NCR Newsletter Content Spring 2018
NCR Newsletter Content Spring 2018

Message from the Director

As I write this message, it feels like the world continues to be in turmoil. Women, minorities, high school students and vulnerable populations cannot seem to catch their breath.  Now more than ever there is a need for NCR faculty, staff, students and alumni to embrace the programmatic vision of forming conflict-competent agents of social justice for a just and equitable world. As you will see from the stories shared throughout this newsletter, we continue to advance our vision.

This spring we celebrate the graduation of 19 NCR students. Congratulations for reaching such an important milestone! We are proud and joyful for your accomplishments. We are excited to have you join us as colleagues in the conflict engagement profession.

I invite you to read through the news about the NCR Program and Creighton University in this edition. You will also learn some more about exciting events taking place in the future, new team members, and manners in which our alumni, faculty, staff and students have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Enjoy your summer!

Best regards,

jackie font's signature

Jacqueline (Jackie) N. Font-Guzmán, MHA, JD, PhD
Professor of Law & Conflict Studies and Director


Out and About

St. Ignatius Pilgrimage

This spring, a group of Creighton University faculty and staff went on an 11-day pilgrimage to the sites significant to the life of St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).

Mary Lee Brock, MEd, faculty and assistant director, and Jodi Kava, senior program administrator, from the NCR program participated in the pilgrimage, which started in the Basque region of Spain at Loyola Castle, the birthplace of St. Ignatius and the site of his initial conversion.  The pilgrims traveled across Spain and then to Rome.  The extensive influence St. Ignatius and the early Jesuits had on education was explored in Paris. 

Brock summarized her experience: “Walking in the footsteps of St. Ignatius was quite moving and provided meaningful cultural context to my understanding the founding Ignatian principles of the Jesuits.”

Omaha Cemeteries, Collective Memory, and Conflict

Jackie Palma Amanda potters fieldIn September 1919, William Brown was lynched at the Douglas County Courthouse in Omaha, Nebraska.  This wrenching historical event continues to inform collective memory around race in the community today. 

Jackie Font-Guzmán, PhD, JD, MHA, Palma Strand, JD, LLM, and Amanda Guidero, PhD, spent a day exploring how Omaha’s storied past is inscribed today in cemeteries around town.  We started with the headstone marking William Brown’s burial site at Potter’s Field in the north.  We then traversed the city, making our way south.  We observed imposing monuments to some of Omaha’s wealthiest and most influential citizens in Forest Lawn. 

We meandered through storm-weathered memorials to the Mormons who died passing through in the 1840s at the Pioneer Cemetery.  We identified familiar Omaha names among the pioneers and founders at Prospect Hill.  We paid our respects to the founders of Creighton University and their families at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, where Irish Catholics and Italian Catholics rest in separate sections.

We visited Temple Israel Cemetery, where Jewish graves cluster close together, and the Danish cemetery, where tree-shaped concrete forms guard many of the graves. 

These cemeteries today embody not only the diversity of racial, religious and ethnic groups that made Omaha what it is today but also the separation of – and, yes, conflict among – those groups.

William Brown Tombstone at potters field


Speaking Truths Series

The Speaking Truths series continues to thrive and facilitate conversations on current topics and issues related to social justice.

Since our last newsletter we had one Speaking Truths panel with approximately 70 participants: #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo & More: Standing Up for Justice at Creighton University. The panel, moderated by professor Bernie Mayer, PhD, faculty in the Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (NCR) Program, focused on what people at Creighton University can do and are doing on campus to surface and address issues of social justice, which takes awareness and courage. 

Creighton University representatives – Erika Kirby, PhD, Department of Communication Studies; Kevin Graham, PhD, Department of Philosophy; JD/NCR student and president of the Black Law Students Association, Oluseyi Olowolafe; and Fallon Watts, chair of the Committee on the Status of Women – served on the panel. Watch here. 

Welcome New Faculty


Paul E. McGreal, JD, LLM, professor of law at the Creighton University School of Law, will be teaching the Conflict Engagement and Leadership course in the NCR program.

