Search Google Appliance

Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources

The Executive Seminar Program is a professional education program for midcareer natural resource professionals in public, private, tribal, and non-profit organizations. The program centers on live case studies of complex natural resource issues as catalysts for advanced leadership development and enhanced understanding of governance principals.

This year's theme: Exploring resilient systems, both natural and organizational.


Download program information & registration form

16-17 Program Summary 

16-17 Case Summaries

16-17 Registration Form

My experience in the Executive Seminar Program fundamentally changed the way I frame issues and approach work relationships at every level. I learned to think more strategically and gained specific skills for building coalitions and engaging with partner agencies, potential adversaries, and the general public. Besides that, I had time and mentoring to develop a personal leadership plan, met amazing people and made new friendships in my cohort - and got to do all this in some of the most beautiful natural settings of our region.

-- Phil Stenstrom, Program Manager, Operations & Data Services, Port of Portland
2010-2011 Executive Seminar Program Alumnus


What is unique about this seminar?

The Executive Seminar Program is unique among leadership training programs in its application of public administration theory to natural resource policy issues. For nearly 40 years, the seminar program has developed leadership skills that enhance the performance of executives in their own organizations. The program develops leaders in complex decision-making in a pluralistic society. Participants will understand the need to evaluate social values as well as economic ones in natural resource policy development. They are encouraged to appreciate the whole context of the American political experiment and their roles as public service leaders in our dynamic system.

How does it work?

Each seminar reconstructs the natural resource policy controversy at hand by visiting the site of the issue, reviewing background materials, and meeting with decisive players in the conflict. Past presenters have included members of Congress, governors, state legislators, tribal leaders, agency heads, lobbyists, coalition leaders, and journalists.

A total of four seminars are held during the program year. Three seminars of approximately one week each will be held on site to reconstruct cases. A fourth two-day session is held on the Portland State campus to conclude the program with a review of leadership principals, techniques for policy resolution, and a summarization of insights gained by the participants. PSU faculty provide oversight and emphasize sound administration practices as well as ways to improve policy outcomes.

The seminar program develops leadership skills that enhance the performance of managers in their own organizations and prepares leaders for the complex decision-making process inherent in a pluralistic society. Participants will understand the need to evaluate social, economic and political values in natural resource policy development and implementation.

Download the complete list of case studies since 2000

Advisory Board

The Executive Seminar Program Advisory Board is a diverse group of senior natural resource leaders from across the Pacific Northwest. The Advisory Board is crucial to the ongoing guidance, direction and success of the program.  Advisory Board members provide general program oversight and feedback; forecast specific emphases or needs for leadership development in their agencies; suggest possible program year themes or areas of focus; suggest specific case study ideas and contacts for further exploration of cases; and assist with program outreach. Most Advisory Board members are also ESP alumnae.