Faculty Feature: Martha Shoemaker, Ph.D. - EMBA 717 Negotiations and Conflict Resolution

Nov. 21, 2017

When Professor Martha Shoemaker, Ph.D. isn’t visiting ancient stone structures in Scotland, exploring the Swiss Alps, or pursuing her passion for historic discoveries around the world, Shoemaker is home in Las Vegas, leading UNLV EMBA students through lively role-playing exercises in negotiation and conflict resolution, as part of her EMBA 717 Negotiations and Conflict Resolution course.

“In business, especially at the executive level, negotiation and conflict resolution skills are core to leadership,” said Shoemaker. The EMBA course provides students a safe place to practice their skills, to learn the processes, and to understand what strategies and tactics that can work for them before they have to apply them in the real world.”

Shoemaker explains, “Effective negotiation is the ability to identify the issues of the parties and understanding the context in which you are negotiating. It’s also about creating respect and trust, communicating clearly, and knowing your alternatives.”

To help EMBA students learn and enhance their negotiating skills, Shoemaker structures her course with numerous simulations and role-play scenarios that become gradually more complex as cohort members move through the exercises.

Shoemaker enjoys sharing her zeal for conflict resolution and negotiation with EMBA students. “Because of their professional experiences, EMBA students often get that conflict can be a catalyst for change,” said Shoemaker.

She adds that the diversity among EMBA cohort members enriches the teaching of negotiation. “The differences create an environment where students learn from each other, which improves their listening skills and capacity to empathize.

Before teaching for the EMBA program, Shoemaker worked for the UNLV College of Urban Affairs as an assistant faculty-in-residence and coordinator of the Second Year Experience.

Shoemaker brings real life experience to the classroom. Following a non-traditional road to academia, Shoemaker worked in sales, worked as a retail buyer, and in apartment complex management. It was while managing a complex comprised of with multi-cultural and multi-generational clientele that she was first attracted to negotiation and conflict resolution field.

After Shoemaker completed her Master's degree at UNLV in Communication Studies, she worked for a semester overseas in Switzerland as a visiting professor where the student population represented 80 nationalities and the faculty and staff represented 30 nationalities. Afterward, she completed a Doctorate of Philosophy from Texas A&M, where her concentration of study consisted of organizational communication/conflict/and intercultural communication. Because of her relationship with the Swiss institution, she was allowed to complete an organizational case study for her dissertation surrounding cultural competence and conflict at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Lausanne Switzerland. She later presented these findings at the International Communication Association Conference

Along with the academic training, to further hone her applied skills brought from industry experience, Shoemaker completed basic and family mediation training, as well as arbitration training at the White Dispute Resolution Center at the University of Houston. While living in Houston, she volunteered at the Better Business Bureau as a mediator. She also has completed facilitation training and worked as a facilitator to lead discussions in such topics as managing diversity on campus, employee representation issues, and city policy decisions surrounding pandemics.