Paul is the former dean of Creighton University School of Law. He attended Williams College and received a BA in economics, has a JD from SMU Dedman School of Law and an LLM from Yale Law School. He is also serving on the NCR curriculum committee and the NCR/2040 Initiative Steering Committee.

In the true spirit of interdisciplinary, we are excited to have him collaborate with us!

NCR Student Spotlight

Mark StursmaMark Stursma inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu

Congratulations to Mark Stursma, planning director for the City of Papillion and student in the NCR Program, who was inducted into Creighton University’s Alpha Sigma Nu chapter on Feb. 10, 2018. The induction is bestowed upon those who achieve a rank within the top 15 percent of their class and are dedicated to living out the three pillars of Jesuit education: scholarship, loyalty and service.



 Kyle Thompson and Addison Hosner receive scholarship

Congratulations to Kyle Thompson and Addison Hosner, students in the NCR Program, who received a Graduate School Scholarship for spring 2018. This scholarship was made possible through the generous donations of Creighton University alumni and friends, and recognizes graduate students who have an outstanding record of academic performance, service and a commitment to Creighton’s Jesuit values. We are proud to have outstanding students like Kyle and Addison in our program. Their hard work reflects positively upon Creighton University and the NCR Program.



NCR Students Present at the ‘You Are Here’ Conference

Kudos to NCR students Kate Trimble, Victoria Acosta, Paula Deck and Kyle Thompson, who presented at the “You are Here: Interdisciplinary Conference on Space, Place, and Embodiment” at Creighton University in March. This interdisciplinary conference explores the questions and implications of space and place.

Paula presented her paper: Living in a Conflict Zone: The Annexation of Crimea and Why Their Story, There, Matters to Us, Here

Kyle presented: Sacred Space: A Temple Typologies across Time & Culture

Kate and Victoria presented: What it Means to Belong: Conceptualizing Identity and Inclusion in Spaces and Places (co-presenters: Amanda Guidero, PhD, Kathy Gonzales, PhD, LLM, and Leah Georges, PhD, faculty in the Creighton University Interdisciplinary Leadership Program).


Spring 2018 Residency CourseSpring 2018 Residency post its

Spring 2018 Residency group

NCR students came to the Creighton University campus in March to participate in the spring residency course, in which students connect conflict resolution theory to practice through facilitated group discussions, role plays and simulations. Students shared with their classmates and faculty face-to-face and got to know the Creighton University campus.


Alumni Spotlight

Congratulations to Charles Thomas Jr., MS-NCR’09, EdD’14, who delivered the Rev. William F. Kelley, SJ, ΑΣΝ Endowed Lecture: “Prose and Poetry: The War Within” on March 14, 2018.

Congratulations to Crystal Ann Armstrong, PhD (MS-NCR’12), who was awarded the PhD in International Conflict Management 2018 Outstanding Scholar Award. This is a highly prestigious honor given to only one student in each degree-granting program who has distinguished her/himself in the major field of study and in extracurricular, civic, work and/or family contexts.


NCR Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

The NCR Program is proud of the contributions that faculty and staff make to the University, the community and the conflict engagement field. Below are selected examples of the recent NCR Program’s team contributions.

Professors Jacqueline Font-Guzmán, PhD, JD, MHA, and Kathy Gonzales, PhD, LLM, received the 2018 Arizona State Bar Presidential Award for the workshop they developed and will be facilitating in Arizona on June 28, 2018: “Negotiation on the Front Lines: Tools, Tips & Tricks” at the State Bar of Arizona Annual Convention.  The award gives special recognition to seminars anticipated to be of superior quality.

Congratulations to Dr. Gail Jensen, Dean of the Graduate School
Gail Jensen
, PT, PhD, FAPTA, is this year’s recipient of the 2018 National Academies of Practice (NAP), Nicholas Andrew Cummings Award. This award is named for NAP’s founder, and is presented annually to a member of an NAP Academy who has demonstrated outstanding or extraordinary contributions to interprofessional health care.

