Events at Bridgewater College focus on constructive conflict resolution

Bridgewater CollegeElizabeth Wuerz and Lindy Wagner, associates of the Sustained Dialogue Institute, will present a two-day “Constructive Conflict Resolution” lecture and workshop Sept. 26-27 at Bridgewater College.

Wuerz will give an endowed lecture, “Throwing Shade: Navigating Conflict Effectively,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, in Cole Hall. The lecture will focus on how to navigate everyday conflicts effectively.

The endowed lecture, sponsored by the Mark Leatherman Fund for Connecting and Creating Community Building, the Harry W. and Ina Mason Shank Peace Studies Endowment and Bridgewater College’s Office of Student Life, is free and open to the public.

On Friday, Sept. 27, Wuerz and Wagner will present a workshop for Bridgewater College student leaders, covering problem-solving, communication and strategies for de-escalating conflict.

“Students, particularly those who have assumed what we would consider a leadership role on campus, have varied degrees of ownership, understanding and/or identification with that role,” said Dr. Leslie Frere, vice present for student life and dean of students. “Our intention through the workshop is to provide them with meaningful tools to facilitate their engagement in conflict resolution across experiences, regardless of varied states of leadership identity.”

Wuerz serves as a program consultant for the Sustained Dialogue Institute. Prior to joining SDI, she worked in education and conflict resolution supporting the development of student programs to improve campus culture. She facilitated training sessions on conflict management, negotiation and mediation.

She received her master’s degree in law and diplomacy from Tufts University’s Fletcher School with a focus in international negotiation and conflict resolution.

Wagner became involved with dialogue initiatives at Syracuse University in 2005 when she served as facilitator for Conversations About Race and Ethnicity (C.A.R.E.) Dialogue Circles.

While serving as the associate director for Multicultural Student Development at Appalachian State University, Wagner connected with the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network.

Wagner is pursuing a doctorate in communication studies with a focus on intercultural communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Sustained Dialogue Institute is an organization that specializes in developing leaders who are able to transform differences into strong relationships essential to effective decision-making, democratic governance and peace.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to nearly 1,800 undergraduate students.

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