Grading the peace teachers. What it takes for a program to succeed

THE task of developing peace education at a university is often difficult, even though growth in the number of schools involved has been dramatic over the last decade and a half. For example, in 1971 the World Policy Institute found that some form of peace studies curricula existed on nearly 50 campuses; now, just 15 year later, nearly 90 campuses participate in the university network services of the Consortium on Peace Research, Education, and Development. Initial questions about the subject usually concern whether a discernible field of study does indeed exist and whether faculty is appropriately trained to teach it. Debates on whether the university should involve itself in such a subject at all are apt to follow. Four factors for success

How have peace studies programs surmounted the challenges?

At the vast majority of colleges where the field has succeeded, four factors have been involved:

A campus committee investigating the viability of the field decides whether the proposed program adequately mirrors the multidisciplinary aspect of peace research.

A clear statement emerges of how the proposed program meshes with the purpose and identity of the university.

The administration examines faculty resources and the possibility for the development of additional expertise.

The campus decides what form the curriculum will take, paying particular attention to the management and strengthening of it over time.

The diversity of programs now in place at a variety of institutions illustrates the lively debates and academic innovations that a careful consideration of these four factors can produce. Where to focus?

Like the older academic disciplines, peace studies contains a number of subfields, and few campuses can deal with all areas. A university must elect whether to focus on such areas as the causes and consequences of war (the emphasis at the University of Michigan), the theories and methods of conflict resolution (Kent State's focus), the theories and methods for sustaining peace with justice (Notre Dame), or some other aspect.

However successful the definition of curriculum may be, though, the history of the peace studies field also indicates that universities unclear about their own place in their community or in the spectrum of higher education have not been able to sustain this area of inquiry. Rooted in tradition

Conversely, such schools as Syracuse University, Manhattan College, and Wayne State University, each with a strong commitment to training citizens and professionals for community service, have developed curricula in mediation and peace education. The new Center for the Study of Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California draws on the strong research character of that institution and its commitment to provide resources to other schools in the state. At some of the colleges launched by, or closely associated with, churches -- among them, Goshen (Ind.), Juniata (Pa.), Manchester, (Ind.), Wilmington, (Dela.), Guilford (N.C.), and Earlham (Ind.) -- notable peace studies programs have grown out of the religious underpinnings and sense of mission.

Most campuses offering peace studies provide a minor or concentration by carefully integrating a series of courses with some of the majors they offer. A few of those most widely recognized in the field, such as Syracuse, Kent State, Colgate, and Earlham, offer a full academic major.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to Grading the peace teachers. What it takes for a program to succeed
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today