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Fundamentals of Columbia Basin Governance

Why is this course important to you?

In most organizations, early career training emphasizes the technical skills and abilities central to organization mission. However, at some point, the natural resource professional is introduced to a level of challenges beyond the ability of the organization to solve alone. 

These challenges are particularly acute in the Columbia River Basin. Since the early 1900s, communities of interest dependent on timber, mining, agriculture, fishing, irrigation, river navigation, and later hydropower struggled with how to best manage regional resources. In more recent years, the values of Native American tribal rights and traditions and the environmental movement have joined the values of commercial development. The result is a complex swirl of competing interests, objectives, and perspectives of what needs be done and how to do it. This course equips future regional leaders with practical tools and insights to help navigate the challenges of multi-jurisdictional network governance.

This course is designed for mid-to-senior level civil servants from federal, state, local and tribal government agencies; natural resource nonprofit organization members; and students interested in natural resource governance. It presents Columbia Basin Governance in a case study context. It examines the institutional interests, values, cultures, and identities that underlay the conflicts that regional leaders are called up on to solve.

This course equips future regional leaders with practical tools and insights to help navigate the challenges of multi-jurisdictional network governance.

Course Features

  • An in-depth study of the interests and values of institutions actively involved in Columbia Basin resource issues
  • An introduction to theories of organizational culture, social identity, social conflict, and decision-making and how they apply to real-world governance 
  • A rigorous mix of reading, writing, discussion, practical exercise, and seminars with regional subject area experts
  • A small class size (12-15 students) to foster open discussion and share experiences.
  • Student observation of and reflection on current governance bodies in action
  • Eleven class sessions, one session per month, three hours per session.