Clearing the air …

slide_255949_1623914_freePublic and private conflicts over environmental and natural resource are a shared problem. Everywhere and everyday, people compete for scarce resources, including access to clean air and water, oil and gas, minerals, timber, farmland, or to preserve habitats for plants and animals. In competition for these resources, people struggle to resolve issues like how to balance the use of natural resources with the need to preserve air and water quality; how to supply water to arid regions while protecting surface and groundwater supplies; or how to permit genetic modification of plants and animals while preserving the integrity of naturally evolved species and ecosystems.

Environmental conflict analysis, resolution and improvements in decision making through informed leadership have inter-generational and global impacts that are beginning to be taken into account. This environmental conflict analysis concentration will significantly advance the student’s knowledge of consensus building and facilitation relevant to environmental issues.

Required Courses

CAE635 Introduction to Environmental Conflict & Collaborative Problem Solving (4.00 cr.)
Conflict over environmental and natural resource management issues can be severe and volatile; environmental conflicts pose powerful challenges to civil societies. More often than not they are complex and hard fought affairs that present urgent and practical problems to be solved. Citizens and decision makers are hungry for ways to improve environmental discussions. As an introduction to environmental conflicts, this course lays the foundation for the environmental concentration. Beginning with the first environmental mediation in 1973 in Washington State, students will be introduced to the history of this practice area; they will study the evolution of a field of practice that is moving to center stage as communities and states wrestle with the impact of climate change and the challenges of sharing limited resources.
CAE636 Managing Scientific and Technical Information in Environmental Conflicts (4.00 cr.)
Scientific and technical complexity and uncertainty is probably the most significant factor that distinguishes environmental disputes from other kinds of conflicts. When specific controversies arise in environmental conflicts, facilitators and mediators look to science and technical experts to support decision-making. Scientific data and knowledge form the building blocks necessary to ground consensus-seeking deliberations. In this course students will learn about the kind of science-based information that is available and how to use it in helping the parties affected by the decision gain confidence in the process and outcomes. Students will learn how to assess informational needs as well how best to present information to reach the widest possible audience of stakeholders.
CAE610 Consensus Building & Facilitation Theory (4.00 cr.)
In this course, students will be introduced to consensus building decision processes, group process theories, and the skills needed to facilitate groups of all sizes in a wide variety of settings. Characteristics of consensus decision making and effective groups will be identified, and the role and function of a group facilitator will be defined. Consensus building processes, group development and formation will be examined, as will several group task and maintenance functions. Throughout this course there will be an emphasis on applying collaborative conflict management theory, strategies and processes.