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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jonathan Aloisi
JSIS 478
Seattle Campus

Special Topics

Content varies from quarter to quarter.

Class description

The Negotiation Course is a structured role play which requires students to work together in groups as they engage in research, undertake simulated negotiations, and draft “real time” policy documents and assessments. The instructors, retired U.S. senior diplomats, utilize a real world scenario – the Six-Party Talks on denuclearization of North Korea – to provide instructional context. Students meet formally with the instructors twice each week, but much of the educational value comes from informal student-to-student interactions (negotiations) outside of regular class hours. Required readings are minimal, but throughout the course students must carefully research national policies and positions related to the negotiation and regularly engage their student counterparts and instructors face-to-face, by e-mail, and via formal written documents.

Student learning goals

understanding of diplomatic practice with regard to negotiations

ability to quickly assess new information and situations and effectively communicate positions in reports approximating U.S. State Department formats

capability to work constructively under pressure within and among four-person negotiating teams

effectiveness in interpreting and implementing negotiating instructions and dealing with off-site superiors in written and oral channels

General method of instruction

After an initial session in which instructors explain course organization, tasks, and goals, students interact, individually and as teams, without significant further instructor direction. Instructors instead act as facilitators, ensuring that students are working within course parameters. Instructors also assume roles as higher ranking officials in “home capitals.” One session each week is devoted to plenary negotiations involving all students in their negotiating groups. In the second weekly session meet with instructors (as “national leaders”) as teams at scheduled times during the appointed day.

Recommended preparation

No prior knowledge of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, or Northeast Asian security issues is required, but this course is best suited for upperclass undergraduates and graduate students with significant prior preparation in international relations.

Class assignments and grading

Students prepare and submit to “national leaders” group reports every week and also interact one-on-one, via email exchange, with instructors at least once each week. Each student also is required to draft a short paper during the first weeks of the course discussing her or his approach to the negotiation, as well as a short paper at the end of the course describing and assessing “lessons learned” from the negotiation exercise.

The degree and quality of active participation is the most important factor in determining each student’s grade. Class attendance is mandatory and any absences can have a negative impact on a student’s final grade. Student interest, initiative, judgment, leadership, and communication skills are closely monitored, through written reports and direct observation, on a continuous basis. Final grades are based on these observations and assessments of individual performance; evidence of improvement in individual student contributions as the quarter progresses also is an important factor.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/17/2012