By Michele Straube
The 23 participants in the inaugural Short Course will attend their last session on April 27, walking away with a Certificate of Completion; new skills, friends and collaborators; and a capstone project putting the concepts and skills they learned into action in a real-life setting of their choosing. The application period for the 2017 Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration is open, with applications received by April 10 receiving preference.
In six 2-day sessions, starting July 13-14, 2017, mid- and upper-level professionals and others working on environmental and natural resource (ENR) issues in Utah will learn the “art and science” of collaborative problem-solving through lectures, case studies, peer-to-peer sharing, discussion, and simulation exercises.
In addition to background reading and time in the classroom, each participant will also design and implement an ENR collaboration Capstone Project for an issue they are involved in through their work or community. Mentorship and coaching for these hands-on projects will be provided by Short Course faculty. Short Course graduates will join the 2016 inaugural Short Course cohort as a network of EDR Fellows available to mentor and coach future collaborative projects.
Ideally, the 2017 class will be similar to the 2016 inaugural cohort, which included participants from all levels of government (local, state, federal and regional), industry, advocacy organizations, tribes, consultants, and community members. We have some scholarship funding available to help ensure the stakeholder diversity of our second Short Course cohort, generously provided by the Huntsman Corporation and Wagner Charitable Foundation.
So what did the 2016 inaugural cohort have to say about the Short Course? Here is a selection of their observations:
Increasingly, it seems, Utah is at the center of conflict over land and natural resource management in the United States. Water, wildlife, local economies, tribal sovereignty, and self-determination are issues we all care about, yet remain unresolved. This course taught me how to better understand and utilize the most effective dispute resolution tools, explore diverse values, run good planning processes, and learn the essential ingredients for successful collaborations. I hope everyone involved in natural resource challenges steps across their political lines and signs up for this course. Utah needs you and we need to help each other chart our shared path forward.
Gavin Noyes, Executive Director, Utah Dine Bikeyah
I have been so impressed with the content and engagement that the EDR Short Course program offers. The program goes beyond academic education by exposing participants to seasoned practitioners with decades of experience. I would recommend this program to anyone who believes that building relationships, being transparent, and working together can establish a positive legacy for everyone involved.
Piper Rhodes, Principal Advisor, Communities, Rio Tinto
I am more effective and confident in my job because of the tools and techniques I learned in the Short Course. I can communicate more effectively with diverse groups, I can identify and avoid potential conflicts more readily, and I am more focused on finding mutual gains solutions when conflicts do arise. My participation in the Short Course has been extremely valuable in my career development.
Thomas Dansie, Director of Community Development, Town of Springdale UT
I wish everybody knew how to work with the principles in this class. We would all be able to find that productive ground, where we all get what we want at the core, without having to meddle with disappointing compromises. Michele and Danya are a wealth of knowledge, and always available to help implement the principles they teach to make sure our collaborations are as successful as possible.
Jordan Nielson, Project Manager, Trout Unlimited
This course is a must for those wanting to learn how to effectively collaborate. The course offers skills and knowledge, along with practical examples that will help you advance in your career. Overall, this is an excellent course, with great content and a well-presented delivery.
Jamie Barnes, Sovereign Lands Unit, UT Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands
I highly recommend the Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration. By lunch on the very first day I had already made a lasting relationship that resulted in a terrific ongoing partnership. Each session brought a practical presentation on conflict resolution and transformation. The knowledgeable instructors and guest speakers really sparked the creativity of the group, providing us the tools we need to move forward collaboratively in our various roles and positions. The practice exercises really helped me grasp the material and implement the new techniques I learned in my professional and personal life.
Ashley Miller, Program and Policy Director, Breathe Utah
This course was extremely helpful in laying out a model for working with any process that has diverse stakeholders. The model and strategies also help to identify priorities, so the final result is not only something with group buy-in, but often an innovative solution. I highly recommend this Short Course for … well … everyone.
Wendy Lee, City Energy Advisor, Salt Lake City Corp.
Short Course applications received by April 10, 2017, will be given preference as we create a cohort representing a range of stakeholder interests. We anticipate selecting and notifying Short Course participants by April 17, 2017.
Each of us has many opportunities to model effective ways of dealing with contentious ENR discussions and conflict. The Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration can help you hone your skills to do just that.
Michele Straube is Director of the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program at the Wallace Stegner Center, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah.