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Executive Seminar Program Content

Recent Seminar Topics

Each year the seminar uses three case studies to illustrate policy and governance challenges. Recent topics include:

  • Gill Netting on the Lower Columbia River
  • Adaptive Management of Malheur and Shelton-Hart National Wildlife Refuges
  • Implementing the Sealaska Lands Bill in Southeastern Alaska
  • US/Canada Columbia River Treaty Negotiation
  • Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat Restoration and Management
  • Vital Recovery after the Douglas Complex Fires, Oregon
  • Conservation and Renewable Energy in the California Desert
  • Elwha River Dam Removal and Restoration
  • Wolf Recovery and Management in Oregon
  • Bison Management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

Public Policy & Governance Principles

Case studies are augmented by lectures and class discussions on key public policy and governance principles, including:

  • Tribal Governance: Rights and Responsibilities
  • The Geography of Influence in Policy Making and Implementation
  • The Context of ENR Leadership: Governance in the American Political Economy
  • Civic Capacity and Resilient Communities
  • Collaborative Governance and Making Decisions Together
  • Leading in a Power Shared World: Who’s in Charge?
  • Political Economy, Wicked Problems and Role of Civil Society
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Exploring Authority in American Federalism: substantive and relevant policy topics not limited to fish and wildlife, public lands, forests and water policy 
  • Restoring the Land Requires Sustaining the Community

The quality of human leadership determines the fate of natural resources as surely as climate change or other natural forces. The Executive Seminar Program examines real and current natural resource problems and opportunities and draws leadership lessons from them and from the practical application of leadership theory to them. In its depth of analysis, concentration on effective leadership, and integration of leadership theory it is a unique and "added value" experience for any career natural resource manager or scientist. The group of participants, drawn from a wide array of disciplines and field experience, along with the week-long immersion in a complex topic, provide a learning resource not found elsewhere.

- Dr. John Gordon
Former Dean
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies


Developing Leadership Competencies

The Executive Seminar Program engages case study topics to catalyze leadership development. Through class readings, lectures and interaction with guest speakers and visiting faculty, participants learn to recognize leadership attributes in themselves and others. They come to understand that natural resource problems are wickedly complex, take a long time to solve and require leading horizontally as well as vertically (or across as well as within organizations). The program explores the role of science, science assessment and scientists in these challenging cases. Participants are encouraged to assess current leadership competencies and develop a Leadership Learning Plan with specific goals, actions, and monitoring.

The program's Advisory Board, faculty and staff focus on three tiers of competency development:

Benefits to the Individual
  • Leadership development
  • Management training in problem solving
  • Communication skills
  • External relations
  • Inter-personal relations
  • Multi-cultural awareness
  • Coalition building
  • Dealing with change
Benefits to the Organization
  • State-of-the-art leadership techniques that help an organization achieve its mission
  • Problem-solving experience focused on natural resource issues
  • Comparative understanding of other organizations
  • Development of networks that foster problem-solving among participating organizations
  • Awareness of how different organizations approach policy issues
Benefits to Society
  • Training in collaborative decision-making
  • Leadership models applicable across jurisdictions
  • Development of value-based leadership in context marked by complexity, ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Finding effective models to resolve divisive regional natural resource issues
  • Improved ability to lead in creating and sustaining policy
  • Increased civic capacity for governing in the policy arena