Professor Sheehan’s Courses

LIST OF COURSES DEVELOPED AND TAUGHT (in order completed)

 Gaming Conflict and Terrorism

(Spring 2005 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • George Mason University/Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Developed, organized and co-taught a joint graduate level course (CONF 695/STR 509) with CDR Frances Omori of the Joint Military Intelligence College and Professor Dennis Sandole (ICAR/GMU).  The course consisted of students from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, the Joint Military Intelligence College at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, National Defense University and the Naval War College.  The course had the largest graduate enrollment, to date, of any course offering at the Institute.  The diverse makeup of the course, in terms of professional associations, resulted in the ultimate exercise in cross-cultural understanding/dispute resolution and very lively simulation exercises/class debates.

 

Comparative Government

(Fall 2006 (1 Section); Spring 2007 (3 Sections)

  • Bentley College: Developed and taught a series of highly interactive, undergraduate courses in Comparative Politics that engaged students in a cross-national exploration of the world’s political systems.  The courses, which received Bentley’s “Communication-Intensive” designation, utilized a variety of pedagogical tools including lectures, discussion, group presentations, films, simulations and debate to engage students in an exploration of the big questions/issues in the field.  An emphasis was placed on developing an understanding of how a variety of states perceive conflict and engage in conflict resolution.

 

International Terrorism and Counterterrorism

(Summer 2007 (2 Sections); Summer 2008 (2 Sections); (Summer 2009 (2 Sections); (Summer 2011 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • George Mason University/Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Developed and taught several graduate seminars on International Terrorism and Counterterrorism that brought together students from the fields of Conflict Resolution, Political Science, Public and International Affairs, Public Policy, Economics, Peace Operations, Biodefense, International Commerce and Policy, Management and Education.  The seminars, which focused on the strategic and dynamic aspects of terrorism and counterterrorism, drew on readings from the social mobilization, asymmetric war and conflict resolution literatures as well as the literature focused on the relatively static political and economic conditions implicated in the causes of terrorism.  The courses (1) provided an introduction to the concepts of terrorism, counter terrorism and conflict resolution; (2) helped students explore the different ways in which terrorists and counter-terrorists organize and strategize, approach the problem of amassing support, engage in conflict and, in some cases, work to resolve their conflicts; and (3) helped students to become familiar with existing terrorism databases and their use. Readings, research, reports, films, discussion, guest lectures, simulations and other class exercises were used to introduce students to current knowledge and research in the field of terrorism and counterterrorism studies.

Theories of Conflict Resolution

(Fall 2007 (1 Section); Spring 2008 (1 Section); Fall 2008 (1 Section); Spring 2009 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Massachusetts Boston/Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution: Developed and taught graduate level course on existing theories of conflict and conflict resolution.  Course examined existing models of conflict and the assumptions behind them as well as the linkages between theories about the nature, origins and dynamics of conflict and practical approaches to managing or resolving conflicts, especially those that are protracted and intractable. [Listed through Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School]

Cross-Cultural Conflict

(Fall 2007 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Massachusetts Boston/Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution: Developed and taught graduate level seminar on Cross-Cultural Conflict and Conflict Resolution that addressed the role culture plays in contributing to the origins, escalation, and de-escalation of conflict within and between groups.  The course explored the role of culture in the formation, structuring, and resolution of conflict within and between groups and paid special attention to ethnicity and other sub-cultural markers of identity in complex social systems.  The course also examined different approaches and frameworks for understanding culture and introduced skills to deal with issues such as prejudice, stereotyping, and ethnocentrism in conflict settings. [Listed through Program on Negotiation, Harvard Law School]

Terrorism and Conflict Resolution

(Spring 2008 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Massachusetts Boston/Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution: Developed and taught graduate level seminar that examined current scholarship and research on terrorism and counterterrorism and explores cutting edge debates that highlight the need for sophisticated conflict analysis in the post 9-11 world. Questions explored include: What is terrorism? Is it a meaningful term? How has it evolved and changed? What are its hypothesized causes and is there a “New Terrorism”? How do those who engage in this kind of violence organize, accumulate funds, amass support, and use the media? What is counterterrorism? And how do the strategies taken by terrorists and those who oppose them shape some outcomes rather than others? In other words, what are the dynamics of terrorism and counterterrorism? When does terrorism subside? When does it escalate? How can counterterrorist policies and strategies be modified? Particular emphasis was spent examining new and emerging scholarship in the field of conflict management that suggests strategies to reduce or at least contain this problem. Readings, research, reports, films, discussion and debate, case studies, simulations and other class exercises are used to help students better understand the concept and origins of terrorism, explore similarities and differences in the way terrorists and counterterrorists organize and strategize, approach the problem of securing support, engage in conflict and, in some cases, resolve their conflicts.

Doing Research on Terrorism and Counterterrorism

(Winter 2008 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • George Mason University/Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution: Developed and taught research methods seminar to masters and doctoral students from a variety of university programs including conflict resolution, public and international affairs, public policy, biodefense, and peace operations. The course offered an introduction to the practical aspects of doing research on terrorism and counterterrorism.  Questions addressed included: What are the big issues in the field? How do you choose and craft a researchable question? What are the benefits of different types of research designs?  How and where can you get data? What are the pros and cons of using existing data vs. collecting your own data? How do you write a successful proposal?  An equal amount of attention was spent examining qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. At the end of the course, students were expected to have an appreciation of the practical aspects of research in terrorism and counterterrorism, be able to formulate researchable problems in the field, understand the pros and cons of different research approaches including flexible and fixed research designs, be better able to evaluate and interpret existing terrorism and counterterrorism and have experience writing a proposal in the field.

