“The highlight of my practicum was working closely with my supervisor who provided
(and continues to provide) valuable mentorship.”
—Amanda Gross (MA, 2013)
PAX 682 Practicum (6-9 SH)
The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding is a practice oriented academic program. The theories of change and the practice skills offered at CJP are meant to prepare individuals for a career in real world settings of complex conflict and injustice. The practicum is a time for learning and preparing for a career through personal involvement in and reflection on initiatives in actual situations. It is also a time to learn new theories and practice skills at the practicum site.
This “hands on” experience with “extensive interaction with people outside the classroom” and in organizations dealing with the subjects of students’ specializations provides additional work experience for CJP students. Their experience is critical to employers as well as overall career development.
Being prepared academically and having additional work experience through a practicum strengthens the individual student’s ability and capacity to offer a full range of experience to the people they will eventually work for and serve.
In addition to doing an organizational practicum, CJP students may do a research-based practicum (independent or nested within an organization. In very select cases, a student may be granted permission to pursue a thesis (PAX 683) in lieu of a practicum.
- Practical, hands-on involvement in the form of extensive interaction with people outside the classroom in settings that give the student practical experience in conflict transformation, peacebuilding and/or restorative justice practice, most commonly with an organization engaged in specific initiatives within the field.
- Personal reflection regarding the experience, based on personal observations, conversation with others, and feedback from the on-site practicum supervisor and the practicum advisor.
- Consultation and accountability accomplished by establishing mechanisms for drawing on the wisdom of others in the decision-making and learning process during the practicum. The student works closely with their practicum supervisor (a faculty member), practicum director Amy Knorr, and their on-site supervisor.
Most students do their practicum in the fourth semester (the spring semester of their second year for full-time residential students). A practicum is taken for 6–9 credits.
“CJP offered me a tremendous toolbox, full of skills and theories and strategies for effectively
working toward a more peaceful, just, and loving world, and my practicum gave me the
opportunity to put that toolbox to work in real and tangible ways.”
—Cole Parke (MA, 2012)
Possible Placement Organizations
Students have completed their practicums in a variety of locations, locally and globally, with many different organizations. The list below includes a few examples of recent practicum sites.
- UNICEF, New York City
- United Nations Development Program, New York City
- Tanenbaum Center, New York City
- Search for Common Ground, Washington, D.C.
- World Vision, Peacebuilding & Reconciliation Program, Washington, D.C.
- Rural Southern Voices for Peace, Burnsville, N.C.
- Fairfield Center, Harrisonburg, Va.
- New Bridges Immigration Center, Harrisonburg, Va.
- James Madison University, Office of Judicial Affairs, Harrisonburg, Va.
“Sitting in on the national dialogues was an incredible learning opportunity. I witnessed
people from a wide variety of sectors coming together to talk about their successes
and challenges and watched bonds form between unlikely allies.”
—Joanne Lauterjung Kelly (MA, 2013) Served with Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding & UNDP
“A practicum highlight for me was the blending of personal and professional learning,
and personal and professional , which allowed me to discover myself in new ways.”
—Michelle Van Rassel (MA, 2013)