Feb282011

Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Becomes a School

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By James Greif

Andrea Bartoli, ICAR director. Creative Services photo

Mason will be the first university or college in the world to have a school of conflict analysis and resolution when its Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) becomes the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) on July 1.

S-CAR will also be the largest program in the field.

“Mason’s programs in conflict analysis and resolution have long provided national and international leadership,” says Mason Provost Peter Stearns.

“The transition to school status properly indicates these achievements, as well as the importance of this field and this unit to the broader goals of the university.”

The change was requested for several reasons. ICAR resembled other Mason schools without departments — such as the Schools of Management and Public Policy — that offer undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs.

Also, the Washington, D.C., area contains many institutes that are often associated with research “think tanks.” The new name more accurately reflects ICAR’s full scope as a unit that has a teaching component along with research, practice and theory building.

“Becoming the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution is the result of more than 30 years of work by many scholars and practitioners who toiled to ‘invent’ a new field,” says Andrea Bartoli, the ICAR director who will become dean of the new school.

“Mason has been at the forefront of the conflict-resolution movement, and I am convinced that becoming a school will strengthen this important academic investment for the university and the field at large.”

The institute becoming a school is a considerable landmark for the academic field of conflict resolution, administrators point out.

“Becoming a school acknowledges the growth, development and viability of our programs and leverages increased opportunities for research and practice,” says Sandra Cheldelin,  former ICAR director and current professor and PhD program director .  “Transitioning from an institute to a school reflects Mason’s confidence in the quality of our work and provides a new level of legitimacy for the field in its expanding global context.”

ICAR became the first degree-granting program in conflict analysis and resolution in 1981, and it has been instrumental in the development of conflict analysis and resolution as an area of study.

The unit prepares graduates for rewarding careers in a number of fields in the private and public sectors, and alumni hold leadership positions at organizations such as the U.S. State Department, United Nations, National Transportation Safety Board, World Health Organization and Free Burma Coalition. More than 70 alumni are currently teaching, creating and leading programs at universities and institutions around the world.

The soon-to-be-school also has many academic partnerships, including a dual-degree program with the University of Malta, a partnership with the Peace Corps Master’s International and a dual master’s degree with Mason’s Department of Social Work.

“As a student, [I think] the transition from institute to school is highly appropriate in terms of the way ICAR functions as an academic institution,” says graduate student Jacquie Antonson.

“The quality and variety of options within the degree programs and research opportunities reflect a dynamic and an approach that is not found anywhere else, and worthy of the designation of school.”

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