Professor Noam Ebner, LLB, LLM

  • Ebner authored six chapters in The Negotiator’s Desk Reference, including one on Nonverbal Communication in Negotiation co-authored with NCR alumnus Jeff Thompson, MS-NCR’10.
  • Ebner co-edited Negotiation and Conflict Management Research’s Special Issue on the Nexus of Negotiation Theory, Research, Teaching and Practice. 
  • Ebner delivered a talk in the Quinnipiac/Yale Dispute Resolution Workshop series, on evolution and change in negotiation and negotiators in our technologically immersed world (February 2018).

Professor Jacqueline (Jackie) N. Font-Guzmán, PhD, JD, MHA

  • Font-Guzmán published an op-ed in The Washington Post entitled “Puerto Ricans are hardly U.S. citizens. They are colonial subjects.” https://www.washingtonpo s - 89e8-edec16379010_story.html?utm_term=.ea891f106ebe
  • Font-Guzmán published an article in 80grados discussing Puerto Rican citizenship and hurricane María. h uracan-maria-sera-esta-la-senal-a-la-que-se-referia-lola-rodriguez-de-tio/
  • Font - Guzmán delivered the following presentations:
    • Effective Interdisciplinary Leadership: Stories of Academic Curiosity at the Intersection of Difference, presentation at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools Annual Meeting (April 2018 - Grand Rapids, Michigan). Co-panelist: Jennifer A. Moss Breen, PhD.
    • “Here Be Dragons” – Maps and the Spatial Allocation of Power, presentation at Creighton University in the “You are Here: Interdisciplinary Conference on Space, Place, and Embodiment” event (March 2018 – Omaha, Nebraska). Co-panelists: Palma J. Strand, JD, LLM, Adam Sundberg, PhD, and Guy McHendry, PhD.
  • Font-Guzmán was invited by the Latino Leadership Institute, in partnership with the Latin American Center at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, to present on Puerto Rican Citizenship, Moral Courage & the Future Relationship with the USA: Where do we go from here? at the symposium “Puerto Rico: Forging a Sustainable Path After Hurricane María” (April 2018 – Denver, Colorado).
  • Font-Guzmán and Mary Lee Brock, MEd, led the last of a series of three workshops included as part of the CIPER grant “Cultivating Collaboration: Building a Successful Collaborative Care Model in an Academic Health Partnership.” The workshop was on Difficult Conversations: Dealing with High Conflict Personalities and Disruptive Behavior (April 2018 – Omaha, Nebraska).


Professor Kathy Gonzales, PhD, LLM

Carribean Film FestivalGonzales was awarded a Non-western Studies grant in November 2017 to stage the Caribbean Film Festival, which was held on February 12, 19 & 26. The purpose of the Caribbean Film Festival was to give students a glimpse into two Caribbean countries—Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Republic. The films screened were “A Better Place” (Trinidad & Tobago), “Art Connect” (Trinidad & Tobago) and “Citizens of Nowhere” (Dominican Republic). Each film focused on a different social issue and the conflict that surrounds it. After each film there was a discussion led by Sam Fife, MSNCR’17, and Paula Deck and Cristina Hiddleston—two current students of our program—giving them valuable facilitation experience. Two of the discussions were live-streamed on Facebook ( and Twitter. Through the facilitated discussions, attendees were encouraged to link Jesuit values to the issues portrayed and to explore possible solutions which could be applied.



  • Gonzales has embarked on a project at the newly opened Highlander Community Accelerator on 30th Street in North Omaha. Creighton University’s mission at the Highlander is to contribute to the community “by coordinating and providing resources, knowledge and guidance.” The project will focus on “educational programs focusing on health and well-being for individuals and the community.” Kathy intends to make Creighton’s suite at the Highlander a “healthy space,” which will provide conflict-engagement tools for schools and the community through programs, trainings, weekend workshops, and community conversations and events. Conflict engagement in schools will be done through peer mediation programs beginning at the elementary level and following through to high school with the involvement of teachers, staff and caregivers.  The community aspect will focus on issues of social justice.


