Conflict Management Certificate Program: Curriculum

The Program

The Conflict Management professional development program consists of 12 weekly meetings, filled with information, support, and practice to help you learn how to manage workplace conflict better and communicate effectively. Many different job descriptions these days, across a whole array for industries and professions, see conflict management skills as a desirable or essential skill. A conflict management certificate can help you get a job or a better position. Or, be a valued leader in your current employment, or coach and support clients who are frustrated dealing with conflicts.

Each week presents a different “lens” or perspective to help you transform your relationship with conflict, strengthen your ability to communicate effectively, and use what you have learned to share with others at work or anywhere.

In each session, students will have an opportunity to sign up to get feedback from the group and instructors for a current workplace problem. The online format has class meetings by Zoom, including small group activities and discussion, and use of Canvas (SSU’s online platform) resources. Opportunities for virtual office hour and coffee chat as well..


Foundational skills to understand conflict and communicate better across differences, how organizations can better manage conflict, as well as techniques for how to deal with bullying and aggression, understand and manage gender and cross cultural communication & bias issues, how to manage change effectively, give and receive feedback, learn how and when mediation is effective, let go of grudges and resentments that impede conflict resolution, and negotiate for yourself and others.

This certificate is for managers and aspiring managers in corporations and non-profits , C Suite Executives, HR professionals, team leaders, coaches and therapists, instructors, or anyone in agency or organizations who is working with challenging individuals or groups and who wants to be a more effective communicator.

Lead Instructor and Program Coordinator

Lorraine Segal, with guest presenters. 

Curriculum for Conflict Management Certificate

Session begins Thursday August 27th 2020 - 13 weeks (12 of actual instruction with an extra week's commitment in case of school shut downs). 

Thursday evenings, August 27th to November 20th, 6:30 - 9:30pm. 3.6 CEUs

Class Schedule





1 August 27 Overview plus Understanding Conflict and Communication Lorraine Segal 

Overview of the certificate program, its topics and elements. How we are viewing conflict and communication skills with a goal of positive transformation. Understand what conflict is and isn’t, and why conflict management is important. Explore the different approaches to conflict and your own preferred approach. Learn about active listening and how it helps with conflict and emotional triggers.

2 September 3  Conflict and Challenging Conversations Lorraine Segal 

Conversations with difficult people or on difficult topics can be extremely challenging. Learn how to incorporate curiosity into your communication, understand the power of our stories, as well as other basics of effective conversations. Includes self-assessment and practice.

3 September 10  Introduction to Negotiation John Ford

Negotiation is another set of communication tools, a language anyone can learn, unveiling needs and interests in a way that helps both parties reach an acceptable outcome where everyone’s situation is improved. We all negotiate, formally (a contract, a job offer or raise, a new car) or informally (disagreements with people at work or elsewhere) frequently. Learn and practice the basics of this important skill.

4 September 17  Bullying and Mobbing at Work Lorraine Segal

Bullying is epidemic in workplaces, but often is ignored despite its deep negative impact on workplace culture and success. Recognize the signs, characteristics and trajectory of workplace bullying and aggression and learn what to do about it. Understand the important differences between bullying & mobbing, and interpersonal conflict.

5 September 24  Introduction to Mediation John Ford

Mediation is a valuable tool for resolving workplace conflict. Learn what mediation is and isn’t, types of mediation, elements and processes in mediation. Understand value and limits of mediation, when mediation is appropriate and when it isn’t helpful. Get some tips and techniques for when to help others at work or elsewhere with their conflicts, formally and informally. Mini lecture, demonstration, exercises.

6 October 1 Gender at Work: From Conflict to Partnership Bonita Banducci

Learn about the cultural characteristics and needs of different genders - our similarities and differences and how they impact successful communication and collaboration instead of conflict. Use your understanding to communicate and manage successfully across genders, especially in the workplace. Practice and rehearsal with scenarios.

7 October 8 Letting go of Grudges at Work Lorraine Segal

Holding grudges and resentments can prevent trust and good workplace relationships, wasting valuable energy. Studies have shown that learning to let go and forgive improves leadership, productivity, and workplace satisfaction. In this three hour interactive class, you will learn what forgiveness is and isn’t, the value of letting go and forgiving at work, and some skills and techniques to get you started, including a guided visualization.

8 October 15 How to Lead More Effective and Productive Meetings (Foundations)  Lynn Woznicki

You can’t build a great meeting on a weak foundation. Effective meetings require more than a well-planned agenda. Agendas, in and of themselves, do nothing to manage the behaviors in a meeting. It’s all that “people stuff” that makes or breaks a meeting, with participants spiraling out in one conflict or another, or heading down a rabbit hole. Without strong facilitation, meetings can and will tank. Taking a look at the individual and group dynamics as they contribute to meeting quality is your best first step to becoming a more effective meeting facilitator and participant and increase meeting harmony instead of conflict.

We will cover the Basic Foundations for Facilitating Effective Meetings including: Big Picture Clarity; Personal Accountability; Managing Assumptions; Agendas and Meeting Goals; and Decision Rules.

9 October 22 Giving and Receiving Feedback Lorraine Segal

Misunderstandings about feedback can fuel conflict and impede harmony and productivity at work. Understand the 3 different kinds of information that are called feedback. Learn and practice how to give effective feedback to colleagues and employees and get the most out of feedback you receive, even if it starts out vague or negative.

10 October 29 Culture, Bias and Conflict Lorraine Segal with guest panelists

Workplaces today are increasingly diverse. We are likely to find ourselves working with people who have different communication and problem solving styles, even different values. These cultural differences and our misunderstandings about them can lead to unnecessary conflicts at work or in the community Our own unconscious assumptions and bias about race, ethnicity, sexual orientation can lead to misunderstandings and conflict as well.

But, when we begin to “unpack” cultural differences and bias, with understanding of their impact, our awareness can instead contribution to conflict resolution. Lorraine will introduce some of the concepts and principles. And you will have the opportunity to hear a panel of African American and African descent women sharing their experiences of navigating racism and bias in life and at work.

11 November 5 A Vision for the Future: How Organizations can Deal Effectively with Conflict A panel of experts and Lorraine Segal

Does your workplace culture promote conflict or harmony, collaboration, and innovation? This class offers a positive view of the future of workplace conflict, in which conflict management goes beyond individuals putting out “fires”, and, instead, the entire organization proactively addresses situations and problems that lead to conflict. This goal requires commitment and action by leaders and everyone to create policies, procedures, and practices that guide the organization. Learn what leadership needs to do to create a conflict competent organization, and the basics of how to:

  1. Assess organizational conflict and blind spots and 
  2. Create and implement effective policies and procedures. This class introduces ICMS, Integrative Conflict Management Systems as well as innovative ways new companies are addressing conflict.
12 November 12 Integration: Putting It All Together Lorraine Segal and student presentations

Thoughtful review of all the tools, teachings, and perspectives of the previous weeks, what you have learned and how you can use it. Apply what you’ve learned by analyzing and problem solving real life scenarios and conflicts.

13 November 20 Contingency Week

Please reserve this additional week in case we must rearrange sessions due to unexpected school closures.
Note: This has happened due to wildfires the past two Fall semesters, 2018 and 2019, so we are being proactive this time!