Conscious Conflict

Instructor: Linda Newell

Course Synopsis:

Conscious Conflict: Managing, Resolving, and Transforming Relationships and Organizations

Are you contributing to conflicts, attempting to diffuse them, or leading the way to systemic transformation? Whether you’re in a church, non-profit, or private/public setting, conflict is inevitable. For every role, there are tools you can use to allow space for current conflict management and resolution. But then, what’s next? How can we transform our systems of conflict and shape or influence the organization toward a culture of open dialogue and learning? In this course, you will learn inclusive and trauma-informed methodologies for managing personal and group conflict and techniques to create a lasting organizational/community framework for an evolving culture of systemic transformation. Using your own real-life scenarios, you will experience various ways to prevent or address conflict personally and organizationally.

Course Overview


Course Objectives


Course Design and Expectations:

This course is a hybrid format of asynchronous online learning, three virtual synchronous sessions. It is based on a learning/action/reflection model and designed to be highly personalized to accommodate myriad types of learning styles and preferences. Aligned with Iliff’s values, the content and delivery are designed to be sensitive and responsive to identities and expressions with a trauma-informed, socially just approach. Therefore, the instructor is committed to a facilitative style that will be adaptive to the needs of the particular course cohort. As we engage, there may be a need for some fluidity and flexibility together to best customize the learning experience for everyone.

The course requires active student involvement, as there will be some short video lectures, but much of the class time will be spent in group discussions and experiential exercises to allow for full engagement and integration of the concepts being taught. Students will select specific personal and organizational conflicts to use throughout the course. Being a praxis course, it will be highly experiential and less reliant on intensive monographs. Additionally, there may be 1-2 short online visits with professionals in the field, i.e. a mediator and/or restorative practices facilitator

Students will be expected to:

Attend all synchronous sessions unless there is an emergency or advanced notice.

Complete all reading and/or written assignments prior to class so we may have robust and meaningful discussions.

Participate actively in online and synchronous discussions and exercises (sharing only what you feel is comfortable yet brave).

Due to potentially sensitive sharing among fellow students, full confidentiality is expected.

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:



Grading Summary :

In addition to the written assignments, the final grade in the course will reflect class participation -- both in attendance and in active and informed participation in discussions. The assignments will count for 70% and participation for 30% in the final grade composition. Because this is a praxis course, and our time together is limited to an online/hybrid format, attendance and participation in the online synchronous are critical to all students’ learning experiences.

Class Participation/Discussions: In Synchronous Sessions and Canvas Posts: 30%

Week 1: Pre-Learning Survey: 5%

Week 2, 4, 7: Self-inventories and Worksheets - 15%

Week 9: Conflict Project Analysis- 25%

Week 10: Critical Reflection Paper - 25%

Written/Project Assignments:

Much of the course is based on your own praxis of managing conflict; using the tools covered in the course. However, sprinkled throughout the quarter, there are a couple of short self-inventories and worksheets, one project analysis assignment, and a critical reflection paper due at the end of the quarter.  The assignments for particular dates are to be turned in by the beginning of the class session on that date.  They are intended to help you prepare for class discussion so if turned in late, they will be graded down accordingly. The assignment due dates and parameters for the project analysis and final paper will be more fully described at the beginning of the quarter.

Reading Assignments :

Because this is a 2-unit praxis course, there are only two required short monographs listed below. The other readings are short sections from other books. There may be additional short videos or resources suggested as certain subjects arise. All of these will be posted on the Canvas site as the course progresses. The readings are an integral part of our mutual preparation for class discussion each week. Please have the readings completed before each class so that our discussions will be meaningful and helpful for all.

Books to Purchase/Borrow:

Provided Readings (posted as we progress):

Recommended Readings:

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to .

Course Schedule


Pre-Class Assignment: Prior to Tuesday,  1.11.22, take the Pre-Learning Survey posted on Canvas

Synchronous Session: Approaching Conflict Holistically and Consciously; Interconnectedness

Praxis/Exercise: Personal Costs of Conflict

Reading: Harjo, Joy. “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings” Poem.

Headlee, Celeste (Pages 59-82)


Asynchronous: At the Core of Conflict

Watch video lecture: Dignity, empathy, and our red wagons, FU on pre-learning survey

Reading: Hicks (pages ix-31)

Writing Due: Posts

Praxis : Assessing your current personal conflicts for class practice


Asynchronous: Curiosity and the Role of Developmental Trauma

Watch video lecture: Weinhold & Weinhold's The Partnership Way and Harvard’s Third Story


Weinhold & Weinhold (24-28: trauma & the partnership way, 39: partnership way approach model, 88: worksheet: 8 steps con res for wants/needs)

Stone, Patton, and Heen (Chapter 8)

Praxis/Writing Due: Post your choice of personal conflict to work and prompt posts and Weinhold’s 8 conflict resolution checklist for wants/needs conversations


Asynchronous: Conscious Communication Techniques

Watch video lecture: Considerations with IPD and Trauma, Newell’s Conscious Communication tools, dealing with challenging behaviors


Stone, Patton, and Heen (pages 249-257)

Hicks (pages 126-142)

Writing Due: Posts


Gathering Days Synchronous Session: Praxis of Personal Conflict Skills and Transition to Conflict Transformation

Assess potential transformation/group projects: composing your strategies

Reading: Stanford Martin (pages 3-25) CT

Bring Lederach book with you to session.

Writing Due: Posts (optional)


Asynchronous: Going Macro; Organizational Conflict

Watch video lecture: Considering group and social contexts; Differences between self-interest, group interest, community interest, and “common good” vs. highest good

Reading: Lederach (pages 3-36)

Writing Due: Posts

Praxis Assignment: Discern and choose your group conflict and which role for the final project


Asynchronous: Investigating Solutions for Patterns, Culture, and Systems

Watch video lecture: The reality of role and power in organizations and communities

Being conscious of role and power -- at work, church, in politics, in communities

Reading: Lederach (pages 37-60)

Praxis/Posting Assignments: Post choice and draft concept of your project


Synchronous Session: Customizing tools and methods per role/ power/ organization/ historical context

Facilitating dialogue and p rep for your projects

Reading: brown (169-173: consensus, 229,236: group agreements, consensus, 257-263: generative relationship prompts, circles, mediation

Lederach (61-71)

Writing Due: Posts


Asynchronous: Consciously putting it all together with self-care and empathy

Watch video lecture: Tips for your projects and living in the tension

Reading: Palmer (pages 69-84)

Writing Due: Project Analysis Recommendations/Plan


Asynchronous: Synthesis and Integration

Reading: None

Writing Due: Critical Reflection Essay: What you’ve learned and how you will use it

Jan 12, 2022WedWeek 1 Pre-Learning Survey due by 06:59AM
Jan 14, 2022FriWeek 1: Harjo/Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings (Poem) and Headlee (59-82)due by 12:00AM
Jan 14, 2022FriWeek 1 Synchronous Session - 1.13.22 - 6-7pm MTdue by 06:59AM
Jan 22, 2022SatWeek 2 Video Lecture - At the Core of Conflictdue by 06:59AM
Jan 22, 2022SatWeek 2 Hicks/Dignity p-ix-31 Dignity Modeldue by 06:59AM
Jan 29, 2022SatWeek 3 Video Lecture - The Role of Curiosity & Developmental Trauma in Conflictdue by 06:59AM
Jan 29, 2022SatWeek 3 Curiosity & the Role of Development Traumadue by 06:59AM
Feb 05, 2022SatWeek 4 Video Lecture - Difficult Behaviors, Avoiding Conflict, & Conscious Comms Toolsdue by 06:59AM
Feb 05, 2022SatWeek 4 Conscious Communication Techniquesdue by 06:59AM
Feb 09, 2022WedWEEK 5 Gathering Days Synchronous Session: Praxis of Personal Conflict Skills and Intro to Conflict Transformationdue by 12:00AM
Feb 09, 2022WedWeek 5 Video Lecture - Praxis of Personal Conflict Skills & Intro to Conflict Transformationdue by 01:00AM
Feb 09, 2022WedWeek 5 Synchronous Session - 2/8/22 - 6-7:00pm MTdue by 01:00AM
Feb 19, 2022SatWeek 6 Conflict Transformation - Going Macrodue by 06:59AM
Feb 19, 2022SatWEEK 6 Going Macro; Organizational Conflictdue by 06:59AM
Feb 26, 2022SatWeek 7 Investigating Solutions for Patterns and Systemsdue by 06:59AM
Feb 27, 2022SunWeek 7 More Conflict Transformation & Identity and Powerdue by 06:59AM
Feb 28, 2022MonWeek 7 Conscious Conflict SHORT Poll -- by EOD 2/27, pleasedue by 06:59AM
Mar 01, 2022TueWeek 8 Customizing dialogue tools and conflict methodsdue by 12:00AM
Mar 01, 2022TueConscious Conflict Week 8 Synchronous Session - 2/28/22 - 6-7pm MSTdue by 06:59AM
Mar 05, 2022SatChange of Week 8 Assignments and Project Supportdue by 06:59AM
Mar 10, 2022ThuWeek 9 Project Analysis/Plandue by 06:59AM
Mar 12, 2022SatWeek 9 Consciously putting it all together with self-care and empathydue by 06:59AM
Mar 18, 2022FriWeek 10 SHORT Video - Parker Palmer & Reflection Paper Tipsdue by 05:59AM
Mar 19, 2022SatWeek 10 Self-Reflection Paperdue by 05:59AM