation programs long before such programs became common. Today, the school continues that strong tradition of service through education, research and community service.


Neil Cooper, Director

School of Peace and Conflict Studies
Kent State University
113 McGilvrey Hall
PO Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242-0001
Phone: 330-672-3143
Fax: 330-672-3362

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