Click here to enable the accessibility widget for this website (Can also be opened using the Alt+9 Key)
Sullivan Logo 01
Virtual Tour
Schedule a Visit
More Information


Latest News

LaVena Wilkin, PhD
Professor - Director, PhD and Graduate Management Programs - Editor, Journal of Conflict Management
Sullivan University

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dr. LaVena Wilkin, the Director of Sullivan University’s PhD program and a leading expert in workplace mediation and conflict management, is the co-editor of a new book on recognizing and resolving workplace conflict.

“From Discord to Harmony: Making the Workplace Hum”, published by Information Age Publishing, is a collection of evidence-based chapters that include both real life cases and cutting-edge research by experts in their respective fields. The book is available on the publisher’s website and on

Dr. Wilkin co-edited the book with Tony Belak, JD, the associate director general of the International Center for Compassionate Organizations (ICC) who formerly served as the ombuds at the University of Louisville.

“Our goal with this book was to provide a resource for managers to help them deal with the inevitable conflicts that occur in the workplace,” Dr. Wilkin said. “‘From Discord to Harmony: Making Your Workplace Hum’ features contributions from professionals in many areas of conflict management, including change management, emotional intelligence, toxic leaders, ethics, workplace bullying, incivility, employee engagement, conflict coaching, and interpersonal communication.

“The research and insights in the book are tremendous,” she said. “One of our contributors, is on the faculty at Nova Southeastern University, and is considering adopting the book as a textbook. Another contributor, Creighlynn Thoele, is a Sullivan graduate who is a high-ranking civilian with the United States Air Force with a lot of training needs, and she is also considering this book for their training needs.”

Dr. Wilkin is a prolific author and editor. In 2017, she published a chapter, “Meditation as Tool for Resolving Workplace Conflicts”, in “The Mediation Handbook: Research Theory and Practice”. She is also co-editor of the book, “Organizational Conflicts: Challenges and Solutions”, and editor of the Journal of Conflict Management, a scholarly journal that publishes research in many of the multidisciplinary areas of managing conflicts.

Dr. Wilkin wrote two chapters in her new book: “Blending the Melodies of Ballads (the Story) and Classical (the Research)”, co-written with Dr. William Hymes; and “From Discord to Harmony: Five Skills for Keeping Your Workplace Humming”.

Two chapters in the book were written by Dr. Teresa Daniel, Dean of Human Resource Leadership at Sullivan University: “Toxic Leaders: Who They Are, What They Do, and What You Can Do About Them at Work”; and “The Era of #MeToo and Time’s Up: A Spotlight on Sexual Harassment at Work”.

Other Sullivan faculty contributors are:

  • Marilyn Faulkenburg, “The Evolution of Ethical Leaders and Organizations.”
  • Kimberly Castle, “Manage Anger Spectrum Pitfalls to Work in Your Favor.”
  • Charles Malka, “That Should Your Organization Know Before Embarking on the Exploration–Exploitation Journey? The Exploration–Exploitation Paradox: Insights, Considerations, and Managerial Implications.”

Dr. Wilkin said she and Belak began work on the book a few years ago when they were unable to find a book that covered a myriad of conflict-related topics in one source. They wanted to provide a well-rounded resource that featured chapters on multiple areas of conflict management through the eyes of cutting edge scholars and practitioners with real-world examples of their experiences resolving workplace conflicts.

“With this book, we wanted to not only provide an overview of the inevitable conflict situations that occur in the workplace on a daily basis, but also to offer strategies and suggestions for improving interpersonal relationships between and among employees, departments, and customers,” Dr. Wilkin said. “We want readers to have both the knowledge and an appreciation for ways to create more harmony in their workplaces and in their lives.”

For Dr. Wilkin, a Sullivan University graduate, the book provides a special personal connection to the school.

“I proudly earned my associate, bachelors, and master’s degrees from Sullivan University, and I spent many hours studying in our library,” she said. “As an alumnus, seeing the book I co-edited with Tony Belak being cataloged to go on the shelf was certainly a thrill!”

About Sullivan University

Sullivan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Sullivan University or visit them online

The University offers numerous certificates, diplomas, and degrees in career-orientated programs, ranging from business, pharmacy, human resources, I.T. and cyber security, supply-chain management, culinary and baking and pastry arts, hospitality studies, conflict management, nursing, allied health sciences, HVAC-R, interior design, and legal studies. Sullivan University has campuses in Louisville and Lexington, an extension in Fort Knox on the U.S. Army Post, and Learning Centers in Louisa and Mayfield. Sullivan University also has many programs available partially or wholly online. For more information, visit