Post-Doctoral Fellow Amanda Guidero, PhD

  • Guidero chaired What It Means to Belong: Conceptualizing Identity and Inclusion in Spaces and Places at the “You are Here: Interdisciplinary Conference on Space, Place, and Embodiment” at Creighton University in March. Panelists: Leah Georges, PhD (EdD Program), Kathy Gonzales, PhD, LLM (NCR faculty), and NCR students Kate Trimble and Victoria Acosta.
  • Guidero delivered the following presentations at the International Studies Association 2018 Annual Conference:
    • Exploring Inter-Agency Interaction: How, Why, and to What Effect Do NGOs Collaborate with Other NGOs or IOs?
    • NGO Reporting from the Field: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction
    • The Classroom as a Hospitable Space: Meditations on Teaching IR Inspired by Parker J. Palmer (April 2018 – San Francisco, California)
  • Guidero was awarded a Graduate School Research Assistantship to complete a mini monograph that she is co-authoring with Maia Hallward, PhD, from Kennesaw State University, titled, “Preferences of the Powerful: Comparing Global Responses to Conflict and Crisis in Syria and Yemen.” It has been accepted for publication by Palgrave.  Kyle Thompson, NCR student, has agreed to be her research assistant. The mini monograph offers a comparison of the different international responses to the internal conflicts in Syria and Yemen through an examination of the coverage each conflict has received in the media, by nongovernmental organizations and by international organizations. Guidero and Hallward explore and evaluate rival explanations for why the Syrian conflict has garnered so much more attention than the Yemen conflict.


Professor Bernie Mayer, PhD

  • Mayer recently returned from a five-week trip to Hong Kong and Australia where he met with mediation organizations, delivered seminars and conducted several professional workshops.  Among other presentations, he delivered a seminar at the University of Hong Kong, conducted daylong workshops for the Resolution Institute of Australia in Melbourne and Sydney, and met with mediators and professors of conflict studies in Hong Kong and Melbourne.
  • Mayer published two articles:
    • The first article in a special issue on First Principles of ACResolution, the magazine of the Association for Conflict Resolution, “Are We Ever Neutral? Should We Be?” that took a critical look at the how conflict specialists understand and use neutrality as a central guiding principle for their work. http://www.acresolution-d i  
    • The second article was in the Family Court Review based on a plenary speech he gave last June at the annual conference of the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, “Can We Talk: What Have We Learned About Having Productive Conflicts about Family Law and Family Policy.” This article, adapted from a plenary speech to the AFCC Annual Conference in Boston last June, discussed the experience Mayer had in facilitating two major national policy dialogues on family policy.  He also discussed important policy issues that were perhaps being avoided, in particular, the crisis in access to justice the nation is facing because of the increasing unaffordability of legal services.   

Professor Palma Strand, JD, LLM


Special Faculty

Paul Charlton, MD

  • Charlton published a recent journal article with Nan Cochran, Virginia Reed, Peter Thurber and Elliott Fisher (2018) Beyond fight or flight: The need for conflict management training in medical education. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, March 2018.


Troy Stearns, MS-NCR, EdD

  • Stearns was invited to be a member of the leadership council for the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Austin Chapter.  The PCA is a national not-for-profit organization that is partnered with over 3,500 schools and youth sports organizations nationwide.  PCA members provide developmental resources through live group workshops, learning materials and online training.   The PCA works with coaches, parents and players of all sports to help encourage a youth sports culture based on creating a positive environment for character development. 


Upcoming Events

Hooding and Graduation
Are you ready for hooding and graduation? Are you ready to be part of the Creighton University alumni community?

The Creighton University Graduate School hooding ceremony for the NCR students will be held:
Friday, May 11, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.
Kiewit Fitness Center
Reception to follow in V.J. and Angela Skutt Student Center, Mutual of Omaha Ballroom

The Creighton University Commencement will be held:
Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 1 p.m.
CenturyLink Center Omaha