Domestic Terrorism: The Biological Threat

(Fall 2007; Graduate Level Directed Reading Course, BIOD 793, Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University)

  • George Mason University/ Dept. of Public and International Affairs: Led doctoral level independent study for Biodefense student interested in bioterrorism during Fall 2007.

Negotiation

(Fall 2008 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Massachusetts Boston/Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution and McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies: Developed and taught graduate level skills-based seminar on Negotiation that utilized role-plays and simulations developed at Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation and the Northwestern University’s Dispute Resolution Research Center within the Kellogg School of Management.  Students in attendance included masters and doctoral students from a variety of disciplines including dispute resolution, management, education, international relations, gerontology, and public administration. The course addressed a series of broad questions including: What is negotiation?  How does it differ from other forms of conflict or dispute resolution?  Is there any one best way to negotiate?  And to what extent is theory a good guide to practice? The course provided an overview of negotiation theory and practice and examined relevant concepts and skills from simple two-party, single-issue cases to more complex multi-party, multi-issue cases.  The course was taught in an intensive, interactive format using a combination of interactive lectures/discussions, role-play simulations and in-class and web-based exercises. The course was designed to provide stuents an understanding of the nature of negotiation and the importance of gathering and protecting information as well as learn to appreciate the roles of aspirations, positions, interests, rights, power and ethics in negotiation.  Emphasis was placed on understanding not only the distinction between integrative and distributive bargaining but also the value of generating options in reaching integrative arrangements.  In-class exercises were designed to convey the complexity of multi-party negotiations and to provide participants with experience in pre- negotiation preparation, negotiation strategies and processes, and a framework for evaluation the efficacy of success in negotiations.

Contemporary Studies in Terrorism and Counterterrorism

(Fall 2008 (1 Section); Undergraduate Seminar)

  • Tufts University Experimental College/School of Arts and Sciences:  Developed and taught highly interactive undergraduate seminar on contemporary issues in the study of terrorism and counterterrorism. This course is a Peace/Justice Studies Distribution Requirement at Tufts.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences

(Spring 2009 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Massachusetts Boston/Graduate Programs in Dispute Resolution: This course will introduce graduate students to qualitative as well as quantitative research methods appropriate to the social sciences. The course will be taught with a practical focus using examples of research papers as models for a variety of methods.

Understanding and Assessing Conflict

(Fall 2009 (2 Sections); Spring 2010 (1 Sections); Fall 2010 (2 Sections); Spring 2011 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught graduate level course that examined a variety of different theoretical explanations to understand and assess a range of social conflicts in an interdisciplinary way by utilizing insights from the fields of international relations, peace studies, psychology, sociology, communications, cultural studies, and law.  The course explored the linkages between existing theories about the nature, origins and dynamics of conflict and practical approaches to managing or resolving conflicts, especially those that are protracted and intractable in nature.  Case studies ranged from interpersonal and intra-communal disputes to large -scale social conflicts involving ethnic, religious, and worldview differences.

Ethnic and Cross-Cultural Dimensions of Conflict

(Fall 2009 (1 Sections); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught graduate level course that examined the role played by ethnicity, race, religion identity, and culture in the generation, resolution and evolution of large scale social conflicts within and between groups.  Course utilized case study methodology to examine the importance of physical and symbolic markers of difference in the escalation of social conflict in deeply divided communities and what types of conflict intervention strategies have been most useful in mitigating the destructive aspects of these conflicts.

Negotiation

(University of Baltimore) (Spring 2010 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught graduate level skills-based seminar on Negotiation that utilized role-plays and simulations to impart understanding of negotiation theory and practice.  The aim of the course was to develop a theoretical, practical and self-reflective understanding of negotiation.  Students examined various negotiation techniques and strategies (through exercises and role plays), related these simulated experiences to theories of negotiation, and reflected on the connection between negotiation theory and practice.

Conflict Management Profession

(University of Baltimore) (Spring 2010 (1 Section); Fall 2010 (2 Sections); Spring 2011 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught graduate level course on the diverse activities, roles, and tasks undertaken by those in the Conflict Management profession.  Coursework was designed to provide students an opportunity to build functional skills necessary to be successful in the field and explore potential ways that they can make valuable contributions built on their academic interests, professional goals, personal values, and overall sense of purpose.  The course was specifically designed to be a gateway for additional study in the Conflict Resolution field and set the stage for future professional and academic growth.

Capstone Seminar

(University of Baltimore) (Spring 2010 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught graduate level seminar designed to assist students in the preparation of their Capstone Papers (graduate level theses) and prepare them for the presentation of these papers to the broader academic community.  Class discussions and exercises provided an opportunity to integrate learning from both elective and required graduate courses, the internship experience, and other activities pertinent to student’s individual course of study in the Conflict Management program.

Empirical Research of Counterterrorism Policy

(George Mason University/ Public Policy) (Summer 2010; Graduate Level Independent Study/ ITRN 790)

  • George Mason University: Developed and taught graduate level Independent Study/ Directed Reading for master’s student interested in how to undertake empirical research on counterterrorism initiatives.

Internship Seminar

(University of Baltimore) (Spring 2011 (1 Section); Graduate Level Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught master’s level seminar designed to assist students with the integration of their graduate coursework and a professional internship in which they work 150 hours for an organization in the conflict resolution field.

Anticipated Future Courses-

Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and Conflict Management (Undergraduate Honor’s Seminar)

  • University of Baltimore: Developed and taught undergraduate level Honor’s Seminar in the College of Public Affairs.