Apply for the Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration

Feb 10, 2020 | EDR Blog

By Nedra Chandler

“Anyone who works with people on environmental issues will benefit from taking the course. The curriculum explores how and why people become committed to positions on environmental issues as well as tools you can use to open up dialogue about those positions. After taking the Short Course, I feel much more confident about helping people address environmental disputes, and I have a good sense of when I may need to bring neutral professional environmental dispute resolution specialists to the table.”

Luke Smart
Attorney Advisor, US Department of Interior
Graduate of the Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration


The Wallace Stegner Center’s Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program is currently accepting applications for our Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration through March 27, 2020. We anticipate selecting and notifying Short Course participants by April 10, 2020.The 2020 Short Course will be held at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, with the first session on June 25-26. Apply online here.

Now in its fourth year, the Short Course teaches a diverse range of mid- to upper-level professionals from government agencies, NGOs, the industrial sector, tribal groups, and consulting firms the art, science, and skills of collaborative problem-solving. The course consists of six, two-day sessions that are taught by multiple EDR Program faculty and partners. Each student completes a Capstone Project that allows them to put the skills they have learned into action as part of an on-the-ground collaboration effort. 

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Short Course participants acquire:

  • Skills to help them effectively participate in multi-party collaborative processes around environment, natural resource, and public decisions important to Utah and the Mountain West;
  • Methods and approaches that will help them identify opportunities for progressive collaborative problem-solving processes, as well as skills for convening, facilitating, and sustaining such efforts; and
  • Experience implementing a collaboration effort relevant to the participant’s own work, with the mentorship and guidance of EDR Program staff and peer-to-peer support.

The course will consist of six two-day sessions, all of which will be held at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law in Salt Lake City. The final session will be scheduled in accordance with participants’ availability.


Dates and Times


Session 1

June 25, 2020 (9am-5pm)

June 26, 2020 (9am-3pm)

Introduction to collaboration and key concepts

Session 2

July 30, 2020 (9am-5pm)

July 31, 2020 (9am-3pm)

Basic skills for collaborative problem-solving

Session 3

September 17, 2020 (9am-5pm)

September 18, 2020 (9am-3pm)

Planning and designing a collaborative ENR process;

identifying opportunities for collaboration

Session 4

October 22, 2020 (9am-5pm)

October 23, 2020 (9am-3pm)

Different contexts of and approaches to ENR


Session 5

December 10, 2020 (9am-5pm)

December 11, 2020 (9am-3pm)

Capstone Project development; communication and

facilitation skills

Session 6

Spring 2021*

Capstone Project presentation and graduation

Tuition for the Short Course is $1,250, which includes materials and daytime meals. Participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodations. Limited tuition scholarships are available.

Short Course participants will be required to:

  • Have their supervisor’s written approval;
  • Commit to attending all six sessions; and
  • Complete a Capstone Project during the Short Course, and report on it during the last session.

The Short Course has trained more than 60 individuals representing all levels of government, corporations, NGOs, tribes, and consultancies. Short Course graduates become part of an EDR Fellows Network that provides opportunities for ongoing peer-to-peer learning and multi-stakeholder engagement aimed at supporting collaborative efforts throughout Utah. Read about how the EDR Fellows have used collaboration to manage ecosystemslaunch a clean air education campaign,  improve tribal relationships with the Utah Bureau of Land Management, or natural resource planning and implementation on the EDR Blog.

We will select participants representing a range of stakeholder groups to foster robust dialogue and peer-to-peer learning. Ideally, the 2020 cohort will include representatives of all levels of government (local, state, federal, and regional), industry, advocacy organizations, tribes, consultants, and community members from around Utah. The Wagner Charitable Foundation continues to generously provide scholarship funding to help us ensure diversity of participants

Here’s what EDR Fellows say about the Short Course:

I regulate uranium mills for the State of Utah, Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Waste Management Control. Uranium is a very controversial subject and I am very uncomfortable with “huggy,” “touchy-feely,” and emotional things. However, I do recognize the importance of trust and effective communication in regulatory work. This course has given me insight and tools on how I can improve my communication skills and build trust with the stakeholders that I work with.

Ryan Johnson, Environmental Scientist/Health Physicist,
UT Div. of Waste Management and Radiation Control

I have found the principles of interest-based, mutual gains negotiation to be immensely valuable in my work as Grand County, Utah’s, Community and Economic Development Director. The EDR staff have created a course curriculum and educational environment where theory, case-study, role-play, and practice come together for a rich learning experience. I would recommend the course for any professionals who work on complex issues with diverse groups of stakeholders.

Zacharia Levine
Community and Economic Development Director, Grand County, UT

This class is very well organized and exposes you to highly experienced facilitators. A massive amount of information and experience over a short period – well worth your time and money. Highly recommended for anyone working in natural resources and group dynamics.

Jared Parkinson
Attorney, Water Law

The Short Course made me think about my work in a completely different way. It seamlessly blended no-nonsense communication techniques with cutting edge methodologies concerning collaboration and consensus. Now, when faced with parties who appear to be at odds, I look past each party’s position to identify their interest. I use the tools and techniques I learned during the Short Course to improve my communications with state agencies, other attorneys, and private parties. Short Course principles should be required learning for professionals across all disciplines

Ariel Calmes
Attorney, Western Resource Advocates

There are opportunities for me to use the concepts I learned in this class every day in my job and personal life. I highly recommend this Short Course to anyone who leads teams or programs.

Jessica Wade 
State Fire Management Officer, Bureau of Land Management

The EDR Short Course has been incredibly beneficial for me. From understanding theory to role-playing scenarios, there are so many useful tools and skills that I’ve learned and will be able to employ in my career. It has helped me to recognize the value that true collaboration can bring to the complex environmental problems we face, while providing the opportunity for putting skills into practice with our capstone. Though collaboration can be seen as putting common sense to work, it takes a lot of dedicated effort and strategy to ensure it is successful. The Short Course has helped prepare me for both organizing and engaging in collaborative efforts in my current role as an environmental advocate and has me proactively thinking about ways to incorporate these skills into my career long-term.

Jessica Reimer
Policy Associate,

The Short Course on Effective Natural Resources Collaboration has been an amazing opportunity for me as a professional.  The practical skills and concepts presented are invaluable for work settings as well as in life situations—not to mention the tremendous value in developing a peer to peer networking group.

Jeff Lachowski
Senior Engineer, Rio Tinto

I think the EDR Program’s Short Course on Collaboration is a “must do” for Utah’s non-profit conservation community. Real world collaborative processes involving contentious conservation issues are not easy; this course can give Utah’s NGO’s some very effective tools to ensure “win-win-win” outcomes for the people of Utah, our natural heritage that we must conserve, and the agencies mandated with its stewardship.

Allison Jones
Former Executive Director, Wild Utah


Nedra Chandler is the Associate Director of the Environmental Dispute Resolution (EDR) Program at the Wallace Stegner Center, S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah.