Jun 02, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Graduate Studies in Conflict Management

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The Institute for Conflict Management

  • Master of Arts
  • Certificate of Graduate Studies in Conflict Management

Steve Joiner, Managing Director; Dean, College of Leadership and Public Service
Matt Milligan, Director of Academics

Core Faculty

Matt Milligan, Associate Professor of Conflict Management
Phyllis D.K. Hildreth, Associate Professor of Conflict Management
Steve Joiner, Professor of Ministry​
L. Randolph Lowry, Professor of Management
Tracy Allen, Associate Professor of Practice

In addition to the ICM core faculty, distinguished visiting professors with expertise in conflict management will teach selected classes.


Lipscomb University’s Institute for Conflict Management provides academic and business specific resources to equip students, organizations and professionals with skills to minimize the costs of unresolved conflict. Growing out of the internationally recognized dispute resolution work of L. Randolph Lowry, president of Lipscomb and former director of the Straus Institute Pepperdine University, ICM provides degrees, certificates, seminars and research dedicated to the advancement of conflict management disciplines.

ICM’s master’s degree, certificate, research and conference offerings impact most areas of commerce and education, model evolving best practices in conflict management and instruct participants in more cost effective and efficient solutions for unresolved conflict. ICM target markets include the following:

  • Master’s degree candidates in Bible, business, education, human resources, sustainability and psychology seeking specialized training in conflict
  • Master’s degree candidates in conflict management.
  • Non-degree students seeking certification in conflict management skills.
  • Businesses and professionals seeking advanced dialogue and study concerning the growing professional discipline of conflict management.
  • Health care companies, executives and professionals dedicated to improving the quality and cost effectiveness of health care delivery through the development of advanced systems of conflict management specific to the industry.

The Certificate in Conflict Management will be awarded after completing 15 hours of designated course work focusing on negotiation, mediation and dispute resolution in various settings as well as a clinical internship or elective course. This program will be open to students, professionals and other interested parties in the community who seek training and/or certification in dispute resolution. The certificate program is also available for students enrolled in other graduate programs on campus.

The Master of Arts in Conflict Management will be awarded after completing 30 hours of designated course work (15 hours are included in the certificate curriculum).

In addition to the academic curriculum, ICM also offers programs featuring national leaders and experts in dispute resolution and conflict management.

Message from the Managing Director

Conflict Management is one of the newest and most exciting fields of service in America and Lipscomb University is pleased to be a leader in this field of study. Building on the work of L. Randolph Lowry, the Institute for Conflict Management provides training in the field of dispute resolution, mediation and conflict management. In our sixth year of existence, ICM trains leaders in corporate, nonprofit, educational and religious settings to manage difficult moments.

Our goal is threefold: train students and professionals to serve their organizations, prepare professional conflict management practitioners and provide services to organizations enmeshed in conflict.

Students enrolled in the ICM graduate certificate or master’s degree programs learn from faculty drawn from leading conflict management professionals and educators in the nation. Classes are configured for the mid-career student with weeklong or weekend class schedules designed to minimize disruptions to the student’s full time employment. Classes are taught both on campus and online in hybrid learning environments.

For anyone interested in joining the fulfilling professional ranks of those who are able to assist others in moving from conflict to the opportunity inherent in it, ICM provides the multi-disciplinary setting in which to hone the skills of conflict management and dispute resolution.

We welcome you to the world of conflict competency.

Steve Joiner


The ICM course schedule is available on the web at icm.lipscomb.edu or by contacting ICM at 615.966.6680.

ICM Academic Programs

The institute offers two academic program choices:

  1. Certificate in Conflict Management. This academic program consists of 15 hours of designated course work. Students who desire introductory instruction and skill development in negotiation, communication and the culture of conflict management will benefit from the certificate program. The certificate will enhance the career of individuals whose employment requires some degree of conflict management skills.
  2. Master of Arts in Conflict Management. This academic program consists of 30 hours of designated course work (15 hours are included in the certificate program). Students who seek advanced instruction and skill development in cross-cultural, business specific and high level professional development will want to seek the M.A. in conflict management. The master’s degree will equip students to offer professional level expertise in conflict management and dispute resolution.
    1. Emphasis in Organizational Settings
      • ​​​​This 15-hour track within the Master’s Program allows the student to focus on intra- and inter-organizational conflict, its prevention, its management, and its resolution. Students are taught be leading practitioners of conflict management and organizational conflict management.
    2. Emphasis in Healthcare Settings​​​
      • This 15-hour track within the Master’s Program allows the student to focus on conflict in the Healthcare field, its prevention, its management, and its resolution. Students are taught by leading practitioners of conflict management and preeminent healthcare executives.

Admission Policies and Procedures

Background courses in the law, business, education or social sciences, as well as prior relevant work experience, are desirable. Although students may enroll on a fulltime or part-time basis, entry into the program is in the fall or spring semesters only.

In addition to meeting all Lipscomb University requirements for admission, an applicant to either the certificate or M.A. program in conflict management must submit the following:

  1. Application Form. Each applicant must complete an application form. The application form is available at lipscomb.edu/admissions/graduate then click on “Apply by Program” to complete the online application.
  2. Application Fee. Each application should be accompanied by a $50 nonrefundable application fee ($75 for international students).
  3. Standardized examination score or writing sample.  Students must either submit the scores of a standardized examination (see below for accepted examinations) or a writing sample.  Standardized examination score:  Students may submit the scores of a standardized examination.  Scores from the Graduate Record Examination are preferred for students seeking their first graduate course work.  (For more information on the GRE, visit www.ets.org and click on GRE).  However, scores for the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), MCAT, MAT or LSAT will be accepted as substitutes for the GRE requirement.  Writing sample: In lieu of a standardized test score, applicants may submit a writing sample. The writing sample should demonstrate clarity of thinking, reasoning ability, logic, and strong writing and communication skills. The sample should be an academic or professional document that has been previously written and perhaps evaluated in an academic or professional setting. Previously published work may also be considered.  The sample should not be something prepared for the sole purpose of admission to the program.

  4. References. Two letters of reference are required as follows: one from a college or university administrator or professor, one from a professional supervisor/employer, or one from a personal reference with knowledge of your ability to satisfactorily perform at the graduate level.
  5. Official Transcript(s). Each applicant must submit an official transcript, showing degree conferral when appropriate, from all schools attended.
  6. Health Form. Each applicant must submit a completed health form signed by a health care provider. (To print a copy of the health form, visit www.lipscomb.edu/healthcenter/forms.)
  7. FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act affords students certain rights of access to educational records; even if you are independent of your parents, you must submit this form prior to enrollment.
  8. Resume. A resume detailing the applicant’s work experience which must include no less than three years of gainful employment in a field of the applicant’s choice, following the completion of undergraduate, graduate or professional school degrees, is required.
  9. Goals Statement. A 750-1000 word expanded goals statement concerning the applicant’s interest in and application of the program’s curriculum to expected career progression is required.
  10. TOEFL. The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for international students. (See section titled International Students  for more information.)

All application items should be submitted to the ICM office no later than 30 days before the beginning of the semester or term in which the student plans to enroll. Forms should be mailed to: Institute for Conflict Management, Lipscomb University, Ezell Room 320, One University Park Drive, Nashville TN 37204-3951.

Transfer of Courses

Graduate credit hours earned at another accredited institution may be transferred toward the ICM degree requirement upon request. A maximum of six hours may be counted toward the master’s degree and a maximum of three hours may be counted toward the certificate. The director or appropriate faculty member of the graduate program will evaluate the course(s) being proposed for transfer and make a determination of suitability. No course with a grade below a “B” will be considered for transfer.


Students are required to provide satisfactory documentation of personal identification for off-site learning experiences required in many programs of graduate study at Lipscomb University. Failure to provide proper credentials will result in failure to complete the desired course of study. For complete policy, see section entitled Required Documentation for Off-Site Learning Experiences  in the opening section of this catalog.

Student Classifications

Students are admitted to graduate courses in one of five categories:

  1. Graduate Student: one who has satisfied all admissions requirements. A student with an incomplete admission file will be accepted to the program at the discretion of the program director but will be placed on an academic hold which will prevent registration for the following semester. Once the proper admissions documents have been received, the hold will be removed and the student will be allowed to register for the following semester.
  2. Conditionally Admitted Student: one who has been admitted conditionally, at the discretion of the program director, without satisfying all admission requirements. Students admitted with the following criteria may be required to complete a minimum of nine hours of graduate work with a grade of “B” or above before the conditional admission is removed.
    1. From an unaccredited school or with a substandard GPA or GRE/MAT score.
    2. A transfer student with a graduate GPA between 2.50 and 2.99. The transfer student must be in good standing at the previous institution attended.
    3. As a student who has not completed a bachelor’s degree program. The transfer student must be in good standing at the previous institution attended.
  3. Non-Degree Student: one who has satisfied admission requirements (including GRE or other standardized exam) but does not intend to earn a graduate degree. Such students may take up to 15 semester hours for graduate credit which may be applied toward a certificate. Those hours may be applied toward a master’s degree if the student makes a grade of “B” or better in the courses taken for credit and is formally admitted to a graduate program as a degree-seeking student.
  4. Visiting Student: one who is currently enrolled as a student in good standing at the post-bachelor’s level at another graduate school, wishes to take courses at Lipscomb and desires to have transcript evidence of course work done at Lipscomb provided for the school of primary enrollment.
  5. Probationary Student: one who has been readmitted to a graduate program following academic suspension from the program.

Admission to a program does not imply admission to candidacy for the master’s degree. Only those students who meet the requirements for “graduate student” described above are eligible for candidacy.

Students who are denied admission may request from the ICM director an action plan to help them identify specific areas where improvement is needed. Students who are denied admission may reapply for admission after completing the action as described by the ICM director.

Academic Policies

Course Load

A student enrolled for six hours per term is considered a full-time student. A student enrolled for less than six hours is considered a part-time student. No student will be permitted to enroll for more than 12 hours per semester without special approval from the director of the graduate program.

Academic Standing

  1. Good Academic Standing: To remain in good academic standing, the ICM student must maintain a cumulative 3.00 GPA and a 3.00 GPA on the most recent 12 semester hours of work.
  2. Probation: Should the student’s cumulative graduate GPA fall below 3.00, he or she will be placed on academic probation. A student on academic probation will not be allowed to enroll for more than six hours during any term the probation applies.
    The probationary student is required to achieve a 3.00 cumulative GPA by the time the student has completed the next nine hours of course work. A course(s) may be repeated to achieve the requisite GPA. If the requisite GPA is attained, the academic probation status will be removed.
  3. Suspension: If the requisite GPA is not attained, the student will be suspended from graduate studies at Lipscomb for the following semester, after which the student may apply for readmission. The student may be required to appear before the graduate committee.
    A graduate course in which a student has earned an “F” may be repeated. In such cases, only the higher grade will be used to compute the student’s GPA. Failing grades will provide no credit toward the degree but will be included in figuring scholarship level, unless replaced with a higher grade by repeating the course(s). A 3.00 GPA must be maintained to be eligible for financial assistance.
  4. Appeals: Appeals to suspension decisions should be made in writing to the Vice Provost for Academic Development.  Appeals must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on the Monday of the week before classes begin for the term during which the student wishes to be readmitted.

Degree Completion Requirements


No period of formal residency is required for a degree in a master’s program.

Statute of Limitations

All requirements for the ICM certificate or master’s degree must be completed within a five-year period from the time of initial matriculation.


Admission to a program does not imply admission to candidacy for the master’s degree. During the course of pursuing the ICM certificate or master’s degree, the student must be admitted to “candidacy.” For admission to candidacy the student must satisfy the following:

  1. Complete all required undergraduate deficiencies if admitted on condition.
  2. Complete at least twelve hours of graduate work.
  3. Maintain a 3.00 GPA on all courses taken toward the requirements for the degree with no incomplete grades.
  4. File an “application for candidacy” degree plan form with the graduate program office. This plan must meet all requirements and is approved by the director of the graduate program.

After admission to candidacy and approval of the degree plan, any changes in the degree plan must be approved by the director of the graduate program. The application for candidacy must be filed before the beginning of the student’s last course in the program. No student will be allowed to graduate in the same semester in which the application for candidacy is filed, without permission granted in writing by the program director

Minimum Credits for Certificate and Degree

The certificate in conflict management requires 15 semester hours and the Master of Arts in Conflict Management requires 30 hours, exclusive of hours accumulated to satisfy academic deficiencies.

Minimum GPA

The minimum cumulative grade point average for ICM master’s course work is 3.00. The minimum cumulative GPA for the ICM certificate is 2.5 for all graduate courses taken for graduate credit while pursuing the certificate. No grade below a “C” is acceptable. Such grades will not apply toward degree completion.


Students must register for GN 999X the semester prior to and the semester in which all course work will be completed for graduation. Students who do not file their intent to graduate form in the registrar’s office by the end of the first week of their last semester may be delayed in graduating.

Graduate students receiving degrees are hooded during the May and Dec. commencement exercises.


Any exceptions to the above stated requirements would require approval by the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in collaboration with the Dean of the College and the Program Director.

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees for 2019-20

Tuition per credit hour $1,091
Tuition to audit 50% of tuition
Application fee $50
Application for Graduation $195
Returned payment fee $30
Payment plan enrollment fee (per semester) $60
Withdrawal fee $195

ICM Scholarships

Once a year, the Center for Nonprofit Management will select two individuals employed by a nonprofit entity for admission as a student for the certificate program in conflict management for whom tuition will be waived. For further details, contact the ICM managing director or the Nashville Center for nonprofit Management.


Program of Study Requirements

    Master of ArtsCertificate

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